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terested supporters, or political op- opinion, has gone beyond mediocrity, ponents. In neither case are they to scarcely reaching the level of Addison's be depended on. Private friendship, panegyricon Marlborough, which, or individual admiration, will colour judged by comparison, cannot rate at highly on the one side; while party an exalted standard, and has but one virulence, or personal dislike, will dis- passage of pretension—the well-known tort to utter deformity on the other. simile of the angel. We scarcely Historians reciprocate accusations of think the whole composition, even if this bias in good set terms, and with- we were to throw in the mass of the out ceremony. A noble contemporary, late effusions on the Duke of Wellingwhose literary labours in the same ton, worth the single impromptu epiwalk are many and popular, pro- gram (by a writer whose name is not nounced of Sir
Wm. Napier's work, that given), on hearing that the Duchess of it was a good French history of the Marlborough bad offered £500 for the Peninsular war; and Napier has said of best poem on the Duke's life and acSouthey's, that it would be difficult to tions. * We never heard that he reapply to a more copious source of ceived the reward, although we cererror. In all probability, some future tainly think his ready compliment Tacitus or Napier will give the next deserved it. Even money, the univergeneration but one, " A History of the sal talisman, the veritable aurum palLife and Times of Arthur, Duke of pabile itself, cannot always awaken Wellington," in a tone of clear, un- the fire of genius. Several years ago, compromising truth, which shalí en- the lessee of the Haymarket Theatre dure while the language lasts, as a offered £500 for the best prize cometext-book for the youth of England to dy. The pay was liberal, and the comstudy from as they admire. We feel petitors many;
The appointed comquite satisfied that when this book is mittee selected the best specimen that written, the character it describes will offered, but the public set no seal on stand on a more lofty pinnacle even the decision. The play soon died, and than it does at present ; tested by time never returned the manager the money and reflection, and like gold purified it had cost him. When the real “ Reby fire, it will obtain additional value jected Addresses” for the opening of from the ordeal of increasing investi- Drury-lane were published, not one gation. In the meanwhile, we hail possessed a spark of poetry, or a single with avidity and thankfulness, all that claim to consideration. Amongst the falls from the pens of those who knew tributary odes and elegies on the Duke and associated with him ; who either of Wellington, there are, of course, served under his command, or enjoyed some two or three better than the rest ; his personal confidence. From all we but none that will enhance the reputalearn something new, and that some. tion of the writers, or the glory of the thing we should regret if it were lost. deceased. Shakspeare speaks of a Poetry, too, has been summoned to do “bad epitaph” as a very undesirable honour to the mighty dead; but we appendage. A commonplace com. cannot say that the tuneful Nine, al- memorative poem is not more to be though invoked by many, have re- coveted. Heroic deeds demand, and sponded warmly to the call – either should create exalted verse ; but al. Parnassus is slumbering or deserted. though the names and actions of The present age is too deeply immersed Achilles, Hector, and Agamemnon in speculative science, in philosophical are much indebted to the majestic and theological theories, in calcula- muse of Homer, it is surely better tions of worldly profit and loss, to be- for departed greatness to remain un. come absorbed or enthusiastic in the sung, than to be laboriously threnohigher regions of poetical imagination. dised by harps that sound faintly, and Nothing in this way, in our humble without the swell of lofty inspiration.
* “ Five hundred pounds! too small a boon,
That nothing might escape her ;
It scarce would buy the paper!"
Let us indulge the hope that Apollo names, the fearful responsibility of may, hereafter, place his lyre in the aggressive war, the crime of inordi. hands of some future Virgil, Tasso, nate ambition, and the evils thereby Milton, or Byron; and assist him to entailed on present and future generawreath a poetical chaplet in honour of tions. During the six years of the the great Duke, which shall embellish Peninsular struggle, there perished, in and crown the long labours of the his- round numbers, and their bones lie torian and biographer.
