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people for whom they were intended. During | promptitude and order in providing and transthe campaign there were examples of the usual mitting everything of which a besieging army, iniquities of dishonest contractors, who supply liable to repeated attacks and occupying an vamped-up boots and shoes, damaged or in- exposed situation in a rigorous climate, could ferior provisions, shoddy cloth, or bad forage; need to sustain it. The Czar Nicholas had not but there were plenty of stores which were used words without meaning if he really said good if any proper means of transport and de- that our troops would succumb to Generals livery had existed. The truth was that we had January and February. The climax of misery been long unprepared for a war of this kind, and desolation seemed to have been reached and though after a time our official depart- when on the very eve of abundant provisions ments began to work into regular order, and and shelter, food and clothing, reaching our the evils of which the whole nation was com- camp, along with the large contingent of men plaining were remedied, our ample resources, who were sent out to increase the forces, a the liberal expenditure of money for the sup- violent and destructive storm swept the Black port of the troops, and even the intensity with Sea, wrecked the vessels which contained the which popular feeling encouraged the pro- comforts that were so eagerly longed for as secution of the war, were to a great extent they lay off the harbour, and expended its cancelled by the almost hopeless confusion and fury on the heights, tearing away tents, snapapparent incapacity of the land transport and ping their poles like twigs, carrying off stores commissariat services in the Crimea. On and baggage, and rendering it impossible either the 20th of November it was understood that to light fires or to serve out rations to the not only had the huts been ordered, but the starving men, who, in a deluge of rain and stores of clothing and fuel had been already amidst the confusion of a hurricane, had little sent out and received, and yet during the or no protection. When the storm was over, rigorous winter, for many weeks afterwards, having neither proper shelter nor food, they the poor fellows were encamped amidst the were obliged to lie down to rest as best they storm, the wind, and the snow upon the could, in mud trampled into a quagmire by bleak heights of that inhospitable shore, with the hoofs of frightened animals and the feet scanty unpalatable rations, worn and tattered of those who had struggled to save all that clothes, only the most meagre materials for could be snatched from the general wreck. making fires, and the prospect of an entire It was a time of dreadful confusion and disfailure of the small supply of wood which may, and it may only be faintly imagined could be obtained from the surrounding what was the condition of the sick and country. In an extreme irony of misfor- wounded who were exposed on those heights tune, newspapers from England reached the above Inkerman with only rags or coverlids officers' quarters containing reports of the to protect them. Many deaths were attributed medical comforts, the luxuries, the fur coats to the sufferings caused by this fearful night, and woollen wraps, the savoury meats and when there was neither help nor protection compact cooking-stoves and fuel which had from the cold furious blast and the driving been supplied to the soldiers who were still rain. The story, told with graphic details by labouring in hunger and cold at the trenches the correspondents of London newspapers, in the bitter knowledge that not one article in roused a feeling at home which took the form all the tempting catalogue had come to hand. of bitter accusations against the government.
It should be remembered that the executive had only continued, with some improvements, the system which they had found in operation when they were appointed to office, and that it broke down, or rather was found to be ineffectual, under the strain of a great struggle under conditions which demanded the greatest
It would have been difficult to exaggerate the extent of the disaster, nor could anyone deny that some of its worst results were to be attributed to the disorder, the divided authority, and the blundering delay that had prevented the unloading of vessels, which were lost with their cargoes, or so damaged that they
CONTINUED BLUNDERING OF THE TRANSPORT SERVICE.
