HL Deb 15 December 1854 vol 136 cc313-37

My Lords, I rise for the purpose of performing a duty which, though difficult, is, nevertheless, of a most grateful character—to move that your Lordships should agree to Resolutions which can by no possibility excite discordant feelings, but which, on the contrary, must, I am certain, assuage for the time every feeling of party, and must combine in entire unanimity all noble Peers on either side of the House. Fortunately for me in the performance of this task, no eloquence is needed to induce your Lordships to agree to these Resolutions. They must, I am sure, under existing circumstances, appeal directly to the hearts and feelings of all Englishmen—to those without as to those within these walls. My Lords, I feel that any elaborate praises, however adorned with oratorical power and chastened by the purest taste, would be less calculated to influence your Lordships' minds on an occasion like the present than the simplest record of the deeds done and the services rendered which we now seek to reward. On former occasions, when it has been the duty of Ministers of the Crown to move the Thanks of Parliament for the services of the Army and Navy of England, similar to those which I am about to lay before your Lordships, it has been customary to give some lengthened detail of the operations which had taken place, and to lay before the House a statement of the services which had entitled the army or the navy to this favour at your Lordships' hands. On the present occasion, I feel that I should only be uselessly trespassing on your Lordships' time if I were to attempt to enter into any such detail. The circumstances on this occasion are very different from those which existed on former occasions. In the first place, the deeds to which I am about to refer were performed at a time when Parliament was not sitting. Moreover, at the present time, those deeds have been recorded in a manner unknown to us in former days, and in terms so striking and so graphic, through the medium of gentlemen who have been eyewitnesses of them, that it would be the merest affectation in me were I to attempt to say anything new, or to pretend to give your Lordships information upon actions and events which are known in every circle, and are discussed in every cottage throughout the country. My Lords, I have said that on this occasion I believe every feeling of party will for a period be assuaged. Let me only further say, that if noble Lords are still pleased to impute any blame to the Government, for not having assisted Lord Raglan and his army with sufficient means, then, if such be the case, so much more must you accord your praise to that army. I will not say more upon that subject, but your Lordships must feel that to any extent to which you can blame the Government to so much the greater extent must you praise the army. It has always been considered that a Vote of Thanks to our gallant soldiers and sailors is the highest reward which it is in the power of Parliament to bestow. It has always been looked upon as the greatest incentive to the exertions of the officers and the valour of the men. It has always been looked upon by the army as not only a proof of the gratitude of Parliament for the actions performed, but as an expression of the opinion of Parliament that they had the power of rendering still further services—that it had as much a view to the future as it was a record of gratitude for the past.

My Lords, it is not for me, at this moment, to discuss an aphorism which has become so trite and prevalent as to be generally accepted, that England is not a military nation; but in this I am sure your Lordships will agree with me, that the glory acquired by our armies has ever been most dear to the people of England, and has always elicited the warmest expressions of gratitude from the Parliament of the country—from your Lordships as well as from the representatives of the people. But, so far as your Lordships' House is concerned, I feel you must entertain still greater pride and pleasure on this occasion when he who is in command of these armies—he who has won this great renown—is a Member of this House, one whom we have been in the habit of seeing among us, and one whom I am certain your Lordships will all agree with me in heartily wishing that we may again see among us on a future day, safe, in health, and enjoying that increased renown which he has so justly won. My Lords, I consider that Lord Raglan deserves the thanks and approbation of the country, not merely for the military actions he has performed in the Crimea, but for the course of conduct which he has pursued from the first moment of his leaving England. I consider that the proper and judicious arrangements which he made at Constantinople and at Varna—that the preparations he made subsequently for the invasion of the Crimea—are as deserving of approbation as even his great military successes. I believe that a man of weaker mind than Lord Raglan, of less heroic courage, might well, under the circumstances of the moment, have hesitated to undertake that great expedition. I believe that a man of less power of mind, of less moral courage than Lord Raglan, might well have been deterred by the circumstances of the time, by the disease which prevailed in the army, by various events, which might almost have justified him in exercising that discretion which, of course, no Government could avoid placing in a Commander in Chief, and have declined or hesitated to enter upon that great and important expedition. My Lords, I said on a former occasion, that I considered it would be almost an insult to Lord Raglan to speak of his personal courage; but I say now, that if there is any point upon which we should be justified in blaming Lord Raglan, it is the great indifference which on two occasions he has shown for his own personal safety—carried, perhaps, to an improper length. The way in which he on both these occasions exposed himself in the midst of a storm of bullets and under the hottest fire, is undoubtedly a proof of his calm and resolute character, which was certainly most admirable, but which might possibly have deprived us of his valuable services. My Lords, one of the secrets of Lord Raglan's success I believe to be the generous reliance which on all occasions he has placed in his officers, his colleagues, and his soldiers; and, let me add, without disrespect to him, in himself. My Lords, I have been informed—though assuredly not by Lord Raglan himself, for, if there is one characteristic of that eminent man more remarkable than another, it is his singular modesty and avoidance of every topic which might attract fame or reputation to himself—I have heard from others that an event occurred at the battle of the Alma, which, I will not say turned the fate of the day, but had it not been for Lord Raglan's prescience and skill, the result of the battle might have been differ- ent. Upon examining the position of the Russian right, he despatched an officer to bring up two guns, which were placed in position to scatter the reserves of the Russians, and this prevented an attack on the left, which might have been attended, had a less skilful general been in command, with disastrous consequences. I say that the modesty which Lord Raglan has evinced in those despatches which have been published, and which have been read by your Lordships, shows him a worthy disciple of that great man whose simplicity and modesty are part of the records of our history. It is not merely the greatness of his military successes which entitles him to the thanks of Parliament, but in no less degree the generous and noble spirit—the moral courage which he has evinced on all occasions, whether on the field or in the camp. Moreover, the parental tenderness manifested towards the officers and men under his command is the invariable characteristic of a great and distinguished man. My Lords, if I say nothing further in reference to Lord Raglan, you will attribute it to the reason I have assigned—that eulogy is as needless from my lips as it is to your ears.

