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There are those persons now liv- reason : a sorrow which is past deing who would give their own weight cays gradually, and hushes itself to in sovereigns, though drawing against sleep; not so a sorrow which points thirteen to sixteen stone, that all of too ominously to the future. The this dreadful subject might be swal- last book on this horrible tragedy is lowed up by Lethe; that darkness that of Mr Lushington ; and in might settle for ever upon the insani- point of ability the best ; the best in ties of Cabool; and the grave close composition ; the best for nobility of finally over the carnage of Tezeen. But principle, for warning, for reproach. it will not be. Blood will have blood, But, for all that, we do not agree with they say. The madness which could him: we concede all his major proposport in levity with a trust of seven- sitions; we deny most of his minors. teen thousand lives, walks upon the As for the other and earlier discuswind towards heaven, coming round sions upon this theme, whether by by gusts innumerable of angry wail- books, by pamphlets, by journals, ings in the air ; voices from nobody English and Indian, or by Parliaknows where are heard clamouring mentary speeches, they now form a for vengeance ; and the caves of library; and, considering the vast Jugduloc, gorged with the remoteness of the local interest, they cotlined slain,” will not rest from the express sublimely the paramount litanies which day and night they pour power of what is moral over the forth for retribution until this genera- earthy and the physical. A battle of tion shall have passed away.
Paniput is fought, which adds the Are we to have justice or not?-not carnage of Leipsic to that of Borodino, that justice which executes the sen- and, numerically speaking, heaps Petence, but which points the historical lion upon Ossa ; but who cares? No verdict, and distributes the propor- principle is concerned: it is viewed tions of guilt. The government must as a battle of wolves with tiger-cats; now be convinced, by the unceasing and Europe heeds it not. But let a succession of books on this subject, column of less than 5000, from a nawhich sleeps at intervals, but con- tion moving by moral forces, and tinually wakens up again to new life, ploughing up for ever new soils of that it has not died out, nor is likely moral promise, betray itself, by folly to do so. And for that there is good or by guilt, into the meshes of a fright
* A Great Country's Little Wars. By Henry Lushington. London: Parker, 1914.
VOL. LVT, NO, CCCXLVI.
ful calamity, and the earth listens for at Marston Moor, cutting throats upon the details from the tropics to the the largest scale. And why? under the arctic circle. Not Moscow and Smo- coercion of principles equally sublime lensko, through all the wilderness of on both sides. Then it did urge us their afflictions, ever challenged the
into war. Now it does not-because gaze of Christendom so earnestly as the resistance is stronger, and by no the Coord Cabool. And why? The means because the impulse is less. pomp, the procession of the misery, On a May morning in 1824, a question lasted through six weeks in the Na- arises in the senate as to factory lapoleon case, through six days in the bour. On one side it shows an aspect English case. Of the French host critical for the interests of human nathere had been originally 450,000 ture in its widest stratum — viz. fighting men; of the English, exactly amongst the children of toil. Immethat same amount read as the nume- diately, as at the sound of a signalrator of a fraction whose denominator gun, five hundred of our fervent jourwas 100. Forty-five myriads had nals open their batteries this way and been the French ; forty-five hundreds that upon an inquest of truth. the English. And yet so mighty is the people quake like dew.” The dethe power of any thing moral, be- moniacs of Palestine were not more cause shadowy and illimitable, so shaken of old by internal possessions, potent to magnify and unvulgarize than the heart of England is swayed any interest, that more books have to and fro under the action of this been written upon Cabool, and through or similar problems. Epilepsy is not a more enduring tract of time, than more overmastering than is the temupon Moscow: Great was the con- pest of moral strife in England. And vulsion in either case; but that caused a new dawn is arising upon us in the by Cabool has proved the less tran- prospect, that henceforth the agitations sitory. The vast anabasis to Mos- of peace will be more impassioned for cow had emanated from a people not the coming generation than the agitaconspicuously careful of public mo- tions of war for the last. But that rality. But that later anabasis, which sympathy, almost morbid, which ascended to the shining pinnacles of England feels with the condition of Candahar, and which stained with social man, other nations echo by a blood of men the untrodden snows of reflex sympathy with England ; not the Hindoo Koosh, was the work