-“if thou meet’st them under shield -
Upon them bravely, do thy worst,
And foul-fall him that blenches first.”
“If you rise in this tone, I can speak as loudly, and as emphatically: I will prosecute this case with all the liberality of a gentleman: there is nothing which has betrayed improper passion on my part; but no tone or manner shall put me down.”
MR ATTORNEY-GENERAL LAW (LORD ELLENBOROUGH)
HARRISON, 59, PALL-MALL.
printed by C. Roworth and Sons,
Bell Yard, Temple Bar.
ABOUT two hundred and fifty copies of this pamphlet were circulated with “not for sale” on the title-page. One of these was sent to every known person or journal concerned in the controversy, including the Times. It was published, after being duly advertised, on the 9th instant; on which day copies were sent to most of the London journals, including the Times. On the 14th, the Times thought fit to state that “a pamphlet entitled Mr. Kinglake and the Quarterlies, by an Old Reviewer, without either author’s or publisher’s name, and bearing the equivocal prefix of ‘not for sale,’ has been privily circulated about the town:” the intended inference being that an underhand course had been pursued, and that the pamphlet had never been published at all.
It comprises some extracts from an article on Mr. Kinglake’s history in The North British Review by the same writer; and on the strength of this simple circumstance, a charge of a “transparent dodge” has been trumped up by the Times: which “is sincerely sorry to have to suppose that Mr. Kinglake has condescended to be privy to it.” The Times will be sincerely gratified to hear that Mr. Kinglake had nothing to do with the matter; whilst the dodge is so transparent as to amount to no dodge at all.
Two or three days after the pamphlet was first circulated, copies of it, bound up with the article in the North British Review, were presented “from the Author” to several of his friends; separate copies of the article having been kindly supplied to him by the Editor for the purpose. It might have been thought irregular to have gone further in the way of avowal at that period; but of course the extracts were made with the full conviction that there was and could be no concealment in the matter, and the sole object in making them was to avoid re-writing what the author had already written to the best of his ability.
Nothing that can be called an answer on any one material point was attempted by the Times; which, as usual of late, supplied its lack of argument and proof by assumption, misrepresentation, and personality.
The Editor’s attention is requested to the added motto on the title-page.
May 22, 1863.
THE attacks of the Times on Mr. Kinglake’s historical accuracy have been so effectively repelled by the Saturday Review as to render further allusion to them unnecessary ; and the example thus set by the leading journal in criticism is not likely to be extensively followed. But when the Reviews, which have hitherto stood at the head of periodical literature, resort to misrepresentation and personality, they establish a most baneful precedent; tending to degrade instead of elevating what under their auspices ought to be a respected and respectable craft. The public at large, and journalists as a body, should be obliged to any one who tries to apply a check to such a course at, its commencement; and it is more in the hope of doing good in this way than for the purpose of vindicating Mr. Kinglake, who can fight his own battles, that the following instances of what are deemed departures from fair, courteous and permissible criticism are adduced.
The third paragraph of the first article in the last number of the Edinburgh Review1 contains this passage:-
“The sense of justice and the spirit of generosity, which Mr. Kinglake ascribes to the nobler members of the English race, will never endure that we should seek or accept the aid and alliance of a powerful and high-spirited nation in war, that we should triumph by our combined efforts,-those of both countries being equally essential to the result,-and then that seven years afterwards, the hand of a slowly-writing scribe should be employed to gibbet the leaders of one people in infamy, whilst those of the other are promoted to great and perhaps unmerited fame by the concealment of their errors and the exaggeration of their virtues.”
Who are the leaders of the English people who have been promoted to great and perhaps unmerited fame by Mr. Kinglake?
This, it is believed, is the first time that “slowly-writing” has been applied to an author as a term of reproach by a critic of authority. It has even been considered an additional ground of reliance in an historian that he has made his history the labour of his life. Mr. Kinglake has fallen short of the nine years prescribed by Horace - nonumque prematur in annum - and ample allowance might surely have been made for him, if he had exceeded them. A member of Parliament, employed as he is known to have been, could have had less than half of each year, since he entered the House of Commons, to devote to a book which required the collation and analysis of an enormous mass of documentary and oral evidence; to say nothing of the labour which a writer who respects either the public or himself may be expected to bestow upon the style. The term “scribe” is surely indefensible; and so, it may be thought on reflection, is the reviewer’s groundless statement at page 313:-
“It is evident that Mr. Kinglake has not had access to any other portion of the political correspondence - indeed, we believe that access was refused to him by the Foreign Office. He therefore knows just what the public knew before, and much less than those persons (not few in number) who were actively engaged in these negotiations.”
It would never enter into the mind of any man conversant with public business to apply to the Foreign Office for political correspondence, not laid before Parliament, relating to so recent a period. If such an application had been granted, the writer would have been pro tanto an official writer, and the Government might have been held responsible for the book, as much as the French Government was held responsible for M. de Bazancourt’s.
Mr. Kinglake may know less than any one person touching the precise business in which that person was engaged, - than Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, Lord Clarendon, or Sir Hamilton Seymour, for example; but does it appear that they, or any one of them, also refused to communicate with him? The internal evidence of the book is the reply. Thus the reviewer complacently remarks (page 319), “The story of his (the Czar’s) ringing the bell and giving the order is true.” Really ! The reviewer was evidently told so by the same person, one of those “actively engaged in these negociations,” who told it to Mr. Kinglake. But the affectation of superior political connections and opportunities, in dealing with a man like Mr. Kinglake, will only excite a smile; as will the attempt to turn his remarks on the heroes of the coup d’état into a personal question:
“And it cannot be forgotten that the men thus rudely assailed are soldiers and statesmen with whom we have been actively and amicably connected for several years in the toils of war, in the business of politics, in the intercourse of private life, and we will add, as to some of them, by personal regard.”
The reviewer may fling the halo of his personal regard round these worthies if it so pleases him; but he will not rescue them from the scorn of honest history : he will not save them from the just retribution that is in store for them when “that intermittent thing called the French Empire” shall burst like a bubble or come down with a crash. Many, even now, may be found to agree with a critic of a very different way of thinking
“As for the alleged impropriety of sketching the career or dissecting the characters of men who engage in a midnight plot for the overthrow of a country’s liberties, the incarceration of its most distinguished citizens, and the sacrifice of an indefinite amount of human life, we should as soon think of charging the prosecuting counsel in a criminal case with indelicacy for dwelling on what are called the ‘antecedents’ of the accused.” - ( The North British Review.)
The real nature of the French Emperor’s courage is now so well known, that his admirers cannot make out a plausible case against Mr. Kinglake, without evading or misstating the real point in issue. What he says of it is this
"He had boldness of the kind which is produced by reflection rather than that which is the result of temperament. In order to cope with the extraordinary perils into which he now and then thrusts himself, and to cope with them decorously, there was wanted a fiery quality which nature had refused to the great bulk of mankind as well as to him. But it was only in emergencies of a really trying sort, and involving instant physical danger, that his boldness fell short. He had all the courage which would have enabled him in a private station of life to pass through the common trials of the world with honour unquestioned; but he had besides now and then a factitious kind of audacity produced by long dreamy meditation; and when he had wrought himself into this state, he was apt to expose his firmness to trials beyond his strength. The truth is, that his imagination had so great a sway over him, as to make him love the idea of enterprises, but it had not strength enough to give him a foreknowledge of what his sensations would be in the hour of trial. So he was most venturesome in his schemes for action, and yet when at last he stood face to face with the very danger which he had long been courting, he was liable to be scared by it, as though it were something new and strange.
He loved to contrive and brood over plots, and he had a great skill in making the preparatory arrangements for bringing his schemes to ripeness; but his labours in this direction had a tendency to bring him into scenes for which by nature he was ill-fitted, because, like most of the common herd of men, he was unable to command the presence of mind and the flush of animal spirits which are needed for the critical moments of a daring adventure. In short, he was a thoughtful, literary man, deliberately tasking himself to venture into a desperate path, and going great lengths in that direction; but liable to find himself baulked in the moment of trial by the sudden and chilling return of his good sense.”
After illustrating the point by the Prince’s demeanour at Strasbourg and Boulogne, he adds
“Yet only a few weeks afterwards this same Prince Louis Napoleon was able to show by his demeanour before the Chamber of Peers that, where the occasion gave him leisure for thought, and for the exercise of mental control, he knew how to comport himself with dignity, and with a generous care for the safety and welfare of his followers.”
Now let us see how the reviewer deals with these passages
“He (Mr. K.) has stooped to employ all the vocabulary of abuse to charge the Emperor with degrading personal meannesses, which no one, even of his honourable opponents, ever ventured to impute to him, and which are in fact ludicrously untrue. On a hundred occasions Louis Napoleon has shown courage of a high order - courage of a higher order than that ‘fiery quality’ which Mr. Kinglake mistakes for it. He has stood unmoved by the assassins who have sought to take away his life with violence, and against the writers who have sought to destroy his name by invective.”
* * *
“Amongst the injurious epithets heaped upon the Emperor by Mr. Kinglake, he twice or thrice repeats that he is a ‘literary man.’ We know not what amount of obloquy the expression conveys in Mr. Kinglake’s estimation, but we hold it far more useful for a pretender to a throne to wield his pen with excellent skill and judgment, than it is for a man of letters to figure in the actions of war which he pretends to describe.”
The question is not whether moral courage is of a higher order than physical courage, but whether Louis Napoleon possesses a fiery quality of physical courage, and we are gravely told that he has stood unmoved “against the writers who have sought to destroy his name by invective.” If Mr. Kinglake had doubted the Prince’s skill with the sword, the reviewer would doubtless have told us that he was ready with his pen - a much more valuable accomplishment; in fact, he has as good as told us so already. Will he also tell us, why, if the Emperor is so unmoved by the attacks of the press, he crushes it?
There is no imputation of personal meanness; and in calling the Prince a literary man, nothing more is implied than that he had the habits, modes of thought, and temperament of one. What the expression is meant to convey is the incongruity of the character with the parts he attempted to play. It is never used as an injurious expression, and never suggests or conveys obloquy. For aught that has been said, a man of letters is at full liberty to “figure in actions of war,” provided his nerves are equal to the task - which Louis Napoleon’s unluckily are not. The only shot he ever fired in anger went through the mouth of a partisan, who was shouting Vive Napoleon at Boulogne. He admitted the fact before the Chamber of Peers, and accounted for it by his confusion and agitation at the moment.
After stating (p.326) that “Then first it was that, on the 23rd September, Lord Clarendon instructed Lord Stratford to call up the fleet,” the reviewer proceeds:-
“Upon this measure Mr. Kinglake has put an erroneous and unwarrantable construction. He asserts that it was needless; that it was dictated as a provocation by the French Emperor from a desire to break the treaty of 1841, which closed the Dardanelles in time of peace; and that by Lord Clarendon’s ‘unlucky’ promise to France, and his despatch to Lord Stratford of the same date, the ambassador was deprived of the discretion which had hitherto been used with singular care and wisdom (p.366). We reply that every one of these charges is not only untrue, but the reverse of the truth. The date of the measure (23rd Sept.) of itself demonstrates that it was taken not upon the demand of the French Emperor (which had twice before been refused), but because by the act of Russia a further step had been rendered inevitable in the opinion of the British Cabinet.”
“Untrue” (which recurs again and again in the article) is a word that, so long as the laws of honour were in force, was proscribed in decent controversy; and the absence of personal responsibility should form an additional inducement for avoiding offensive expressions. Let us see if Mr. Kinglake was so utterly without warrant for what he has advanced as to justify this rude impeachment of his veracity. The date of the measure, 23rd September, instead of demonstrating that it was not taken upon the demand of the French Emperor, leads distinctly to the contrary conclusion; for on the 21st September his Imperial Majesty had called for it; and on the 23rd September Count Walewski, in an interview with Lord Aberdeen and Lord Clarendon, stated that his Government thought it indispensably necessary, adding “that he was directed to ask for the immediate decision of her Majesty’s Government, in order that no time might be lost in sending instructions to the ambassadors and admirals.”2
Now, what did Lord Aberdeen and Lord Clarendon reply? Their very words are given by Mr. Kinglake from the “Eastern Papers,” which have been carefully compared with his text.