Following the precedents of former occasions, I shall ask your Lordships to vote Thanks to the Generals and Officers under Lord Raglan's command—naming, as is usual, all generals, not merely veterans like Sir John Burgoyne and Sir George Brown, two men whom we all know to have advanced to that period of life which, as the Scripture tells us, is the term of most of us—one of whom has passed that period, and is entitled to that repose from labour which his years in most men would absolutely require. To them I shall ask your Lordships to give your Thanks for their distinguished services. In the next place, to the illustrious Prince, also a Member of this House, who has on this occasion endeared, if it were possible, still more to the people of this country the family to which he belongs, and who has proved that the ancient valour of his race has not degenerated in the present day. I am confident your Lordships will rejoice—as I know Her Majesty does—that a Member of Her House has been entitled to share in the toils, the difficulties, the privations, as well as in the hard-won glory of the British army. My Lords, I will ask you further to vote Thanks to General Sir De Lacy Evans; and here I must allude to what I shall ever feel to be one of the noblest acts of gallantry which ever distinguished a veteran general. My Lords, this officer had been compelled by illness to retire from his command, and was on board ship in the harbour of Balaklava. Your Lordships know how rapidly and suddenly the battle of Inkerman commenced. At the first sound of artillery, he hastened on shore, weak, and scarcely able to sit on his horse. He arrived on the scene of action, where he found his division engaged under the command of his brigadier, and most nobly and gallantly he stayed to assist him, acting, I may say, as his aide-de-camp, remaining at his side, assisting him by his advice rather than that, by assuming his own position at the head of his division, he should prevent General Pennefather from reaping the rewards and the honours of the day. I think your Lordships will agree with me that this is one of the most honourable traits which ever distinguished a British General. I shall further ask you to vote Thanks to all the Generals and Officers, from the highest to the lowest, from the General at the head of a division down to those noble youths, who, not yet arrived at years of maturity, stepped forth one after another to seize the colours riddled with shot from the hands of their fallen brother ensigns, and carried them triumphantly to the heights of Alma.

My Lords, we shall not stop here. We shall, I am sure, with equal unanimity, vote our Thanks to the Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers of that gallant army. I alluded the other evening to the encouragement which it is proposed to give, by way of promotion, to that portion of the army, and your Lordships appeared to signify your approval of that course. We know how difficult it is, on many occasions, to reward individual private soldiers, but they deserve our warm and hearty thanks. Perhaps in no battles recorded in the history of this country did the private soldiers more justly entitle themselves to the Thanks of Parliament than at those which have recently occurred. Inkerman, especially, may be called, as I have heard it designated, "the soldiers' battle." That was an action in which no great military strategy could be displayed; it was one of those fierce hand-to-hand encounters which remind us of the battles of which we read in classic times; it was a contest in which the individual bravery, perseverance, and fortitude of each single soldier were brought most severely to the test, and right well did they discharge their duty. Whether you look to the individual bravery displayed by our men upon that occasion—whether you look to their collective discipline—whether you look to the power of mind over matter, if I may use the expression, which enabled every man on that day to overcome, by a paramount sense of public duty, almost every human feeling, every regard for self, and even that dread of death which is natural to every human being—in whatever aspect you view the conduct of our troops, it is impossible not to admire and to honour every man who fought at Inkerman. My Lords, whether you contemplate the storming of the heights of Alma, or the defence of Inkerman—two battles which present as remarkable a contrast, perhaps, as any that are recorded in history—you must recollect that the British troops by whom they were fought were men fresh from this country, the greater part of whom, as was said by a noble Earl the other night, had never before heard a shot fired in anger; but I venture to say that, either upon the One occasion or the other, you must admit that no veteran troops, however practised in arms, however enured to contest, ever fought better, ever more distinguished themselves, or maintained the honour of their country. And let me here observe that it was no despicable enemy against whom they had to contend, for undoubtedly, from whatever cause, whether from the excitement of fanaticism, or from some other influence, no men ever fought with greater desperation than did the Russians at Inkerman. I believe, my Lords, that British troops never had to contend against more fearful odds than those which on that day they encountered and overcame.