of a always by a friendly sympathy. Like nation—no matter whether more mo- the αεροβατεντες and fumambuli of ral in a practical sense, upon that we ancient days, equally when keeping do not here dispute—but undeniably the difficult line of advance, or when fermenting with the anxieties and losing it, England is regarded with a jealousies of moral aspirations beyond searching gaze that might seem goany other people whatever. Some verned by the fabulous fascination of persons have ascribed to Blumenbach the rattlesnake. Does she ascend on (heretofore the great Goettingen na- her proper line of advance? There is turalist) an opinion as to the English heard the murmur of reluctant apwhich we have good reason to think plause. Does she trip? There arises that he never uttered-viz. that the the yell of triumph. Is she seen purpeople of this island are the most vo- chasing the freedom of a negro nation? luptuous of nations, and that we bear The glow of admiration suffuses the it written in our national countenance. countenance of Christendom. Is she But suppose him to have said this, descried entering on wars of unproand secondly, (which is a trifle more voked aggression? All faces in Europe important,) suppose it to be true, not are illuminated with smiles of prosthe less we assert the impassioned perous malice. It is a painful prepredominance of a moral interest in eminence which England occupies this nation. The intensity of this hard to keep, dangerous to forfeit. principle is such, that it works with Hit, and a million of hearts are tainted the fury and agitation of an appetite. with jealousy ; fail, and a million It urges us to the very brink of civil revel in malignity. Therefore it was war. Two centuries back-yes, exactly that Cabool and its disasters drew an to a month, two centuries--we were all attention so disproportioned to their military importance. Cabool was one pledged to the principle of a war in chapter in a transaction which, truly that direction. or not, had come to be reputed in- Secondly, When the amended form compatible with those august prin- was put forward, a rational form and ciples of public justice professed and the true form of the motive for this worn amongst the phylacteries of expedition, in what respect was that Great Britain. Therefore also it was open to criticism ? Far enough are that on this subject, as we have al- we from going along with the views ready said, a library of works has of the Auckland cabinet at this juncbeen accumulated.
ture; but these two things we are Of these works we assert, fearlessly sure of—that those views were unbut not arrogantly, that all are par- sound, not by any vice which has yet tially in error. They are in fact, one been exposed, and that the vice aland all, controversial works; often leged argues gross ignorance of every without the design of the writers, and thing oriental. Lord Auckland might not always perhaps with their con- err, as heavily we believe him to have sciousness—but the fact is such. Not done, in his estimate of Affghanistan one of them but has a purpose to and the Affghan condition : he had serve for or against Lord Aucklanduntrue notions of what the Affghans or Dost Mahommed, or the East In- needed, and what it was that they dia Company, or the government at could bear: but his critics, Indian home and at Calcutta, which replaced and domestic, were not in error by that of the Whigs. Some even go default merely of philosophic views as into such specialties of partisanship as to the state of society in Affghanistan; to manage the cause chiefly as a case they erred by want of familiarity with depending against the political agents the most prominent usages of eastern -Mr Ross Bell, Mr Loveday, Cap- economy. Lord Auckland was wrong, tain Outram, or Sir Alexander Burnes. only as whole masses of politicians Whilst others, which might seem a are wrong in Europe ; viz. by applyservice of desperation, hold their briefs ing European principles to communias the apologists of that injured young ties under feelings and prejudices sysgentleman, Akbar Khan. All, in tematically different. But his antashort, are controversial for a personal gonists were wrong as to palpable interest; and, in that sense, to be con- facts. troversial is to be partial. Now we, Thirdly, If we pass from the motive who take our station in the centre, to the execution of the motive, from and deliver our shot all round the the purpose to the means of effecting horizon, by intervals damaging every it, we are compelled to say that Lord order of men concerned as parties to Auckland's government adopted for the Affghan affair, whether by action, its primary means the most extravaby sanction, by counsel, or by subse- gant that could have been devised; quent opinion, may claim to be indif- viz. the making itself a party to the ferent censors. We have political financial torture of the land. attachments : we do not deny it; but Fourthly, When local insurrection our own party is hardly touched by had arisen, whether directed (as every the sting of the case.
body assumes) against the abuses of We therefore can be neutral, and we a system introduced by ourselves, or shall pursue our enquiry thus :—First, (as we assert) proper to the land, and What was the original motive for the hereditary to the morbid condition of Affghan expedition? We insist upon it, Affghan society - we shall expose that the motive generally assumed and the feeble and inadequate solution yet reasoned upon was absurd, in a double offered by any military guide for the sense puerile, as arguing a danger tragical issue of these calamities. not possible, and (if it had been pos- Kohistan, or particular cases, need not sible) not existing, and yet, after all, detain us; but, coming at once in not open to much condemnation from medias res as to Cabool itself, we most of those who did condemn it. shall undertake to show, that as yet They might object to the particular we have no true or rational account of mode of execution, but they were the causes which led to the fatal result. What!four thousand five hundred regu- forming temptations to conspiracy, lar troops, officered by Englishmen—a which Lieutenant Eyre, a principal number which, in the last eighty years, artillery officer on the spot, has failed had shown itself repeatedly able to to notice; and if he failed to notice them beat armies of sixty thousand men, in his book à fortiori, he must have armies having all the appurtenances failed to notice them officially, whilst and equipments of regular warfare- yet it would have been in time. There was this strong column actually unable were those things done in Cabool by to fight its way, with bayonet and the “ fantastic tricks” of men dressed field artillery, to a fortress distant only in authority, which, placed in their eighty miles, through a tumultuary proper light, go far to explain all the rabble never mustering twenty thou- horrors that ensued. We know not sand heads ? * Times are altered whether they made
66 the angels with us if this was inevitable. But weep," or rather made the devils the Affghans, you will say, are brave laugh, when hovering over Coord men, stout and stout-hearted, not Cabool: but this we know, that they timid Phrygian Bengalees. True- are likely to make the hair stand on but at Plassy, and again, forty years
end of all considerate men in this land after, at Assye, it was not merely of energetic foresight. Bengalees, or chiefly such, whom we Fifthly, It may be asked, What is the fought—they were Rohillas, Patans, moral of this dreadful affair? What Goorkhas, and Arabs; the three first inferences in the way of warning are being of Affghan blood, quite as good to be drawn from it? This is a topic as any Barukzye or Ghilzye, and the untouched by all the writers on the last better. No, no—there is more Affghan war. But undoubtedly the to tell. The calamity ascends to some Cabool reverse was not more fitted to elder source than the imbecility of fix attention as a judgment for the General Elphinstone, or the obstinacy past than as a warning for the future; of Brigadier Shelton. Others than not more as being (or being thought) the direct accomplices in that disaster the reaction from a public wrong, are included in its guilt; some of authorized by English councils, than those hitherto known only as the slain as a premonitory case, showing us who have suffered by the insurrection, what may be expected under the reand as the survivors who have de- currence of similar circumstances. nounced it. Amongst them lie some Circumstances altogether similar are of those impeached by the circum- not likely to recur in two centuries; stances. So far we might add little but circumstances only in part simito the satisfaction of the public; to lar, a commander-in-chief incapacisee the rolls of the guilty widening tated by illness, or a second-in-comwould but aggravate the sorrow of a mand blind with infatuation, might calamity which now it could do nothing easily recur in critical or dreadful to diminish. But oftentimes to know emergencies. Such circumstances did the persons concerned in a great dis- happen in the Nepaul campaigns ; aster, is a step to knowing something imbecility in more leaders than one, of its causes.
And this we will ven- as abject as that at Cabool. And ture to say—that, in defiance of all though it could not lead to the same professional pedantry incident to mi- awful results where there had not litary men and engineers, the reader been the same elaborate preparation is likely to be of opinion that we, at a of folly, and upon ground so much distance of 7000 miles, have pointed nearer to the means of rectification, out capital blunders, ensuring ruin and still it was then sufficient to tarnish
* “ Heads,"we say, because it is one amongst the grievous neglects of the military writers, that they have made it impossible for us to describe the Affghan soldiery under any better representative term, by giving no circumstantial account of the arms or discipline prevailing through the Affghan forces, the tenure of their service, &c. Many had matchlocks; but many, we presume, had only swords; and artillery the Affghans had none, but what they had been suffered to steal in Cabool.
the lustre of our arms for the time, by comparison with the tête exaltée and, under worse ciroumstances, would from some upper element of fire, or menace worse misfortunes. Neither limbo of the moon, who conceived this is this all; there are other infirmities sublime idea of leaping forward by a in our eastern system than the vicious thousand miles, to lay salt on the tail selection of generals.
of a possible or a conceivable enemy. But all the topics proper to this The enemy-the tail—the salt-these fifth head will fall more naturally were all in nubibus ; the only thing under a paper expressly applying it- certain was the leap, and the thousand self to India ; and for the present we niles. And then, having achieved shall confine ourselves to the previous this first stage on the road, why not four.
go on to St Petersburg, and take the I. And first, then, as regards the Czar by the beard? The enormity or original motive assigned for the Aff- this extravagance showed from what ghan expedition. What profit in pro- mint it came. Ever since we have spect, or what danger in reversion, harboured the Czar's rebels in Engmoved us to so costly an enterprise? land, there has been a craze possess We insist singly on its cost, which ing our newspaper press, that Russia usually proves a sufficient sufflamen in was, or might be, brewing evil against these days to the belligerent propen- India. We can all see the absurdity sities of nations. Cicero mentions the of such reveries when exemplified by advocate by name who first suggested our quicksilver neighbour France, the question of Cui bono, as a means of bouncing for ever in her dreams about feeling backwards in a case of murder insults meditated from the perfidious for the perpetrator. Who was it that England; but we are blind to the had been interested in the murder? image which this French mirror reBut the same question must be equally flects of our own attitude towards good as a means of feeling forwards to Russia. One hundred and fifty years the probable wisdom of a war. What ago, the incubus which lay heavy on was the nature of the benefit appre- the slumbers of England was the hended, and who was to reap it? The Pope; of whom Swift remarked, that answer to this very startling question, constantly his holiness was seen incog. in the case of the Affghan expedition, under one disguise or other, drinking stood thus for a long time on the part at gin-shops in Wapping, and clearly of our own unofficial press—that the proved to be spying out the nakedness object had been to forestall Russia, of the land. In our days the Pope driving with headlong malice en route has vanished to the rear of the Engfor the Iudus, by surprising her ad- lish phantasmagoria, and now lies vanced guard in Kohistan. Certainly, amongst the venuwe aucunya yaenude. if the surprise were all, there might But not, therefore, is England withbe something plausible in the idea. out her pet nightmare; and that If the Russians should ever reach nightmare is now the Czar, who Kohistan, we will answer for their doubtless had his own reasons lately being exceedingly surprised at finding for examining the ground about an English camp in that region for Windsor and Ascot Heath - fine the purpose of entertaining them- ground for the Preobasinsky dragoons. selves. In reality no lunatic projec- How often in this journal have we tor, not Cleombrotus leaping into been obliged to draw upon these the sea for the sake of Plato's Ely- blockheads, and disperse them sword sium, not Erostratus committing ar
in hand! How, gentlemen, (we son at Ephesus for posthumous fame, have said to them in substance,) if not a sick Mr Elwes ascending you must play the fool as alarmists, the Himalaya, in order to use the can you find no likelier towers for rarity of the atmosphere as a ran- menacing Calcutta with thunder som from the expense of cupping storms than those of arctic St Petersin Calcutta, ever conceived so awful burg; between which cities lies an a folly. Oh, playful Sir John Mande- interspace equal to both tropics? We ville, sagacious Don Quixote, modest remember, as applicable to this case, and ingenious Baron Munchausen ! a striking taunt reported by Dampier, ye were sober men, almost dull men, that when one bucanier, on the west