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was done at Tel-el-Kebir. Catch an Oriental firmly by the collar at the first outbreak and he yields at once. The detachment afterwards told off to guard Alexandria would have sufficed; a few thousand men would have held the town at first, as they did later. But one could not plead for a landing of troops in Alexandria, because there was no sufficient information about the state of things on both sides of the Suez Canal; for the English, in spite of the many ways and means at their command, had treated the scouts in a very stepmotherly fashion. That Arabi did not use the length of time given him by favouring fortune to make the Canal incapable of carrying traffic for a long time, and so to protect his flank, is only to be explained by his thorough incapacity for effective initiative. The taking of the Suez Canal as a basis of operations could not, in my opinion, have been done too soon. That in spite of this sin of omission things afterwards went on so smoothly, is not the effect of the operations themselves so much as of the passivity of an enemy, who, by cutting the dams of the Nile or destroying the Suez Canal, might have laid down the law to the English.
If England's military condition were more suitable to our times, Sir Beauchamp Seymour would have found no difficulty in bringing timeously from Cyprus or Malta at least as many troops as were required for the occupation of Alexandria after the bombardment; and if the mobilization of the small army destined for the Egyptian expedition had proceeded on sound principles it would have reached its destination earlier, and not piecemeal. As to the commissariat transport service I have already spoken, but I will add here, what will be heard with surprise, that to this hour the English army has no organized transport service. The whole organization of the Army Train is a terra incognita in Great Britain, in spite of bitter experience in different wars. In the Crimea the regimental horses had to carry the baggage, and in Afghanistan thousands of 'hastily collected camels fell a sacrifice to this unaccustomed service and the cold climate. And it is well known that no other army carries such an amount of baggage to the field with it as the British. So in Egypt, after the landing at Ismailia the greatest confusion prevailed, and from there, for the first time, orders were sent to buy mules in the Mediterranean countries for this service. Not to speak of the mishaps and delays that occurred in the embarkation of the troops in England, it seems scarcely credible, but it is true, that the transports which called at Gibraltar to receive there the ammunition for the war, had to put to sea without receiving it. Proud Gibraltar, first link in the chain to India, has neither arsenal nor powder magazine. How, on earth, should this army, proceeding from the richest country in the world, still want its chief necessaries? Where is the celebrated practical sense of Old England? How should it be unable in eight weeks to fit out so small an army with the necessary equipment of work-horses, provisions, medicine, and ammunition? The answer is a simple one, and has already been indicated. England's people and army are too little one, mingle too little with one another, and know too little of one another.
Sir Garnet's change of the basis of operations from Alexandria to the Canal shows his military sagacity. He acquired thereby a secure basis for aggressive operations. And as to his following up of the victory of Tel-el-Kebir, there is but one opinion in military circles, and that is, that it was truly admirable, and worthy of being placed side by side with the pursuit of the French after Waterloo. The march of the English cavalry on Cairo and its result will form for all time oue of the most splendid feats of arms. Only this march saved the charming city of the Caliphs, the pearl of the East, from the fate of Alexandria. Tel-el-Kebir fell on the morning of the 13th September, and already, on the afternoon of the 14th, Sir Drury Lowe stood before Cairo with the Cavalry Brigade. That is, after the night march of the 12th—13th to Tel-el-Kebir, and' the battle of the morning, they rode 100 miles in less than two days. Truly an achievement that could only be accomplished by troops furnished with English horses and led by officers, every one of whom was a gentleman and sportsman. By luck and chance Sir Garnet's bold words were fulfilled: he had Cairo at his feet on the 15th of September.
Though the desert sand makes poor entrenchments, there was no necessity for Arabi's troops offering so brief a resistance. Orientals are credited with skill in fighting behind entrenchments. But Arabi over-estimated the defensive value of the natural difficulties of the country, and he over-estimated the quality of his own troops, which are not for a moment to be compared with the Turks. And even after the fall of Tel-el-Kebir, infinite difficulties might have been made for the enemy by means of the numerous streams and canals in the Delta, which would have rendered the employment of cavalry impossible, and would have confined the movements of the rest of thearmy to existing railway lines, had Arabi been the man to fan the fanaticism of the inhabitants into a flame, or possessed the energy, along with his superior officers, to continue the resistance. Nothing of all this happened, but the commander of the strong position of Kafr-el-Dauar capitulated immediately at the head of 6,000 men; the commanders of Aboukir and Damietta followed suit; and the disbanded soldiers overran the unhappy country, plundering and murdering as they went. Cairo (with 300,000 inhabitants) surrendered unconditionally, with its citadel occupied by 10,000 well-equipped soldiers, as soon as the first British horseman appeared on the horizon. The Egyptian troops thus showed themselves still worse than in the Russo-Turkish and Abyssinian wars.
VOL. XLTII. K K
Although the English surpassed the enemy in many cardinal points, yet to storm the entrenchments by day would have been a dangerous beginning of the campaign, because in approaching them up an inclined plane offering no cover "whatever, such a loss might have been suffered that even the best troops might not have been able to follow the movement out successfully. The art of war can never afford to overlook the factor of quantity. Many troops are no harm; one hardly ever has too many; but if their number gets reduced below a certain minimum, then no military undertaking is practicable. Sir G. Wolseley made capital of the darkness. He acted on the maxim: "Shot for the day, the bayonet for the night." He restored the steel to its right as compared with lead, and re-established it in the mind and heart of the soldier. With modern improvements in weapons, the physiognomy of warfare has changed; everything is done with firearms, and the naked sword plays a small role. Sir Garnet has given it back its prestige. He knew his troops, and though his position was as unfavourable as possible for making an attack on a European foe, he took a correct measure of his actual enemy, and casting aside all military rules, put his faith in the superior power of English muscles and English horses. But why Sir Garnet left his camp with his forces so early as seven o'clock in the evening of the 12th, and halted half-way from Tel-el-Kebir, and then only after midnight set out again, is very inexplicable, as this manoeuvre might have endangered the whole result of the movement. But the Egyptians were struck with blindness.
Sir Garnet included in his calculations the dispiriting moral impression that would be made, and this sustained him as to the immense importance of the step he was taking. Everything was well planned, even in detail, for a decisive stroke. Still, during the night-march through an unknown country, there occurred difficulties that caused delays, and the surprisal of the enemy's position was not so successful as it might otherwise have been. That besides a front attack there should also have been a flank one, is in conformity with modern tactics. After taking possession of the Egyptian camp, Sir Garnet gave orders for the pursuit of the enemy, and here the marching capacity of the Indian contingent was conspicuously shown. They went after the battle a distance of thirty miles, and reached Zagazig without leaving a single man behind.
Even if criticism is powerless against facts, I yet desire to warn the British people—whom I love, and in whose army my cousin serves as Colonel—against regarding the military events in Egypt as any evidence that Old England's warlike spirit is not yet dead, or that it is able to maintain its claims at all times by the sword, There is danger that the brilliancy of the events in Egypt may blind the keenest eyes, and render rational persuasion difficult.
The military capacity and persistent energy of Sir Garnet Wolseley,
the resolution and force of General Sir Drury Lowe, and the personal bravery of the soldiers, cannot receive too high commendation. Though the English expedition to Egypt is not an "event" from a military point of view, and the "battle" of Tel-el-Kebir is an affair of no tactical importance, yet it was a most important undertaking, because the whole chain of posts from Gibraltar to Aden, on which British blood and money have been spent for a hundred years, would have been lost in the loss of this single link. It fell to Sir Garnet to restore British prestige in that Arabian world in which every separate link of that chain of posts to India is situated.
There has been no transport of troops and arms on so great a scale since the Crimean war; and England, the mistress of the sea, performed it easily and promptly. Since the Crimea, England has been engaged in no war more important in its results, and for once her troops were engaged with troops of not superior numbers. In the Crimea, as in the Peninsula, her army always faced a greatly stronger foe. The three branches of the service have covered themselves with honour, but chiefly the cavalry, then the infantry, and lastly the artillery.
The artillery shares with the fleet the defect of the muzzle-loading guns. This question has for some years occupied the attention of naval circles, and the conviction is strongly held that the English preference for muzzle-loaders rests on false principles. In spite of the claim to rule the sea, it seems to be true that the marine artillery of England is behind the systems introduced by other powers, and that her maritime superiority and security are thereby threatened, because her best men-of-war are armed with inadequate artillery.
The nautical apparatus depends in its complexity and manysidedness as much on the art of shipbuilding as on the present state of artillery and gun construction. The fitness for action, the power of resistance, the capacity for manoeuvre of a modern ship of war come from these combined sources. In the struggle impending, sooner or later, between Russia and England in Asia, the fleet will, indeed, have little part, and success requires the other arms to be well prepared. But at this moment three things govern Continental politics: the rise of the new German Empire, the decline of the Turkish, and the hegemony of England over the sea. Egypt will bring England to the consciousness, in spite of her victory, that she is the least of all the land powers of Europe. When England reaches this consciousness, then the Egyptian question will have reached its height, the nation will militarize itself, the army will nationalize itself, and from that time England will have nothing to fear in either Europe or Asia.
A German Field-officer,
M. GAMBETTA: POSITIVISM AND
THE " Religion of Humanity" is singularly fortunate in its most prominent English representative. The moral earnestness and fervour of Mr. Frederic Harrison, even more than his brilliant intellectual qualities, command the respect of those whose faith is most remote from his own. His " Discourse" on M. Gambetta* has an exceptional interest. It may be accepted, I suppose, as an illustration of the kind of ethical and religious instruction given to a Positivist congregation assembled for religious service. It opens the whole question of the relations of Christianity to the social and political life of mankind.
I could accept with very slight qualifications Mr. Harrison's account of the immense services which M. Gambetta rendered to France; and I share Mr. Harrison's admiration of M. Gambetta's great qualities and Titanic personal force. On the evening of Sunday, January 7, I happened to be preaching to young men, and was protesting against that ignoble conception of human life which attributes to circumstances an omnipotent power over character, and finds the chief explanation of human virtue and vice in our environment. I was telling them that environment counts for much, but that the personal life which the environment solicits and provokes into activity counts for more; that circumstances may reveal and develop character, but that it is only in the poorest and least energetic natures that they can be said to create it. In illustration of these remarks I spoke of M. Gambetta; and in my "notes" I find the following rather vehement sentences:—
"Think of that eminent Frenchman who passed away last Sunday night, and whose death has produced consternation in France and a sense of awe in every country in Europe. When the liberty of France was crushed by the Empire, when a high-spirited and chivalrous nation was cowed and terrified by the relentless tyranny of an iniquitous Government, when no voice was raissd
* Contemporary Review, March, 1883.