Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

from the Baron to herself: _“ Build because they were painted for partime a palace, in which nothing within cular situations in churches, and other or without shall be of transient fa- large buildings, where size was reshion or interest—a palace for my quired. But perhaps the greater part posterity and my people, as well as are not too large for private collecmyself, of which the decorations shall tions, which it is presumed the word be durable as well as splendid ; and cabinet implies. We do not, howshall appear one or two centuries ever, know of the subject of any of hence as pleasing to the eye and taste them, that is unfit for either national as they do now." " Upon this prin- or private gallery. If size be really ciple," said the Baron, looking round, the thing meant (the necessity not exand no doubt with the pride of genius, isting now as it did when churches “ I designed what you now see." were to be adorned), it is feared en

The Committee recommend the couragement will be given by a repurchase of pictures by British artists, commendation of the Committee to approved works, and that a portion of British artists to paint pictures of such the National Gallery should be de- a size and character as will, if they voted to them; « especially such fail of obtaining the distinction of pubpaintings as are more adapted by their lic purchase, leave them a very unstyle and subject to a gallery than a profitable speculation in the painter's cabinet." After the evidence we have hands. Size is, after all, a very amquoted, showing the entire inadequacy biguous merit, and certainly has many of the Gallery to its evident purposes, disadvantages. There cannot be a it will not be expected that either doubt of the propriety of the British room has been provided, or any efforts school having a place in a National whatever made to procure works of Gallery ; but we fear large dimenliving British artists. Is the country sions, especially with West's three to conclude that since the establish- thousand guineas cost of canvas-daubment of the National Gallery in 1824, ing before our eyes, which we do not the British artists have not produced know the private collector who would one picture worthy the admiration of risk his reputation by accepting. But the public, and that so utterly hope it is time to conclude this paper, which less is British art in the eyes of Mr we will do by recommending, that as Seguier the adviser, and the advised the National Gallery is evidently unor non-advised Committee of Taste, fit for a national collection ; and as that it has not been thought worth one half of the whole building is alwhile to take it into consideration in ready given up to the Royal Academy, the building of a National Gallery ? that the other half be given up to We venture to say, that both in the the British artists, and-and then there report and in the evidence an unne- will be no room for complaint of the cessary distinction is made (and too monopoly of the Royal Academicians. much stress laid upon it), between Either establish a rival society or sogallery and cabinet pictures. What cieties, or throw it open to the world difference should there be, unless it be of artists, under wise regulations, in size_scarce in subject-though the and let them make what use they report connects that with style ? Many can of it. We will resume this subof the most celebrated pictures by the ject. old masters were necessarily large,

DESPATCHES OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON,

NO. II.-ARMAMENT AT TRINCOMALEE.

The biographer of Wellington ne illustrate what Wellington has written cessarily labours under the disadvan- about himself. True it is, that the tage that the chief incidents he is call- most conspicuous and memorable of ed on to record, are already familiar his achievements have, in our imagi. to his readers. Let him shape his nation, become somewhat tainted and narrative as he may, the attraction of fly-blown by the vast number of literanovelty is one which no exercise of ry blue bottles always on the watch his ingenuity can supply. He finds for such prey, and who eagerly fasten no province which he can regard as on every occurrence which may expeculiarly his own. He attempts bio. cite the sympathy, or command the graphy, and involuntary writes his admiration of the public. Let us take tory. His dates are epochs ; his in. Waterloo as an example.* With the cidents, events; and, wishing only to details of that splendid victory every narrate the circumstances of a life, one is so familiar, that any further alhe records achievements of great and lusion to them, at the present day, imperishable interest. In short, he would almost be regarded as an imfinds it utterly impossible to separate pertinence. Times are changed. Its the personal from the public, and localities are no longer the object of forced, like Molière's Doctor, to as pilgrimage to“ gentlemen of the sume a new character, he becomes press." The very names of Hougohistorien malgré lui.