“‘I told Count Walewski,’ says Lord Clarendon, ‘that no intelligence of the nature referred to by M. de la Cour had been received from Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, and that so long as the Porte did not declare war against Russia and desire the presence of the British fleet, it was the intention of her Majesty’s Government to observe the treaty of 1841; but Lord Aberdeen and I concurred in stating to Count Walewski that under such circumstances as those reported by M de la Cour the provisions of any treaty must necessarily, and as a matter of course, be set aside,’ And then unhappily Lord Aberdeen and Lord Clarendon went on to tell Count Walewski ‘that they would without hesitation take upon themselves to agree to the proposal of the French Government that the ambassadors should be instructed to call up the fleets to Constantinople for the security of British and French interests, and, if necessary, for the protection of the Sultan.’3
In compliance with the promise thus obtained from him, Lord Clarendon, on the same day, addressed a despatch to Lord Stratford, saying: ‘Your Excellency is therefore instructed to send for the British fleet to Constantinople,’4 thus depriving the ambassador of the discretion which had hitherto been used with singular care and wisdom, and with great advantage to the public service.”
Here we have the British Government avowedly acting on French information and French pressure on the 23rd without the delay of an hour. So much for the demonstration from dates.
“And now,” (says the reviewer,) “what was Lord Clarendon’s instruction of the 23rd September, from which Mr. Kinglake extracts thirteen words, for the purpose of showing that the discretion of the ambassador was taken away by it?” It runs thus:
“Under ordinary circumstances, and as long as the Sultan does not declare war against Russia, nor demand the presence of the British fleet, we must scrupulously observe the treaty of 1841, and your Excellency’s original instructions on this matter remain therefore in full force. But when it appears that the lives and properties of British subjects are exposed to serious danger, and that the Turkish Government declares itself unable to avert that danger, it is clear that the treaty has no longer a binding force upon us, and that urgent necessity supersedes its provisions. Your Excellency is therefore instructed to send for the British fleet to Constantinople,5 and, in conjunction with the admiral, to dispose of it in the manner you deem most expedient for protecting British interests, and the personal safety of the Sultan; and her Majesty’s Government have no doubt that the Turkish Government will, without hesitation, furnish the necessary firmans for that object.” (Eastern Papers, Part II. p.116.)
“It thus distinctly appears” (continues the reviewer), “that as long as the Sultan did not declare war, and demand the fleet, the original instructions remained in force: the further instruction was eventual and limited; it depended on incidents which had not yet occurred, but were likely to occur, and, in fact, afterwards did occur. Then only did the instruction become imperative, and Lord Stratford was armed with full power to act, just at the moment he required it. This Mr. Kinglake calls ‘rushing into the hostile policy involved in the stringent order to Lord Stratford;’ and he founds upon it a whole series of absurd and inaccurate imputations.”
The essential question is, Was the instruction imperative, or was it not? If it was not, Lord Aberdeen and Lord Clarendon might be accused of not keeping faith with Count Walewski, whose proposal they had engaged to carry out. The instruction is not written with Lord Clarendon’s wonted clearness ; for the second sentence jars somewhat with the first. The treaty of 1841 cannot be binding and not binding on the same matter at the same nick of time. But the intention is made plain by the context; and the thirteen words quoted by Mr. Kinglake are all that it was really necessary to quote. The therefore is quite decisive upon the point. Incidents had occurred, and were recited as having occurred, destructive of the binding force of the Treaty; and the instruction became imperative from the moment it was received. If any reasonable doubt could exist upon this point, it would be removed by Lord Clarendon’s reply to Baron Brunow, of October 1st, 1853.
“We now (says the reviewer, page 327) arrive at one of the strangest and most important of Mr. Kinglake’s inaccuracies.” Perhaps it may turn out one of the strangest and most important of the critic’s. Mr. Kinglake says:-
“At length, with the advice of a Great Council, attended by a hundred and seventy-two of the foremost men of the empire, the Porte determined upon war. A declaration was issued, which made the further continuance of peace dependent upon the evacuation of the Principalities; and the Russian general there commanding was summoned to withdraw his troops from the invaded provinces within fifteen days. He did not comply with the demand; and on the 23rd of October, 1853, the Sultan was placed in a state of war with the Emperor of Russia.”
With reference to the commencement of the state of war with England, he says:-
“By the summons despatched on the part of England, Lord Clarendon informed Count Nesselrode that, unless the Russian Government, within six days from the delivery of the summons, should send an answer engaging to withdraw all its troops from the Principalities by the 30th of April, its refusal or omission so to do would be regarded by England as a declaration of war.”
* * *
“A refusal to answer was one of the events which under the terms of the announcement contained in the summons was to be regarded by the Western Powers as a declaration of war. This refusal was uttered by Count Nesselrode on the 19th of March, 1854. The peace between the great powers of Europe had lasted more than thirty-eight years, and now at length it was broken.”
He adds, that the formal declaration of war by England was not issued till March 28th, considerable difficulty having been experienced in preparing it. He considers the “state of war” to have commenced from the expiration of the conditional notice in each instance.
The reviewer says that, as regards Turkey, “war was declared on the 4th October: from that day the state of war existed; if prizes had been taken at sea. they would certainly have been good prizes; but the Turkish general was ordered not to begin hostilities in the Danube, where he was, until after a fourteen days’ notice.” It is added in a note:-
“In assigning a date to the commencement of the war between England and Russia, Mr. Kinglake commits another blunder, but in the opposite direction. He says (Vol. I p. 462), the state of war began on the 19th March, because that was the date on which the notice to Russia expired. But, in fact, the British Order of General Reprisals was dated the 29th March, and it was not till that day that the state of war really began. So that he has post-dated the war between Turkey and Russia, and ante-dated the war between Russia and England.”
The reviewer might just as well contend that the state of war, as regards England, really began when an Englishman entered into bodily conflict with a Russian; for the Order of Reprisals is always purposely delayed, to give fair notice. But to take the Order for Reprisals in the one case, and the conditional declaration or manifesto in the other, as respectively fixing the dates, is a mode of proceeding which nothing can justify. Mr. Kinglake may be right in both cases. The reviewer must be wrong in one. He is wrong, and Mr. Kinglake is right, in both.
As regards England, nothing need be added to what has been already cited from Mr. Kinglake. As regards Turkey, he has followed Lord Stratford, who, on the 28th of September, in a despatch addressed to his Government, gives what both he and Reshid Pasha understood to be the effect of the decision of the Great Council in these words:-
“The Pasha added that war had been resolved by the unanimous vote of 172 individuals, who, being present at the meeting, had all subscribed the report addressed to the Sultan; that a manifesto to be conveyed to the Four Powers by their respective representatives here, and a proclamation to the empire, with other details, were left to his Majesty and his ministers; that the Ministerial Council is to deliberate on these matters as soon as the Imperial pleasure shall be signified; that Omar Pasha will be instructed to summon Prince Gortchakoff, by letter, to evacuate the Principalities within fifteen days from the receipt of his letter; that the Prince’s refusal will be considered as tantamount to a declaration of war on the part of Russia; that hostilities will be declared thereupon by the Porte; that all persons now here in the employment of Russia will then be requested to withdraw; and finally, that all merchant vessels6 under Russian colours will also be required to leave the port of Constantinople.”
The manifesto is to the same effect:-
“It is well understood that if Prince Gortchahoff’s answer is in the negative, the Russian agents must quit the Ottoman dominions, and that the commercial relations of the respective subjects of the two Governments must be interrupted.”
Together with a copy of the manifesto, the Turkish Government addressed to foreign powers a copy of the summons which they ordered Omar Pasha to address to Prince Gortchakoff. That summons (after stating the failure of the negociations) thus concludes:-
“Consequently there only remains for the latter [the Sublime Porte] the indispensable obligation of declaring war. But since the invasion of the Principalities, and the violation of the treaties which attended it, are the inevitable causes of the war, the Sublime Porte, as the last expression of its pacific sentiments, proposes to your Excellency, through my channel, the evacuation of the Principalities, and offers a term of fifteen days from the date of the receipt of this letter for you to make up your mind. If within this term a negative answer should reach me from your Excellency, the commencement of hostilities would naturally ensue from it.”
If war had been definitively declared by the Porte on the 4th of October, how could the Turkish Government instruct its general, by an order issued at that very same time, to address to the Commander of the Russian Army in the Principalities a summons which describes itself as the last expression of the Porte’s pacific sentiments?
The theory of the Edinburgh reviewer is, that the term offered by the summons applied only to hostilities on the Danube. Is that the case? If this theory was right, hostilities on the Asiatic frontiers would commence as soon as convenient after the 4th of October, the date of the manifesto; but when were they to commence in fact? Lord Stratford answers the question. Writing on the 21st of October, he says -“A steamer has been sent from Varna to the Asiatic frontiers with orders to attack immediately after the close of the fifteen days, which expire on the 24th instant.”
If Mr. Kinglake has gone astray on this point, he has gone astray in excellent company.
At page 331, the reviewer tumbles headlong into one of the self-contradictions which abound in the article:-
“With singular inconsistency, whilst Mr. Kinglake ascribes to the British Cabinet this mean and unworthy part, he lauds to the skies the wisdom and firmness of the British ambassador. Who sent out Sir Stratford Canning? Who instructed, supported, and approved him? Had the English Ministers been disposed to make concessions of principle to peace, it would have been rational to select a more pliant instrument. As it is, the opposite charge was brought against them by Russia and by the opponents of the war - namely, that they selected the man best fitted and most resolved to oppose the aggressions of the Czar. No man ever took upon himself a larger amount of responsibility than Lord Stratford, when he virtually overruled the decision of the four Powers, including his own Government, and acquiesced in - not to say caused - the rejection of the Vienna Note by the Porte, after it had been accepted by Russia. The interpretation afterwards put upon that Note by Count Nesselrode showed that he was right; but, nevertheless, that was the point on which the question of peace and war turned.”
Where is the inconsistency of blaming the policy of a government and praising the ambassador who evades or declines acting on it? And what does the reviewer really mean to say? Did the British Cabinet approve Lord Stratford when he contravened their intentions, especially the intentions of their chief; or (assuming that he exercised a wise discretion) are they to take credit for what he did, “when he virtually overruled the decision of the four Powers, including his own Government?” About as reasonably as Admiral Parker might lay claim to the honours won by Nelson at Copenhagen, when he clapped his glass to his blind eye and refused to see the signal to draw off.
In the next page but one (p.333) occurs another proof that the reviewer is not so strong in logic as in diplomatic relations. He asks: “Could the German Powers give a greater proof of subserviency to Russia than that, in December, 1853, their representatives attended the Te Deum at St. Petersburgh for the victory at Sinope?” He then adds in a note that, “although M. de Castelbajac, the French Ambassador at St. Petersburgh, did not attend the thanksgiving, he sent his congratulations to the Czar, as a soldier, a minister, and a Christian.” The North British Review, after mentioning the incident with a slight variation in the words, remarks: “Yet the Edinburgh Review infers from what took place on this occasion, that France was to be trusted, whilst Austria and Prussia were not?”
The same Review comments as follows on another misapprehension of its Northern contemporary:-
“There is no indiscretion against which a journalist should be more anxiously on his guard than that of misrepresenting what has been said by a living writer of a living and very eminent contemporary. Mr. Kinglake has been accused of describing Lord Palmerston ‘as the author of a sanguinary war, in a Cabinet still desirous of peace, and as the close partisan of imperial France at the sacrifice of the interests and independence of England;’ of suggesting that ‘Lord Palmerston, having joined a Cabinet of honourable men, spent a year in betraying them,’ etc., etc.; of paying a complimentary tribute to the strength of Lord Palmerston’s will ‘at the expense of his lordship’s honour, his patriotism, his fidelity, and his truth.’
Now, what most excites Mr. Kinglake’s fervid admiration for Lord Palmerston is his intensely English policy. He says emphatically, ‘there was nothing that could so completely meet Lord Palmerston’s every wish,’ as an alliance between the two western powers which ‘should toss France headlong’ into that policy; that his lordship’s desire was ‘to have the Governments of France and England actively united for an English object;’ and he dwells on ‘the very same manliness of disposition, which would prevent him from engaging in anything like an underhand intrigue against his colleagues.’”
The Edinburgh reviewer assumes to speak authoritatively on the subject of Lord Palmerston’s resignation in December, 1853:
“Mr. Kinglake has thought fit to attribute to motives connected with the foreign policy of the country after the attack on Sinope the resignation which was tendered by Lord Palmerston in December 1853: we say ‘tendered’ because it was not accepted by Lord Aberdeen, it was not laid formally before the Queen, and Lord Palmerston did not cease for a single day to hold the seal, and after some days he himself withdrew his resignation.”
