Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

ano avut urgences cuvun navc UCCu ciragita to rana in ne h of June, when the climate might have proved more congenial on the

to the British troops. Here was a fatal loss of time, which no efforts

part of the illustrious Duke could repair, although no commander ever evinced more anxiety in the discharge of his important duties, and greater resources of mind to meet the difficulties with which he had to contend than his Royal Highness : the only practicable object was the capitulation of the Dutch fleet; and it is the opinion of many, that the operations of the army should have finished after that event was accomplished. While separating, therefore, the policy of this expedition from the command with which the Duke of York was invested, every candid mind must allow, that, under the many trying circumstances in which he was placed, his Royal Highness displayed, on every occasion, the talent and ability of a most able and accomplished general. Whatever disappointment was felt by the country on the failure of this attempt to relieve Holland from the subjugation of France, and in whatever degree the measures of government were criticised, there yet seemed to be but one sentiment as to the conduct of the Duke of York, whose eager desire to serve his country had alone induced him to accept the command of this ill-fated expedition.

At a future period we shall take an opportunity of entering more minutely into the history of the expedition, and the causes of its failure; as far, however, as we are disposed at present to offer an opinion, the operations were planned under au impression entertained by the British Government that the Dutch would eagerly embrace the opportunity of freeing themselves from the yoke of France on the appearance of a British army, who had certainly no hostile intentions, nor any mercenary views in regard to the iudependence of Holland. The inhabitants, however, were of too phlegmatic a character, to avail themselves of the occasion, and have now to mourn the fatal supineness with which they beheld the efforts of Great-Britain for their deliverance, and to restore the hereditary Prince of Orange to his dominions.

Returned to England, the Duke of York again devoted the whole of his time to the amelioration of the military system, in which he succeeded to his most sanguine wish, and it must be universally admitted, that owing to the many wise regulations which have been issued by His Royal Highness, the British army at this moment presents a model of perfection to every other military nation in the world.-By this wise consolidation of our military force, the British

upon

empire has attained the most distinguished rank in the political world, and alone presents an insuperable bar to the boundless ambition of the French Chief, whose policy it was, while admitting the value of our navy, to depreciate in the eyes of Europe the military resources of Great Britain; but recent events have contributed to place the exploits of the army on the same splendid pre-eminence her naval heroes have so justly acquired.

From the proud feeling inspired by this last consideration, we turn with regret to state, that in the midst of the cares attendant his official duties, and while exerting bis splendid talents to increase the glory of Great-Britain by the consolidation of her vast military resources, an attempt was preparing to deprive his country of the services of this accomplished prince.—A becoming deference to the respectable assembly where certain charges originated and were allowed to be exhibited against the Duke of York, compels us to forbear making those observations which a dispassionate view of the conduct of the principal performers excites in our bosoms. On this painful occasion the Duke of York behaved with the greatest magnanimity, and finding that the efforts of some individuals had succeeded in placing his actions in a most unfavourable point of view, His Royal Highness waited upon His Majesty and tendered his resignation. Few events in the life of our revered Sovereign were of a nature to have wounded his feelings so deeply : he beheld, in this sad moment the idolized son, whose every exertion had been made for the security of his crown and advancement of his kingdoin's military glory, driven by a keen sense of injured honor to resign the high situation which no one had ever previously filled with such distinguished ability.

While the country at large deplored the retirement of the Royal Duke, the army deeply participated in the general feeling; but the habits of subordination to which they were accustomed, condemned them to bear their misfortune in silence; confident, however, that the time was approaching when the mists of prejudice would vanish before a conviction of the truth. That day at length arrived when the wishes of the country at large were consulted by the illustrious Heir Apparent, and the Duke of York once more consented to fill the appointment to which his extraordinary merits 50 justly entitle him.

For the benefit of those who have not had the advantage of a personal intercourse with His Royal Highness, it may be proper to add a few concluding remarks.

Impressed with the necessity of paying the most unremitting attention to his official duties, the Duke of York is regular in his attendance at the Horse Guards, and the greater part of every day is devoted to business. Although the oficers at the head of the several departments of the army are all men of eminent talent and experience, yet every arrangeinent, even the most minute, must be submitted to His Royal Highness previous to its being adopted; and the regulations issued from time to time, principally emanate from his own enlightened mind. Tuesdays and Fridays are the days on which His Royal Highness gives audience, and as officers of every rank are allowed to approach his person, and state their business, the Duke of York while receiving their communications with the most winning condescension and polite affability, is enabled to form an estimate of the talents of those who address him; and the frequency of his levees, and the number of officers who are encouraged to pay their personal respects, by the gracious reception of the Commander-in-Chief, give full employment to his discriminating powers.--Hence there are very few, if any, officers in the army, who are not personally known to the Duke of York, and their merits justly appreciated.The selection of His Majesty's Aides-deCamps is alone a sufficient proof of the anxiety manifested by His Royal Highness for the good of the service, as the officers nominated to this most honourable distinction are indebted for their appointment principally to their military talents and conduct in the field.

We cannot take leave of the Duke of York without expressing our most fervent hope, that, His Royal Highness may long continue to watch over the interests of the army, which under his able direction has arrived at a degree of improvement unprecedented in the annals of any other military nation in the world,

MAJOR-GENERAL ROBERT CRAWFORD.

THE task of a biographer is rendered highly grateful and pleasing to his feelings, when he reviews the conduct of a departed soldier, whose life has been spent with glory in bis country's cause; and such are our sensations in recording the services of the late MajorGeneral Robert Crawford.--This gallant and distinguished officer entered the army in the year 1779, at the early age of fifteen, and served four years as a subaltern in the 25th regiment of foot. His early genius, firmness, daring spirit, and candour, obtained the patronage and friendship of his colonel, the late Sir Charles Stewart, which were extended to him in consequence of the perseverance he evinced for the attainment of a thorough knowledge in the different branches of military science. Having been promoted to a company when nineteen, he attended the reviews at Potsdam, and visited the principal theatres of the wars on the Continent, where he devoted his time to the prosecution of military studies, and pursued them with such close application and unremitting ardour, as to become inferior to no officer in Europe in military tactics, or less deeply read in military history. During the three years he remained on the Continent, he collected a store of knowledge proportionate to the zeal he displayed.

On his return from the Continent, Captain Crawford became desirous for some active employment on foreign service: we consequently find him immediately after, employed in India under Lord Cornwallis.--Here he served two campaigns, commanding the 75th regiment as eldest Captain, and distinguished himself wherever an occasion presented. On returning to England in 1794, Colonel, now Lieutenant-General, Charles Crawford, who was employed by the British government on a military mission to the Austrian armies, expressed a wish for the assistance of his brother, and they served together during the campaigns of 1795, 1796, and 1797. Lieutenant-General Charles Crawford being severely wounded, this gallant officer had the superintendance of the mission entrusted to bim, in the discharge of which, a further occasion was afforded for the exercise of those splendid talents and literary abilities nature had endowed him with, and which he had so richly cultivated.

« ForrigeFortsett »