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1823. April 18. Mr Plunkett's motion for a Committee. Sir Francis Burdett, and
several other Whigs, abruptly left the House. Motion met by a countermotion for an adjournment. Ayes, 313; Noes, 111. Majority against the
Catholics, 202. 1824. Question not brought forward. 1825. Feb. 28. Sir Francis Burdett's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 247 ; Noes, 234.
-Majority for the Catholics, 13.
the Catholics, 27.
Catholics, 21..Bill passed.
the Catholics, 48..Bill thrown out. 1826. Question not brought forward. Parliament dissolved. 1827. New Parliament.--March 5. Sir Francie Burdett's motion for a Committee,
Ayes, 272; Noes, 276. Majority against the Catholics, 4.
SIEGE OF BHURTPORE.
Letter from an Infantry Officer. SIR, I OBSERVE in your last Number a to decide without trial. Certain I am, letter from “. A Bengal Engineer,” “ The Bengal Engineer" had seldom complaining of the article in your (if ever) an opportunity of seeing a April Number, "The Siege of Bhurte ditch, such as that at Bhurtpore, full pore,” as attaching much blame to the of water, crossed in the neat way he operations of the engineers. Being the undoubtedly could have advised. author of the journal referred to, con- Speaking of the curtains being low, sequently, the culpable person, I re- was in reference to the bastions, sevequest you will insert, for his informa- ral of which were from 80 to 93 feet tion, in your next Number, the follow- high--by his own account the curtains ing explanation and remarks :
were from 50 to 55 feet. The journal in question was never That the points of attack, at first intended as a full and minute account, chosen, were two curtains, I now well but merely a rough sketch taken on remember, and stand corrected accordthe spot, when duty permitted, during ingly; still I cannot refrain from think, the siege. The little information con- ing it would have proved equally protained therein I was in nowise indebte fitable to his comments, had he been ed to the engineers for, who, by the blessed with a short memory on this by, were singularly reserved in their occasion, unless he had explained, communications to infantry officers on why two curtains” were fixed on, the most trivial subjects. Before I in preference to two salient bastions. proceed further, I must disclaim any That the two curtains were ill selectintention of throwing blame to the ed, and contrary to the common prin. degree stated on that distinguished ciples of fortification to form breaches corps, " The Bengal Engineers." The in, is indisputable, when the flank fire operations were, generally speaking, of the bastions, as well as the bastions carried on with talent, as the result themselves, were complete and occuproved, and with zeal, as no one can pied. That I am borne out in this deny. That an engineer should necese statement, is evident from the fact, sarily be better acquainted with his pe- that, after eight days' struggling to culiar department and details than an form a sort of breach, they were given infantry officer, no one will question, up entirely, and the bastions, which but that he is not liable to error in ought to have been attacked at first, judgment at times, he will scarcely were at last determined on. The
breach to the left of the long-necked Regarding his remark," that had bastion I examined the day after the the ditch been filled with water, no fort fell, and have no hesitation in failure would have taken place,” it is a stating, that had it been attacked, there strong assertion--at best, a matter of was great chance of failure in that opinion-failures not many years since quarter, from the impossibility of a occurred under as favourable circum- sufficient number of men being able stances, and this is a point impossible to reach its summit at once. At the
bottom was a great quantity of fine His next paragraph requires notice. dust, that hid an entire escarp of 30. The sap crowning the counterscarp feet, although at a distance it had the opposite the left breach, (if it could be appearance of an easy slope up to the so called,) was very badly constructed, breach. To the remark, that the ta- and without excavation, on the mornking of Kuddum Kundie, &c. is ex- ing of 12th January, (unless a foot tremely incorrect, I answer, the chances in depth, and as much in breadth, are, the “ Bengal Engineer" was not is deemed sufficient.) The gabions, at the post during the day, or he would stuffed with cotton, were in no part have seen four guns instead of two, musket proof, “having no earth beunder Lieutenant H. of the artillery; hind them." I had the pleasure of also the guns in question were frem twenty-four hours duty in it, soon afquently fired that day against the fort. ter its construction, and can speak to That an attempt to make a battery of its qualities, and found it necessary to sand-bags and cotton-bales, is correct, request both sand bags and tools might I assert, and was only prevented by be sent to complete it-it was by the the heavy fire from the fort. Had the soldiers in it, that it was rendered fit engineer been behind these bales a few to hold the firing party, after some hours, he would have had an opportu- loss. nity of seeing specimens of Bhurtpore I do not mean to say the sap leadgunnery, and witnessed round shot ing to it was not tolerable, or the corpass through them, though two am ner where the shafts were sinking a breast, at 600 to 700 yards; that the very snug birth, and where I observed loss is exaggerated in regard to men I the engineers most part of the day, of am aware, and was occasioned by mis- course superintending the mining. take ; but many bullocks were de- That the quantity of water at the foot stroyed. His remarks concerning the of the gun-breach, on the left attack, ramparts. I have since learnt to be to. was known on 8th January, I was not lerably exact; still the breach at the
On the 12th, at four o'clock long-necked bastion was composed of in the evening, an attempt was in a heap of stones and masonry, mixed contemplation, but laid aside. The onwith mud, &c. Two days after the ly method I had of obtaining an idea storming I was obliged to leave Bhurt of the powder used in the various pore, and could not ascertain how far mines, was, by observing the number the above description answered the of bags passing, and making a calcularamparts in general.