had to leave for immediate repairs. magnificent steamer, The Prince, of 2700 tons burden, only recently purchased for the transport service, was laden with stores, a great part of the winter clothing intended for the men, and provisions and medicines especially designed for the sick and wounded. She had conveyed a large body of troops, but the harbour was already crowded, and before she could discharge her cargo she was ordered outside. During the fury of the gale additional anchors were cast out, but the chain-cables not having been secured, ran out at the hawseholes and she was driven on to the rocks, and there dashed to pieces, the whole of her valuable freight being lost. Only a midshipman and six of the crew escaped, the rest, including some officers of the army and of the medical staff, perished. The vessel and her almost invaluable cargo represented a money loss of at least half a million. Another ship, the Resolute, freighted with munitions of war and carrying 700 tons of gunpowder, met a similar fate, and all on board were drowned. Thirty-two English transports, many of them of great size and value, were wrecked either on the steep cliffs of Balaklava and the Chersonese promontory, or on the coast of Eupatoria, and many of them were burned to prevent their falling into the hands of the Cossacks, who galloped down to the shore and were said to have fired on the seamen who clung to the rigging of the ill-fated vessels. Two of the finest ships in the British navythe Agamemnon and the Sanspareil-were stranded, but were afterwards got off. French transports were of smaller size and therefore could seek shelter in the bays and creeks, where they lay off the French position, but most of the transports that were saved were either dismasted or otherwise injured. Above 1000 lives were lost, and the value of the shipping destroyed was estimated to be over £2,000,000. It was a fearful calamity, heightened by the knowledge that the forces to which those ships had brought the means of relief were perishing for want of food, exposed to the fatal cold of that fearful gale by which even the coverings wherein the sick and the helpless endeavoured to wrap themselves were
carried away. A number of soldiers were found dead in the trenches. Horses perished of cold and starvation. The mortality among the wounded was terrible. What were the sufferings of the Russians who were on the march across the steppes of the Crimea and Southern Russia was of course never known.
But even under these appalling conditions the spirit and determination of our troops survived. For some time the disorder and bungling continued, but stores soon began to arrive. All kinds of absurd mistakes continued to be made, though a better system was at length established. Letters coming from the camp as well as the reports of Sir Edmund Lyons, who had gone out to the Crimea, testified to the undaunted and hopeful courage of the allied armies; but the personal correspondence from officers and soldiers, as well as the accounts sent by the representatives of the newspapers, and especially those of the Times' correspondent, also exposed the incapability of the authorities. One of the private letters of the time told how a vessel arrived at Balaklava loaded with boots and shoes. Having no bill of lading, and the cargo being merely stated as, shoes for the army, the ship was ordered out of the harbour to wait her turn. A few days afterwards an order came from Lord Raglan to obtain a vessel to go to Constantinople instantly on a most pressing service. This ship was consequently ordered to proceed to Constantinople with Lord Raglan's agents without unloading. When she had nearly reached that place one of the agents imparted in confidence to the captain that he was going to Constantinople to purchase boots and shoes, the army being in a great state of destitution for want of a supply. The captain replied, "Why, my vessel is filled with boots and shoes!" Upon which the ship was put immediately about and returned to Balaklava.
This is almost a ludicrous example of what had been going on, and such revelations of inefficiency aroused the anger of the country. People could not, at a time of such strong excitement, make sufficient allowance for the rapidity with which the war had been undertaken, nor for the want of experience which prevented the executive from fulfilling the
immediate demands that were made upon its resources. In a word, vicissitudes which would have taxed all the energies of a military dictator with great administrative genius, were not to be instantly met by the uncertain efforts of an unaccustomed department, with a few inapplicable traditions. But amidst the Litterness of popular feeling there was an element well calculated to sustain the hopes and determination of the troops. Not only was increased taxation for the support of the war borne without reluctance, but the funds of the government were to be supplemented by direct contributions from people who were willing and even eager to subscribe for the relief of the army in the Crimea by private consignments of the accessories so urgently needed. Early in October a letter written by Sir Robert Peel to the Times led to a subscription list being opened by the proprietors of that journal for the relief of the sick and wounded in the Crimea. In less than a fortnight the sum received amounted to something like £15,000, and the Times sent out a commissioner to convey the medicines and necessary comforts which had been purchased. The relief was timely, and the effect of the prompt benevolence was so thoroughly appreciated that when the subscription list was afterwards reopened above £10,000 was added to the original fund. Before this had been all expended, that is to say, about the middle of October, a royal commission, under the immediate direction of Prince Albert, was issued for the establishment of what was known as "the Patriotic Fund," for "relief of the orphans and widows of soldiers, sailors, and marines who may fall in the present war." So warmly was this accepted by the nation that half a million was received before the end of the year; bazaars, sales of works of art, concerts, and various other means of maintaining it were adopted, and even the elder children of the royal family contributed to the art sales, drawings of a creditable, but of course of a juvenile character, reminding one somewhat of these "Skelt's theatrical characters," representing knights and other figures intended for exhibition on the toy stages which were then still popular. The "Patriotic Fund" eventu
ally rose to above a million and a quarter, and separate subscriptions were made for sending additional chaplains to the seat of war and for other purposes directed to the comfort and relief of the troops who were to pass a hard and unusually inclement winter in that desolate place.