A word in passing here. A resignation is a resignation, as an offer is an offer, whether it is accepted or not; and Lord Aberdeen stated in the House of Lords that he “informed Her Majesty of the resignation” the day before it was announced in the Times. A going-out Secretary keeps bodily possession of the Seal till his successor is appointed. So far, therefore, the reviewer has told us nothing but what everyone took for granted. He proceeds : -
“But Mr. Kinglake is entirely misinformed. So little reason was there for resigning on this question, that every Minister of the Crown was ready and eager, on the arrival of the news of the Sinope attack, to adopt the course proposed by the French Government. In reality, the true, and, we believe, the sole, cause of Lord Palmerston’s resignation at that crisis was that some members of the Cabinet were then pressing on a measure of Parliamentary Reform which he thought inopportune, and the office which he then held as Home Secretary of course made him peculiarly responsible for an organic measure of internal legislation.”
The same story has been repeated by journal after journal and review after review, with one exception, the North British Review, which says:-
“In blind eagerness to discredit the book, the resignation itself was first declared to be a figment by the very journal that had announced it; and Mr. Kinglake’s hypothesis of the cause has been rejected as entirely fanciful. But if he had broadened it a little, by saying that Lord Palmerston’s foreign policy was at the bottom of the affair, he would have come very near the truth. The Reform Bill was certainly the specified and direct cause of the dilemma; which was forced upon the Home Secretary by those who wished to get rid of an embarrassing colleague. His organ in the daily press asserted that his resignation was virtually caused by differences regarding foreign affairs: Lord Aberdeen spoke to the same effect in private ; and it was withdrawn on the 24th, the French proposal having been reluctantly adopted by the English Cabinet on the 22nd. We cannot learn that any concession touching the Reform Bill was stipulated for; but it is certain that the adoption of the French proposal was communicated to his lordship, and that the communication displeased those of his colleagues who were anxious to keep him out, - a tolerably clear sign of the effect it was expected to have, and which, in fact, it had, in inducing his return.”
There is an important note to this passage:-
“It is perfectly well known to all conversant with the politics and journalism of the period, that Lord Palmerston’s personal and peculiar organ was the Morning Post. Now, let any one who wishes to get at the occult causes of the resignation consult the pages of this journal from December 17 to December 26, 1853, both inclusive. The assertion of the Times, that Lord Palmerston resigned from dislike to a large measure of reform, is indignantly denied. Letter upon letter, leading article upon leading article, appear, contemptuously repudiating the notion. ‘To sum up our contradiction of the invention of the inspirers of the Times in a few words,’ says the Morning Post of December 19, ‘we are convinced that Lord Palmerston has not approved of the sluggish policy pursued in the Eastern question, and we are certain that he is favourable to as large a measure of reform as is demanded by public opinion, and as he thinks compatible with the true interests of the empire.’ On announcing his return (December 26), the same paper says :-‘The present ministerial crisis is therefore at an end. The vacillating policy pursued in the East is abandoned,’ etc. These articles were, to all intents and purposes, what the French call communiqués. Their purport is-‘The resignation on Reform is a technicality: it is the last hair that breaks the camel’s back: the differences on Eastern affairs became heavier from day to day, and Lord Palmerston fairly broke down on Sinope.’ It is superfluous to allege formal declarations referring the resignation to home politics or reform; for the controversy, on Mr. Kinglake’s part, begins by admitting them. Lord Palmerston was a member of the Cabinet which proposed and passed the Reform Bill of 1832. He has been a consenting party to more than one Reform Bill since 1853. To suppose that he practically and exclusively resigned on a purely domestic measure of that year is preposterous.
It is stated in the Edinburgh Review, that ‘so little reason was there for resigning on this question, that every Minister of the Crown was ready and eager, on the arrival of the news of the Sinope attack, to adopt the course proposed by the French Government.’ Lord Clarendon distinctly states that they ‘would have been content’ with their own course, if no pressure had been put upon them.(Eastern Papers, Part ii. p.321.)”
A writer in the Home and Foreign Review, evidently inspired by one of the surviving members of Lord Aberdeen’s Cabinet, says that, in consequence of an intimation from Lord Palmerston, two members of that Cabinet had an interview with him on Wednesday the 21st, in the course of which he expressed his willingness to remain in office. The versions of several members of that Cabinet, and of two other persons actively engaged in the reconciliation, lead to the conclusion that the first advances were not made by Lord Palmerston, and that whatever willingness may have been expressed on the 21st, the resignation was not withdrawn till Saturday the 24th. It was first announced by the Times and the Morning Post (both well informed from day to day) on Monday the 26th. These dates are all-important.7
It will be observed that the writer in the North British Review has printed an argument of his own between inverted commas. By so doing, he is brought within the severe censure levelled at Mr. Kinglake by the Edinburgh reviewer for adopting this method of varying and enlivening his style:
“In three or four places Mr. Kinglake has printed in inverted commas (as if they were extracts), instructions, compacts, or arguments entirely the product of his own brain. But for their extravagance, an inattentive reader might be misled into supposing them to be authentic statements, and this mode of presenting his own views is certainly reprehensible. (See vol. i. p.142, and again p.328, for two of these imaginary pieces.)”
Both of these imaginary pieces are expressed in terms which could not deceive the most inattentive reader, and in the case of one of them it is added, “these are only imaginary words.” They are printed in the same way as extracts, not “as if they were extracts;” and the critic’s reading must be very limited, if he is not aware that a similar practice has been pursued by the best writers, ancient and modern. What a sweeping indictment might be maintained against the Greek and Roman historians for forgery!
In summing up the reasons on both sides at the commencement of the Civil War, Hume begins : - “This parliament, said the partizans of that assembly, have at last,” &c. Having allowed them to state their case, he turns to the royalists. “Some invasions, they said, and these, too, of no small consequence,” &c. Can the most inattentive reader be ignorant that the arguments on both sides are imaginary pieces?
Rogers used to tell a story of a lady of position and influence, who once checked him in a mordent vein, exclaiming, “I will hear nothing against the Howards and Cavendishes.” “You are quite right,” was the reply, “to stand up for the weak and lowly.” On this lady’s principle, the Edinburgh reviewer comes gallantly to the rescue of the Times:-
“Mr. Kinglake has drawn a fanciful picture of a great English newspaper, under the figure of a ‘Company’ exercising ‘a great sway over the conduct of the war.’ We know not whether the Times newspaper belongs to a ‘Company’ at all, and we very much question the fact. But if ‘widows and country gentlemen’ have any share in the profits of that journal, it may be presumed that these persons have not more influence over its political direction, than the individual shareholders of a railway company have over the express trains upon the line. It is within our certain knowledge that the articles to which Mr. Kinglake refers were simply the expression of the strong convictions of one or two political writers, who had in view no object but the public interests they had undertaken to defend; and that the paltry motives here [where?] ascribed to them had not one particle of influence on the course they took in that great discussion.”
It may be doubted whether these assurances will be adopted or repeated by the Times. Did the conductors of that journal wish it to be published to the world that, within the certain knowledge of their friend, the articles advocating the invasion of the Crimea were - not the condensed and powerful expression of the popular mind, but - simply the expression of the strong convictions of one or two political writers, to whom (a fact new to Mr. Kinglake’s readers) paltry motives have been ascribed? Do they wish a discussion to be raised on the degree of influence exercised at critical periods by persons sharing in the profits and not regularly engaged in the redaction? It is just possible, that any one really interested in the reputation of the great newspaper, may cry out, with Sir Peter Teazle, “When I tell you, Mrs. Candour, that the person they are abusing is a particular friend of mine, I hope you’ll not take his part.”
The passage in which Mr. Kinglake describes the conference between Lord Raglan and Marshal St. Arnaud, the evening before the battle, concludes thus:
“He was so sure of his troops, and so conscious of his own power to act swiftly when the occasion might come, that although he was now within half a march of the enemy’s assembled forces, he did not at all long to ruffle his mind with projects - with projects for the attack of a position not hitherto reconnoitred.” (Vol. ii. p.241.)
The Edinburgh reviewer says: -
“This is, we think, the most absurd passage we remember to have read in all historical composition. What! the pupil of Wellington, commanding only a portion of an allied army, which was on the next morning to attack a powerful enemy in a strong position, refuses ‘to ruffle his mind with projects,’ and when asked by the French Commander to discuss with him the plan of the attack, he takes refuge in unmeaning grimaces and holds his tongue! If such was the conduct of Lord Raglan, it would he difficult to carry folly and insincerity beyond it. Conceive the Duke of Wellington, in a conference with Blucher before the battle of Waterloo, refusing to ‘intrust the Marshal with a knowledge of what our army would be likely to undertake!’ how are concerted operations between commanders of equal rank possible, if they do not communicate to each other their intentions, and act upon them? It would appear, on Mr. Kinglake’s own showing, that if Lord Raglan vouchsafed no further explanation than this, St. Arnaud was entitled to suppose that he did not reject the French proposal. At any rate, Mr. Kinglake is guilty of unnecessary discourtesy when he engraves upon his copy of the French ‘Projet’ that it was ‘untruly stated to have been accepted by Lord Raglan.’ The French officers may well have conceived that Lord Raglan acquiesced in it. It is, however, certain that when the Allies found themselves in front of the Russian army, St. Arnaud’s plan was impracticable.”
The North British Review rejoins :-
“The critic who calls this ‘the most absurd passage he ever remembered to have read in an historical composition,’ probably overlooked the force of the concluding sentence, and forgot that (to use his own words), ‘when the allies found themselves in front of the Russian army, St. Arnaud’s plan was impracticable.’ Neither should we have been requested to ‘conceive the Duke of Wellington in a conference with Blucher before the battle of Waterloo, refusing to intrust the Marshal,’ etc., etc., if the very next page of this history had been consulted:-
Lord Raglan’s experience, or instinct (says Mr. Kinglake), told him that no such plan as this could go for much until the assailing forces should come to measure their line with that of the enemy. So, without either combating or accepting the suggestion addressed to him, he simply assured the Marshal that he might rely upon the vigorous co-operation of the British army.”
Such, mutatis mutandis, was the simple assurance given by Wellington to Blucher before Ligny, and by Blucher to Wellington before Waterloo.
The “unmeaning grimaces” is an improved version of “governed features” and “smiling graciously.”
After alluding to Lord Raglan’s presence (or absence) on the knoll, the Edinburgh reviewer continues : -
“At that very point of time, as we learn in another place, the fate of the battle turned on bringing up the supports to the Light Division, and Mr. Kinglake comments, we think with undue severity, on the momentary hesitation of the illustrious Duke, who paused, not from any want of resolution in himself, but from a natural and honourable feeling of consideration for his men. Whose business was it to direct the advance of corps to conduct or support the main attack? It was the duty of the Commander-in-Chief. In his absence from his proper post, the necessary order was given to the First Division by General Airey, and the same movement was spontaneously made by General Evans without any orders at all. Indeed it appears from a letter of General Evans to the Duke of Cambridge, which has been circulated since the publication of this book, that this General induced Colonel Steele to give an order, purporting to come from the Commander-in-Chief, for the advance of the First Division; and a similar order is said to have been sent by Lord Raglan. The Duke of Cambridge and his staff have no recollection of the receipt of those orders. Such was the confusion to which the absence of the Commander-in-Chief gave rise.”
The Duke of Cambridge has acknowledged the receipt of those orders in a letter to Sir De Lacy Evans. Mr. Kinglake, instead of commenting with undue severity, or any severity at all, on the “momentary hesitation” of the illustrious Duke, suggests the very justification which this writer coolly uses as if he had originated it. It may be doubted whether the illustrious Duke stood more in need of a volunteered defence than the Times, or will feel much obliged to the reviewer for provoking Sir De Lacy Evans’ letter to that journal. As to the much-mooted point whether His Royal Highness did right in waiting for orders at the time in question, the weight of military authority is with him.
At p. 351 the reviewer says:-
“Yet one point more. Mr. Kinglake affirms that the extravagant accounts given by M. de Bazancourt and others of the fight between the French and Russians at the Telegraph Hill are not only exaggerated but fictitious: that the Russians themselves do not claim the merit of any fighting on that spot; and that in fact no combat at all took place there.”
