Page images

Lawry Cole, aud brigadier-general able powers of reason and clo. W. D. Ackland, for their gallant quence. He praised his countryand meritorious conduct in the ac- men, (to use the language of the sa. tion with the French troops at Mai. cred Scriptures,) 6 with his whole da, on the Ath of July last, and to heart: he praised them also with his the oficers under their command. understanding.t” The action he

dr, That the thanks of that house said to which his motion referred, should be given to the non-commis. was one of the most distinguished poned officers and private soldiers exploits that ever appeared in the terring under the same, for their annals of this, or any other country. Erzrery and good conduct, and that Every man must be so thoroughly sen

bis rote should be signified to them sible of its character and importance, by the officers of the respective that it was altogether 'upnecessary

to dwell upon this subject. If he On the question being put, these ventured to say any thing upon it, estions were carried, nem. con. and it was merely from an impulse to in.

e thanks were ordered to be com, dolge his feelings. There was not Eunicated to the general officers in so much as one of the various views the usual way. The house then ad. in which this exploit could be con.

amed for the Christmas recess, till sidered, that did not rank it with Wednesday the 31st of December.. the proudest achievements of our

On the same day, December 22d, ancestors : that did not raise it to a saaks to the same commander, offi. level even with the memorable days cen, and men, were moved in the of Cressy, Poictiers, and Agipcourt. house of commods, agreeably to the One peculiar character which be. previous notice, by Mr. Windham longed to this distinguished service, We hare already had occasion to was, the accession it produced to botice how well qualified this gen- our stock of national glory, the esan is for appreciatiog, and ce, most valuable possession of a great brating the merit of such achieve- nation. Other services might cut a rents as the battle of Maida, in greater figure in respect of acqui. uring some account of a debate on a sition of territory, or other resourtation in the house of commons by ces, though not of a nature to call Yr. Jones, respecting a convention for the sort of honours and dis. 4 D. Arisch, and the alleged policy tinctions merited by achievements

not permitting the French to era of this kind. But in respect of re. ue Egypt. Mr. Windhon, on putation, it was singularly distin.

occasion, was naturally led to guished even in the midst of those Breate the mighty advantages we splendid and brilliant triumphs to and gained, in point of reputation, which this country had been so much by a series of engagements, parti. accustomed-of what importance it say that of March the 21st, near was to keep up a high character for Hlexandria. -The battle of Maida, military spirit; how necessary it

be that of Alexandria, was a great was to encourage it, with every ho. 254 2girating subject, and it was nourable distinction of public ap. treated by Dis. Windham with suit. probation and gratitude ; how impos

• Vol. XLIII. 1801. Hist. of Europe, p, 190.
+ Fsalan 47. 7.

sible it was for any great country to flattering to the enemy: but preserve its character and indepen. trusted that it had not gone far in dence without the possession of such the country, and was convinced t| feelings- These were topics on which it had not made any impression up it was unnecessary for bim to insist. the people or the army. Brit

But if erer there had been a pe. soldiers were strangers to any fe riod of the world when a :trong ini. ings that would prevent them, wh litary feeling was wanted, for the ever they came into 'contact w preservation of the greatness and the enemy on nearly equal teri glory of a country, it was the pre. from displaying British valour sent: it was this period, when the conspicuously by land as by sea. whole world had become as it were It was a general opinion that one universal camp; when all our naval exploits had been ach nations were occupied with military ved by a superiority of experien views, military services, and military discipline and skill. But he ca fame; when these military pursuits not subscribe to such a positi were substituted in place of the civil Many of those heroic achievem arts of life; when no country could which had raised the reputation be safe that did not cultivate them, our navy to the highest pitch of could no longer hope to continue its ry, had been performed by the pa independence.-It was not because valour of Britons, without the we had lost any part of the military of skill or discipline. Of this spirit or character of the country, scription, were the exploits i that he dwelt with such pride on the formed in boarding ships, in battle of Maida ; certainly not. This ting out ships from under 'the 1 country had never forfeited its just tection of batteries, and in var character for military superiority, other operations performed by vet, from the circumstances in which tish seamen on shore ; in every the war had hitherto been carried, of which the native valour of on, and the pre-eminence of our great countrymen was uniformly tri and glorious naval exploits, we had phant. There were no such ins not had the same opportunity of dis. ces to be found recorded in the tinguishing our arms, by land as by litary annals of the enemy. sea. The nations of this continent The enemy however had mainta too, scemed to have been broughtover and been atgreat pains to propa to the opinion, which they were very the idea, that they were as willing to adopt as some consolation superior to us by land, as we to themselves, that our military pow. to them by sca. And the deli er, was not proportionably so strong seemed to have prevailed on the by land as by sea. Now the imme- tinent. But the battle of N diate tendency and effect of the had broken the charm. Every glorious battle of Maida, would be, cumstance of its progress, the cor to meet these opinions, and correct of the officers, and the braver the error in which they originated, the men, had established the a

Many persons in this country ap. dency of British valour, and a peared to entertain, and in their tained that superiority which writings avowed, the opinion that the country possessed in all ages. troops of the enemy were superior proof of this, he could appeal t to British troops. This opinion was determination, as appeared by


gazette, of sir John Stuart to ad. this country, to the enemy, and to raace with his inferior force to the the world, of the comparative value attack of the enemy, even in the of British and French troops, ond strong position he occupied, if the thoroughly confirmed the decisive enemy had not advarced to meet superiority of British valour. There him. The issue of the action that never had been an action so com. tened, would prove to the chief of pletely caleulated in all its circun. the enemy, and to his troops, who stances to establish this truth ile arrogated to themselves a superiority could not more forcibly illustrate Over all other troops, that they are this fact, than hy adopiing the not invincible, as they would repreeloquent language of sir John Strie went themselves; that they could not art on the subject. “ It seemed," withstand the valour of British troops said the gallant general, in his dis, when fajrly opposed to them in patch, "as if the prowess of the two action. And yet, from whatever nations was to be brought to trial carses, certainly not for want of before the world." Certainly no ac. courage in their adversaries, the tion, under any circumstances could i etents of the late wars had contri. be better calculated for such a trial. bated to countenance the opinion of Iftwo sets of philosophers had set the French being invincible. They themselves to make an experiment conquered, because it was thought by doing away every thing extra. they could conquer.

neous to their process, they could not This victory, however, had dis. have succeeded more accurate y. solved the spell. It was obtained In the first part of the action, the in the face of Europe; under the two parties advanced against each eye of the nation for whose interest other with the bayonet; an operation the expedition was undertaken, and which, though much talked of, seldom bad proved to the world, in a man. took place between great bodies of Bez not to be concealed or disguised, men. All the circumstances that had that French troops are inferior to happened previously to the shock, British troops:

concurred to bring the courage and And here, Mr. Windham thought intrepidity of the two rival nations it necessary for him to take some pre- to the trial. The contest was de. caption for guarding against any pos. cided, not by any superiority of sible misconstruction of his meaning. corporeal strength, but by the pre. Nothing could be further from his dominance of personal intrepiáity. intention, than to represent this Both armies advanced firinly to the exploit at Maida, as exclusively charge until within half a yard of gorious for the reputation of the each other. In this moment of British arms. The whole of the perilous trial, British resolution and campaign of Egypt was equally con. valour held out, while the enekiy ricuous for the lustre it cast upon shrunk back with panic from the the military character of the British terrible contest.- It is not im. nation.—The battle of Maida con- proper to state here, that hardly any densed into a single action, all the of our men were wounded by the Spe merits that had been displayed bayonet.--He ha i to apologize to in every operation during that glo. the house for having trespassed so jous campaign. It was a lesson to long on their attention ; but really. VOL. XLIX.


the theme was so pleasing, that he have dwelt so much on the advan. could not refrain from dwelling upon tages that resulted from the battle it with peculiar satisfaction.--He But the glory that had been acquired shou'd not now detain the house any in it, he held to be of infinitely longer than whilst he could state greater importance, than any imme some circumstances respecting the diate benefits that had been derived action, which were not generally from the action. This it was tha known. By these circumstances it would carry the effect of the brillian would appear, that the victory had exploit beyond the single instance been more decisive, and the defeat by restoring the military renown a of the enemy more complete than was this country, which had been calle at first supposed. Sir John Stuart in question. He wbo gave glory t had correctly stated the amount of his country, gave that which was fa his own force as under 5,000 men. more valuable to it, than any acqui But, when he wrote his dispatch, he sition whatever. Glory alone wa had not the means of ascertaining not to be taken away by time or ac with accuracy the force of the enemy. cidents. Ships, territories, or po In that dispatch it had been stated sessions, might be taken from at nearly 7,000 men, but it should country, but the mode of acquirir have been stated at nearly 8,000 them could never be forgotten. TH men. This fact had been discovered acquisitions that were the conse from returns found upon the persons quence of the glorious days of Cresi of some of the officers that had been and Poictiers, had long since passe killed. The next circumstance he into other hands : but the glory had to mention, respected the amount those illustrious atchievements, st of the enemy's loss. Sir John Stu- adhered to the British name, ar art stated the numbers killed, at was immortal. It was that fine et 700. But it had been afterwards tract, that pure essence which ei ascertained by observations made on dured to all ages: whilst the r the spot, that the number killed in siduum, the grosser parts, passi the action amounted to 1,300. away, and were lost in the cour Fifteen hundred prisoners had been of time. On this ground it was tha the immediate fruit, and a great in his opinion, the victory of Mail number more had falien into our would stand as high as any explo hands from the consequences of the upon the records of our milita action. So that thus, in killed, atchievements, and that the glory wounded, and prisoners, a number general Stuart, and his bra of the enemy had been disposed of, army, would descend to the late nearly equal to the whole of the posterity, unless the country shor British force.

at any time sink into such a state Another consequence of the at. degradation, that the memory chievement was, that it had set the former glory would be reproach Calabrians free from the presence of existing degeneracy.-Even in su the enemy, and had totally broken a state of degradation, he was sur op the force of general Regnier in that such an instance as this, w those provinces, which amounted to calculated to rouse a nation to em 1,300 men.

late the exploits of its ancestors. , It was not perhaps necessary to Mr. Windham having moved t

game resolutions as those moved in whatever labours sustained, or what. the house of peers by lord Grenville; ever dangers encountered, they will

Sir John Doyle rose to second find themselves amply repaid by the the motions. --Having witnessed, he approbation of a beloved sovereign, said, upon many trying occasions, and the approbation of a brave and the zeal, discipline, skill, and cou- free people.--I rely upon the good ræ, in this instance, so brilliantly feelings of the house to pardon this displayed, by that gallant officer and effusion so naturally drawn forth, his brare companions, he could not and which if I were willing, I am reconcile it to his feelings to confine unable to suppress.”—The motions Linsell to a passive and cold assent. were agreed to nem, con The thanks of parliament were never Lord Howick presented the pa. better deserved, nor would they be pers relative to the late negociation say where more highly prized. “I with France.—The day fixed for know, sir, so well the feelings of taking them into consideration, was those gallant men, that whatever Monday the 2d of January. raivations they may have endured,

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »