Page images


[ocr errors]

formity, which, under other circumstances, they might have resisted, and even defeated. Then followed the ejection of 2,000 ministers-- most of them pious, many learned, and able men -- and the permanent establishment of a systematic nonconformity — which neither active nor passive persecution could eradicate, and which, in various shapes, comprehends at this moment, about half the population of the kingdom.

Such in substance is the tale which Mr. Marsden tells, if not with the philosophical indifference of a judge summing up for a jury, still in a spirit of commendable candour and perfect honesty. That he has his leanings no one who reads his book can doubt: but he is not the prejudiced advocate either of cause or of its champions ; for he exposes with great impartiality, the faults as well of the one side as of the other. His volumes, moreover, deserve to be studied quite as much by such as are anxious about the future, as by those who content themselves with looking continually to the past. It is clear that at the root of this continued opposition and strife lay neither questions of dress, nor forms of Church government, nor points of doctrine exclusively. These might be used, from time to time, as watchwords or battle-cries; but what the Church of England wanted then, to command the undivided loyalty of the English people, was, that which she seems destined in the present generation to receive, whether to the same good purpose, who shall undertake to foretell. For, in truth, the Reformation in England remains to this day a work incomplete; it was far more incomplete at each of the critical periods of which we have been writing. In renouncing Popery and its doctrinal errors, our Church retained too much of the pomp and circumstance of the Popish system. Her bishops continued unnecessarily raised by wealth and station above their clergy: her clergy, as priests, continued to exercise too stringent a dominion over the consciences of the laity. Beautiful as her Liturgy is, it contains expressions which jarred, three centuries ago, and still jar the convictions of thoughtful men; and its extreme length, as well as the many repetitions which occur in it, weary. Moreover, while to tender consciences the Thirty-nine Articles may be very acceptable, because of the wise comprehensiveness of their style and doctrine, there are expressions in one, at least, of the Church's Creeds, which, however capable of being explained away, continue to be regarded by the less instructed as marvellously bold, not to say presumptuous and unchristian. So also the services for the visitation of the sick, the burial of the dead, and even the baptismal service itself, are encumbered with phrases, which would lose nothing of their true

force, while they gained greatly in appearance, were it possible by the mere substitution of modern for obsolete words, to modify them. We say nothing of canons which the whole body of the clergy subscribe, without pretending to the power, even if they had the will to obey them; or of rubrics having the force of law over both clergy and laity, to which neither clergy nor laity will submit. Of those things the world has heard of late rather too much; but it is manifest that they, like other less prominent blemishes, remain, simply because the Church of England as a reformed branch of the Church Catholic, has not yet assumed the constitution which she ought to assume. What shape this is to put on, it would ill become us, at the close of a long article, to specify; but these features, at least, will not, we trust, be wanting to it: „A modified episcopate ; the creation of Church Courts, in which the lay element shall be adequately represented; a due supply of clergy to the waste places of the land, and such a reform in cathedral bodies as shall render them the ornament, not the great blot, upon our whole ecclesiastical system.

Art. IX.-1. A Military Tour in European Turkey, the Crimea,

and on the Eastern Shores of the Black Sea, with Strategical Observations on the probable Scene of the Operations of the Allied Expeditionary Force. By Major-General MacintOSH, K.H., F.R.G.S., F.G.S. Two vols., with maps. London:

1854. 2. The Conduct of the War. A Speech delivered in the House

of Commons, Dec. 12th, by the Right Hon. SIDNEY HER

BERT, M.P. London: 1854. 3. The Prospects and Conduct of the War. A Speech delivered

in the House of Commons on December 12th, 1854, by Austin Henry LAYARD, Esq., M. P. for Aylesbury.

London : 1854. 4. A Month in the Camp before Sebastopol. By a Non-Com

batant. London: 1855. To retrace the brilliant exploits of the Allied Armies in the

Crimea, which have so recently excited the whole interest of the nation, and rendered the names of Alma, Balaclava, and Inkermann as familiar to our ears as those of Talavera or Vittoria, would in this place be a superfluous task, for we can add nothing to the vivid touches of that literature of the


which has seized upon all the emotions caused by the present war, and the materials are still wanting for a more complete and dispas