This is one of the misstatements which has been repeated parrot-like in defiance of disproof. It is utterly vain to try to bring people back to the real question - whether there was an infantry fight on a large scale at the Telegraph, or to press upon them that Mr. Kinglake fairly sums up the evidence, and leaves his readers to form their opinions for themselves, after intimating his own. A remark in the North British Review must be disposed of, or the controversy is at at an end:-
“All the Russian accounts agree, that their whole army, beaten in the centre and the right, was in full retreat before the French reached the Telegraph ; and it is clear to demonstration that it must have been, for otherwise the troops posted there could not have retreated at all. If they had stayed to encounter the overwhelming French force that broke upon the plateau, with the English advancing and near at hand, they must have been cut off to a man. The evidence as to the amount of bodies found there is conflicting; and a good many may be accounted for without the hypothesis of an infantry fight on a large scale. The French artillery had been firing on it, and the Russians covered their retreat by their guns.
It is probable (says Mr. Kinglake) that this fire of the Russian artillery took effect at a time when the heads of the French columns had already thronged up to the Telegraph; for it is certain that several of the Zouaves were there struck down.”
At p.322 (note) the Edinburgh reviewer says:-
“He (Mr. Kinglake) considers the testimony of a British officer quite unimpeachable, when he describes the massacre on the Boulevard, from a window, but he flatly contradicts the evidence of the British officers who saw the bodies of the slain after the engagement on the Telegraph Hill at the Alma.”
Here, again, is one of those startling juxtapositions in which this writer especially rejoices, and one of his startling syllogisms to boot. - If you believe a British officer at one time, a fortiori you must believe British officers at another. The strength of the proof goes on multiplying at a geometrical ratio. If one ginger- bread nut will warm you for an hour, what will a pound do? Never mind the quality of the plural testimony; the bare fact of plurality is enough. Mr. Kinglake has flatly contradicted nobody. Nothing can be less reliable than a vague estimate of the number of bodies on a hill-side. Let any one try the experiment of making a rough guess at the number of sheep in a scattered flock. Captain Hamley speaks indefinitely of three or four hundred corpses near the tower, and states that “three or four had been bayoneted whilst defending the entrance.” How did he ascertain this? A colonel of the Guards, and two civilians, clearheaded, calm men, who visited the spot the evening of the battle, state that there were few bodies near the tower. Mr. Kinglake himself carefully inspected the ground. Yet the reviewer says, “Either Captain Hamley did not see what he declares himself to have seen, or Mr. Kinglake’s inferences from the Russian narratives of the battle are untrue.” This is pleasant for Captain Hamley, since a good many people believe Mr. Kinglake’s inferences. And suppose we give another turn to the argument, and say, “Unless the Russian generals did not know whether they were retreating or fighting, Captain Hamley was in the condition of the governor of Tilbury Fort:
‘The Spanish fleet thou canst not see,
Because it is not yet in sight.’”
The Quarterly Review had been announced as on the point of appearing, and on the point of smashing Mr. Kinglake altogether, when there was a hitch. It is pretty clear, from external and internal evidence, that the delay in its publication was occasioned by the Saturday Review and the notes to the third edition of the History. The discomfiture and retreat of the Times - parma non bene relicta - carrying along with it Captain Mends and Colonel Norcott, produced on the columns of the Quarterly the same effect as the retreat of a part of the Light Division had produced on the Scots Fusiliers. The “maimed battalion moved on,” but it was maimed. The cancelled and remodelled pages may be detected at a glance. It would have been well for the reputation of the Review if the whole had undergone the same process; for there is scarcely a page that is not defaced by an inaccuracy; only the most prominent, however, are worth particularizing here. At p.521 the reviewer says : -
“But in justice to the memory of Lord Aberdeen, we would protest against what is perhaps rather an insinuation than an actual assertion of Mr. Kinglake’s, that when Lord Clarendon warned Sir H. Seymour (!) that the conduct of Russia was gradually rousing the warlike spirit of England, the Prime Minister requested the Russian Ambassador to tell his Government to put no faith in the Foreign Secretary’s words. That a man of the high and scrupulous honour of Lord Aberdeen should have so betrayed his colleague, no one will readily believe. Baron Brunow, we understand, explicitly denies the statement.”
There is a note to this passage:-
“Possibly Mr. Kinglake may mean that Lord Aberdeen prevailed upon Lord Clarendon to revoke his own words. A perusal of the different passages (pp. 193, 473, 492) in which this subject is mentioned leaves us in hopeless uncertainty as to what it is that Mr. Kinglake wishes us to believe.”
Lawyers consider that what is called crass negligence - crassa neglentia - as tantamount to fraud. If ever there was a case of crass negligence, it is this. A plain statement is transformed in a manner which is utterly inexplicable on any plausible hypothesis. The three passages of the history, referred to in the note, are these :-
“It is believed that the errors of Lord Aberdeen did not end here. In a conversation between Lord Clarendon and Baron Brunow, our Foreign Secretary, they say, spoke a plain firm sentence, disclosing the dangers which the occupation of the Principalities would bring upon the relations between Russia and England. The wholesome words were flying to St. Petersburg. They would have destroyed the Czar’s illusion, and they therefore bid fair to preserve the peace of Europe; but when Lord Aberdeen came to know what had been uttered, he insisted, they say, and insisted with effect, that Baron Brunow should be requested to consider Lord Clarendon’s words as unspoken. Of course, after a fatal revocation like this it would be hard indeed to convince the Czar that his encroachment was provoking the grave resistance of England.” (Kinglake, Vol. I, p. 193.)
“His (the Czar’s) dangerous faith in Lord Aberdeen and in the power of the English Peace Party was in full force, and grew to a joyful and ruinous certainty, when he learned that the Queen’s Prime Minister had insisted upon revoking the grave words which had been uttered to Baron Brunow by the Secretary of State.” (Vol. I, p. 473.)
“In so far as concerns the general policy of the Government in these transactions, the merits of Lord Clarendon must be tried, of course, by the tests applicable to the whole body of the Cabinet; but it has been seen that personally he was not blind to the danger of allowing the Czar to continue in his belief of England’s insuperable peacefulness, and that his firm, wholesome words were flying, as they say, to St. Petersburg, when unhappily they were revoked at the instance of Lord Aberdeen.” (Vol. I., p. 492.)
Now where is the uncertainty? As Dr. Johnson observed to a gentleman who objected his own stolidity, “I give you an argument, but I am not bound to supply you with an understanding.” A writer who turns a conversation between Lord Clarendon and Baron Brunow into a warning from Lord Clarendon to Sir Hamilton Seymour, cannot expect to be implicitly trusted when he proffers a denial on the behalf of Baron Brunow. The story (which implies no charge of treachery against Lord Aberdeen) has been openly related by Sir Hamilton Seymour as one not admitting of reasonable doubt.
The six or seven pages devoted to Mr. Kinglake’s description of the massacre of December 2, are a mass of misrepresentation. He does not say what he is described as saying; in many instances he says diametrically the reverse. He speaks with the utmost caution of the numbers of the slain:
“The whole number of people killed by the troops during the forty hours which followed upon the commencement of the massacre in the boulevards, will never be known. The burying of the bodies was done for the most part at night. In searching for a proximate notion of the extent of the carnage it is not safe to rely even upon the acknowledgments of the officers engaged in the work, for during some time they were under an impression that it was favourable to a man’s advancement to be supposed to be much steeped in what was done. The colonel of one of the regiments engaged in this slaughter, spoke whilst the business was fresh in his mind. It would be unsafe to accept his statement as accurate or even as substantially true, but as it is certain that the man had taken part in the transactions of which he spoke, and that he really wished to gain credence for the words which he uttered, his testimony has a kind of value as representing (to say the least of it) his idea of what could be put forward as a credible statement by one who had the means of knowing the truth. What he declared was that his regiment alone had killed two thousand four hundred men. Supposing that his statement was anything like an approach to the truth, and that his corps was at all rivalled by others; a very high number would be wanted for the recording the whole quantity of the slaughter.”
The Quarterly Review deals thus with this paragraph:-
“To the most exaggerated accounts of the number of the slain Mr. Kinglake, in spite of his comical assertion that ‘it is hard to believe such things,’ seems to give credit. According to a nameless Colonel, one regiment alone killed 2,400 men! As the regiments ‘operating against Paris’ were between thirty and forty, twenty of which were on active work, he believes that ‘a very high number would be wanted for recording the whole quantity of the slaughter.’ Taking his own arithmetic, this would give a total loss of 48,000 killed! We presume that from 20,000 to 25,000 would scarcely satisfy him. * * Mr. Kinglake, forgetting the character of a judge in that of a partisan, accepts all (evidence) without scruple.”
Are people who write in this fashion aware of the kind of feeling they excite on detection? But (according to the Quarterly) there is a document which dispenses with all further evidence, and “it would be an insult to the labours and researches of eight years to suppose that he (Mr. Kinglake) is not aware of its existence.” It is thus described in the Quarterly :-
“The list to which we refer was drawn up by the ‘Chef de la Salubrité’ at the Hotel de la Prefecture, whose duty it is to examine every dead body at the hospitals of Paris and at the Morgue previous to giving licence for its interment. The name and character of this officer, the late eminent surgeon M. Trebuchet, is a sufficient voucher for its veracity. According to it, the total number of ‘persons, not belonging to the army, killed on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th of December, 1851, or dead of their wounds,’ amounted to ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-ONE! No attempt could be made to ascertain the number of the wounded, who were, of course, concealed by their friends to keep clear of the police.”
This is verily an astounding paragraph. The wounded, we are expressly told, were of course concealed by their friends; and hospitals, we all know, are not places of reception for the dead. Who then, dead or dying, were carried to them? The Morgue is practically devoted to the drowned, and the building is very limited in space. How could M. Trebuchet, from an inspection of the hospitals and the Morgue, draw up a list of all the persons killed or dead of their wounds on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th December, 1851? It is clear to demonstration that he could have done nothing of the sort. The hospitals of Paris, like those of London, are of various kinds. There are fever hospitals, small-pox hospitals, cancer hospitals, ophthalmic hospitals, lying-in hospitals, &c., and it was M. Trebuchet’s duty to report the deaths in all of them. To cite his Report, unless it was concocted exceptionally and for a purpose, in proof or disproof of the massacre, is preposterous. But Mr. Kinglake could have had no undue motive for ignoring the document. If, under all the circumstances, 191 persons died in those four days in the hospitals from wounds inflicted by the soldiery, the gross number of persons killed and wounded must have been immense. The document, assuming it to be correctly described by the reviewer, has no bearing on the point, but he proceeds:
“The reason of Mr. Kinglake’s silence with respect to the document we have quoted is evident. It demolishes at once his monstrous insinuation that the massacre of peaceful citizens on the Boulevards on the 4th December was the result of a cunningly devised scheme on the part of the Emperor Napoleon to awe the inhabitants of Paris, to establish his rule, and to make himself the arbiter of the destinies of France and of Europe.”
There is a complication of errors in these sentences. Mr. Kinglake’s silence with respect to the document is his silence touching the number of women who died in childbed, or the number of men who died under operation for the stone, or the number of people found drowned in the Seine, at the same period. The “monstrous insinuation” resolves itself on reference to his book,8 into the charitable one that the massacre was not ordered by the President; but if he had substituted for it an assertion that the massacre was a calculated, and well calculated, measure for securing the success of the coup d’état, he would have been right. The motive was identically the same as that which influenced Danton and the terrorists of September, 1792. Il faut faire peur.
The quiet, indifferent, half-mocking air of the well-dressed spectators on the Boulevards during two successive days had begun to tell upon the troops; and men, women and children were indiscriminately fired upon to inspire fear. The writer of these pages has taken pains to collect the impressions of numerous witnesses, and such is his deliberately-formed conviction. he does not recognize the right of the writers in these reviews to put down his or Mr. Kinglake’s informants as incapable of a sound estimate of things or persons. Their authorities are not infuriated refugees, or the gossips of Parisian salons, as politely suggested by the reviewer whose personal regards are centred on the habitués of the Tuileries. The best intellects, the noblest spirits, the most high-minded gentlemen, of France, are agreed in seeing the degradation of their country in the establishment and continuance of the existing régime; they confirm Mr. Kinglake ; and it is a little too much to hear their statements superciliously set aside. The quality of the acts inculpated does not depend on the precise numbers of the slain.