bleaching on the hills of Spain, PorMr. Larpent's journal consists of a tugal, and France, 40,000 British series of letters written from head- soldiers, and more than 400,000 Spaquarters, to which he was attached by niards, Portuguese, and Frenchmen, his office, to his step-mother in Eng- including peasants, their wives and land, solely for private information, children, and other unoffending inha. and without any view to future pub. bitants. Nearly half a million souls, licity The style is easy and familiar, who otherwise might have lived and exhibiting neither effort nor pretence at died in peaceful avocation and utility, laboured effects, sometimes even home- and all for what?-ly and tautological, but we think the
" To swell one bloated chief's un wholesome reign, editor has done wisely in leaving the
And fertilise the field that each pretends to gain."* letters untouched and unrevised. He observes with truth, in a short pre. Mr. Larpent joined the army in face, that the simplicity of the style, Spain at a critical time, during the and the minute details, throw over the somewhat hurried retreat from Burgos, journal a charm of truth and reality, when a great triumph had been tolwhich a more studied composition lowed by a temporary and unexpected would not have possessed. In their reverse. The defection or disobepresent state, the letters carry internal dience of the Spanish generals, parti. evidence of conveying impressions as cularly Ballasteros, had enabled the they arose, and of detailing events as French to unite the armies of the they occurred. The writer had no south, centre, and north, under Soult, time to polish his sentences, or arrange forming one overwhelning mass, which them according to critical rules. The Lord Wellington, from inferior numbook reads freshly and agreeably, and bers, was unable to meet, and was, we feel satisfied that the author invents therefore, obliged to relinquish bis occunothing to give it a more attractive pation of Madrid, and retire towards colouring. There are many who have the northern frontiers of Portugal, re. accustomed themselves to think and taining no immediate advantages from read of war as of a grand melodrama- his great victory of Salamanca, beyond tic spectacle, composed almost entirely the raising of the siege of Cadiz, and of “pride, pomp, and circumstance;" the abandonment of Andalusia by the who lose sight of the groans, the tears enemy. It is by no means evident and suffering, the crime, the license, that the capture of Burgos would have and devastation; who hear and see enabled the English general to hold only the imposing flourishes of trum- his ground, although it would have pets, the thrilling sounds of triumphal given him a firm appui for his left, and marches, the glittering of variegated might have sustained an advanced pouniforms, and the loud pealing of artil.
sition. But as in the previous cases lery, with the waving of banners, and of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, it the shouts of excited multitudes. The became necessary to snatch the forperusal of these volumes will abate tress from the enemy by a given date, their admiration, and qualify their en- or not at all. The ordinary siege thusiasm. There is enough of glory; means, as usual, were deficient, and the but the true features of the appalling irregular approaches by sap proved to drama are here faithfully depicted, be unavailing. The allied army was with the accompaniments of misery and forced to retire, closely pursued by the privation-inflicted and endured to an French, who picked up many stragglers, extent, wbich may impress on all who but lost more than one favourable oplook only on the surface, and suffer portunity, and finally did nothing, with themselves to be carried away by a powerful force, well concentrated, and
* " Childe Harold," Canto I.
commanded by their ablest marshal. but they are sometimes pressed for The increasing activity of the war, time, are not very susceptible of legal with the vicissitudes of service, engen- quibbles, and a little careless as to mi. dered many irregularities, and courts- nute particulars. Our readers will remartial became frequent. The Duke member the conclusive logic of the of Wellington, anxious that these should Black Douglas in the “ Fair Maid of be conducted with as close a consistency Perth," when, sitting on the trial of Sir as possible to established rules, al. John Ramorny and Dwining for the though in many respects the military murder of the Duke of Rothsay. The code dispenses with the formalities of Lord Balveny descended to tell him civil practice, had applied for a regular that the criminals were already exelegal practitioner to fill the impor- cuted. " Then there is no further use tant post of judge advocate - general in the trial,” said the Earl, “ how to the army under his command. say you, good men of inquest, were Mr. Larpent was appointed to the these men guilty of high treason—ay or office in 1812, and continued from the no?" “Guilty" exclaimed the obsetiioe of his arrival to manage all the quious inquest, with edifying unanicourts-martial that occurred, and to
we need no further evidence." move with the head-quarters, until the Mr. Larpent arrived at head-quarlast detachment returned to England ters, at Rueda, on the 5th November, from Bordeaux, in 1814. It had be- 1812, and was immediately introduced come highly necessary that a profes- to the Great Captain, who received sional lawyer, with competent expe- him very courteously, and forth with rience, should be appointed to this transmitted to him fifty cases against duty, which had often been discharged officers, to be examined as to the suffi. by regimental officers, recommended ciency of evidence.
