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1823. April 18. Mr Plunkett's motion for a Committee. Sir Francis Burdett, and several other Whigs, abruptly left the House. Motion met by a counter
motion for an adjournment. Ayes, 313; Noes, 111.-Majority against the Catholics, 202.
1824. Question not brought forward.
1825. Feb. 28. Sir Francis Burdett's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 247; Noes, 234. -Majority for the Catholics, 13.
April 22. Second reading of the Bill. Ayes, 268; Noes, 241.-Majority for the Catholics, 27.
May 10. Third reading of the Bill. Ayes, 248; noes, 227.—Majority for the
May 17. House of Lords. Contents, 130; Non-contents, 178.-Majority against
1826. Question not brought forward.-Parliament dissolved.
1827. New Parliament.-March 5. Sir Francis Burdett's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 272; Noes, 276. Majority against the Catholics, 4.
SIEGE OF BHURTPORE.
Letter from an Infantry Officer.
I OBSERVE in your last Number a letter from "A Bengal Engineer," complaining of the article in your April Number, "The Siege of Bhurtpore," as attaching much blame to the operations of the engineers. Being the author of the journal referred to, consequently the culpable person, I request you will insert, for his information, in your next Number, the follow ing explanation and remarks:
The journal in question was never intended as a full and minute account, but merely a rough sketch taken on the spot, when duty permitted, during the siege. The little information contained therein I was in nowise indebted to the engineers for, who, by the by, were singularly reserved in their communications to infantry officers on the most trivial subjects. Before I proceed further, I must disclaim any intention of throwing blame to the degree stated on that distinguished corps, "The Bengal Engineers.' The operations were, generally speaking, carried on with talent, as the result proved, and with zeal, as no one can deny. That an engineer should necessarily be better acquainted with his peculiar department and details than an infantry officer, no one will question, but that he is not liable to error in judgment at times, he will scarcely affirm.
Regarding his remark,-" that had the ditch been filled with water, no failure would have taken place," it is a strong assertion-at best, a matter of opinion-failures not many years since occurred under as favourable circumstances, and this is a point impossible
to decide without trial. Certain I am, "The Bengal Engineer" had seldom (if ever) an opportunity of seeing a ditch, such as that at Bhurtpore, full of water, crossed in the neat way he undoubtedly could have advised.
Speaking of the curtains being low, was in reference to the bastions, several of which were from 80 to 93 feet high-by his own account the curtains were from 50 to 55 feet.
That the points of attack, at first chosen, were two curtains, I now well remember, and stand corrected accordingly; still I cannot refrain from thinking it would have proved equally pro fitable to his comments, had he been blessed with a short memory on this occasion, unless he had explained, "why two curtains" were fixed on, in preference to two salient bastions. That the two curtains were ill selected, and contrary to the common principles of fortification to form breaches in, is indisputable, when the flank fire of the bastions, as well as the bastions themselves, were complete and occupied. That I am borne out in this statement, is evident from the fact, that, after eight days' struggling to form a sort of breach, they were given up entirely, and the bastions, which ought to have been attacked at first, were at last determined on. The gunbreach to the left of the long-necked bastion I examined the day after the fort fell, and have no hesitation in stating, that had it been attacked, there was great chance of failure in that quarter, from the impossibility of a sufficient number of men being able to reach its summit at once. At the
bottom was a great quantity of fine dust, that hid an entire escarp of 30 feet, although at a distance it had the appearance of an easy slope up to the breach. To the remark, that the taking of Kuddum Kundie, &c. is extremely incorrect, I answer, the chances are, the "Bengal Engineer" was not at the post during the day, or he would have seen four guns instead of two, under Lieutenant H. of the artillery; also the guns in question were fre quently fired that day against the fort. That an attempt to make a battery of sand-bags and cotton-bales, is correct, I assert, and was only prevented by the heavy fire from the fort. Had the engineer been behind these bales a few hours, he would have had an opportunity of seeing specimens of Bhurtpore gunnery, and witnessed round shot pass through them, though two abreast, at 600 to 700 yards; that the loss is exaggerated in regard to men I am aware, and was occasioned by mistake; but many bullocks were destroyed. His remarks concerning the ramparts I have since learnt to be tolerably exact; still the breach at the long-necked bastion was composed of a heap of stones and masonry, mixed with mud, &c. Two days after the storming I was obliged to leave Bhurt pore, and could not ascertain how far the above description answered the ramparts in general.