tion from them. When the engineer My observation, regarding the es- states 280 to be the angle the left carp being 60 feet, was a matter of breach formed with the horizon, his conjecture. This remark I noted down instrument must have been out of ore on 6th January. Now, by his own der, or he took his base-line at the account, the real height was not known extreme clod thrown into the ditch; before the 8th January. Considering it appeared nearer 38° or 40°, than that my view was from the advanced 28o. This I had no time to determine: trenches, and his, perhaps, quietly Not being certain of the disposition measured after the place was in our made for the two small columns, I possession, the difference of six feet omitted mention of them on that acwas not worth mentioning—this re- count only. In conclusion, I humbly mark is equally applicable to the coun- conceive, that, had the “Bengal Engi. terscarp.
neer" waited till the full account ap. His next remark refers to what was peared, he so exultingly announces to evidently an error in printing from the be at hand, he would have had at manuscript, (it scarcely requires an least more chance of triumph than has engineer's abilities or education to dis- attended his present attempt. tinguish between scarp and countera Sir, I am, yours, &c. scarp, much less to suppose a mine un
An INFANTRY OFFICER. der a bastion could blow in the coun. 12th June, 1828. terscarp,) and adds no weight to his review by noticing it. The loss of ma- P.S.-If the 66 Bengal Engineer" terials by the explosion, I had no
could inform me when the Bhurtpore means of ascertaining the amount of, prize-money is to be paid, I shall and thought it of no importance to do willingly excuse, and patiently bear so, when abundance of wood was at his corrections. hand to replace them.
his auditory that the case of the peti. of the men who could venture to bring
patient endurance of Popish plots for Nor is there any wonder in this, her assassivation, for insurrection, and but rather in the extraordinary front invasion, was at length compelled to
make root and branch-work with the It is now time to come to the other Papists, after a fashion consistent with branch of the argument of the Roman the vigour of her character. There is Catholic advocates, as applied to the a curious and interesting treatise still present state of Ireland. I am inte extant, known by the style and title rested in the welfare of Ireland, and of Hume's History of England, which, I know the country well. With that notwithstanding the more modern and interest and that knowledge I do not shining lights, afforded by Doctors hesitate to pronounce the late descripLingard and Hallam, is still much tions of its present state, the most asread, and most potently believed by toundingly audacious artifice to carry a the major part of the reading popula- measure by storm that ever was ata tion of this kingdom. Now this Hume tempted to be palmed upon the counflatly affirms, that after the seminary try. It was worthy of the ferocious of Rheims pronounced, in its wisdom, genius of the Times newspaper, which that the Pope's bull, excommunica- boasts, I believe, the honour or the ting and deposing Elizabeth, was dic. infamy of the device. If any English tated by the immediate inspiration of gentleman, who does not much conthe Holy Spirit, and after they had cern himself about the peculiar afsent cargoes of ecclesiastics to her do. fairs of Ireland, and there are many minions to preach up sedition, and of the worthiest to whom the descriptreason, and murder, the Queen
found tion will apply, could bring himself to it expedient to hang up fifty Popish believe one tittle of the representapriests, and to banish a yet greater tions he listened to on that debate, rem number, within a very few years, for presentations, too, made by men who the good of the nation, and the secu- had an opportunity of knowing and rity of her Majesty's government. judging of the truth, he must have That this terrible woman, whom carried away with him an impression Sir Francis would impose on them for of the existing state of Ireland, so a wise and magnanimous confider in grossly exaggerated, as to lose all rePapists, actually declared to her Par- semblance to a true picture, in the liament, that she considered the Roa mis-shapen proportions of a hideous manists inveterate enemies to her per- caricature. son; and obtained their concurrence It is very unfortunate for the
reputo a law by which the exercise of the tation of Ireland, that those who are Roman Catholic religion, was now at pleased to be oratorical upon her polength totally suppressed. That the litical and domestic condition, to law for the capital punishment of whatever party they may belong, think priests, and of such as harboured them, they find their account in magnifying was enacted and executed on account with all the force of their eloquence, of the treasonable views and attempts that which is bad in the country, and of the Roman Catholic sect, and did lightly passing over the other parts of not require any other overt act of the picture. The Roman Catholic adtreason to be proved against the indi- vocate says, “ look at the dreadful viduals who suffered the penalty. So state of the country, and then if you much for the love and regard which can," or some say, "' if you dare, rethe good Queen Bess bore to the Pa- fuse that emancipation, which is the pists.
