Imágenes de páginas

there has been a decided shrinking from the chance of having to maintain the conclusions of the Criniean Comunissioners' Report against the known will of the high Military Authority to whom Lord Lucan, General Airey, and Colonel Gordon owe their most questionable appointments.

In the third place, there have been demonstrations by the fashionable audiences attending in Chelsea Hall, which if the members of the present Court of Enquiry be at all impres. sionable, may have their effect upon the verdict-an effect unfavourable to the Crimean Commissioners, in consequence of those unbecoming and inost improper demonstrations.

In the fourth place, the over readiness and sweeping assertions of some of the chief witnesses has a peculiar significance. High officers of one service seen to think it necessary at all hazards to defend their equally fortunate brethren of the other. It is true that, as always happens with over-earnest (and possiUly not over-sincere) witnesses, the excess of zeal betrays into sirange mistakes and contradictions. A Naval chief of old and long service suddenly finds himself ignorant of what the youngest "reefer" in his fleet will know, the number of yards of canvas that bis ship can spread! And this obliviousness takes place exactly when it was of importance to the Crimean Commissioners that such a fact should be accurately stated, while it was of equal importance to the other parties in the trial or " enquiry's to have it left in doubt! Again, the fact known to the most casual traveller, that Constantinople is a city of wood buildings, and therefore must have a number of carpenters among its population, is deliberately ignored under the same circumstances by one who, from his position, must have had peculiar opportunities of being aware of the fact. It was, however, a troublesome fact for the inculpated land-officers; and the same high naval authority, in an outburst of professional zal, boasts of a small party of his seamen, (without carpenters among them) having erected shelter for five or six times their number of soldiers in a very brief space of time, forgetting in his haste that he had before said, (when it was convenient to do so,) that without carpenters shelter could not have been constructed for men or horses—that he had no carpenters to spare,—and that sailors sent on shore for the purpose would be useless.

We have been betrayed into some length on this subject, for it is one on which it is but natural to feel strongly and therefore to speak freely. We do not regret the delay, if it operate,

as we hoped it might, to draw the attention of our earnest Reform-agitators to the grievous defects and evils of the Military Administration of the Empire, and, as before remarked, to the large and wide field for their exertions which it exhibits. He who runs may read in the appointments to high position at home of the officers inculpated by the Crimean Commission, and in the manner in which it is sought to throw discredit upon the honest and truth-telling Report of that Commission, that whatever might be the progress of Reform in the Civil Service, however great or limited may be the concessions regarding it that have been and are being made to public opinion -(and those concessions so far as they have gone, are real and valuable)-it seems to be determined not merely to resist its progress in military matters with the vis inertiæ of that least responsible and most arbitrary of Government Departments, the Horse Guards, but as it were to put into active practice the military tactics of “carrying the war into the enemy's country” by boldly and in the face of day rivalling the most flagrant and unblushing deeds of the old corruption-times. Surely our ardent Reformers will not be daunted by this plain defiance, daring though it be, but will accept the gauntlet thrown down, and proceed to teach Lord Hardinge, and whoever were his accessaries, in this outrage upon public opinion, that the day is gone by for ever when such practices could be allowed to escape with impunity,

A significant though rude and coarse phrase, which is said to have been frequently heard in the lines of our Allies during the long siege of Russia's southern stronghold, should help to call the attention of our Reformers to Military matters :-" The English are an army of lions, led by asses”! was the pithy sentence pronounced upon our forces by the French. Whether our epigrammatic neighbours meant to include the regimental officers or not, under the not very complimentary designation, just given, we cannot say, but there is of course no doubt that they meant it to apply in its full force to the leaders of our army; and as these have in their time been regimental oflicers, it is not easy to see that any line is drawn at all between the grades. And certainly whenever and wherever any separate responsibility has chanced to fall upon a mere regimental officer-one of those opportunities which the Frenchman, soldier-born and soldier-bred, is ever sure to turn to advantage and to personal distinction-our officers of the subordinate, as of the higher grade, have won the praise of

most chivalrous gallantry and most unhesitating self-devotion, but not one iota more. Military science has been shown to be to them as it were a sealed book, owing to the grievous defects of their military education. It is true matters have in some slight degree been improved theoretically in this respect, as a certain examination formidable on paper to men of imperfect teaching, has been established now some years, but in practice and reality there has been little value in it, as a few months' assiduous cramming has helped scores of incompetent men over it, and enabled them to attain the desired object of promotion, when they as quickly forgot the ill-assorted and undigested lesson they had to get up in such haste.