My observation, regarding the escarp being 60 feet, was a matter of conjecture. This remark I noted down on 6th January. Now, by his own account, the real height was not known before the 8th January. Considering that my view was from the advanced trenches, and his, perhaps, quietly measured after the place was in our possession, the difference of six feet was not worth mentioning-this remark is equally applicable to the counterscarp.
His next remark refers to what was evidently an error in printing from the manuscript, (it scarcely requires an engineer's abilities or education to distinguish between scarp and counterscarp, much less to suppose a mine under a bastion could blow in the counterscarp,) and adds no weight to his review by noticing it. The loss of materials by the explosion, I had no means of ascertaining the amount of, and thought it of no importance to do so, when abundance of wood was at hand to replace them.
His next paragraph requires notice. The sap crowning the counterscarp opposite the left breach, (if it could be so called,) was very badly constructed, and without excavation, on the morning of 12th January, (unless a foot in depth, and as much in breadth, is deemed sufficient.) The gabions, stuffed with cotton, were in no part musket proof," having no earth behind them." I had the pleasure of twenty-four hours duty in it, soon after its construction, and can speak to its qualities, and found it necessary to request both sand bags and tools might be sent to complete it-it was by the soldiers in it, that it was rendered fit to hold the firing party, after some loss.
I do not mean to say the sap leading to it was not tolerable, or the corner where the shafts were sinking a very snug birth, and where I observed the engineers most part of the day, of course superintending the mining. That the quantity of water at the foot of the gun-breach, on the left attack, was known on 8th January, I was not aware. On the 12th, at four o'clock in the evening, an attempt was in contemplation, but laid aside. The only method I had of obtaining an idea of the powder used in the various mines, was, by observing the number of bags passing, and making a calculation from them. When the engineer states 280 to be the angle the left breach formed with the horizon, his instrument must have been out of order, or he took his base-line at the extreme clod thrown into the ditch; it appeared nearer 38° or 40°, than 28°. This I had no time to determine. Not being certain of the disposition made for the two small columns, I omitted mention of them on that account only. In conclusion, I humbly conceive, that, had the "Bengal Engineer" waited till the full account ap peared, he so exultingly announces to be at hand, he would have had at least more chance of triumph than has attended his present attempt.
Sir, I am, yours, &c.
An INFANTRY OFFICER. 12th June, 1828.
P.S.-If the " Bengal Engineer" could inform me when the Bhurtpore prize-money is to be paid, I shall willingly excuse, and patiently bear his corrections.
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE LIBERALS.
We have this month to congratulate our readers, that is to say, all the good men and true who live under the British flag in every quarter of the world, upon a most important change which has taken place in the constitution of his Majesty's Ministry. We have at last, thank God, got rid of the Liberals, and once more have the happiness to live under a pure Tory government. Not a remnant, we rejoice to say, of that bastard political sect, that cunning, cowardly, compromising, conciliatory school, has been left to divide and weaken the measures of the Cabinet. The Liberals aré gone, one and all-root and branch have been plucked up and cast forth, to the unspeakable relief of the country. If these people had been downright decided enemies, we might have felt some qualms of conscience, in rejoicing with such exceeding great joy upon their overthrow, but there never was anything bold, or decided, or manly, or straight-forward, about them; they were infinitely more dangerous; they hung about the Government, shifting and shifting, and leaving everything as it were trembling upon a balance, so that one could not tell what was to preponderate. Thus the Government was weakened, its old friends were cooled or disgusted, its enemies were encouraged, and the pretty gentlemen, the Liberals, were so busy in showing how vastly clever they were themselves, that they did not perceive how fast the Government was losing that, without which no Government can be useful, namely its energy. The satisfaction, and good humour, and confidence which this overthrow of the Liberals has diffused over the country, are much greater and more general than any one could have previously calculated upon. There was throughout society a suppression of feeling respecting these men, for they had so praised themselves, and had got the newspaper press so much into their hands, that each individual, however satisfied he himself was, that, as a political sect, none could be more pernicious, yet had a notion that public opinion was somehow in their fa vour, and that for the present they should be submitted to, like cigars or big bonnets, or any other nuisance,
because they were the fashion. But when, by one vigorous step of the noble Duke at the head of the Go vernment, which, like every public act of his, was at once wise, decisive, and promptly to the purpose, the Liberals have been deprived of official power, and the people have begun to speak their sentiments to one another concerning them, it turns out that every one is well pleased at their dismissal; and whatever the newspapers may say, there is throughout Great Britain an almost universal exultation at the return of a decided unánimous Government.