sionate survey of those achievements. To hazard criticisms on the conduct of operations, or conjectures on the result of the campaign, would be still more rash and premature, for the struggle in which the Allied Forces of the West are engaged already bears the stamp of the gigantic growth of the present age, and he must be a bold man who shall undertake to foresee its course or to predict its termination. We aspire to discharge neither of these duties, and we shall attempt on the present occasion to perform a humbler office. The rapid progress of events, the unceasing occurrence of new objects, the demand for greater efforts, and the interest attached to the tremendous crisis of the campaign beneath the walls of Sebastopol, have rendered the public somewhat forgetful of the earlier stages of this contest. No doubt much has already occurred to surpass and confound the anticipations of those who had looked furthest towards the coming struggle ;- no doubt the experience we have already gained has dispelled delusions which were to a certain extent shared in by the highest military and political authorities both of England and France ;--- no doubt the crowning effort of the campaign--the attack on Sebastopol -has proved a more arduous and perilous undertaking than the Allied Governments had reason to suppose ;- but to judge of the course of events fairly we must endeavour to follow their track, and not to commit the anachronism of judging the plans of May by the practical knowledge of December. It may have been the misfortune, but it is also the defence of the Government in the conduct of this campaign, that it has had no access to extraordinary or secret sources of information. We were compelled to send our fleets to seas which had never been navigated by our ships of war, to land our troops where no soldier of Western Europe had trodden since the Crusades, - to invade a country and attack a fortress hardly known to our travellers. The Russian Government is in full possession of all the advantages of secresy and absolute power, which had long since built an impassable barrier round the vast resources of its empire. A disposition existed to underrate the power of a State whose springs of action are diametrically opposed to our own, and the first events of the war heightened this disregard of the strength of Russia into absolute contempt of the troops and generals who had failed to force the lines of Kalafat or the outworks of Silistria; and, by the same rule, the power of the Ottoman Empire was exaggerated and enhanced by its partial successes. To say the truth, these errors were so general, we might say so universal, that we know not what party or class of men in this country has any right to charge others with being deceived by them;

but although they may have led us to undertake enterprises which have tried our strength, they have only shown more conspicuously against what difficulties and what force of hostile numbers the troops of England and France can carry on a successful struggle.

Whatever may be the ulterior consequences of the war, whatever trials and sacrifices it may hereafter impose on us, the first reflections which the events of the past summer and autumn are calculated to excite is, that they have enormously increased and awakened the moral energy of the nation at home, whilst they have revived and upheld the ancient renown of our arms abroad. After forty years of peace, during which our military establishments had been suffered to decline considerably below those of the secondary continental States, and when the leaders of a section of the popular party had selected these establishments for its especial attack — with unlimited freedom of opinion in the country, with a more active control exercised by the tax-paying classes over the Government — the world was not prepared to see England plunge into war with a force and unanimity never equalled before to see that war conducted with such chivalrous valour, that the only indication of inexperience in the troops is the excessive hardihood with which they rushed on danger to see the whole resources of this country,-- her unbounded, wealth, her charities, her mechanical power, her vast steam fleet of transports, and her social activity, spontaneously directed to the grand object of her ambition and her desires. The chief difficulty of the Government has been to keep pace with the spirit of the people. From the luxurious Guardsman, or the highborn cavalry officer, who exchanges the refined habits of his life for a bare couch, a dilapidated tent, and a scanty meal on the heights before Sebastopol, to the navvy' who volunteers to lend the army the assistance of his pick and spade to the common cause, one spirit is abroad ; and this display of national energy has deservedly increased our confidence and our pride in the institutions of the country. The English are an aristocratic people, and the army has retained more especially an aristocratic character ; but nothing can be finer than the union of its ranks where the highest and noblest are most exposed to danger, and nothing more glorious than the claims of privilege where the post of honour is also that of danger and of duty. The narrative of these deeds, transmitted with unexampled rapidity and minuteness by the press, has at once popularised every incident

Our soldiers-whose progress in education and intelligence does them the highest honour - write their touching

of the war.

and simple accounts of heroic deeds in the tone of gentlemen and of Christians. And if any inconvenience has resulted from these public communications from the camp, it has been amply compensated by the inexhaustible interest they have excited in the nation. A similar effect has been produced abroad by the exploits of the British army. Our gallant allies, the French, have been the first to do justice to the heroic actions they have witnessed, and, for the first time in history, each army can bear an ungrudging testimony to the valour and success of the other. These moral results of the campaign are, in our judgment, worth the great sacrifices which it cost us.

Of those who have fallen, none have fallen in vain, for those illustrious soldiers have given their lives for a large accession to the glory, the security, and the power of England. Defended by such troops as those who fought at Inkermann, ages may again pass before a foreign enemy can threaten our coasts, and the strength of the nation in peace is augmented twofold by the strength it has put forth in the field.

The most superficial acquaintance with the history of the last two years, during which Lord Aberdeen's administration have been at the head of affairs, may suffice to establish the progressive character of the negotiations and operations in which we have been engaged. It was the duty of the Government neither to lag behind the course of events by undue confidence or delay, nor to incur unnecessary expenses and excite unfounded alarm by a premature appeal to the forces of the country. The spring of 1853, when the affairs of the East began to assume a menacing character, found us and all the other states of Europe, except Russia, on a peace establishment, and even the amount of that establishment had recently been the object of considerable attack by a popular party in the country. We were by no means secure of the alliance or the intentions of France, for a revolution had occurred within a very short period which might have been followed by fresh changes in that country, or might have brought into power a government animated by very different intentions from those which the Emperor of the French has since displayed. The alliance between Russia and the German Courts being still unbroken, we had no reason to rely on the support, or even on the neutrality of Central Europe. The first step to be taken was the augmentation of the navy quiring the greater exertions as the recent introduction of steam propulsion in line-of-battle ships demanded a radical change in the fleet. The increase in the seamen afloat had fortunately been commenced by Lord Derby's government, and by the 11th of August, 1853, the Admiralty assembled at


a measure re

« PreviousContinue »