only cure.”—The opponent of the CaIt may, moreover, be found in the tholic claims draws a similar picture narrative of the same Hume, that up of the dreadful state of the country, to the period of the Revolution, cele- but founds an opposite' argument upbrating, or attending mass, was an in- on it, and asks, “will you place power dictable offence; that during the reign in the hands of wretches so wicked of Charles II., " the old persecu- and ferocious ?"-And these worthy ting laws of Elizabeth,” as the liberal people, irreverently ycleped saints, historian expresses it, “ still subsisted shocked at the Popish superstitions, in their full vigour,” and that the im- describe Ireland as the very sink of munities which the law now guaran- all that is corrupt and abominable, tees to Roman Catholics, in the exer- and call upon their brethren to subcise of their religion, are as much su- scribe for Bibles and other good books, perior to the privileges they were en- to send some of the light of religious titled to, in Charles the II.'s reign, as knowledge into a place where the
most the temporal power of the Pope was horrible deeds are continually enactthen superior to what it is now. ing under cover of the thick cloud of VOL. XXIV.
spiritual darkness. Thus, on every come to that dreadful state, (which hand, Ireland is assailed by exagge God forbid they should come to,) and ration of her faults and her misfor, which there is in reality and truth no tunes, and the already monstrous heap reason to apprehend, that it were neof her imputed misdeeds gradually cessary to withdraw the English increases, like those cairns upon spots troops, and leave the population of where some horrid murder has been Ireland to fight for the sovereignty of committed, upon which, by supersti- it; I maintain, and the Catholics tious custom, every hand as it passes themselves know it to be true, that flings another stone. Again and again, they would be conquered. What I say, that there is nothing in Ireland means this imposing word “organito warrant these dark and terrifying zation ?" If Mr Fitzgerald wishes the descriptions. The country is still fere country to believe, that the respecta tile, and beautiful beyond compare; able and wealthy part of the Roman, the people are in general kind-heart- Catholic body, are organized in such ed, hospitable, and good-natured, and a way as to be wielded as one man, though they are unsteady, passionate, he wishes it to believe that which is and easily. led into wrong, yet they not the fact. The Catholic Associaare perfectly manageable by a union tion, which those who have been on of kindness with firmness; and if the the spot, and have looked at the mate, mass be turbulent, it is chiefly because ter with their own eyes, know very a few men are allowed to exercise, well does not comprise the real strength without control or punishment, their of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, foolish and wicked plans, for the dis- but is, with some dozen or two of turbance of the people.
exceptions, a'crew of vulgar, illiterate, Nor is it to be wondered at that they uninfluential brawlers-this Catho persevere, since not only are they left lic Association is no doubt in regular unpunished, but their power and their communication with the priests, and importance is everywhere, even in the the priests have considerable influence Houses of Parliament, spoken of so over the very lowest of the people, seriously, and yet so erroneously, that whose ignorance they may take adthey must feel their vanity most ex. vantage of to lead them into error ; ceedingly gratified, and they are in- but here is the whole machinery of vited to go on in a course which places this wonderful “ organization.” No them, according to the orators, not doubt to certain Irish members this only on a level with, but above, the organization appears a very formilegitimate government of the country. dable affair, for by means of it the
“ The people," says the Knight of Association may keep them in, or Kerry, in his place in Parliament, turn them out of, their seats; but the
are organized, the country is orga- reason it can do this, is because the. nized." " He did not mean to say, law unfortunately places the elective that this organization was intended franchise in the hands of the very for bad purposes, but he did say that lowest of the people ; and, if this law it existed, and that was an awful were amended as it ought to be, I circumstance, that a country in such a have no doubt that the importance of state of disaffection to the Government, this dreaded organization would sink from disappointed hope and protractvery fast in Parliamentary estimation. cd expectations, could be wielded and But if it were true, that this organizadirected as one man.”. Now this is tion and wonderful power did really said of all Ireland, and undoubtedly, exist, and, if it be also true, that the if it were true, it would be a fact very people are so extremely wicked as frightfuland alarming;
butit isnot true they are described to be, what are we that the country could be wielded as to think of the persons who wield oneman;on the contrary, it is true, that this power, and yet who take no steps whatever preponderance the Roman to prevent the frequent commission of Catholics of Ireland may have in nu- dreadful crimes ? merical force, yet-for I am forced to If the Popish leaders have not the the painful comparison, by the way in power ascribed to them, then the arwhich Mr Fitzgerald has thought fit gument for emancipation, grounded to state the matter-it is more than upon it, falls to the ground; if, on balanced by the superior wealth, in- the other hand, they have the power, telligence, and firmness of the oppo- and will not exercise it for the presite party; and if the affairs of Ireland vention of crime in the country, then