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part of our allies, he thus proceeded: 'We too made war under novel circumstances; our system of recruitment for both army and navy being entirely voluntary. It should be borne in mind too that recruiting was least successful at the beginning of a war; but the zeal and energy of the people were aroused when military success was retarded, and in a military point of view that was an inconvenience. The siege of Sebastopol commenced on the 17th of October. In common with eminent men in this country and in France, the government did certainly hope that the fortress would have fallen sooner than it had done; but when they saw the siege was to be long, they sent out reinforcementseven using newly-recruited regiments for the purpose, in conformity with the pressing requests of Lord Raglan. Also it must be admitted that the government miscalculated as to the rapidity of the Russian reinforcements; they did not anticipate that an army could be moved so quickly from Odessa to Simpheropol (forty-two miles having on that occasion been accomplished by the Russians in one day). But we also have sent out reinforcements. Since June we have sent out 20,000 men; making up the whole army in the Crimea to 53,000 men; a force raised, it must be remembered, on a peace-establishment.'

The duke then gave details of the quantity of ordnance and ammunition that had been sent out, which, as he stated, far exceeded what had been sent on any previous occasion to a British army. He referred to the unfortunate wreck of the Prince, which had caused the loss of a great part of the supply of winter clothing intended for the troops, and he dwelt on the prompt and vigorous measures that had been taken by the government to supply the deficiencies caused by that disaster, so that before authentic intelligence of the calamity arrived, a great portion of the goods were on their way to their destination. Criticisms similar to those which had been made in the upper House, were also made in the House of Commons, and received similar replies.

Meanwhile Sir C. Napier and his fleet had returned from the Baltic. The welcome he received on his return was very different from the enthusiastic greetings which had accompanied his departure. Nevertheless he had probably effected all that was possible under the circumstances in

1854.]

ADMIRAL SIR C. NAPIER.

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which he was placed and with the means at his disposal. The results he had obtained were summed up by one whose style seemed to prove him to be a distinguished relative of the officer whose deeds he glorified. 'He has caused the thirty sail composing the powerful Russian fleet to shrink like rats into their holes; he has taken Bomarsund, caused Hango to be blown-up, interrupted the Russian commerce; and for six months has kept in a state of inaction certainly 80,000 or 90,000 good troops--viz., 20,000 at Helsingfors, 15,000 at Abo, and 40,000 at Cronstadt, besides smaller corps protecting Revel and other places. He has restored and enlarged the knowledge of the Finland Gulf to navigation; has ascertained what large vessels can do there, and what they cannot do; when they can act alone, when with troops, and when gunboats can be used with effect. He carried out an ill-manned and undisciplined fleet, and brought back unharmed a well-organised, well-disciplined one, with crews exercised in gunnery and seamanship-in fine, a fleet now really what it was falsely called when it started, that is to say, one of the most irresistible that ever floated on the ocean for all legitimate purposes of naval warfare.' These praises, though written by a partial hand, were not undeserved; and the country generally, notwithstanding its disappointment, did justice to the veteran commander, acknowledging that he had faithfully and ably done his duty, and achieved all that could prudently be attempted.

The war, if it produced no other good effect, had at least that of drawing closer the alliance between England and France. By the remembrance of common dangers and common sufferings; by the interchange of various international civilities and hospitalities, from the sovereign on the throne down to the meanest citizens, it caused a transient discontinuance of those jealous and hostile feelings which previous wars, and especially that which terminated in 1815, had irritated and engendered. It is true that with the return of peace there was to a certain extent a revival of the preëxisting ill-feeling, but its rancour was greatly diminished, and the mitigation of it that followed paved the way for closer relations between the two countries than had previously existed, and disposed their inhabitants to regard each other, not, as they had hitherto done, as natural enemies, but rather as natural allies. It must be admitted

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that much of this change was attributable to the Emperor of the French, who laboured to perpetuate that good understanding which existed between the two nations, and whose efforts in this direction were eminently successful.

