Page images

'I cannot express to you the regret and sorrow with which I look round me, and contemplate the loss which I have sustained, particularly in your brother. The glory resulting from such actions, so dearly bought, is no consolation to me, and I cannot suggest it as any to you and his friends; but I hope that it may be expected that this last one has been so decisive, as that no doubt remains that our exertions and our individual losses will be rewarded by the early attainment of our just object. It is then that the glory of the actions in which our friends and relations have fallen will be some consolation for their loss.

Your brother had a black horse, given to him, I believe, by Lord Ashburnham, which I will keep till I hear from you what you wish should be done with it.'-Disp. xii. 488.

The moral sentiment of this letter, which affords war its only excuse, and the loss of friends its best consolation, is of the highest order; but the remembrance and identification, at such a moment, of the black horse, which poor Gordon's friends would naturally prize so much, creates in us something of the same impression that filled a hundred thousand eyes when the Duke's own horse was seen, as it followed, with empty saddle and drooping head, the hearse of its illustrious master!

On the same day, and in the same peculiar circumstances, he wrote to the Duke of Beaufort to announce the severe wound of his brother, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, another of his aides-decamp. Indeed, we believe that hardly one of his staff escaped unhurt-so arduous was the conflict, and so prominent his position.

'I am very sorry to have to acquaint you that your brother FitzRoy is very severely wounded, and has lost his right arm. I have just seen him, and he is perfectly free from fever, and as well as anybody could be under such circumstances. You are aware how useful he has always been to me, and how much I shall feel the want of his assistance, and what a regard and affection I feel for him; and you will readily believe how much concerned I am for his misfortune. Indeed, the losses I have sustained have quite broken me down; and I have no feeling for the advantages we have acquired. I hope, however, that your brother will soon be able to join me again; and that he will long live to be, as he is likely to become, an honour to his country, as he is a satisfaction to his family and friends.'

These hopes were happily fulfilled; but it is due to the constancy of the Duke's friendships, and the importance of Lord Fitzroy's services to him and to the country, to observe the singular, and to both most honourable, circumstance, that from July, 1808, when the young Lord joined as an extra aide-de-campthe young General then about to sail for his first expedition to Portugal, they never were separated except during the short


interval in which the former was sent home with the Talavera despatch, and again when recovering from his wound at Waterloo -Lord Fitzroy following his illustrious friend's career gradutim, we may say, for above forty-four years, in the progressive characters of aide-de-camp, private secretary, secretary of embassy at Paris, minister plenipotentiary there during the Duke's absence at Vienna, secretary to the Master-General of the Ordnance, and, finally, as military secretary at the Horse Guards, till the fatal 14th September, 1852. He has been, during his whole life, so close to the great luminary, that he has been as it were absorbed in its splendour; but such a proximity is of itself fame, and closer observers saw that the pupil was personally worthy of the master; and during the long and difficult years of his service at the Ordnance and at the Horse Guards we have never happened to hear so much as a murmur of complaint of Lord Fitzroy Somerset. On the death of the Duke his eminent services received what we should have called a tardy reward, if he had not considered his connexion with his illustrious friend as its own reward. He was created a peer, and the country enjoys, at a moment when they seem peculiarly needed, the services of Lord Raglan as Master-General of the Ordnance. No one, we hope, will think that we have, in a review of the Duke of Wellington's life, misplaced this tribute to his oldest and closest military follower and friend and nearest witness and, in his proper measure, the companion of his glory.

These, it may be said, are instances of friendship for highborn men connected with him by peculiar ties. Let us take two others which we find in the Dispatches, where there were no such influences. On the 30th September, 1803, General Wellesley writes to General Lake, the Commander-in-Chief in India, to solicit a favour for one Lieutenant Campbell:

'From the conduct of Lieutenant Campbell at the attack of the pettah of Ahmednuggur, I was induced to appoint him my BrigadeMajor; and since that time, and particularly in the battle of the 23rd (Assaye), he has conducted himself much to my satisfaction. He had two horses killed under him, and was struck himself, and had a brother and a cousin killed in that action. I therefore take the liberty of recommending him to your favour.'-Disp., i. 414.

The application was not successful! and when Sir Arthur Wellesley returned home eighteen months later, he could not, of course, take his protégé from his regiment; but one of the very last letters he wrote on his departure was to recapitulate Lieutenant Campbell's services, and to ask as a personal favour that his brother, the Governor-General, would show him some countenance, and he accordingly became aide-de-camp to Lord Wellesley.



Wellesley. The remarkable details of the circumstances that first created this peculiar interest have been already told in a former article in this journal, which we must now venture to reproduce:

The important fort of Ahmednuggur was taken by a most gallant escalade; in the thick of the assault General Wellesley saw a young officer who had reached the top of the "very lofty wall" thrust off by the enemy, and falling through the air from a great height. General Wellesley had little doubt that he must have been severely wounded, if not killed, by the fall; but hastened to inquire the name and fate of the gallant young fellow, and had the satisfaction of seeing him in a moment after, comparatively little injured, again mounting to the assault. Next morning the General sent for him-offered to attach him to his staff as brigade-major-and from that hour, through all his fields and fortunes, even down to the conquest of Paris-continued him in his personal family and friendship, and used sometimes to observe that the first time he had ever seen him was in the air: that young officer is now Sir Colin Campbell, Knight Commander of the Bath, a Major-General in the army, and Governor of Nova Scotia !'—Q. R. vol. li. p. 423.

We have now to add an important circumstance omitted in this statement. We do so on the authority of a gentleman than whom few enjoyed more of the Duke's society. As his Grace repeatedly told the details in his hearing, young Colin not only mounted the ladder at the Indian fort a second time, but, getting within the place, forthwith contrived to arrange his own company into perfect order, so as to hold in check the still numerous garrison;-General Wellesley, on himself entering the town, recognized him by the bloody handkerchief round his head, and observed his steady conduct till all was over.

Another similar instance is that of Colonel Gurwood, immortalized, we may venture to say, as the editor of the Dispatches, in a note to which his gallant exploit at Badajoz, and consequent introduction to the Duke's notice, is briefly and modestly stated.

Many such instances could be repeated, and some too that, from being of a far humbler class, were not the less amiable—such as the poor old Irishwoman Judy, who, having been accidentally employed to make his bed early in the Peninsular campaigns, he would never permit to be displaced. She was for the rest of her life provided with a cottage adjoining the offices at Strathfieldsaye, and her fervent blessings on her benefactor, uttered with the genuine accent and feeling of her country, in return for his constant recognition of her, used to amuse, and better than amuse, the visitors at Strathfieldsaye.

We may add that the two last times he left Walmer Castle were to visit an old friend who, he happened to hear, was in ill


health, and within fifteen miles of him; and on one of these occasions, as he was returning through Dover, he stopped at the corner of a bye street to make some inquiry, which turned out to be after the health of one of the pilots, or some other subordinate person, whom he desired to be told to take care of himself, and not to return to his duties until he should be quite well. These were, we believe, his last appearances beyond his own threshold! The incidents themselves are trivial, but they tend to show that it was not in his private and social intercourse that this not more illustrious than kind-hearted man could be called the Iron Duke.

We now return to M. Maurel. In our general testimony to his candour, we must not be supposed to subscribe to all his views. There are points-though we admit very few-on which we think he is not quite above national prejudices. We do not complain of them. On the contrary, they are the stamp of the writer's sincerity in the main and more important portions of his essay. If he were not a good Frenchman, we should not have so much respect for his opinion. There is but one of these points which we see any occasion to notice, and we wish to treat it with M. Maurel à l'aimable as matter of history. After doing justice to the success of the Duke's administration of affairs and to that of his diplomatic exertions in the negociations at Paris, he adds-.

This success is quite enough to console him for the checks which he had afterwards to suffer in this line. In expiation of his triumphs on the field of battle, he had the pleasure of being beaten by M. de Châteaubriand and by M. de Montmorency and by M. de Villele in the field of diplomacy.'-p. 141.

And this he attributes to the Duke's having been in a false position at the Congress (we suppose) of Verona-where, he says, England being on one hand the enemy of all revolutions, but, on the other hand, an enemy to putting them down by foreign intervention, he had in fact nothing left but to protest against everybody on all sides.

We wonder that a person of M. Maurel's logic does not see that his statement, instead of extenuating, as he kindly intends, the Duke's diplomatic defeat, does much better, for it contradicts the fact itself, since, if his position was originally and essentially hostile to all the contending parties, he could hardly be said to have been 'beaten' by the diplomacy of one of them. No one better understands, and no one has more lucidly shown, than M. Maurel himself, that the Duke of Wellington's mind was not to be baffled by the tricks and intrigues of mere diplomacy, and we can assure him that, if a supplementary publication of Dispatches' should come to complete the history of the Duke's public

[blocks in formation]

life, it will be made very clear that he was no more beaten in the cabinet by Châteaubriand, Montmorency, and Villèle, than in the field by Marmont, Massena, or Soult.

That France did invade Spain, contrary to the advice given by the Duke of Wellington from his Government, and corroborated by his own private opinion, is true, but there was no room for any trial of diplomatic skill or struggle in the affair; he gave his advice, but only advice, and advice so disinterested and so rational, that it is said to have had a great effect on the mind of the ablest and wisest of the French ministers whom M. Maurel has named-M. de Villèle-though he was subsequently overborne by his rasher colleagues. Nay, it happens by a singular coincidence that, on the Duke of Wellington's return through Paris from this very mission in which M. Maurel thinks he was defeated by the French diplomatists, he had an audience of Louis XVIII. to repeat the advice he had given at Verona, and the King, says M. Lamartine, who had long before discerned that the Duke was a statesman as well as a soldier, was, like M. de Villèle, much affected by his opinion.'* Whatever of diplomatic struggle there was in the affair was in the French Ministry itself, and fatal were its results. M. de Montmorency was dismissed, and replaced by M. de Châteaubriand, who (we say it with personal regret) giddily and selfishly separated himself from M. de Villèle, thwarted him in all his measures, and finally, by a series of party intrigues, led to the overthrow of the wisest, the most moderate, and, till these unhappy dissensions, the strongest government that the Restoration had had. Thus those three diplomatists whom M. Maurel describes as beating the Duke of Wellington in statesmanship,' showed their boasted abilities only in defeating and ruining each other, dethroning their sovereign, and plunging their country in a series of revolutions of which who can foresee the end?

We must now conclude. We have, we are aware, given an imperfect idea of the entrainant, though somewhat discursive style of the original, but we hope that we have added not inconsiderably to its value and authority by the elucidations and corroborations of the author's reasoning afforded by our extracts from the Duke's conversations, and we wish we saw any reason to expect that a work at once so amusing and instructive, so attractive and so convincing, was likely to exercise in France the salutary influence which it certainly would have if it could be read there; but we are informed that it is expressly prohibited in France, and we can ourselves say, in confirmation of the truth of this strange exercise of despotism, that we have

Hist, de la Rest. vol. vii. p. 79.


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »