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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 rôle. 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 manœuvre 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 ENGLISH MILITARY POWER.

475

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 mancuvre 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. к к 2

M. GAMBETTA: POSITIVISM AND

CHRISTIANITY.

THE

an

HE“ 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 exceptional interest. It may be accepted, I suppose, as an illustra. ! tion 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 Sun. day, 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 tyrarny of an iniquitous Government, when no voice was raised

* CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, March, 1883.

above a whisper against the crimes which were suppressing all that was loftiest and most generous in the intellectual and moral life of a great people, when the fierce populations of Paris and Lyons were crouching and trembling like a hound under the lash of a cruel master, the young advocate, by the audacity, the splendid indignation, the vehement passion of a single speech, gave hope to a country that had sunk into despair, and called the vanished form of Freedom from the tomb.

“When, a year or two later, the armies of Germany were spreading over French soil, taking possession of city after city, and province after province, destroying the armies of the corrupt Empire, and driving them like the leaves of autumn before the wind, when all hope was gone, when a nation proud of its military renown was paralyzed with shame by the ignominy of its defeat -a shame which was more intolerable than the worst external disasters of the war—then again it was the courage of that solitary man, his fierce resentment at the dishonour which France had suffered through the incapacity of her {nıperial ruler, his boundless faith in the fortitude and daring of his countrymen, that revived the spirit of the nation. Army after army sprang at his word as if from the soil. For the first time in that dreadful war the troops of France turned back the tide of German victory, and Europe learnt that the heroism which had made the armies of France famous and terrible was not yet extinguished.

"A few years later still, and it was again he--and he alone—who stood between the Republic and the plots of Royalist conspirators. He had defied the Empire when it seemed most powerful, and taught his countrymen to hope once more for freedom; he had restored to the nation its self-respect in the days of its deepest misfortune; and now, when the Liberty which had been so hardly won, was in danger, it was he who, by his invincible courage and his stormy eloquence, drove back the enemies of the Republic.* Circumstances count for much; a man counts for more. M. Gambetta was one of the Great Powers of Europe."

The sermon delivered in Carr's Lane Chapel, Birmingham, on January 7 was hardly less cordial in its appreciation of the grandeur of M. Gambetta's personality and of the unique value of his services to France than the “ Positivist Discourse" delivered in Newton Hall on February 4.

Mr. Harrison does not claim M. Gambetta as a disciple of M. Comte; but the “ Discourse” may, perhaps, leave the impression on the mind of an unwary reader that M. Gambetta's great and romantic career derived some of its inspiration and guidance from the “Religion of Humanity.” Is there anything to justify this impression? Whatever his private convictions may have been, can we discover any indications of the Comtist faith in his political life? The question is worth discussing for many reasons ; and the discussion will fitly introduce the principal topic of this paper.

I believe that on some public occasion M. Gambetta spoke of M. Comte in terms of great admiration, and I suppose it is to this that Mr. Harrison refers when he says that “M. Gambetta was the first statesman of European importance to offer public

offer public homage to Comte as the greatest mind of the nineteenth century."

But Mr. John Stuart Mill acknowledged that M. Comte was as great • M. Gambetta's political sagacity was as important a factor as his energy and eloquence in bis great conflict with the Monarchists.

as Descartes and Leibnitz. He even said, “Were we to speak our whole mond, we should call him superior to them; though not intrinsically, yet by the exertion of equal intellectual power in a more advanced state of human preparation."* And yet, when Mr. Mill came to consider the later works of M. Comte, he could only speak of the “melancholy decadence of a great intellect.” He criticised the ethical, principles and the ethical method, the political ideas, the cultus, and the organization of the “Religion of Humanity,” with a severity which is made all the more impressive by the frankness with which he recognized the beauty and the grandeur of some of its details, and by the evident reluctance with which he condemned the speculations of a man for whose genius he had a profound veneration, and to whom for many years he had shown a cordial friendship.

Did M. Gambetta's act of “public homage to Comte” carry with it an adhesion to the religion of Positivism or to its political ideals ? Did it amount to much more than Mr. Mill's acknowledgment of Comte's great intellectual force ? Did it amount to as much ? I may be wrong; but what knowledge I have of M. Gambetta has not led me to regard him as a man who had accepted any systematic and organized theory of the world and of human life. I should not have supposed that he would very much care for such a theory. His genius was of the kind that makes a man an artist, an orator, a politician, a great party chief, a national leader in dark and stormy times,—but not a speculative philosopher. Mr. Harrison knows very much more about M. Gambetta's public life than I know, and was also honoured with his private confidence. He could speak on this subject with authority. In the" Discourse” he leaves it undetermined.

Mr. Harrison says that M. Gambetta formally accepted “as his leading idea in politics” Comte's great aphorism,“ Progress can only arise out of the development of order." But in what sense did he

Did he accept it in any other sense than an English Liberal accepts it, who, with a strong passion for the improvement of the economical and social condition of the people and for the reform of national institutions, has not forgotten his Burke, and always remembers that in every forward movement we must start from where we are, and that it is impossible for a country to dissolve its relations with the past? In the application of the principle most practical politicians are likely to be sometimes at fault. To attempt the impossible is not, perhaps, the gravest of all offences in a popular leader: it was one of the supreme virtues of M. Gambetta's political career. But even those politicians who are haunted by visions of an ideal justice, security, and freedom, perceive that they have to take account of the material in which they have to work—of the social traditions, of the domestic manners, of the political institutions which

· Auguste Comte and Positivism,” p. 200.

accept it?

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