Nor is this at all surprising, when we consider the character of the policy which those, calling themselves Liber als, profess to adopt,-a policy which, whatever we may think of it upon general principles, seems particularly objectionable, when viewed with reference to the temper and disposition of the people of Great Britain. The disposition of a genuine Briton is to make up his mind upon what he ought to do, and having once determined that, to adhere to his resolution with a fixedness of purpose, which more frequently proceeds to the length of obstinacy, than deviates into vacillation and uncertainty. Now this is a character quite opposite to that of the Liberals, and much to be preferred before it; for while the Briton of the old school may possibly carry his principle to an extent which is not right, he of the new or Liberal school will most probably tumble through sheer weakness into what is wrong. In the Liberal there is a total absence of the sound healthy firmness, which is absolutely essential to eminent usefulness; he yields this; he concedes that; he compromises the other thing; he winds, and twists, and hesitates; and when he wants to accomplish a thing, chooses rather to do it by a trick or stratagem, than by candour and plain dealing. You are never sure of him; you are doubtful as to his object, and quite uncertain as to the means he will adopt. Even his principles he yields to circumstances, and he is particularly deferential to a vague impalpable something, which he is pleased to call "the spirit of the age," but which, on investigation, ap
pears to be nothing more than the affected tone of the weak trash, which the press pours forth in such quantity. Your Liberal has no strong hold of anything; he has cast away the anchors of the old law, and national feel ing, and exclusive privileges of Britons, as mere prejudices, and useless shackles to his enlarged comprehension. He floats about upon the wide sea of the world's opinion, and is blown hither and thither by every gust which may come from the various quarters of the globe. He neglects the interests of the people round about him, while he considers what may most promote the prosperity of the new kingdoms of the new world, and sacrifices the most important interests of his own country in a paroxysm of general philanthropy and universal benevolence.
But in everything he does, he is most anxious that he himself should appear; he is not only of opinion that he knows better than all who have gone before him, but that the world should see, that he is the person who has made the grand discovery that every one else was wrong; and this he generally accomplishes, not in the ego hoc feci fashion of Mr Canning, but by getting some other disciple of the same school to beslobber him with nauseous flattery, for which he on the next suitable occasion beslobbers his friend in return; and thus, sickening effeminate praises get forth into the newspapers, and these people get a name amongst the million. All this time, however, nothing solid is done; your Liberal is the worst man of business in the world; it is true, he seems busy, but it is in making speeches, and devising plans and complicated refinements upon what works well enough already, while the more arduous and important concerns of the State are frequently neglected, because they afford no opportunity for display, or for shewing off the advantages of the new and improved system. To make amends, however, for the little he does, he is always ready to talk, or if you choose, to write you an essay, which is English in nothing but its language, and not always even in that. His vanity is concerned in this, his name is in the mouths of men, as a speaker or an author, and his childish desire for popular attention towards himself is gratified.
The injurious effect which the interference of such men must have had upon the British Government scarcely needs to be pointed out. The effects are obvious; we lost our ground in the world, and instead of holding the high station which under the guidance of a pure Tory Government we had through unparalleled exertions obtained, we in some measure ceased to be either respected or dreaded by other nations. How indeed could they see anything formidable in measures not built upon experience, but suggested by theorists, and planners of visionary improvement, careless alike of their own interests, and of the encroachments of other powers? What could they see to be respected in policy as unsteady as the breath of popular opinion, which was guided by those who forsook what was old and well known, and who were evidently destitute of ability to con ceive, or of strength and unanimity to execute, what was new and untried?. Foreign powers laughed at us, and took advantage of our folly to obtain for themselves those advantages which, through our excessive" liberality," we had ceased to guard for ourselves. Our treaties, misnamed treaties of reciprocity; our free importations of the things which formerly employed our own industry; and unrestricted exportations of those things which enabled other nations to triumph over us, where formerly we triumphed over them; our pledges to support the turbulent and discontented and unsettled spirits in all parts of the world
and our efforts to force liberty upon an unwilling people at the point of the bayonet-all these things must have appeared, and certainly did appear, to the other nations of the world, as not only unwise, but absolutely ridi❤ culous. England, under the guidance of the Liberals, appeared as if governed by schoolboys, vain of their newly acquired knowledge, and eager to turn poetry and philosophy into practice, but destitute of the caution and firmness which are only to be learned by experience.