The eagerness to prop up the bold and bad men who rose by the coup d’état, has grown into a kind of mania. The Quarterly reviewer actually objects to Mr. Kinglake the statement that “St. Arnaud was brought back to Paris, and made minister of war, with a view to the great plot of the 2nd December; the future marshal having had notoriously no other claim or recommendation to such a post.”9 Can rational people be really brought to believe that the men who, during the last ten years, have controlled the destinies of France, attained their positions by any regular and recognized mode of social or political elevation? The leading incidents in the lives of “the brethren of the Tuileries” were published by the Count d’Haussonville and the late M. Alexandre Thomas in the Bulletin Français, at Brussels. This publication was suppressed, not refuted, at the instance of the French Government. It cannot be answered out of St. Arnaud’s Letters,- at best, a vain Frenchman’s flourishing account of himself - open to the suspicion of manipulation, and bearing evidence of gross inaccuracy on the face of them. The description of the battle of the Alma, in which he altogether suppresses his English colleague, is enough:
“I attacked at eleven ; by half-past four, the Russians were completely routed, and if I had had cavalry I should have taken more than ten thousand prisoners - unhappily, I had none.”
The simplicity of supposing that this man would have detailed any of his compromising adventures in his letters, or that his relatives would have published them, is beyond all praise.10
Mr. Kinglake says that:
“At the sight of what was done on that 4th of December the great city was struck down as though by a plague. A keen-eyed Englishman, who chanced to come upon some of the people retreating from these scenes of slaughter, declared that their countenances were of a strange livid hue which he had never before seen. This was because he had never before seen the faces of men coming straight from the witnessing of a massacre.
* * *
Before the night closed on the 4th of December, he (Louis Napoleon) was sheltered safe from ridicule by the ghastly heaps on the Boulevards.”
Mr. Kinglake is speaking of the physical aspect of the city on the evening of the 4th; and the reviewer replies, that “after the 4th December, the French funds rose at once.” Were they higher on the 5th than on the 1st? The President had kept the country in a constant state of agitation by his conspiracies from the period of his election, and was himself the chief cause of the disquiet and uncertainty which were attributed to the Republic.
The objection that “the episode of the 2nd December must be dragged into the narrative” for a limited purpose, is thus answered in the North British Review: -
“Goethe rightly insists that the critic shall always endeavour to place himself in the author’s point of view for ever so short a time. Placing ourselves in this author’s, we see that his theory of French influence extends far beyond the causes of the war. The coup d’état not merely made it a paramount object for its perpetrators to distract attention, foreign and domestic, but superseded the French statesmen and generals of established reputation by adventurers; gave Lord Raglan St. Arnaud for a colleague; and complicated, to a mischievous and almost fatal extent, the difficulties with which he had to grapple not less in the council than in the field. The Imperialist element pervades the whole campaign, and is powerfully at work alike when the French marshal intrigues for the sole command-in-chief of the allied army, is more than half inclined to abandon the expedition in mid-ocean, vacillates between impracticable plans of attack, or claims the entire credit of the victory which he had refused to complete or follow up.
In the last page but one of the second volume, the author exclaims,- ‘No; the power which fought that day upon the side of England, was not, after all, mighty France - brave, warlike France. It was only that intermittent thing, which to-day is, and to-morrow is not. It was what people call the “French Empire.”’ It is open to the admirers or supporters of ‘that intermittent thing,’ to deny his premises or dispute his conclusions; but they can hardly refuse him the privilege of laying a broad foundation for the hypothesis, which, right or wrong, is the keystone of his book. Like Hume’s leaning to prerogative, or Gibbon’s scepticism, or Lord Macaulay’s detestation of the Stuarts and fondness for William, the anti-Napoleonic tendency has diverted and troubled the current; but in neither case could we get rid of the disturbing element, without drying or damming up the spring. We must take men of genius as we find them, content to be on our guard against their prejudices, and fix on them the full responsibility of their aberrations.”
It would have been as well if the reviewer could have been just to his countrymen as well as partial to the French. Admiral Dundas is the peculiar object of his acrimony:-
“But this was not the duty assigned to it (the fleet). It had been agreed, as part of Captain Mends’ plan, that the whole of the boats of the men-of-war should aid in the landing. Admiral Dundas did not leave Eupatoria until late in the morning, and some hours elapsed before any except a small portion of the boats of the fleet were employed in disembarking the troops. Had Admiral Dundas performed his part in the arrangement, the great bulk of the army would probably have been landed before nightfall.”
One of the two first boats that landed was the boat of the Britannia (Admiral Dundas’s ship), commanded by his first-lieutenant, Vesey.
The want of observation or memory exhibited by Captain Mends, in reference to the buoy, has materially deducted from the value of his testimony; as the publisher of the Quarterly probably feels to his cost, for the passages based upon it bear traces of cancelling and rewriting, although still exhibiting a leading-journal-like indifference to facts. It is perfectly clear from Captain Mends’ letter to the Times, that he knew absolutely nothing about the place of landing; and it is difficult to believe that “the plan and details of the landing had been carefully prepared by an admirable officer and Sir E. Lyons’ Flag captain.” By the captain’s shewing, Lord Lyons personally directed the movements of the convoy, whilst the captain was as ignorant of what was going to happen as any midshipman on board.11 After stoutly denying the buoy, and leading the Times to talk of it as the creation of a “sick man’s dream,” he writes (April 5th) to Mr. Kinglake, that “though it would seem there was a buoy, and though I differ from Lord Raglan, whose memory I so highly respect, I aver that not the slightest inconvenience, confusion, nor delay was occasioned to the disembarcation by the act of the French." * * * that, in my opinion, wherever the buoy was placed, none but the most upright motives prompted the act, and the most sound practical reasons warranted the selection of the spot.”
This is coming to the scratch with a vengeance. He does not know where it was placed: the officer charged with the duty may have misplaced it from mistake: it may have been north or south of Old Fort or Kamishlu, at either end or in the middle of either bay, for aught he cares; his mind is equally made up that “none but the most upright motives prompted the act, and the most sound practical reasons warranted the selection of the spot.”
In his first letter, Captain Mends misstated Mr. Kinglake. His admirer in the Quarterly does the same:- “Mr. Kinglake unhesitatingly declares that this was a sheer act of treachery on the part of the French Admiral, Bruat, who, wishing to oust the English from the spot selected for their landing, had deliberately, in the dead of the night, laid down the buoy in the wrong place, and thus violated his engagement with the English General. Lord Raglan thought that the buoy had been wrongly placed, but he does not, nor does Sir E. Lyons, appear to have attached any importance to the circumstance, or to have called for any explanation.”
Mr. Kinglake cautiously refrains from saying that the misplacement was wilful, and alleges conclusive reasons, honourable to Lord Raglan and Lord Lyons, for their silence and acquiescence. He says:
“Whether the act which created this embarrassment was one resulting from sheer mistake on the part of our allies, or from their over-greediness for space, or from a scheme more profoundly designed, it plainly went straight towards the end desired by those French officers who had been labouring to bring the enterprise to a stop.”
His opinion may be that the act was wilful, but he does not “unhesitatingly declare.” The common defence for this sort of misrepresentation is, that it is “the same thing.” If it is “the same thing,” why change the terms? But it is not the same thing, unless a doubtful opinion is the same thing as a positive statement. In fact, this favourite “same thing” argument manifests either a deplorable deficiency in mental training or an incurable dulness of perception. There is a capital example of it in Tom Jones:
“‘D-n the cloth,’ answered the landlord, ‘I have suffered enough by them.’ ‘Bear witness, gentlemen,’ says the serjeant, ‘he curses the king, and that’s high treason.’ ‘I curse the king, you villain?’ said the landlord. ‘Yes, you did,’ cries the serjeant, ‘you cursed the cloth, and that’s cursing the king. It’s all one and the same; for every man who curses the cloth would curse the king if he durst; so for matter o’ that, it’s all one and the same thing.’”
That Lord Raglan and Lord Lyons attached no importance to the circumstance, is a somewhat hazardous assertion in the teeth of Lord Raglan’s letter to the Duke of Newcastle
“Camp above Old Fort Bay,
September 18, 1854.
The disembarction of both armies commenced on the morning of the 14th.
It had been settled that the landing should be effected in Old Fort Bay, and that a buoy should be placed in the centre of it to mark the left of the French and the right of the English; but when the Agamemnon came upon the buoy at daylight, Sir Edmund Lyons found that the French naval officer had deposited it on the extreme northern end, and had thus engrossed the whole of the bay for the operation of his own army. This occasioned considerable confusion and delay, the English convoy having followed closely upon the steps of their leader, and got mixed with the French transports; but Sir Edmund Lyons wisely resolved to make the best of it, and at once ordered the troops to land in the bay next to the northward.”
In the Quarterly Review, page 539, it is said that, “if Lord Stratford and Lord Raglan had received St. Arnaud’s suggestion as Mr. Kinglake states they did, they would simply have shown a want of good breeding;” and at p.541, “the story of the sleeping Cabinet is said to have been palmed upon his readers, in rounded periods and in terms of solemn indignation, by Mr. Kinglake.” There is no indignation or solemnity in the one case, nor the faintest sign of the want of good breeding in the other.
In the Quarterly Review page 543, is this note:
“Amongst the many inaccuracies in this part of Mr. Kinglake’s work he states (vol. ii. p. 60) that Lieutenant Glyn and the Prince of Leiningen, with thirty seamen and as many sappers, went up the Danube with some gunboats. This would have been then impossible. They went on ponies.”
Lieutenant (now Captain) Glyn, writes:-
“It was not till two days after our arrival, on Omar Pasha’s coming up, that Giurgevo itself was permanently held. He immediately threw across a large force, and ordered me to hold the creek between Slobensea and the town of Giurgevo with gunboats, which was done; otherwise the Russians would have turned the position of Slobensea.”
The reviewer continues:-
“It is very significant that Mr. Kinglake does not even allude to Lord Cardigan’s unfortunate reconnaissance in the Dobrudja - one of the many instances of suppression of facts which shake all confidence in his narrative.”
To charge the historian of “The Invasion of the Crimea” with culpable suppression for not alluding to Lord Cardigan’s “unfortunate” reconnaissance in the Dobrudja, is the ne plus ultra of captious fault- finding. In another place (page 569), he is charged with carefully keeping out of sight what happened the day after that with which the published portion of his history concludes.
The strictures of the Quarterly Review on the account of the conference between the allied generals on the 19th, nearly resemble those in the Edinburgh Review (ante, 26), and nothing worse can be said of them.
At page 550 of the Quarterly Review, it is said:-
“To justify Lord Raglan to some extent, Mr. Kinglake endeavours to throw the blame upon somebody else, and Sir George Brown is accused of blundering stupidity. Because an order given the night before to march at seven o’clock was not repeated in the morning, it was not obeyed! Upon such ground as the English army then occupied, an order to march, not specifying the direction in which the movement was to be made, would have been an order which it was impossible to obey, and therefore a mere nullity. But our persuasion is, that no order of the kind was ever issued.”
Who ever said that “an order of the kind,” i. e., a repeated order, was given? Mr. Kinglake merely says, in complimentary language, that Sir George Brown waited for it:
“Sir George Brown had been directed on the night of the 19th to advance on the morrow at seven o’clock, and he imagined - it is strange if he, of all men, with his great knowledge of such things, was wrong upon a point of military usage - he imagined that the order would be repeated in the morning, and he waited accordingly.”
We all know what species of work the Great Redoubt was, and to call it (as the Quarterly reviewer insists on doing) a Redan, is simply to embarrass the reader. We are told:-
“About two hundred yards from the river, or perhaps a little more, on a sort of platform in front of the Kourgane Hill, he had thrown up a work, which Mr. Kinglake first describes as ‘a breastwork, a work of a slight kind;’ and then calls, throughout his narrative, the Great Redoubt. Mr. Kinglake’s first account of this work, which was a mere fleche or redan, is the correct account. He mistakes, however, in asserting that it was armed with fourteen heavy guns. We believe that its armament consisted of six or eight, not guns of position, but field guns and howitzers.”
Mr. Kinglake gives only one account of the work; and states that he purposely calls it a redoubt because that term - though not technically accurate - had been so generally adopted as to make it difficult to use another without breeding confusion. As to the number of the guns, he relies on the highest Russian authorities, which he cites; stating that, according to Prince Gortschakoff, there were only twelve. The two captured guns, now at Woolwich, are guns of position, as will be seen from the following report of a competent officer, dated from Woolwich the 1st of this month. The calibres of the guns taken at the Alma were as follow :-
These calibres indicate, we believe, that the shot gun was a 24-pounder, and the howitzer a 32-pounder.
