Imágenes de páginas

have been made to bring before the Government, and to obtain from it aid in carrying on, one of the most grand designs of topographical and antiquarian research ever projected or commenced. When the Ordnance survey of Ireland was undertaken, the active and intelligent officers to whom it was intrusted (and we believe more particularly the Local Director, Captain Larcom), conceived the idea of employing at leisure hours the expensive machinery required by it for a far wider field of inquiry than the mere geometrical survey. For the utility of this survey itself, it was of great importance to fix with accuracy the topographical names. To do this they recurred to the manuscripts, of which so much has been said already; collected every mode of spelling they could find, and selected, with the assistance of good Irish scholars, the most correct etymology. In making this inquiry they collected from the manuscripts and digested a vast amount of curious topographical and antiquarian history. They followed it up by examinations into the oral traditions of the places where they were stationed, and by careful investigations of all discoverable monuments of antiquity, in which they had the assistance of able draughtsmen, and of Mr. Petrie's own antiquarian knowledge. They extended their search into the geological and natural history of their localities, and by this employment of the time which was not required for the survey, they formed an interesting and very valuable museum. The result of one portion of these researches has been given to the world in the 'Memoir of the County of Derry,' the antiquarian part of which was executed by Mr. Petrie. And a vast mass of materials has been accumulated for more publications of the kind, if Government will venture to undertake the expense; and the expense would be well and wisely incurred, if it only indicated a consciousness and feeling that the whole empire is interested deeply in all that relates not only to the physical well-being, but to the national glory and ancient memorials of Ireland.

The more that our thoughts can be carried back to the period of its greatest glory, the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, the better spirit will be awakened in all classes. Ireland and England were then bound together in the closest and most endearing ties by which nation was ever united to nation. England placed her children under the teaching of the saints of Ireland, and Ireland threw open her sanctuaries as a refuge of peace and holiness to the nobles and kings of England. Rome had not yet succeeded in setting subject against sovereign, and brother against brother. The early church of Ireland, like the churches of the East, offers one of the strongest protests in history against her aggressions

aggressions and usurpations. Political society, though rude, was neither barbarous nor irreligious: it exhibits its distinct classes, its defined rights; a homage paid to literature and talent-cultivation of arts-reverence for piety, courage, and honour, and patriotism, even amidst the war and bloodshed which form the history of every federal people until, what never happened in Ireland owing to the invasion of the English, the supreme power is permanently established in some one branch.

ART. III-1. Military Miscellany; comprehending a History of the Recruiting of the Army, Military Punishments, &c. &c. By Henry Marshall, F.R.S. E., Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals. London, Svo. 1845.

2. A Sketch of the Military History of Great Britain. By the Rev. G. R. Gleig, Principal Chaplain to the Forces. London, 12mo. 1844.

3. A View of the Formation, Discipline, and Economy of Armies. By the late Robert Jackson, M.D., Inspector-General of Army Hospitals. A New Edition, from the Copy corrected by the Author immediately before his decease; with a Memoir of his Life and Services, prepared from the personal records of the Author, and of his friends. London, 1845.


HE three works of which we have transcribed the titles, are all possessed of merits peculiarly their own. Mr. Marshall's contains a well-digested account of the causes of many of the evils which attach to our military system; of the improvements which have in late years taken place; and of the still further improvements of which it is susceptible. Mr. Gleig's is what it undertakes to be, a rapid but interesting and correct account of the rise and progress of the British army from the earliest to the latest times, and of the manner in which it has conducted itself in the presence of an enemy in every age-those of Julius Cæsar and the Duke of Wellington inclusive. The author's style is familiar to us all: we think on the present occasion he has been more successful than in several of his preceding performances-writing with a love and an intimate knowledge of his subject, he condenses clearly, and now and then expatiates with happy energy. Dr. Jackson's is a more elaborate performance than these, and though here and there out of date, well deserves attention. However our present business is not to give a detailed account of works which are sure to find their own level in the world of readers. We have a graver and more important object before us.


Perhaps there is nothing which more surprises a foreigner, on his first visit to this country, than the almost total absence from the streets and public places in the capital of military uniforms. A few sentries planted beside the royal palaces, and in other situations where the call for them is of more doubtful urgency; a couple of orderlies at the entrance to the HorseGuards; with here and there a group of private soldiers lounging upon the esplanade, or passing to or from their quarters in Portman Street, at Knightsbridge, or in the Wellington Barracks: these make up the whole amount of the pomp and circumstance of glorious war' which on ordinary occasions meets the eye of the stranger in London. To be sure, guard-mounting is a fine thing, and so is a review in Hyde Park; for the household troops, both infantry and cavalry, are magnificent, and their bands and corps of drums and trumpets perfect; and if we pass but a few miles beyond the suburbs, we arrive on Woolwich Common, at the head-quarters of the best appointed, best worked, best organized, and most efficient artillery that the world has ever produced. But guard-mounting in London is an affair of duty, not of show; and reviews occur but rarely; and the Royal Artillery, few in number, practise their evolutions in order to become perfect in them, not to gratify the sovereign or amuse the people, or rouse in the bosoms of the more ardent of the youth of England a thirst for military glory. Accordingly, unless he lay himself out to look for it, the stranger may pass whole weeks, perhaps months, in London, without meeting with any external indication of our being one of the greatest of military powers.