mont and Quatre Bras have become Into this predicament all who write caviare to the most omnivorous reader, about Wellington must necessarily and the word Waterloo, which, when fall. The category is one, however, duly emblazoned on a titlepage, could in which we hold ourselves to be only once sell a bad book, would now go partially included. We pretend nei. very far to ruin a good one. And why ther to be annalist nor biographer, our is this? Not assuredly because Engchief object being by no means to lishmen have ceased to regard that write about Wellington, but simply to memorable triumph with sentiments

* We have been favoured by the Rev. John Sinclair with the following letter -direct to this point from the Duke of Wellington to Sir John Sinclair :“ DEAR SIR,

“ Bruxelles, April 28, 1816. “ I have received your letter of the 20th. The people of England may be entitled to a detailed and accurate account of the battle of Waterloo, and I have no objection to their having it ; but I do object to their being misinformed and misled by the novels called relations, impartial accounts, &c. &c. of this transaction, containing the stories which curious travellers have picked up from peasants, private soldiers, individual officers, &c. &c., and have published to the world as the truth. Hougomont was no more fortified than La Haye Sainte; and the latter was not lost for the want of fortification, but by one of those accidents from which human affairs are never entirely exempt.

“I am really disgusted with and ashamed of all that I have seen of the battle of Waterloo. The number of writings upon it would lead the world to believe that the British army had never fought a battle before ; and there is not one which contains a true representation, or even an idea, of the transaction, and that is because the writers have referred themselves to the authorities above quoted instead of to the official sources and reports.

“ It is not true that the British army was unprepared. The story of the Greek is equally unfounded, as is that of Vandamme having 46,000 men. Upon this last point I refer you to Marshal Ney's report, who, upon this point, must be the best authority. Ever, dear sir, yours most faithfully,

WELLINGTON."

of pride, or become ungrateful to the siderable talents. The promptitude man whose vast genius achieved it, and decision of his measures in the but simply because they can now ex- Mysore war, have received merited pect to find in any work on the sub- applause from all writers on Indian ject merely a recapitulation of details affairs. The complete success, howwith which they are already intimate ever, in which it terminated, had the ly acquainted.

effect of whetting his appetite for miBut when Wellington lays open the litary operations so powerfully, that volumes of his secret correspondence, after the restoration of peace, visions the case becomes very different, or of conquest in other quarters seem rather is entirely reversed. The in- perpetually to have haunted his imaterest is then heightened by the very gination. At the period in question, circumstances to which we have al- there was a very small amount of force luded. The portions of the work in India, either naval or military, diswhich afford us the highest gratifica- posable for such objects, but this detion, are those connected with events, ficiency of offensive means had neither with the details of which we are most fa- the effect of damping his ardour for miliar, and which, by their magnitude the acquisition of fresh laurels, nor of and political importance, have left on inducing him to delay the execution our minds the most deep and durable of projects, which, when examined in impression. It is of course necessary detail, by no means appear to have to have understood and appreciated originated in “ absolute wisdom." the result, before we can derive plea- Allowing Lord Wellesley, theresure from the elucidation of the cir- fore, full credit for the general vigour cumstances in which it originated. and success of his administration, we

Though we have no doubt, there. fear it must be conceded that he had fore, that the portions of Wellington's his weak points. Few men are withcorrespondence more immediately con- out vanity, and certainly Lord Welnected with his great victories, are lesley was not of the number. The those which will most forcibly arrest world in those days thought highly of the attention of the public, yet there his merits, yet, in his own opinion, by are some interludes_if we may so call no means so highly as they deserved. them-of his life, which, though un. No man had a keener relish for praise, connected with success of any kind, or could be more solicitous to obtain and terminating in no remarkable re- it. Lord Wellesley's great object sult, are by no means without interest, consequently was to make an impresas illustrating the character of the sion. His faculties were continually man. The reader will enjoy many on the stretch to attract applause, by opportunities of observing how Wel. some striking and unanticipated result. lington thought and acted in the more Ordinary approbation was not enough brilliant periods of his career. It is for him ; he was not satisfied, unless our present object to exhibit him in a he succeeded in exciting surprise and position where, from the ignorance admiration by some brilliant coup and mismanagement of others, success d'état. In short, Lord Wellesley seems was impossible. The circumstances to have been affected by a sort of menconnected with the episode, to which tal St Vitus' dance. His activity never we are about to direct attention, are slumbered, and his restless impatience but little known, and but for the in- of inaction was continually goading terest arising from the correspondence him to enterprise. That his enterconnected with it, unworthy of being prises were not always judicious, will be more so. But the life of Wellington, made apparent by the details to which like the picture of a great master, is we now solicit the attention of the deserving of minute study, and the reader. portions involved in the deepest sha- The first of Lord Wellesley's prodow will be found, on careful exami- jects was to gain possession of the setnation, to be entitled to equal admira- tlement of Batavia. It appears that tion with those on which the artist has the surrender of Surinam had induced concentrated his light.

the King to imagine that the other There is no doubt that whatever Dutch settlements might be gained on Lord Wellesley may have become similiar conditions, and he accordingly since, he was, at the period of his go addressed a private and secret comvernment in India, a man of very con- munication to Lord Wellesley, in his individual capacity, authorizing him to of Lord Clive, however, and his repretake measures for inducing the settle- sentations of the danger to which any ment of Batavia to accept his Majes diminution of military force must exty's protection. There appears to pose the Company's possessions, were have existed not the smallest ground ineffectual. Lord Wellesley wrote for supposing that the Batavese con- immediately to Admiral Rainier, retemplated any change of allegiance. quiring the co-operation of the naval No wish for British protection had force at his disposal, and explaining been expressed by any portion of the his views in detail. The despatch inhabitants. No negotiations had informed the Admiral that it was by taken place; no understanding been no means his intention « to attempt to established with the authorities, and reduce or to retain Batavia by force," altogether so visionary was the pro- but merely to send there “ several ject of thus acquiring this important ships of war, with a force sufficiently colony, that it seems never to have numerous to furnish an ostensible jusbeen entertained by any of the King's tification to the Governor-General Ministers. We are warranted in so to surrender the colony into our concluding, both because not a syla hands." In case, however, the Golable relating to it is to be found in vernor-General should not think prothe published despatches of Lord Wel. per to take advantage of this “ostenlesley or Nir Dundas, and because, had sible justification," and should prefer it been otherwise, the recommendation retaining his own office and the colony, would have been transmitted to the then we are left to conclude that the Governor-General, through the regular Admiral—after expressing, of course, channel, instead of being made the sub. his regret and astonishment at the bad ject of a private and personal commu- taste of this perverse functionarynication from the King to Lord Wels was to put about ship and return lesley in his non-official character. whence he came. Altogether the affair is curious, as The service thus proposed was cershowing the keen interest felt bytainly not a brilliant one, and though George III. in the concerns even of Lord Wellesley endeavoured to his most distant dominions, and that heighten its attractions by assurances he occasionally exercised an influence that “ the warehouses at Batavia conon political measures of which his re- tained public property to a very large sponsible advisers were by no means amount," and that a considerable proaware.

portion of this might be expected to The suggestion of his sovereign was find its way into the pockets of the too much in accordance with the in- captors, the Admiral seems to have clinations of Lord Wellesley not to been by no means ambitious of enbe immediately acted upon, and he gaging in it. The intention of Lord determined, without delay, to fit out Wellesley was simply to invite the an expedition to Batavia. On an- Governor of Batavia to give up the nouncing this intention to Lord Clive, colony. Not a shot was to be fired, then Governor of Madras, that noble- and the guns could be of no use, and man expressed, in the strongest man. it is only when acceptance is enforced ner, his conviction of the imprudence by these, that a British Admiral is acand impolicy of the project. In a customed to send invitations to an letter to Colouel Wellesley on the sub- enemy. The reply of Admiral ject, he says Previous to the re- Rainier, therefore, was unfavourable ceipt of Lord Mornington's private to the wishes of the Governor-General, letter, I had, in a despatch of the 24th and the result was the postponement instant, fully stated to his Lordship of the expedition till “ a more convemy sentiments upon the inexpediency nient season.” and danger of further weakening our In truth the affair is utterly without present incomplete and divided army; interest, except from Colonel Weland I have not scrupled to give it as lesley's being in some measure conmy opinion, that in the actual state of nected with it. The command of the affairs in the Carnatic and Mysore, it military force amounting to 1200 men will be most for the public good to was offered to him, and the circumattempt the attainment of the object stance is worthy of record from the of his Majesty's commands by a naval high testimonies to his merit, and the blockade only." The remonstrances value of his services, which it drew

from Lord Clive and some of the you the advantage over other men, most distinguished men in India. The and in which I should find it not only former expresses himself thus in a difficult but impossible to replace you letter to Colonel Wellesley. “In to my satisfaction." sending you, therefore, the offer of the Under these circumstances the command of the land forces about to course adopted by Colonel Wellesley sail to the eastward, I have no hesita. may be anticipated. In Mysore he tion in recommending in the strongest held perhaps the most important comterms, and in requesting you—if I mand in India. Active operations may be permitted to do so to re- against Doondiah were about to commain in a situation which I have long mence, and he at once declined the felt and still feel that you fill with command of the troops destined for singular advantage to our own coun- Batavia, adding in his letter to Lord try, as well as to Mysore; a situation Clive, that no prospect of advantage or in which for the prosperous settlement credit to be gained elsewhere should of our new acquisitions, integrity and induce him to relinquish his command vigilance of conduct are indispensable, in Mysore at so interesting a period. and in which your acquired know. In the propriety of this decision it ledge and experience, especially in the appears from the following letter that event of active operations, must give Lord Wellesley acquiesced.

Marquis Wellesley to Colonel the Hon. A. Wellesley.

(Extract).

“ My Dear ARTHUB,

Fort William, 6th June, 1800. “ Lord Clive has pressed for your continuance in Mysore with an earnestness so honourable to you, that I think you cannot accept the command of the forces destined for Batavia ; indeed, I suspect that you could not quit Mysore at present. Your conduct there has secured your character and advancement for the remainder of your life, and you may trust me for making the best use of your merits in your future promotion.

“ Ever, my dear Arthur,” &c.

For several months after this period not at this time amount to ten thouwe discover no traces of the existence sand men." Alluding more particuof the Batavia project; but in the fol- larly to Batavia, in a subsequent part lowing October we find that it “is not of the despatch, he again expresses dead, but sleeping." At the same his conviction that any attempt on time we are informed that its slumber that colony in the existing circumis to remain unbroken for the present. stances of India would be utterly unIn a despatch, dated October 22d, to justifiable. The time was come, he Admiral Rainier, Lord Wellesley said, when “ the pursuit of any fowrites as follows. “I am decidedly reign conquest, however easy and adof opinion that the British Govern- vantageous, must yield to the necessity ment of India would not be justified of self defence," and he assures the in undertaking or prosecuting any ex- Admiral that “ the absence of our fleet pedition, the necessary effect of which and of any part of our disposable must be, to remove the strength of European force might be fatal to our your Excellency's squadron to any existence in India." considerable distance, to the eastward, Having thus made the Admiral fully for any long period of time. The aware of the danger and impolicy of same objection applies in a certain engaging in aggressive operations at degree, to the detachment of any part a conjuncture so critical, Lord Welof our military force in the present lesley proceeds to point out to him the conjuncture for the purposes of any measures which, in his judgment, are foreign conquests unconnected with most proper to be adopted. In the an increase of our means of defence first place, he strongly recommends against the probable point of danger. the blockade of Batavia to be immeThis objection applies most power- diately given up. In the second, he fully to any detachment of our Euro- states that, after much consideration, pean force; the whole disposable he had selected Trincomalee as the amount of which throughout India does station most favourable for protectin

« AnteriorContinuar »