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THE FIRST FIFTY VOLUMES
In Octavo, pp. 588. Price 158.
THE FIRST FIFTY VOLUMES
In Octavo, pp. 588. Price 158.
THOUGH peace may have her victories not less renowned than war, yet it fares ill with that people among whom the soldier and his services are not duly esteemed and suitably acknowledged. The darkest days were approaching for France when her wits ridiculed her soldiery, and Voltaire said his countrymen built ships which the English immediately took off their hands and commended as being well built. It is the pride of our vast wealth-our inexhaustible resources our many elements of power and eminence-that we can afford duly to honour and reward our warriors without forgetting the claims or sacrificing the interests of any class of men without diminishing the rewards and honours of peaceful pursuits-at little cost to our wealth, at none whatever to our civil liberty. If the dreams about universal peace are ever in any future century to be realised, it will not be through the means by which the Quaker school seek to accomplish them. As the world exists, and is likely to exist for as many thousands of years onwards, as we know its history backwards, peace among the nations shall only be secured by the existence of one predominant authority too powerful to render resistance within the
bounds of possibility. But who shall count the bloody fields to be fought and the remorseless tyrannies to be crushed before this beneficent end is achieved, and one magnanimous preponderating power shall be strong enough to bind over the rest of mankind to keep the peace!
So far as it is given to us to read the destinies of Providence in the past histories and in the present action of the world, there is one nation-and that our own-moving on step by step to this great destiny. In its progress towards an overwhelming preponderance our power has never yet been checked; nor can we anywhere discover in its form and substance the elements of decay. We shall find that the great Empires which have heretofore risen and fallen, have owed their ruin to one or both of two destructive elements caused by their own unfaithfulness to their true duty. Either they have fallen before hostile combinations of the nations who have suffered from their oppression and rapacity, or, indolently reposing on the wealth and greatness which their forefathers have achieved, they have tempted poorer and hardier races to seize on the rich possessions they have lost the courage to defend. In the fall of Rome the
Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Regulations affecting the Sanitary condition of the Army.
VOL. LXXXIV.-NO. DXIII.
former element predominated-the accursed institution of slavery roused all the world against her. It was to the other element, shown in idle luxury and the pride of wealth, that Spain, at a time when she seemed striding onward to European dominion, owed her fall.
With thankfulness we feel that from neither of these sources of ruin has the faintest cloud yet darkened the lustre of British prosperity. Wherever our sword has been drawn, it has been that of the protector and the liberator, not of the oppressor and enslaver
Pacisque imponere morem, Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos. To no chapters in the proud history of our battles can we point with more confidence for the vindication of this truth, than to those two last Indian wars, which, to a heedless observer, judging of them by analogy with the acts of other powers, might be deemed to illustrate the spirit of aggression. What was the chief result of the campaign on the Sutlej, but the salvation of the submissive people of Hindostan from the tyrannous rule of a savage soldiery? Seventy thousand strong, with arms and money, and the powerful discipline which old Runjeet Singh had communicated to them, they thought they might take India and keep it to themselves. The bloody reign of anarchy and extirpation which such an oligarchy would have held had they been successful, can be conceived only from the scenes which then took place at Lahore, and those which befell at Delhi and Cawnpore the other day. But for that protracted list of bloody battles, of which Ferozeshah, Aliwal, Sobraon, and Chillianwallah are still familiar to us, the project would have succeeded. And in the last and most desperate of our trials, who were the enemies? Not the docile people of the land-for they remained true even during the temporary paralysis of the strong protecting hand-but a pampered soldiery, trained to mimic our own supreme warlike tactics, and idly dreaming that the Empire which they thought they held for us, they might take and hold for themselves. No: from the
reproach of national tyranny and injustice we are still pure; and whether we are hereafter to stand or to fall, we must for ever be an example to the world, as the first nation that has wielded its power, not in selfishness or cruelty, but in beneficence.
Nor have our late terrible trials passed away without assuring us that we are free from all symptoms of moral decay. When the war with Russia began, it was felt that we were going forth against a long-cultivated warlike power-" a man of war from his youth;" and we assured ourselves with justice that the resources accumulated by a long cathe material elements of warlike reer of peaceful progress would give strength to us much more abundantly than the development of purely military power could impart them to our enemy. The wealth accumulated by our agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, would afford inexhaustible pecuniary resources; our shipping would supply a navy or transport our troops; the mechanical skill, cultivated for peaceful purposes, would instantly be turned to the creation of destructive engines.
All this was exultingly felt; but sometimes a scarce audible voice whispered, What would all avail if the repose of a long peace had lost to us our ancient hardihood and daring-the ardour that ever panted to be forward-the cool courage never fluttered into panic, and the stubborn endurance that seemed to bring up renewed strength and energy to the last telling charge, when the desperate labours of the day had broken the strength and spirit of all besides, allies or foes? No, they were not gone; it was seen at once, with a throb of pride, when the guns fired and the bells rang for Alma, that the ancient spirit was not dead. And so it proved during the whole Crimean war, and has proved again under still sadder and sterner calls, that every class-the proudtitled descendant of the Norman invader, the son of the wealthy Saxon yeoman, the Celt of the Highlands and of Ireland, the rough ploughman and shepherd of the Lowlands, even the restless and not always reputable