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gratifying to find no French disparagement of the British hero; no slur cast upon his good faith ; no depreciation of his military skill, of his ready resource, of his daring enterprise, or of his stubborn courage. It is little to us that he wanted the graces of a courtier, and that dying young, he had failed to learn that chastened reserve which is the best foil to the bright jewel of valour: it is enough that he had proved himself to have the true genius of command, and that he died performing an exploit seldom surpassed, fighting an opponent worthy of him.
Montcalm, this opponent, was his superior in the lighter graces of life, and his equal in intrepidity. But he seems to have been his inferior in the qualities of a consummate general: he showed neither unfailing sagacity nor sleepless vigilance. Though warned by previous experience, he permitted the Indian massacre of the British, not through inhumanity but through negligence. He was sleeping while the Indians were slaying: he was dreaming of glory while his fair name was being tarnished. Two years later he allowed Wolfe to outmanæuvre him by the feigned attacks of his fleet. He trusted that the Heights of Abraham were inaccessible under the protection of a steep, rugged path, with a blockhouse at the top and a sentinel below. But the sentinel was befooled and secured : the British scaled the ravine : the guard of the blockhouse slumbered and were surprised. A consummate general employs guards who do not slumber, and at critical moments makes assurance doubly sure by visiting his outposts.
Some of Montcalm's countrymen have blamed him for attacking Wolfe posted on the heights. If the attack had succeeded, the same critics would have praised him for his fortunate audacity. Are we to take success as the unfailing test of wisdom ?
Wolfe however, was crowned with success. If Montcalm could now speak, he would acknowledge the superiority of his antagonist's exploit, and might say, as Hannibal of Scipio, as Louis XIV.'s marshals of Marlborough, as Villeneuve of Nelson, as Napoleon of Wellington,
“ Great must I call him, for he conquered me."
In fit commemoration of this illustrious battle, there has been erected in the Governor's garden at Quebec, a monument, not to Wolfe alone, nor to Montcalm alone, but to both the heroes jointly. We may apply to this memorial the lines of Scott upon the great statesmen Pitt and Fox, who after the fitful fever of long political warfare, sleep side by side at Westminster.
Drop upon Fox's grave a tear,
A MS. parchment-covered book of 216 pages, containing “General Wolfe's Orders," was given by the Duke of Wellington to the late Captain Payne of the Grenadier Guards (a Waterloo man); and has been entrusted to me by his son Mr. Edward J. Payne of Birmingham.
The first Order was dated 22 Dec. 1748, and was addressed “to a Regiment on their arrival in Scotland.” It comes from Head Quarters, and instructs the regiment that it is to assist the Excise and the Custom House in the execution of their duties : to make inquiries about disaffected and suspected persons; and to obtain warrants for the apprehension of attainted and excepted persons. It denounces the spirit of Jacobitism and disaffection kept alive by “Papists and Nonjuring Ministers." It adds that the Highlanders have had full notice “that they must quit the Plaid, Philabeg or Little Kilt on Christmas Day, as the Act directs.”
The first of Wolfe's own Orders is dated Stirling February 12, 1749. He had then the rank of Major.
“The Major commends very particularly to the men to keep their Quarters clean, as he is convinced that nothing conduces more to their health.”
Wolfe is not sparing of strong language. “In order to prevent all future attempts towards passing any false money, the sentence of the Court Martial to be put in execution against Samuel Hodgkinson and Watkiss the Drummer. The Major hopes it will effectually deter all men from such infamous and villainous practices : and he is determined to discourage as much as possible, every act of knavery that may tend in the least to the discredit of the Corps."
The private soldiers were allowed to work at a trade and earn wages : but the practice required regulating. Every such workman is to be reported to the Major: he is to attend the reviews: he is not to show himself in the streets with a leathern apron on, nor with a handkerchief about his neck: he is not to be a coalheaver, or a scavenger, or a drudge on board ship. There came an order that 300 men should be sent to labour on the roads, from “the Pass of Lancey to the Head of Locheam”: all paviours, carpenters, smiths, miners, and bricklayers were to go, and to give up their private engagements.
In 1750, Wolfe has been promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel. He makes many complaints of the men's vices, and drunkenness in particular: he denounces two of his men suspected of robbery. "The Colonel was in hopes that these practices were at an end, by the number of villains that he had been forced to whip out of the Regiment.
he will contribute all in his power to hang the first rascal that shall be found guilty.” Next year,
Wolfe has similar troubles. Some of his men taking the part of the mob (reminding one of the Porteus riot) had insulted officers of justice and beaten the executioner: they joined with the boys and idle vagabonds to treat the released women with the utmost inhumanity."
“The Court-Martial has judged the crime of Rigby the Grenadier to be of so pernicious a nature that they have sentenced him to receive 600 lashes. His youth and former good behaviour are the only considerations that could induce the Lieut.-Colonel to pardon him.”
In 1753 there are the same complaints. “The Lieut.-Colonel is very sorry to be convinced that the severity he has been forced to use does not deter many of the men from the most atrocious crimes."
This year (1751) the Regiment is removed to Warwick, and appears to be quartered in the Castle. “Hazle of Captain Maxwell's Company is not hereafter to be suffered to go without the Castle Gates. The Lieut.-Colonel does not mean by this to prevent his deserting, but to punish him for his insolence. He desires that Hazle and Findass who have already been condemned for treason,
may know as well as those who have been in the service of France, or desire to be there, that he sets no value upon them, and that he had much rather they were in the Irish Brigades than in the army of Great Britain. But if hereafter he hears that any deserter threatens to desert, he'll be immediately whip’t out of the Regiment with every mark of infamy, contempt, and disgrace.”
1754. A soldier is executed for desertion.
1755, Jan. 21. Anticipation of the Seven Years' war, which began in the next year. Wolfe warns the soldiery against playing the coward by desertion. Sir John Mordaunt reviews the Regiment and expresses his satisfaction in the strongest terms. Afterwards, at Gravesend, the men, being denied their proper quarters, resigned themselves to lie on straw. Wolfe is “extremely pleased with this sort of behaviour, and thinks it manly and soldierlike."
But “the Lieut.-Colonel had heard that some mean rascals have agreed with the magistrates or civil officers in their quarters to marry infamous women for pecuniary considerations, to the great dishonour and discrediting of the troops. If ever anything of this sort comes to his knowledge, he will never forgive the offender, nor consider him in any light than as the last and most contemptible of scoundrels."
In Oct. 1755 the Regiment had marched to the Coast of Kent to assist in the defence of the country.”
“No man is to leave his platoon or abandon his colours for a slight wound : while a man is able to do his duty, and can stand and hold his arms, it is infamous to retire."
“A soldier that takes his musquet off his shoulder, and pretends to begin the battle without order, will be put to death that instant. The cowardice of one or two men is not to put a whole battalion in danger. A soldier that quits his ranks or offers to fly is to be instantly put to death."
If intrenchments or redoubts are to be defended obstinately, the fire is to begin when the enemy is at about 200 yards; and when the troops perceive that they endeavour to get over the parapet, they are to fix their bayonets and make a bloody resistance.” (Bayonets I believe, were at this time fixed inside the barrel and not by an outside socket.)