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In reality and notwithstanding the variations of public opinion, the feeling that united the old soldier to his country was a noble and touching one.
It broke forth in ardent expression on the news of his death. All the honor that public respect and public regret could bring, gathered about his tomb. He was the last survivor of the grand generation who had fought in Europe against the French revolution, both in its demagogic and its absolutist phase. In war he had been its most illustrious representative, victorious, by his heroic perseverance, over even the genius of the Emperor Napoleon. In peace he had been one of the firmest champions of that rule of law in liberty which had of late lent to England the strength to sustain a desperate struggle, and was now leading her, at the head of all civilized nations, towards a progressive advance in toleration and justice, in industry and commerce.
When he died, the duke was but a name and a memory, but England felt that she had been honored by his presence, and was now impoverished by the loss of this personification of an almost sublime good sense, and an integrity proof against every trial. It is one of the glories of England that she has always known how to honor, to love, and to recompense her great servants.
THE FRUITS OF PEACE.
T the very moment when the most illustrious of her old
military leaders vanished from earth, England found herself upon the point of losing for a time that peace which she had now enjoyed for more than forty years, a period of tranquillity which had given scope for so much useful and brilliant progress, which had been favorable to so many useful and brilliant undertakings, and had secured to future generations so many benefits.
British arms had not remained absolutely inactive during all this time. Far-off hostilities had from time to time disturbed the repose of the mother-country. We have seen that the English had made war upon the Chinese, in order to impose upon them the opium trade, and upon the Afghans, to oblige them to accept a sovereign of English selection. Nor was this all.
Following upon the disastrous campaign in Afghanistan, an attack had been made, and with better success, by Sir Charles Napier upon Scinde, a territory reported (and without doubt, truly) to be animated by hostile sentiments towards England. He had captured the fortress Emaun-Ghur, taking with him across the desert a handful of English troops mounted on camels. The treaty which he had determined to force upon the ruler of Scinde was accepted, but its conditions were severe. The Scindians sought only to evade it, and the very day after the signatures had been affixed, Major Outram, the English resident at Hyderabad, was attacked by a swarm
of Beloochees. He succeeded in making his escape by the river, but Sir Charles Napier determined to avenge the violation of the treaty and to strengthen his conquest. His forces were inconsiderable, and he had but a dozen guns. On the morning of the 17th of February he wrote in his journal: “It is my first battle as a commander; it may be my last.
At sixty that makes little difference ; but my feelings are, it shall be Do
To fall will be to leave many I love best, to go to many loved and my home; and that, in any case, must be soon.” Success was to crown the resolve of the bold soldier who had learnt the art of war in the great struggles of the Peninsula ; the battle of Meanee was fought and gained ; Hyderabad surrendered. Further engagements ensured to England the possession of Scinde, and the successful general became its first governor. He knew how to develop the prosperity of the province which was entrusted to him, and to teach its warlike population to enjoy the benefits of peace. The happy results of his administration were conspicuous at the time of the revolt of nearly all India, when Scinde remained faithful to its English rulers.
Some hostilities between the governor-general of India and the Mahrattas, and a short campaign against the Kaffirs also marked the years just past, the distant echo of these sounds of war now and then reaching the ears of England, but scarcely touching her heart. The day was approaching when all the best of England's strength was to be called forth in a prolonged and cruel struggle, without danger, indeed, to her national position, but bitter to many hearts, and fatal to many lives.
Before entering upon the story of the Crimean War, it will be well to glance at the fruits of this long peace, which had healed the wounds and renewed the strength of England.
We have already spoken of the marvellous progress brought about in the interior condition of England by the construction