To examine into the causes of the inefficiency of so many of our brave officers-inefficiency not only as to the higher branches of military knowledge, but often as to matters of the comwonest necessity in the field—(it being always understood tliat we do not speak of mere fighting at close quarters)—is then an object of vital interest and importance. Incapacity and blundering in military affairs has assuredly cost us the loss of at least one half of the gallant little army we sent to the Crimea—the very flower of our army as then existing. No man can with any confidence predict, in the present lowering state of the political firmament of Europe, that peace will be enduring. No statesman will deny that there are elements of confusion and disruption abroad, that may ere many nionths set roaring war once more between powerful states, and once again task all our resources to bear our inevitable part well and effectively in the strife. It therefore instantly imports us to look to the administration and management of our military affairs, to see if the defects and evils therein proven by the bitter experience of the war just concluded are being remédied. Perhaps, fortunately for us, the Horse Guards have given a very startling proof that such is not the case.

We might have gone to sleep in over confidence, we are suddenly awakened to increased distrust and more energetic action. Here then is the field, and a good and wide field for our Administrative Reformers, where all their energies will find employment, and where, by well directed and well sustained agitation, they must accomplish most important and most beneficial alterations and reforms. To aid them in the task, by exposing so far as our ability permits, the evils most crying for iminédiate remedy, will be our task and a labour of love, in the succeeding number of the IRISH QUARTERLY REVIEW.


The Fisheries, considered as a National Resource, with Com

ments upon the Laws relating to them ; being a collection of Articles on the state of the Irish Fisheries. Published at different periods. By Robert Worthington, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. Dublin : Edward J. Milliken, 15 CollegeGreen, 1856.

In the last Number of the IRISH QUARTERTY REVIEW, we commented at some length upon the able pamphlet of Captain Symonds, respecting the objects of “The London and West of Ireland Fishing and Fish Manure Company.” We now turn with much pleasure to a little volume which has very lately made its appearance, and which is a compilation of articles, written from time to time by Mr. Worthington, an Irish Barrister. Unlike the work of Captain Symonds, Mr. Worthington's treatise relates principally to River Fisheries, though we must not omit to state, that he devotes no inconsiderable space to the discussion of those of the coasts and deep seas, and to the insertion of excellent suggestions for their full development, and of well-grounded beliefs in the highly remunerative results which would be likely to follow the adoption of such a course. Those who are even moderately acquainted with the valuable nature of our Salmon Fisheries, must see at once the usefulness of any undertaking set on foot for the purpose of reforming the abuses which have almost threatened their speedy extinction, and there are few Irishmen with any pretence to patriotism and just feelings, who would not gladly behold such an important element of the wealth of the country preserved from this fate. If any analogy could be instituted between the right of the commonalty to fish our rivers “ad libitum," and the right of the tenant to receive adequate remuneration for the peripanent improvements which he has

made upon his holding, under such circumstances, many grave doubts might be entertained as to whether any restrictions which interfered with this natural and just right should be suffered to exist. But such a comparison would be ridiculous in the extreme, and could not last a moment; properties of this nature are as sacred, and as well founded as any others can be; as they are not parcelled out here and there in small divisions, the public can have no claim whatever upon them, and a demand upon the proprietor to relinquish his right to reap the benetit of his fisheries, would be as reasonable as to ask him to deliver up his mausion, and his landed estates. A fitting proof of the wise intention of Providence that this source of wealth should be regulated and developed by individual, or commercial enterprise, is afforded in these plain facts, first, that it would forfeit its existence by the establishment of any other system; and secondly, that the effective carrying out of either of these legitimate plans, would be necessarily attended by advantages to the country at large, a thousand fold greater in the increased abundance and cheapness of the Fish Markets, than those to be obtained under the auspices of communistic principles. Mr. Worthington, it will be easily observed in the passages which we will subsequently cite, brings to his work much practical knowledge, talent, energy, and skill

, added to wbich he evinces no ordinary amount of information regarding the ancient Irish Fishery Enactments. Occasionally we receive unmistakeable evidences of his patriotic nature, and behold vivid signs of an ardent longing for the appearance of what in many instances he justly supposes would confer solid benefits upon his country : and it is with the most unaffected sincerity, we offer him our humble sympathy, at the same time entertaining a reasonable hope that his excellent suggestions inay be acted upon at no distant day.

In his opening chapter Mr. Worthington, having descanted upon the almost total decay of the English Salmon Fisheries, and the great falling off of those in Ireland and Scotland, showing how, owing to its scarcity, Salmon is a dish alınost unknown to the poor, and dwelling upon the fact that England is completely dependant upon Ireland and Scotland for this fish, while by the aid of steam we are enabled to lay the produce of every river in the country, on the London tables, in such a state of freshness as to satisfy the most fastidious appetites, then favours us with some interesting historical matter, relative to the ancient charter and patent weirs of Ireland.

« AnteriorContinuar »