When the Quarterly comes to the battle, almost everybody is superseded or put hors de combat, for the purpose of making Sir George Brown the master of the situation, the hero of the day. Mr. Kinglake says of him:
“Sir George Brown was an officer whose career had begun, and begun with glory, in the great days under Wellington; but whilst he was still in his early manhood, wars had ceased, and thenceforth for near forty years he had brought his strong energies to bear upon the kind of military business which used to be practised by the English in peace- time.”
This, as appears by the Army List, is strictly true. Sir George’s services in the field break off in 1814. The reviewer, mixing up a remark in the next sentence, says:
“Sir George had not been, as the historian asserts, for nearly forty years immersed in the Adjutant-General’s office.”
At a great race in the last century, for which many horses were going to start, the owner of Eclipse astonished the whole betting-ring by offering to bet that he would “place” every horse. The undertaking seemed to be so all but impossible, that he had no difficulty in making his bets to the full amount he desired. He then said, “Eclipse first, and the rest nowhere !” He won all his bets, for all the horses except Eclipse were distanced, and were therefore, in racing phrase, “nowhere.” The reviewer has taken the same course as the owner of Eclipse. Sir George Brown first, and the rest nowhere.
His gallantry is unquestioned, but was his generalship on a par with it? Are civilians expected to believe, that the perfection of military tactics in assaulting a battery is to “trust to the spirit and individual courage of the troops;” and that line formation is unnecessary, because sure to be disordered in the rush. “There is nothing for it but a hurrah ! (says the Quarterly), and, with the utterance of the hurrah, order, in the sense which martinets and historiographers apply to the term, is for the moment at an end.” Be it so; but if the hurrah is carried out by men in tangled knots or clusters, the slaughter must be indefinitely increased. The chief disadvantages of the column formation are incurred without the advantages. Why did the officers struggle with might and main to make their men open out? If they had been drawn up in line under cover of the bank before starting, surely their advance would have been more free, more effective, and less exposed. Yet the reviewer asks, “Granting the possibility, where would have been the profit?” and after trying in vain to make out that Codrington’s brigade, led by Sir George Brown, was preceded by skirmishers, skirmishers are pronounced to be unnecessary for the front, which, it is said, they were prevented from covering by the burning village. But surely, wherever the brigade itself could go, skirmishers could feel its way for it? As this statement evidently rests on high authority, let us view it on every side.
The reviewer’s idea is, that the position on the Kourgane Hill was one which needed to be attacked at a rush, and certainly it is quite conceivable that a well-devised plan of this sort might have been followed by a good result; but no such plan was ever communicated by Sir George Brown to Codrington, nor ever, we believe, dreamt of by Sir George Brown; for it is quite an error to suppose that what Sir George Brown’s division did, Sir George intended it to do. If a plan of this kind had been devised, it would have been communicated to the brigadiers, but we are assured that, from the time when he reached the left bank of the river to the moment when he stormed and entered the Redoubt, Codrington was without any orders to this effect at all.
If the reviewer’s plan of attack had been resolved upon beforehand, the officers commanding at different points along the extended line formed by the Light Division, would probably have been instructed to make for given points ; and that fatal convergence towards the Redoubt, which was one of the main causes of the slaughter to which our men were exposed, would have been avoided. Above all, the Duke of Cambridge would have been apprized that the Redoubt was to be stormed at a rush, in order that he might be up in time to give effective support to the movement with his formed battalions. But nothing of the kind was done. Sir George Brown rode bravely forward with some of the foremost of the armed throng of brave men into which his superb battalions had degenerated; but the reviewer deceives his readers if he leads them to suppose that the storming of the Redoubt took place because Sir George Brown voluntarily resolved to let his battalions rush forward, and, in short, to “give them their head.” The foundation of the metaphor is a rider who has the reins in his hand, but that is just what Sir George Brown had not.
The reviewer says:-
“General Brown did exactly what had been done before at the battle of Bladensburg, in America, where, by-the-bye, he led the advance. He trusted to the courage of his troops, and carried his point. Nor was he without far higher precedent. It was thus that Napoleon, at the battle of Lodi, drove the Austrians from the guns, and opened a way for the advance of the French army. Had he attempted, after crossing the bridge, to regain his formations before hazarding the attack, the Austrian guns would have swept him from the face of the earth, and stopped the columns in his rear.” (Quarterly Review, p. 563.)
Never were two more unlucky illustrations. At Bladensburg, the bridge was carried by troops in regular formation, but, after passing it, they made a rush, got too far ahead of the supports, were driven back, and sustained considerable loss in consequence of what the well-informed and lucid historian of the campaign (the present Chaplain-General) terms their “rash impetuosity.”12 At Lodi, Napoleon formed a column of 6,000 grenadiers under cover:-
“He had calculated that by the rapidity of movement, this column would not have time to suffer much. This formidable column closes its ranks, and debouches, running, on the bridge; a terrible fire is vomited on it; the entire head is overthrown. Nevertheless it advances: arrived at the middle of the bridge it hesitates; but the generals sustain it by voice and example. It recovers, advances, reaches the guns, and kills the gunners who try to defend them. At this moment, the Austrian infantry approaches in its turn to support its artillery, but after what it had just done, the terrible column had no fear of bayonets: it falls on the Austrians at the moment when our cavalry, which had found a ford, threatened their flanks, overthrows them, disperses them, and takes 2000 prisoners.” (Thiers.)
What is there in this account to sanction the theory that a rush or a hurrah need not be preceded by formation? After crossing the bridge, the attack had been already hazarded, and to pause to re-form then would have been as if a forlorn hope were to pause to re-form on the top of the breach.
Jomini, after describing the advance of the column, its temporary check, and its rally, adds-
“Arrived at the middle of the bed, the French soldiers perceived, that, far from presenting such depth as the other, the opposite side could almost be passed dryshod: instantly a cloud of tirailleurs slip down the bridge, and with as much intelligence as courage throw themselves upon the enemy to facilitate the march of the column. Thus favoured, its ardour and courage are doubled, it throws itself au pas de charge on the bridge, clears it on the run, reaches and overthrows in an instant the first line of Sebottendorf, takes his cannon, and disperses his battalions.” (Histoire des Guerres de la Revolution, vol. iv. p. 126.)
It here appears that the regularly-formed column was covered at a critical moment by skirmishers, making the example tell still more pointedly against the reviewer.
Paradox succeeds paradox in this article. We are next expected to accept as a military canon not admitting of dispute, that the proper and orthodox mode of supporting troops is to wait till they are beaten, or, if they have won their way into a work or position, till they are driven out-
“Just then (says the Quarterly) the brigade of Guards came up. Had they made their appearance sooner, they must have been exposed in passing through the vineyards to the fire of the enemy’s batteries, and must have suffered from it.13 As it was, they arrived fresh, in good order, and comparatively untouched - an unspeakable advantage at such a moment - the very crisis of the battle. The Fusilier Guards (in good order?) rushed forward to retake the Redan, but failed. Some of them got up to the parapet and clung to it, but not a man entered the work, while the great body retreating got intermixed with the 23rd regiment, along with whom they laid down behind the broken bank, from which it was found impossible for a considerable space of time to move them.”
This is the battalion that, to judge from his notes, has given Mr. Kinglake more trouble than all the rest of the troops put together; the object being to prove that they were hurried on in imperfect formation, and were thrown into temporary disorder by the retreating soldiers of the Light Division, but speedily resumed their place in the line. What is Mr. Kinglake’s “chasm” to the place now assigned them “for a considerable space of time” beneath the bank? Their glory is departed for ever, if they stand this.
The upshot of the Quarterly account is, that Evans, though incidentally mentioned, is practically squeezed out of the battle, for Codrington’s brigade “filled the whole mouth of the pass” where we have been wont to look for him : Lacy Yea and his Fusiliers (Sir Thomas Troubridge inclusive) are a myth: Lord Clyde’s Highlanders “arrived just in time to see the enemy in full flight;” and His Royal Highness, the general of the First Division, was very like a lifeless automaton, till he was put into motion by the omnipresent general of the Light. The reviewer says:
“Having opened to let the 7th and 33rd pass, the Grenadiers re-formed line and advanced against the Russian columns in their immediate front. Sir George Brown went with the Grenadier Guards; and when they arrived abreast of the Redan he requested the commander of the battalion to detach a party from his left and to reoccupy that work. There was no risk in this; neither could the flank of the Grenadiers be said at this juncture to be exposed, because the men of the Light Division, who had been driven out of the Redan, were lying in an irregular line with the Fusilier Guards under the bank, and kept up such a heavy fire on the space between themselves and the work as compelled the enemy’s masses, which had occupied the work, to halt and finally to withdraw. Protected on the left by this fire the Grenadiers moved forward, till, having crossed the swell of ground from which Codrington’s brigade had retreated, they found themselves confronted by the Russian columns. Upon these they opened such an effective and well-sustained fire as soon told. The enemy wavered and gave ground; but in proportion as the Grenadiers pressed upon them, their own flank became exposed, and they were in danger of getting involved in a contest single-handed with a very superior force of the enemy. Seeing this, Sir George Brown rode back across the front of the Redan, and, rounding the corner of the hill, came upon the Coldstream Guards in line and under the steep ground, and with their right somewhat thrown forward. He conferred briefly with the Duke of Cambridge and General Bentinck, both of whom were beside the Coldstream, and the whole immediately advanced. The Coldstreams took their place on the left of the Grenadiers and shared in the battle. But the battle was already dying out. The Grenadiers had carried all before them ; the Redan was empty ; and, stealing away in a direction to their own right, the Russian columns were in full retreat.
It was at this juncture that Sir Colin Campbell and his Highlanders made their appearance. Pushing past Buller, Sir Colin’s battalions, coming up in echelon, arrived just in time to see the enemy in full flight, and fired on them as each battalion got within range, which however, to the more forward of the three, was never a close range.”
The reviewer complains of Mr. Kinglake for talking of the duality of the French Emperor; but he will hardly deny the duality of Sir George Brown. There is the Sir George Brown of ordinary life, and there is also the Sir George Brown of the Quarterly, with whom alone we must be understood as dealing in these pages.
So long as the armies were only in march, Sir George (of the Quarterly) frankly recognized the existence of General Evans, but as soon as the troops came within range, all existences except that of Sir George began to become precarious. General Evans had a theory that, with Pennefather’s brigade and the 47th regiment, he advanced along the Causeway and got into the mouth of the Pass. His statement, no doubt, derived some colour from the fact, that Pennefather’s brigade lost a fourth of its numbers, but the error has now been dispelled. The Pass was, perhaps, the most difficult part of the ground to be assailed. Therefore, of course, it was proper that the troops which assailed it should be the troops of Sir George; and there being no other place open to Evans, Evans was taken off (like one of Homer’s heroes) in a cloud.
We have humbly thought that, if there was one man who was self-sufficing and needing no counsel, if there was one man who grandly did his duty on that 20th of September, if there was one man whose laurels could never be taken from him, that man was Colonel Hood, the officer in command of the Grenadier Guards. But Colonel Hood is no more; Sir George is alive; and now we are told that, if the Grenadier Guards had the glory of recapturing the Great Redoubt, they did this - not under the leadership of their own honoured Colonel, but - under the guidance of Sir George Brown.14
More constantly than any other regiment in his superb division, the Coldstream was under the direct personal control of the Duke of Cambridge. Knowing this, and knowing also that the Guards recaptured the Great Redoubt, Mr. Kinglake connects the name of the Duke of Cambridge with the consummation of this achievement. “The Duke of Cambridge,” he says, “riding up with the Coldstream, stood master of the Great Redoubt.” Till now we all thought him right. But we hear a tramp. The Sir George (of the Quarterly) is coming. He has just been superseding Colonel Hood at the western extremity of the Great Redoubt, and now, riding fast towards the east, he comes down in time to prevent the Coldstream from advancing under any other orders than his.