Meanwhile parliament, after sitting for eleven days, and after having accomplished in that brief period more business than had ever been dispatched in a similar period, adjourned for a month. Of the measures it had passed, was one brought forward by the government in accordance with former precedents, for the enlistment of foreign soldiers, as a sufficient number of recruits could not be obtained in Great Britain and its dependencies. But notwithstanding all that parliament did, complaints of neglect and maladministration waxed louder and louder, and on the 23rd of December the Times, in a leading article which produced a profound sensation throughout the country, complained bitterly that the noblest army ever sent from our shores has been sacrificed to the grossest mismanagement;' that 'incompetency, lethargy, aristocratic hauteur, official indifference, favour, routine, perverseness, and stupidity reign, revel, and riot in the camp before Sebastopol, in the harbour of Balaclava, in the hospitals of Scutari, and how much nearer home we do not venture to say. We say it with extremest reluctance, no

or hears anything of the commander-in-chief. Officers who landed on the 14th of September, and have been incessantly engaged in all the operations of the siege, are not even acquainted with the face of their commander.' These exposures of the state of things at the seat of war were accompanied by recommendations for the removal of the abuses thus severely and plainly denounced. Send out,' said the writer of the article, some man with competent administrative powers to the necessary basis of our operations, Constantinople; give him the command of the hospitals, that present so scandalous a contrast to the French hospitals; the command of the post-office, and of the transports waiting for orders; and give him also the ordering of such supplies for the army as can be procured in the neighbourhood, and which the French have not obtained before us. Nobody has yet had the command of this important station who is fit for anything else than to be the figure-head of his own ship. These statements,

one sees

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1854.]

DISORDER IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

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founded as they were on facts which could no longer be concealed, produced a profound sensation. Already Lord J. Russell had addressed strong remonstrances to the Earl of Aberdeen on the subject of that maladministration which the Times so bitterly denounced, and placed in so strong a light. In a long letter to the premier he had urged the necessity of having the war-minister in the House of Commons, and had insisted that he should be a man who, from his experience of military details, his inherent vigour of mind, and his weight with the House of Commons, might be expected to guide the great operations of the war with authority and success; and he recommended that Lord Palmerston, who combined all these qualifications, should be intrusted with the seals of the war-department. It would have been well for all parties concerned if this recommendation had been adopted; but the prime-minister refused to recommend the proposed change to the Queen, on the ground that it would be unfair to the Duke of Newcastle, against whom, as he said, no defect had been proved or incapacity alleged. It was unfortunate for Lord J. Russell that, in his anxiety to avoid hurting the feelings of his colleague, he urged that the minister of war should be in the House of Commons; and thus he laid himself open to a charge of glaring inconsistency when he soon after accepted office in Lord Palmerston's administration, of which Lord Panmure, a peer, was the war-minister. But though Lord J. Russell failed in his attempt to effect a change in the war-department, the vigorous denunciation of the Times produced an effect on the public mind which no minister could disregard ; and before the year closed there was an irresistible demand that something should be done to put the administration of the war on a more satisfactory footing. Accordingly, when parliament reassembled on the 25th of January, 1855, Mr. Roebuck gave notice of his intention to move for a select committee to inquire into the condition of our army before Sebastopol, and into the conduct of those departments of the government whose duty it has been to minister to the wants of that army.' Lord J. Russell at once wrote to Lord Aberdeen, stating that he did not see how Mr. Roebuck's motion was to be resisted, but that, as it involved a censure on the war-department, he considered

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that the only course open to him was to tender his resignation, which of course was accepted. The retirement of the leader of the House of Commons at this crisis paralysed the resistance which the government might otherwise have offered to Mr. Roebuck's motion, and, after a debate of two nights, the division showed the following numbers :

For Mr. Roebuck's motion
Against
Majority against ministers

157 Never perhaps had a government been more decisively defeated. When the numbers were announced, the house seemed to be surprised and almost stunned by its own act. There was no cheering; but for a few moments a dead silence, followed by a burst of derisive laughter. Ministers of course resigned.

The majority that voted in favour of Mr. Roebuck's resolution must have foreseen that the chief result of its success would be to displace the ministry at a very critical moment, and to bring about changes calculated to increase the disorder that already prevailed in the war-administration. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that both parliament and the country had reason to be greatly dissatisfied with the state of destitution in which the army generally, and especially the sick and wounded, had been left. Whether it arose from maladministration, faults in the system, or from accidental circumstances which no system and no minister could altogether control, the fact could not be denied, that the administration of our army contrasted most unfavourably in every respect with that of our French allies. It was vain to plead that it could not have been anticipated that our army would have to pass the winter in the Crimea. The French authorities were equally taken by surprise, but they had been found fully equal to the emergency. It had long been said that our parliamentary system was on its trial; and it certainly seemed at this moment as if it was going to break down and prove itself to be altogether a failure, when the nation was engaged in such a serious war as was now being carried on.

Could a general, surrounded by newspaper-correspondents, who pried into all his proceedings, described

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