At home, the consequences of "liberal" government were not less unfortu nate. The people were injured in their property, by the concessions made to foreigners; and those who had not property to lose, were disturbed, and set on to "imagine vain things," by the cookery, and quackery, and experi
mental nonsense, of their political idols. Fools were not crushed as they ought to be, when they opened their mouths to pour forth their folly; it was considered liberal to listen, and to consider, and to speechify in return, and thus the folly spread and settled, instead of being checked and stopped at the very outset.
The taint of Liberalism has infected the Cabinet in a greater or less de gree, from the accession of Mr Canning in 1822 until the late turn-out. Upon Mr Canning the disease gained gradually like a consumption, until it completely destroyed a political character which was previously worthy of almost undivided admiration. In the time of his true glory, no one despised or lashed the doctrines of the Liberals more heartily than Canning; but he had one fault, or weakness rather, in common with them-He was open to flattery, and led away by popular applause. This was, perhaps, the consequence of his inimitable talents as a public speaker. He felt the power he possessed, and was fond of the homage which it extorted. His weakness, however, was seen by the Whigs, and formed the germ of that union which they strove so assiduously to promote, after they found that themselves, and the policy which they had advocated during the war, were sunk as low as contempt and scorn could sink them. Their system now was to give up a good deal themselves, to flatter Mr Canning into giving up something, and thus to approach a mongrel species of policy, which was begotten by artifice on the one side, and indiscretion on the other, and was brought forth under the foreign and affected title of Liberalism. Brougham was at first unwilling to join in this yield ing system. His fierce spirit recoiled from submission to Canning, whose superiority he would not acknowledge; but at last he, too, like those spirits from whom he sometimes appears to borrow a portion of his energy, believed and trembled-he ceased to threaten, and began to praise. The Tories were indolent, and if they saw, they made no effort to prevent, the great loss which they and the country were sustaining by the change which was going on. The game, on the part of the Whigs, was cunningly played -they won, and Mr Canning was lost. The great leader being gained ver, others were casily induced to
follow in his train. Upon Mr Huskisson, the force of early and long-suppressed political feelings probably operated; the rest were weak enough to be led by anything which was on the surface plausible. Thus was the Liberal party established; and though the country was, by good fortune, never wholly abandoned to their guidance, yet, for some time after the dissolution of the ministry, in April 1827, they bore the chief sway in the government. How long they might have stood under the leadership of so clever a man as Mr Canning it is use less now to inquire. The difficulties of his situation were too much for him, and he died. While he lived, his talents threw a glitter upon the party; but when he died, and Lord Goderich was placed at their head, then indeed they appeared in all their pitiable helplessness. If the affairs they had to manage were of less importance, one might have described their conduct as laughable; but as they were, it was quite disgusting, and it was soon found necessary to get some men of sense into the places of most of them, in order to put an end to a state of things which was at once dangerous and ridicu lous.
It was extremely fortunate for the country at that time that it possessed such a man as the Duke of Wellington. We shall not enter upon so superfluous a task as praise of the Duke. We are content to say, "Look at his career, examine his whole progress, see what he has done, what he is now doing, and let the facts speak for themselves." It will be found that he has attempted nothing which he has not been able to accomplish, and that in all he has done he has earned from his friends praise and joyful congra tulations, and from his enemies involuntary respect. When he, at the command of the King, formed a new Government, he retained some of the Liberals in their places, thinking, as we conjecture, that while their experience in the routine of official business would make them useful auxiliaries, they would not venture to thwart or impede that line of policy which every one who knew him must have known he would adopt. This, which we imagine to have been the opinion of the Duke in January last, was conformable to the course which subsequent events took for some time; and