Having thus superseded Colonel Hood with the Grenadiers, and the Duke of Cambridge with the Coldstream, the same Sir George proceeds to dispose of the centre battalion of his (no longer General Bentinck’s) brigade of Guards. Mr. Kinglake’s account is, that the Fusilier Guards underwent a disaster occasioned by the bodily pressure of Sir George’s troops retreating from the Great Redoubt, and that after- wards they re-formed their ranks in advance of the road running parallel with the river, and recovered their place in the brigade of Guards. This was Mr. Kinglake’s account of the Fusilier Guards. Very different is the historical fate of the regiment when it falls into the hands of the Quarterly. They were “lying down under the bank,” &c with the Light Infantry men. The truth is, that from some inexplicable cause, the Sir George (of the Quarterly) never once took the command of the Fusilier Guards, and their discomfiture was the natural result of this omission.
At first sight, it looks strange that a soldiery commanded by Sir George should become blended with the hapless Fusiliers who had no Sir George to guide them; but it would seem that the ledge of ground under the bank was a kind of paradise where the lion could lie down with the lamb. But if Sir George omitted to take the command of the Fusilier Guards, he does not decline the painful duty of inflicting upon them a signal punishment. It is known that the Fusilier Guards were much grieved at first by Mr. Kinglake’s use of the word “chasm;” for though it could not be denied that, during some minutes, their discomfiture left an unoccupied interval between the line of the Grenadiers and the line of the Coldstream, they thought that the word “chasm” pointed out their temporary displacement from the line with a too painful force. But what will they say to that merciless sentence upon them which the Sir George (of the Quarterly) has passed and executed? He sentences them to lose altogether their place in the line of the brigade of Guards; for he so moves his Coldstream as to place it in contact with his Grenadier Guards, thereby forcing the Scots Fusiliers to understand their fallen state, and either to remain in the paradise under the bank, or else to march ignominiously in the rear of battalions which had taken their place. Until this account appeared, we always believed that the interval between the Grenadiers and the Coldstream was left open ; and that, after a little delay, the Scots Fusiliers resumed their true place in the centre of the brigade of Guards.
But the Fusiliers were not entirely idle. We have seen that from this bank they aided in keeping up “such a heavy fire upon the space between themselves and the work as compelled the enemy’s masses, which had occupied the work, to halt and finally to withdraw.” The work is more than 300 yards from the bank and the rising ground intervenes!
When Napoleon, in the midst of his rapid march on the Danube, was apprized of the battle of Trafalgar, he said, “Well, I can’t be everywhere.” This is the principle on which we explain the fact that the Sir George (of the Quarterly) did not succeed in bringing up the Highland brigade in time to take part in the fight. How could he? By the time he had recaptured the Great Redoubt with his Grenadier Guards, and had finally brought up his Coldstream, “the battle was already dying out;” and it was too late for him to be able to show Sir Cohn Campbell how to get at the enemy’s columns in time for a fight. All that Sir George could do was to make so careful a survey of the position of the Highland regiments and of the enemy’s columns, as would enable him to contradict Sir Cohn Campbell in the event of Sir Colin’s ever venturing to pretend that he had taken upon himself to engage in anything like a fight.
There is one of these reviews which discourses of the ars celare artem, and perhaps it may be granted that, in this direction, the Quarterly reviewer has attained full success; but there was a far harder task which lay before him, and in that, we must say, he has failed. He has effectually concealed his skill, but he could not conceal his Sir George Brown. Wherever he goes on the field of the Alma, his Sir George crops up. Sir Boyle Roche declared that it was impossible for a gentleman to be in two places at once “unless he were a bird.” It might more truly be said, “unless he were Sir George Brown.”
“Afra was present when he named her name,
And when he named another, Afra came.”
The reviewer, however, never names another; and nobody else would answer, if he did.
“You may call spirits from the vasty deep,
But will they come when you do call for them?”
Very possibly not, but call for Sir George Browns on the battle-field of Alma, and you may have them, like bread at a French ordinary, à discretion - only, for the sake of other generals, be sparing in their use.
The reviewer is as proud and as prodigal of his Sir George Brown as Mr. Bayes (in the Rehearsal) was of his Drawcansir “Yes, but this is nothing : you shall see him, in the last Act, win a dozen battles, one after another, I gad, as fast as they can come upon the stage.” When Drawcansir does come upon the stage, “he kills all on both sides,” and exit, exclaiming-
“Where’er I come, I kill both friend and foe.”
Where’er the Sir George of the Quarterly comes, he puts all of both sides hors de combat.
The Russians complained that the earth grew giants. They were misled by vain fancies; but they would have been perfectly right, according to the reviewer, if they had confined themselves to the assertion that it grew Sir George Browns.
There can be no reasonable doubt that what startled them on the knoll was not the plumed hat of Lord Raglan, but the plumeless one of Sir George. The reviewer denies the plume as stoutly as Lady Teazle denied the butler and the coach horse. But how came his Sir George of all men to be without a plume. When Sir de Lacy Evans, who had taken out his own, recommended General Pennefather to do the same, remarking that they would have chances enough of being shot any way, the general replied that, with his commanding officer’s permission, he would prefer wearing it. Was the Sir George (of the Quarterly), the known champion of the stiffest of stocks, likely to be less a martinet in this matter? He would have stuck to his feathers, like Nelson to his stars; or, if he flung them aside, it must have been because they were white. After unpluming so many generals, the reviewer might have bestowed a plume on his Sir George, even at the risk of confirming Mr. Kinglake’s graphic description of his gallant bearing on the bank:
“Eager to have, at the least, a forward place in the armed throng, he suffered agony lest the bank, very steep at the spot where he faced it, should be inaccessible to a mounted officer; but he soon found a place where a break in the stiffness of the acclivity left room for the two or three ledges which a horseman must find before he can reach the top. Then he quickly gained the open ground above. The Russian skirmishers were there. Schooled in habits of deep reverence for military rank, these men may have been startled perhaps by the sudden apparition of the flowing plumes which bespoke a general officer, and, what was worse, a general officer in a state of displeasure. It seems too there is something in the bearing of a fearless, near-sighted man which disturbs the reckonings of other people, for they see that his ways are not their ways, and they do not know but that he may be right in not fearing them, and that if they were not to be afraid of him, they themselves might be in the wrong.”
The allegation of near-sightedness - in which two other generals of the Light Division were included - has brought Mr. Kinglake into trouble. “Pardon me, Mr. Serjeant,” said Partridge, “that is a non sequitur.” “You’re another, an you come to that? No more a sequitur than yourself,” was the angry retort. Mr. Kinglake was first told that he was “another” - that he was near-sighted too, which is true; but then it is equally true that he never commanded the Light Division, nor trusted exclusively to his own powers of sight. The Quarterly reviewer takes another ground. His Sir George “is not so near-sighted as to require the use of glasses. He is an excellent shot on the moors, and a successful deerstalker.” But if near-sightedness is no disadvantage in stalking, it clearly is in being stalked - as Sir George was by some cossacks on the day of the landing.15 On the other hand, the near-sightedness of a man, who does not know that he is near-sighted, seems to give him an imaginary omnipresence.
Sir George Brown’s honesty and truthfulness, as well as his chivalrous intrepidity, are so absolutely beyond all question, and at the same time his notion of what the battle of the Alma was, of where he was, of what he was doing, of what was his division and what befell it, of what was Evans’s division and of where it was, of what the Guards did, of what Sir Cohn Campbell did, of when the enemy was advancing and when the enemy was retreating, - his notion, we say, of all this is so different from the impression formed by the rest of the human race, including Lord Raglan, General Evans, General Pennefather, General Codrington, and Sir Cohn Campbell, that his narrative gives us full proof not only of his near-sightedness, but of what is much more important and much more dangerous, namely, near-sightedness accompanied with a confident belief of being able to see better than other people. The pictures which danced over the retina of his eyes were apparently so vivid, and operated so powerfully upon the brain and the volition of Sir George, that for nearly nine years they have maintained their existence against the testimony of thousands and tens of thousands of eye-witnesses, and have been actually adopted at last by a highly respectable periodical.
It is a tour de force, according to the French, to plumer la poule sans la faire crier; and the officers who have been plumés by the Quarterly are already crying out lustily. A few pages may be usefully employed in soothing them.
In the Quarterly, p.560, we find:-
“Major Norcott with his Rifles was across the stream still higher up, and had opened his fire upon the flank of the Russian skirmishers; while General Codrington’s brigade (the right brigade of the Light Division) filled the whole mouth of the pass extending on both sides of the Eupatoria road.16 It is mainly with the proceedings of this brigade, which Sir George Brown accompanied in person, that we shall have to do.”
The ground on which the reviewer has placed the right of Sir George’s division was the ground upon which every body had hitherto understood General Evans to have been operating with the 47th, the 30th, the 95th and the 55th regiments. Does the reviewer mean to have it believed that Evans was nowhere, and, if not, where does he place him? In Evans’ Report, written on the 2nd day after the battle, he is so bold as to assert that the ground in question was occupied - not by Sir George Brown but - by him (Evans) with the four regiments above mentioned. It contains this passage :-
“On detaching General Adams to the right I took at the same time the 30th, 55th, 95th and 47th regiments, and a battery under Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzmayer, to the left of the conflagration to endeavour to force by that direction the passage of the river and the bridge.”
Is it Sir George Brown’s or the reviewer’s theory, that Evans with the four regiments above mentioned was operating in rear of Sir George? If it is, it can only be sustained by showing that the following statement in the same Report is fabulous:
“In reply to the questions in the memorandum of the Commander of the Forces which you have been pleased to communicate, I beg to state that there were no troops in front of the 2nd division during any part of the battle except those of the enemy.”
There exists an original MS. purporting to give a narrative of the operations of the Highland Brigade at the battle of the Alma. The operations recounted in this narrative are exactly those which Mr. Kinglake ascribes to the Highland Brigade. There, the Russian columns, which the Quarterly Review represents as being in “full flight,” are stated to be, some of them, making a “stubborn resistance,” and others not retreating but “advancing,” one of them against the front, and the others against the flank, of the 93rd regiment.
This MS. is dated “Bivouac on the river Alma, 22nd September, 1854,” and is signed “C. Campbell, Major-General.” If the reviewer and his informants are right, this MS. is a strange fabrication.
One of the gravest differences upon matters of fact between the Quarterly and Mr. Kinglake is in regard to the operations of the 7th Fusiliers. According to the Quarterly, this regiment first advanced and then retreated, just in the same way as the other regiments of Codrington’s brigade. According to Mr. Kinglake, its exploit was of a very different kind. According to him, the regiment had hardly ascended the river’s bank when it found itself engaged with a heavy Russian column - the left Kazan, - and with that column it continued to fight during the whole critical period of the battle, and ended by defeating it. Happily for the fame of the regiment, the proof of its achievements rests upon grounds which secure it against the detraction attempted by Sir George of the Quarterly. Of these proofs we will give a sample. The first is an extract from a letter from Colonel Yea to a friend:-
“September 27th, 1854.
[After speaking of the passage of the river:]
I had to deal with the 32nd regiment.17 I should suppose of some distinction, as they wore Wellington boots, pulled high up over their trousers, and grand-looking helmets, and had kits which were beautiful, and which my men eagerly put on; there was not one of them who would not have made a front rank for me. One of the men said they had been marched from Moscow, through Odessa, here. * * * There was an unlucky check in the 23rd, which caused a similar retrograde in their supporters, the Fusilier Guards, which cost an enormity of lives in both regiments. I never stopped until we drove our birds clean off the ground, having commenced with them after emerging from the deep banks of the river, within fifteen yards of their skirmishers.”
Shortly afterwards, Colonel Yea wrote to his sister, Mrs. Cholmley Dering:
“Jeffries being ordered home suddenly, I take the opportunity of sending you, to take care of, a helmet ornament belonging to one of the regiments (Russian) to which my regiment was opposed at Alma. It was the sharpshooters belonging to that regiment, which I found within fifteen yards when I rode up the bank out of the river. We, that is, the 7th, were solely engaged against this regiment without help, and a pretty thrashing we gave them.”
Colonel Aldworth writes:
“I was, as you know, in command of the right company of the regiment, and can confidently state that the right wing of the regiment did not at any time fall back. We were opposed to a heavy Russian column, which had come down the hill and halted in our immediate front, throwing out numerous skirmishers. The Guards did not pass us until this column had turned, and was in full retreat. I cannot say much about the left wing, having seen but little of it during the engagement, owing to the smoke, and my position on the extreme right.”