He soon appears by a certain readiness with the pen, to have obtained the good opinion of by private interest, or by a confused Lord Wellington, and to have been smattering of the technicalities ga- admitted to as much of his confidence thered from a slight perusal of such as he usually communicated to those scanty volumes on military jurispru- subordinates who satisfied without tordence as were at that time accessible. menting him. He had a great dislike These unqualified functionaries soon to all officials who gave unnecessary began to talk of Grotius, Puffendorff, trouble, and made a great fuss about Vattel, and Coke upon Littleton, as nothing. Mr. Larpent speedily discosolemnly as if they had kept their vered the clear decisive character of terms in Lincoln's Inn or the Temple, his commander, the control he exerin the regular form, and had worn wig cised by the supremacy of mind and and gown on many circuits. But they quick decision, and the total absence made strange mistakes, and scanty of humbug" in all the arrangements justice was sometimes administered by at head-quarters. On more than one the tribunals they undertook to in occasion, at dinner, the conversation struct in the way in which they should turned on the celebrated letters of go. Once within our own experience “ Vetus," in the imes, which were we heard a general officer, as president then causing much remark, and were of a court-martial, in a case nearly ap- considered by many the most pun. proaching life and death, lay down, gent and ably written political essays under the suggestion of his military since the days of Junius. The general counsel, that it was not necessary for purport of these letters was a wholethe prosecutor to substantiate the some and well-deserved condemnation charge, but that the prisoner must first of the ministry for allowing the Spanish establish his innocence. The court war to languish for want of adequate would have proceeded on this learned supplies, while the grand resources showing, had not a very young mem- of the nation were exhausted in the ber ventured modestly to suggest, fatal and fruitless expedition to Walthat they were directly and ingeniously cheren. We have often wondered they inverting the fundamental principle of were not re-published in a separate all English law, which holds every sup- volume, not only from the interest of posed criminal innocent until his als the subject, but from their undoubted
guilt is proved. Military tribu- pretensions as literary efforts of no ornals are good courts of honour, and dinary nind. We are not aware that discharge their duties conscientiously, the author has ever been ascertained,
but many thought, and it was com- English general had ever exercised monly reported then and after, that since Cromwell received commission they were written by Lord Wellesley, from the Long Parliament. from the warm eulogiums they con. Mr. Larpent gives great credit to tained on his brother, and the corro- Sir George Murray, and seems to conborating circumstance that about this sider him as, next to the Duke, the time he retired from the ministry, in foremost man of the army. There can disgust at the wavering dispositions of be no doubt he was an excellent the cabinet, and the incompetence of quartermaster-general, and that the some of his colleagues. If Lord Wel. office requires a clear head, and an exe. lesley wrote the letters of “ Vetus,” cutive genius; but Sir G. Murray Lord Wellington was certainly igno- never had the good fortune to be tried rant of the fact. Mr. Larpent says: in a separate command; his qualities,
therefore, as an eflicient leader not "A few days since, at dinner at Lord Wel
having been tested, are scarcely open lington's, he got upon the subject of Vetus'
to discussion. Many said he was to the (the subject had been introduced before). He said he thought he knew the author, and
Duke what Berthier was to Napoleon, that he had been in India—not Mackintosh
and that neither of the great modern as reported here. He then went ou to say he captains could have got on without his did not think much of Vetus's' letters; that right hand. Those who were better many of his facts as to this country were
informed smiled at both conclusions, quite without foundation ; that neither · Ve- and knew how far they were removed tus,' nor the 0. P.'s, nor Lord Wellesley knew from the fact. In some respects it was anything about the war here, and what
no very desirable compliment to be could or could not be done; that he fully be
compared to Berthier. He damaged lieved Government had done all they could; that the men who did come could not have
long years of faithful service by rather
a hurried adieu of his old master and been here sooner, and perhaps had better have come still later. More cavalry he could
friend at Fontainebleau, and was renot have employed had he had them at Lis.
garded by his brother generals and marbon, for want of transport for food ; that when
shals as a plodding official drudge, who he advanced formerly to Talavera, he left never originated an idea, or suggested several thousand men at Lisbon, because he a remedy for a disaster. could not supply them if with the army. In Mr. Larpent tells some amusing short, he said, Lord Wellesley knew nothing avecdotes of the gallant General about the matter, and that he had no reason Robert Craufurd, who commanded to be dissatisfied with the Government at
the light division, and fell at the home. All this made several of us stare. I am told Lord Wellington was very angry
storming of Ciudad Rodrigo. Like
Sir David Baird, he was never happy with Lord Wellesley for his resignation, and hardly spoke to any one for some days after
except when under fire, and had no he had heard the fact."*
business to lead a storming party,
which might have been more fitly It was commonly said that Sir John consigned to a brigadier or a regiMoore was sacrificed because he had mental colonel. English generals often no parliamentary or cabinet interest, throw away their lives as subaland that Lord Wellington, on the con- tern officers, in a manner which has trary, owed much to both, and par- occasioned much animadversion, and ticularly to the commanding influence some jeers amongst our enemies. It is of his brother. It is quite clear that seldom necessary for the leader of a Lord Wellesley retired from office at division to act the part of a grenadier, the exact crisis, when his abilities and although there are times and places influence would have been more valu- when example ensures victory. Cæsar able than ever to Lord Wellington. in the battle against the Nervii, and But the latter was now strong enough again at Munda, Alexander at Grani. to rest exclusively on his own name cus and Oxydracè, Bonaparte at Lodi and pretensions, which obtained for and Arcola, Wolfe at Quebec, and him full power, such as no delegated Wellington at Waterloo, were cases
* Immediately after this passage, Mr. Larpent adds--"Lord Paget has just sent up here two of the hussars to wait on my lord the peer." This is a mistake for some other name; Lord Paget (afterwards Earl of Uxbridge, now Marquis of Anglesey) was not at this time in the Peninsula.