The appeals made for contributions to this fund had incidentally the effect of again exciting a great deal of animosity against many of the leading members of the peace party, and particularly against Mr. Bright, who was its chief exponent. There can be little doubt that while holding the views which they professed these men could not with strict consistency subscribe to any fund which even indirectly served to perpetuate war; but neither is it surprising that the temper of the general bulk of the people resented their refusal to join in what was regarded as a national act of beneficence directed to the relief of those who had a great and even a permanent claim. Mr. Bright and those who thought with him, professed to regard war as so evil a thing that they could not justify any attempt which by mitigating its immediate results might tend to maintain it as a recognized alternative. They had denounced from the first the whole policy which had led to the invasion of the Crimea and all the sufferings which they were now asked to help to alleviate, and they had been abused, ridiculed, and anathematized. To yield to this outburst of practical enthusiasm would be regarded as a desertion of the principles which they had upheld against the common voice, and they might be justly taunted with having abandoned their beliefs. Eight months before this time Mr. Bright had stood up in the House of Commons and opposed the French alliance which was then rising in popular favour. "You are boasting your alliance with France," he had said. "Alliances are dangerous things. It is our alliance with Turkey which has drawn us into this war. I would not advise alliances with any nation, but I would cultivate friendship with all nations. I would have no alliance that might drag us into measures which it is neither our duty nor our interest to undertake. By our present alliance with ·
OPPOSITION TO THE PATRIOTIC FUND.
Turkey, Turkey cannot make peace without the consent of England and France, and by this boasted alliance with France we may find ourselves in great difficulties at some future period of these transactions."
It is possible that some of his hearers remembered these words when we were afterwards so nearly embarrassed by the Emperor of the French in his policy towards Italy while he was scheming for the acquisition of Savoy and Nice-a matter which, as we shall see by-and-by, was very near leading us into a serious difficulty. It was a peculiarity of Mr. Bright's utterances, that, however extreme may have been the views which he professed and however repugnant the general opinion was to his conclusions, he frequently struck out some luminous and almost prophetic warning which his followers, at all events, remembered long afterwards, and which told among thoughtful men who were opposed to him. This faculty often gained for him the deep attention of those who were inevitably averse to his views, and who, at the time of which we are now speaking, were to be found in the ranks of his bitterest antagonists. Another attraction, among men, was his courage, or rather that quality which has on some eminent occasions distinguished Mr. Gladstone-the indifference to popularity itself when a deep conviction or a clearly-recognized principle was involved. "I am told that the war is popular," said Mr. Bright on the occasion to which we have just referred, "and that it is foolish and eccentric to oppose it. I doubt if the war is very popular in this house. But as to what is or has been popular I may ask, What was more popular than the American war? There were persons lately living in Manchester who had seen the recruiting party going through the principal streets of that city, accompanied by the parochial clergy in full canonicals, exhorting the people to enlist to put down the rebels in the American colonies. Where is now the popularity of that disastrous and disgraceful war, and who is the man to defend it? But if honourable members will turn to the correspondence between George III. and Lord North on the subject of that war they will find that the king's chief argument for continuing the
war was that it would be dishonourable in him to make peace so long as the war was popular with the people. Again, what war could be more popular than the French war? Has not the noble lord (Lord John Russell) said not long ago in this house that peace was rendered difficult if not impossible by the conduct of the English press in 1803? For myself, I do not trouble myself whether my conduct in parliament is popular or not. I care only that it shall be wise and just, as regards the permanent interests of my country; and I despise from the bottom of my heart the man who speaks a word in favour of this war, or of any war which he believes might have been avoided, merely because the press and a portion of the people urge the government to enter into it. I recollect a passage of a distinguished French writer and statesman which bears strongly upon our present position; he says: "The country which can comprehend and act upon the lessons which God has given it in the past events of its history, is secure in the most imminent crisis of its fate.' The past events of our history have taught me that the intervention of this country in European wars is not only unnecessary but calamitous; that we have rarely come out of such intervention having succeeded in the objects we fought for; that a debt of £800,000,000 sterling has been incurred by the policy which the noble lord approves, apparently for no other reason than that it dates from the time of William III.; and that not debt alone has been incurred, but that we have left Europe at least as much in chains as before a single effort was made by us to rescue her from tyranny. I believe if this country seventy years ago had adopted the principle of non-intervention in every case where her interests were not directly and obviously assailed, that she would have been saved from much of the pauperism and brutal crimes by which our government and people have alike been disgraced. This country might have been a garden, every dwelling might have been of marble, and every person who treads its soil might have been sufficiently educated. We should indeed have had less of military glory. We might have had neither Trafalgar nor Waterloo; but we should have
set the high example of a Christian nation, free in its institutions, courteous and just in its conduct towards all foreign states, and resting its policy on the unchangeable foundation of Christian morality."