Sir Thomas Troubridge has been already vouched as a witness in the history for the exploits of his regiment. He has since distinctly confirmed Mr. Kinglake. The regiment next on the right of Colonel Lacy Yea’s Fusiliers was the 55th. The 55th was commanded at the Alma by Colonel, now General, Warren. In a memorandum by him describing the operations of the 55th, there is this passage:-
“Sir John [Pennefather] allowed the 55th regiment to follow Colonel Warren, who crossed the river and formed the regiment in line under the cover of a spur of the heights of the Alma, up which they advanced in line (Major- General Pennefather leading in front the battalion which was parallel to the Alma); then having ascended this spur they formed themselves in presence of a column of Russians who fired into them; this column of Russians was at that time engaged with a part of the Light Division under Colonel Yea, and the 55th were directed by their Colonel to bring forward their right shoulders and make a wheel to the left.”
But we are not only able to free the 7th Fusiliers from the effects of Sir George Brown’s wondrous narrative. We can do more. We can explain to Sir George Brown how it was that - honestly, quite honestly - he fell into his error. Mr. Kinglake states that, when the 7th Fusiliers had defeated the left Kazan column, it was not thought wise for the victors to advance in pursuit themselves, but to leave that duty to the Grenadier Guards. The 7th Fusiliers, therefore, at the moment of its victory, remained halted. Mr. Kinglake also represents that the defeat of this left Kazan column took place “nearly at the very time when disaster befel the centre of the Brigade of Guards.” (Page 410, third edition.) Attention to this, reinforced by information from officers present, soon discloses the cause of Sir George Brown’s mistake. In their retreat, some of the Fusilier Guards passed through the left companies of the 7th, and these companies becoming entangled with the defeated soldiery, and having on their left front a fresh, a heavy and a victorious column of the enemy’s infantry (the Vladimirs), were far from being in a state for any aggressive movement, and were in great need of the support which they got when the Grenadiers passed through them. It was from what he saw there - from what he saw at the extreme left of the regiment - that Sir George Brown formed the notion which he has imparted to the Quarterly. If he had ridden along the line to Lacy Yea’s right wing, he would have seen that, notwithstanding the critical state of its left companies, the regiment (taken as a whole) was almost in the very moment of achieving its final victory over the left Kazan column. If he had stooped to the use of a glass, and had condescended to recognize for a moment the existence of one of Evans’s battalions, he would have seen the Kazan column slowly retiring, and would have been surprised to observe that, on ground where he imagined there were none but his own Light Division regiments, Colonel Warren with his 55th was not only well in advance, but had wheeled on his left, and was pouring his fire into the flank of the enemy’s column. Far from doing this, and far from informing himself of the truth by subsequent inquiry, Sir George Brown has remained for nearly nine years under the impression produced on his mind by a glance at the extreme left of the 7th ; and, because at this time he saw the 33rd and the 7th close together, and in nearly the same line, he seems to have inferred that from first to last they had been acting together.
Strange to say, the Duke of Cambridge’s Report is silent as to the backward position in which the Coldstream is placed by the reviewer, and makes no mention of any conference with Sir George Brown. His Royal Highness reports, September 22, 1854:
“The Light Division being forced to take ground to its left, the First Division made a corresponding movement, and on coming into the range of fire deployed into line and laid down. An attempt was then made to bring one battery into play, but it was found that the range was too distant, and it was consequently withdrawn. An order then came to support the Light Division in its forward movement. This was done by bringing the division up to the walls of the village, and of the vineyard which joined it. Finding that the Light Division was hotly engaged, I immediately advanced to its support, across the village, vineyard and orchard on the left, on an alignment which extended from the bridge; on the right divisional distance along the stream, the banks of which are in parts precipitate, advantage was taken of the banks to re-form the several regiments. The Fusilier Guards alone were hurried forward rather too rapidly for formation, and, being exposed to the whole force of a heavy battery of the enemy, I regret to state sustained a heavy loss both in officers and men, which was further increased by a portion of the Light Division retiring unsuccessfully from the battery, which had previously been carried by them. The Grenadiers and and Coldstream coming on in excellent order enabled the Fusiliers to re-form, which they did with the greatest alacrity.”
The reviewer (page 572) reiterates his statement touching the Fusilier Guards:
“We pass by the accumulation of footnotes, in which Mr. Kinglake labours to put himself right in regard to his history of the doings of the Scotch Fusilier Guards. His original text is so full of blunders, that all the note-writing in the world could not correct them. He is wrong in having asserted that the Fusiliers, in their tumultuous advance, encountered a heap of our men running away from the redoubt. The fugitives from the redoubt were clean out of the way when the Fusilier Guards pushed forward.”
General Bentinck was personally present with this, the central battalion of the brigade of Guards, when they began their advance. He writes, September 21, 1854:
“The entrenchment partially won by the Light Division was lost, and at the moment some confusion was occasioned by the regiment obliged to abandon it retiring through the Scots Fusilier Guards, and thereby putting their left wing out of line. The battalion retired for a short time, re-formed, and returned to its post. In this partial movement to the rear, a severe loss was sustained by the Scots Fusilier Guards.”
Colonel Percy commanded the left flank company of the Grenadiers, and was therefore in a position to see what happened to the Fusilier Guards. He writes:
“The repulsed regiments came down violently upon them and broke their line. If the Russians alone had come down upon them, they would have been received with the bayonets.”
An officer of the Fusilier Guards (Annesley), two days after the battle, made this entry in his journal:-
“Then the 23rd came down in one mass right on top of our line. Their disorder was caused by the Colonel and both Majors being killed, and no one knowing who to look to for orders. However it was, they swept half my company clean away, and a great many of the next one to it.”
Colonel Sir Charles Hamilton (who commanded the battalion), Colonel Jocelyn, Colonel Francis Seymour, General Ridley, &c &c all agree in stating that the Scots Fusiliers were hurried on in very imperfect formation, and that their disorder was materially increased by the bodily pressure of the retreating troops of the Light Division. Sir George Brown (of the Quarterly) stands in flat contradiction with all of them.
Whether direct evidence can be adduced to identify the Sir George Brown who has recently dated from Kilmainham, with the Sir George Brown of the Quarterly, remains to be seen. For the present, the internal evidence is enough. There is a scene in A Legend of Montrose, in which the disguised lord of the castle expatiates on his own manifold virtues to Captain Dalgetty: “I never heard so much good of him before,” said Dalgetty, “you must know the Marquis well - or rather you must be the Marquis himself.” We leave the application to the military critic of the Quarterly.
After all that has been narrated of Sir George Brown, it is somewhat startling to find that he was the only English General of Division who underwent defeat upon that day; and that the only regiment in his division which was not defeated, was that very 7th Fusiliers whose exploits he declares to be fabulous.
One word more to this reviewer, who says:-
“Convicted over and over again of mis-statements and even perversions of historical truth, Mr. Kinglake allows the text of his narrative to remain as it originally stood, and contents himself with appending a note here and there at the bottom of the page, by which the reader is instructed to correct for himself the mistake to which the author adheres.”
Mr. Kinglake declined, like the Sir George of the Quarterly, to change his position under fire. He left his text untouched, that his readers might judge for themselves to what extent he had been convicted of inaccuracy. he says, in the Preface to the Third Edition:-
“Since the publication of the first edition I have been engaged in a great deal of discussion with military men on the subject of transactions in which they bore a part.. This discussion has been laborious; but the result of it is satisfactory; for it entitles me to believe that none of the officers I speak of are now at variance with me upon any grave matters of fact; and yet (as will be seen, I think, from the purport and from the scantiness of the very few notes now appended) I have been able to stand fast to the tenor of the narrative as given in the first and second editions.”
The additional notes have been printed separately, and (exclusive of those relating to Captain Mends and Colonel Norcott, which are not corrections of himself) they are comprised in six widely-printed pages. The corrective notes do not fill two pages.
Amongst other weapons of offence caught up at random, and employed at haphazard, is the assertion that, if Lord Raglan were to come to life at this moment, he would bitterly repent of his premature confidence. But what says his widow and representative, the noble-hearted woman who delivered over the papers to the historian, and who is alone entitled to call him to account, on private and personal grounds, for the use made of them?
It is difficult, on any rational theory of motives, to account for the persevering and prolonged animosity of these attacks. If the book were “mischievous” and full of errors, it might surely be discredited in public opinion, without mis-quoting or mis-representing it. Indignation makes verses, but it does not make sound objections. Fury supplies arms; but what sort of arms are they ? People who fling dirt on the chance of some of it sticking, forget how very dirty they are sure to become in the process. It was a proud, an inestimable adage of Bentley’s, that no man was ever written down except by himself. Mr. Kinglake’s assailants have not written him down.
Anonymous writing, when not abused, has marked advantages. It may be the shield of the weak against the strong in political controversy; and, like a masque held loosely before the face at a masquerade, it enables things to be said, without a breach of conventional propriety, which could not be said by the writer in his own name, without running some risk of exciting irritability, or of incurring a charge of presumption. It is better for the subject of a censure or a joke to be able to pass it over as anonymous, if it so pleases him. The writer of these pages, therefore, wishes to preserve his incognito, unless circumstances should occur requiring him to lay it. aside. He does not know from reliable authority the name of either of the reviewers with whom he has taken the liberty of remonstrating, and he would be sorry to learn that just cause of offence had been given to any one by this pamphlet, the object of which is truth.
May 22nd, 1863
London: printed by C. Roworth and Sons, Bell Yard, Temp1e Bar.
1 No. 240, p. 309.
2 Eastern Papers, Part II. p. 114.
3 Eastern Papers, Part II. p. 114
4 Ibid. p. 116.
5 These are the thirteen words extracted by Mr. Kinglake.
6 Would prizes prior to that period have been good prizes?
7 Mr. Kinglake speaks of the Duke of Newcastle as endowed with “an astonishing facility of writing.” The writer in the Home and Foreign Review objects, on the authority of some unnamed colleagues or colleague, that “papers sent to him for comment or correction came back very slowly.” Most probably they did, considering the overwhelming duties of his own office, which now turn out to have been most effectively performed upon the whole. But what necessary connection has such delay with facility of writing ? Mr. Kinglake drew the conclusion from the Duke’s numerous letters to Lord Raglan- all autograph, and all without an erasure or alteration. The answers to addresses &c, written for the Prince of Wales in Canada (a collection of which has been printed) place the felicity as well as the facility of composition beyond a doubt. The same critic says :-“Nor did he (the Duke) in any respect travel faster than the rest of the ministry in his desire to invade the Crimea.” Here again Mr. Kinglake will be found on inquiry to be right.
8 Vol. I., p. 300.
9 He was brought back to replace General Baraguay d’Hilliers, who had disappointed the expectations of the conspirators. It was St. Arnaud who was compelled by Fleury’s pistol to go on.
10 One of the letters to his mother is dated December 2nd, 185l, half-past four, A.M., and professes to give the plan of the coup d’état, then on the very point of execution and actually commenced within two hours ! The reviewer says, “there is no reason whatever for believing that he left the army at all.” In the Preface to the Letters (p. xviii.) he is described as residing in England in 1830, having become “démissionnaire” in 1827.
11 We are now told that the plan and details of the landing did not include the place. Then why does lie come forward as an all-sufficing witness as to the place ?
12 A Narrative of the Campaigns of the British Army at Washington, New Orleans, &c.-Second Edition, pp.l17-122. Besides saying that “the Light Brigade was guilty of imprudence,” the author appears to disapprove of the manner in which “the column” was hurried to the attack of the bridge.
13 If they had made their appearance still later, or not at all, this inconvenience might have been avoided altogether.
14 Extract from Colonel Hood’s Journal:
“Formed under bank; advanced steadily in line; 95th regiment retired through us. - [Illegible bit.] - Scots Fusiliers and Coldstream !! retired by command.
Last order received by me was from Captain Fielding, Brigade- Major, when B. [battalion] was lying down under cannonade and shelling. ‘The Brigadier desires you to conform to any movements on your left.’ Thank God, I disobeyed !!”
The Scots Fusiliers were on the left of the Grenadier Guards.
15 “When we landed, we heard that Sir George Brown, whose sight is very indifferent, had a near escape of being taken prisoner.” (Russell, p. 110, Edition of 1858.)
16 Sir George made the same statement in his report to Lord Raglan:
“My 1st brigade itself completely filled the whole mouth of the gorge or valley through which the road runs.”
Lord Raglan paid no attention to this statement. The Quarterly swallowed it whole.
17 Two battalions of the Kazan corps. Their accoutrements were marked “32nd.”