where the personal exposure of the Picton, that both were officers of mark commander-in-chief contributedma- and pretension, but adds, that they terially to the result. But the immo- were insubordinate to their superiors lation of Craufuru at Ciudad Rodrigo and harsh in command. Had Crau. in 1812, was as gratuitious and un- furd lived, he would undoubtedly have necessary as that of the veteran Sale risen to higher distinction and much at Moodkee in 1845, where he had more exalted rank, but he lacked the nothing to do, and where his proper coolness to manage a great battle, and place as quarter-master general was the head to plan a complicated camanywhere but where his courage car- paign. ried him. Craufurd with all his Spain is a difficult country to make brilliant qualities was dangerous, and war in, and many reputations have not so implicitly to be trusted as Lord been withered in the attempt. Henry Hill, of whom the Duke said, “he is IV. of France, who was not only a immovable and steady as a rock; what daring soldier, but a skilful general, ever I tell him to do, I am sure it will declared that it was hopeless to carry be done to the letter.” Mr. Larpent on military operations in that country, says of this dashing officer
for that small armies would be beaten,
and large ones starved. Now, the * I have heard a number of anecdotes of Duke of Wellington carried on war in General Craufurd. He was very clever and Spain for six years, with small armies knowing in his profession all admit, and led
and large ones, and without being on his division to the day of his death in
either beaten or starved. It is true most gallant style ; but Lord Wellington
he suffered much from the imbecility of never knew what he would do. He con
native cabinets, the incompetence of stantly acted in his own way, contrary to orders; and as he commanded the advanced
the Spanish generals, and the constant division, at times perplexed Lord Wellington poltroonery of the regular troops; until considerably, who never could be sure where
he declared, with bitterness of spirit, he was. On one occasion, near Guinaldo,
after the fruits of Talavera were he remained across a river by himself-that wrested from him, “I have fished in is, only with his own division-nearly a many troubled waters, but Spanish whole day after he was called in by Lord waters I will never fish in again.” Wellington. He said he knew he could
In May, 1813, the British army defend his position. Lord Wellington, when
broke from the frontiers of Portu. he came back, only said, 'I am glad to see you safe, Craufurd.' The latter replied,
gal, which Lord Wellington looked on
for the last time; and then comOh, I was in no danger, I assure you.' • But I was, from your conduct,' said Lord
menced that brilliant march which Wellington. Upon which Cranfurdob
found him in the following year, after served, "He is dh crusty to-day!'
a series of victories and perpetual Lord Wellington knew his merits and fighting, in possession of Toulouse and humoured him. It was surprising what he Bordeaux, and in a fair way of realbore from him at times."
ising Lord Liverpool's prognosticated
march to Paris, so long looked upon Craufurd in 1810, when Massena and laughed at as an idle chimera. invaded Portugal, kept his single corps The invasion of the sacred territory of for two months within a march or two France was to be the signal of utter of the French army, laid the country and irretrievable ruin to the invaders, under contribution for his support, who, on the contrary, often found intercepted the French foraging par. themselves more kindly received, and ties, and, finally, fought 40,000 men treated with a more cordial welcome, for a whole day on the Coa, with the than on the supposed friendly soil river at bis back, and carried off his of Spain. Lord" Wellington was at division, inflicting on the enemy a one time more apprehensive of his heavier loss than he sustained. His allies in his rear than of the enemy in tactics were faulty, but his gallantry bis front, and was by no means confi. was excessive; and the action, though dent that he should not be compelled an error, was a brilliant episode which to fight his way back through the peoastonished the enemy not a little. ple he had liberated. The French
Sir W. Napier, whose praise is the relinquished Burgos without a strug. more valuable, as not being easily gle, and retired behind the Ebro. obtained or indiscriminately bestowed, Dubreton abandoned his impregnable says of Craufurd, in conjunction with castle, and by offering no opportunity