We do not object to this state of things, at least entirely. We are not, in the ordinary sense of the term, a military nation; and we desire never to become such. War is a great evil, let it be undertaken for what cause it may; and to create among our young men a love of military parade, and to shun at the same time frequent occasions of war, is impossible. Besides, we are no admirers of those arrangements in social life which give precedence to military rank above all others.

In Russia, such rank is the sole passport to distinction. In Austria, the white coat, if it cover only the back of a serjeant, or even a private, commands very great deference, especially in the more remote dependencies. As to Prussia, she is a nation of soldiers-a gallant and high-minded nation, we acknowledge, yet so completely under the influence of not the best of the impulses to which the military spirit gives rise, that the King has found it necessary of late to reprove them. In France the case is different. A military people, if ever people deserved to be so called, our neighbours have learned discretion enough to keep the


profession of a soldier in its proper place, and to honour it with all the honours due, but not with more. The French army may be, in point of appearance, inferior to that of either Austria or Prussia: the men are generally smaller, especially in the infantry, and both their clothing and appointments sit more loosely upon them; but for work in the field, we are disposed to think that the French are still what they proved themselves to be in former wars-the most efficient among the soldiers of continental Europe; and we are satisfied that the social position of the French army, considered as a great national institution, is admirable. The pay of the soldier, of every grade, is moderate. It is sufficient, however, with the allowances that accompany it, to support him in a cheap country comfortably; and the uniform which he wears ensures for him the goodwill of his fellow-citizens, so long at least as they are not in a state of sedition, nor he insolent or domineering. Moreover, the French officers, and particularly the subalterns of the line, are a very different class of men from what they used to be under the Empire. All the boasting and fanfarronade which used to disgust and annoy in the vieille moustache have disappeared, and you find in their room a love of study, quiet and unassuming manners, a tolerable knowledge of the theory of war, even on a grand scale, and a perfect acquaintance with the details of regimental duty. We have heard some of our own young officers, on their return from a French review, or after being present at one or two garrison parades in a fortress, speak slightingly of the infantry, and laugh them to scorn. We venture just to hint to these youths, that under the looseness of movement which may have excited their mirth, there lurk among the small, long-coated musketeers on the other side of the Channel both high courage and great power of endurance, and that it would not be amiss if they were to spend their time, during this present season of profound peace, in making themselves as well acquainted with the science of their profession as are many of the gentlemen of their own grade, whose word of command, prefaced as it is with a sort of compliment, may have struck them with surprise. Our friends may depend upon it that, should war between France and England unfortunately arise, more will be required of them than the display of valour. Manœuvres so bold as those which turned the tide of battle at Meannee and Hyderabad will not do in the presence of a European force; bull-dog courage can accomplish much, but it alone never yet has decided, nor ever will decide, the fate of a campaign in France, or in Germany, or in the Low Countries.

The constitution of the British army is so essentially different from that of all the continental armies, that to institute a comparison

parison which shall be at once rigid and fair, is absolutely impossible. Civilians judge of the qualities of national armies by the external appearance of the minute bodies out of the aggregate of which they are made up. A single battalion is the criterion by which to try the infantry; a squadron of horse, and a demibattery of nine-pounders, stand for the cavalry and the artillery of a nation. But this is a great mistake. The setting up, the dress, the appointments of the troops in one country may be more pleasing to the eye than elsewhere. An English battalion may march better, and execute any given series of movements with greater precision than a French one; its fire, too, of blank cartridges may be more rapid and better sustained-or the reverse of all this may be the fact; but it does not therefore follow that the infantry of one of these nations shall be upon the whole superior to the infantry of the other; and the same thing may be said in regard both to the cavalry and artillery; for the attainments of which we are now speaking belong exclusively to an army of manœuvre; and however desirable, and indeed indispensable, they may be, they are worth little if they stand alone. It is in its morale, much more than in its physique, that the value of an army consists; and the morale of an army, whether good or bad, is the result of so many and such constantly varying contingencies, that to reason about it in the abstract, much more to assume this or that concerning it, from results which may have occurred a quarter of a century ago, would be nonsense. One thing, however, is certain, that as the morale of all armies must, under every variety of circumstance, be to a great extent dependent on the sort of treatment which individual soldiers receive, so it becomes a point of the gravest importance for governments to weigh well and deeply the character, in every particular, of the training bestowed upon their troops, and especially upon their recruits-most seriously-first, midst, and last-what we may call the Moral Discipline of the Army.

The English stands alone among the great armies of Europe in these, among many other respects, that its ranks are filled exclusively by voluntary enlistment, and that its commissions are conferred per saltum, through the favour of the Sovereign, or, as much more frequently occurs, on purchase. In Russia, Austria, Prussia, and France, the conscription, modified so as to suit the usages of civil life, equally prevails. Of Russia we need not say much. Every male not devoted to the service of the Church is at the disposal of the Emperor; and so complete is this control, that while all are liable to serve in the ranks, the field-marshal and the lance-corporal may any day change places,


« AnteriorContinuar »