The enthusiasm evoked by the institution of the Patriotic Fund had reached Manchester, and as their representative in parliament Mr. Bright's constituents invited him to take part in a meeting for the purpose of raising money to augment the resources of the charity. He positively refused to contribute to remove the evils which had resulted from a war which he had emphatically declared to be unnecessary. In a letter explaining his position he said, "My doctrine would have been non-intervention in this case. The danger of the Russian power was a phantom; the necessity of permanently upholding the Mohammedan rule in Europe an absurdity; our love for civilization, when we subject the Greeks and Christians to the Turks, is a sham; and our sacrifices for freedom, when working at the behests of the Emperor of the French and coaxing Austria to help us, are pitiful imposture. The evils of non-intervention were remote and vague, and could neither be weighed nor described in any accurate terms." There was no mistaking this avowal. He had not changed his sentiments, nor had he concealed them, when Manchester elected him as the representative of opinions which at the time of his election had received its adhesion. Many of his admirers among the peace party supported him in his determination, and also refused to contribute. The Herald of Peace-a publication representing their opinions-stated the conclusions at which they had arrived after a meeting had been held to consider their position. "It does not seem to us possible to take part in this movement without directly contributing to feed and further the system by which these orphans and widows have been created, and which, the more it is encouraged, will only add the more to the number of such sufferers day by day and year by year. For, in the first place, no one can have marked the tone of the meetings which have been held to promote this fund without observing that, with very few and rare exceptions, their whole tendency
is to glorify the entire war-system and to fan into a broader and hotter flame the sinister enthusiasm for the present war which already burns so fiercely among the people." It is easy to imagine what kind of reception was given to such expressions. The "pitiless Quakers" were charged with meanness, hypocrisy, and cruelty, and they were told with contempt to "keep their dirty money." When the time came for another election Mr. Bright lost his seat; but he took the consequences in an apparently calm and equable temper. Before he left parliament, however, he had still an opportunity to make another appeal and another protest.
We have already seen that among the remarkable changes which had taken place during the period now under our view, the scope and influence of the newspaper press was not the least striking. During the Crimean war this was emphasized in a very remarkable manner. The "special correspondents" of the leading journals occupied a position which in the old time would never have been tolerated or permitted. Their presence with the allied armies was completely recognized, and was mostly encouraged, and long before the war was over they had come to be regarded by the country as an almost indispensable adjunct to an army in active service. It was soon discovered that if they were non-combatants these gentlemen were often indifferent to the dangers of the campaign, and while forming what may be called a competent "intelligence department" in the public service, were employed in the important duty of making known to readers at home, conditions, which, when explained, removed much prejudice and misunderstanding, and preserved that sympathy between the army and the nation without which a campaign in a foreign war is often a period of uncertainty embittered by unfounded accusation or suspicion.
We have learned by recent experiences what importance is now attached to the position of "war correspondent" to a leading newspaper, and it may be said that the office was created and established by those gentlemen who so ably represented the principal journals during