My Lords, I know that in bringing forward a Motion like the present I am bound to avoid anything like controversy; but I may be pardoned if I express some regret that a noble Earl (the Earl of Ellen-borough) should last night have rather demurred to the opinion I expressed as to the alteration and improvement which had taken place in the conduct of the British troops. I will not enter further into that question upon the present occasion than to say, that I must repeat, in the strongest and most emphatic terms, the praise which I believe to be most justly due to our troops for their moral conduct as well as their distinguished bravery. There is a test of a soldier's moral conduct, not merely in a town which has been captured, but also in encampment in a country not his own; and the conduct of our men in Bulgaria, among a native population, alien to them in religion and in habits, was as creditable to them as their bravery in the field of battle. At one period of my life, I suppose like every one of your Lordships, I took an interest in reading the records of the great battles in which the troops of this country had been engaged, but I cannot bring to mind any one that, in my own judgment, surpassed those which we are now considering. I have the pleasure of stating to your Lordships that these are the sentiments of the Sovereign, as I am confident they are those of your Lordships, and Her Majesty has been pleased to signify Her approval of the conduct of the army by conferring medals upon the whole of the soldiers and officers who were engaged on those eventful days. The medal is to be inscribed with the word "Crimea," and, following what I think your Lordships will agree with me are good precedents in such cases, clasps are also to be bestowed for the two great battles of Alma and Inkerman. Her Majesty has further been pleased to order that the names of those battles shall in future be inscribed upon the colours, which are already crowded with similar records of previous victories, of our regiments which were engaged on those glorious days.

My Lords, it is further my duty to ask you to pass a Vote of Thanks to the naval officers and men, who, as I stated two nights ago, have evinced upon all occasions the greatest devotion, and the frankest and most honourable determination to assist the sister service—the army—to the utmost extent of their ability. I know that none feel more than Lord Raglan and the soldiers under his command, how deeply the army, and, of course, this country, is indebted to the services of the navy during the recent operations. Having touched upon these services on a previous occasion, I will not dwell further upon them, but shall merely say, I propose that to the Officers and Seamen of the Navy, and to the Officers and Men of the Marines, your Lordships shall confer the expression of your Thanks.

My Lords, there are two other services which I believe it has never been usual to include in Votes of Thanks on these occasions; I do not propose to ask your Lordships to depart from precedents, but I cannot forbear from a passing remark upon the exertions of a large body of seamen who, though not engaged in Her Majesty's service, have most zealously performed their duties in this great undertaking—I allude to the officers and men of the large transport service now at the disposal of the army. I can assure your Lordships that their exertions have been indefatigable and of the most valuable description, and they deserve the warmest acknowledgments of Parliament and of the country. The other body of men to whom I allude are the medical officers of the army. I speak not now, of course, of the medical organisation, upon which so much was said the other night; but I must state, in justice to an honourable profession, that never were greater exertions made by any body of men—never was more humanity evinced—never more complete devotedness to their duties, than by the medical officers of the British army in the Crimea. To one of these men I must allude. I will ask your Lordships to consider for one moment the services performed by such a man as Dr. Thomson. He was left, under circumstances of the most painful nature, upon the field of battle of the Alma, with not another person to assist him, not to attend to the wounded of his own army, all of whom had been removed, but to a large number of Russian wounded, many of whom—persuaded that an Englishman was little less than a devil—were prepared to murder any individual who might seek to render them succour and assistance. Among such men was Dr. Thomson left alone; he bound the wounds of some hundreds of these poor Russian soldiers at the great danger of his life, but nevertheless he escaped. He returned to his duties in his own army; but it pleased Providence to remove him from his sphere of usefulness two or three days subsequently. His death was occasioned by the immense exertions he had made and a disease which he had brought on by his extraordinary sacrifices and toils. I must say, my Lords, that if it has not been usual for Parliament to thank such men as these, at least it is not wrong for a Minister of the Crown to stand up in this House and express his admiration at such conduct.

I am about, nevertheless, upon this occasion, to ask your Lordships to depart somewhat from precedent. We are called upon to vote our thanks to the men who have served their country; but I regret to say that a large body of those who left this country, high in expectation and confident of success, are not now within the reach of our mortal thanks. Their names, therefore, are not in the list which I am about to submit to your Lordships, but I am confident that they are not forgotten. With all our triumphs sorrow is inevitably mingled; and when I look round upon your Lordships at this moment, I see that there are some who bear the outward semblance of that grief which preys upon their inmost hearts fur the losses they have sustained. I think, then, your Lordships will not deem it unbecoming if, upon this occasion, departing from the dry rule of precedent, we should express our regret at the loss of those noble men, and our condolence with their relatives. I propose merely to ask your Lordships so to do. I shall not in that Resolution include any names; but it is impossible not to recollect the name of one whom, perhaps, above all others, the country most deeply mourns. My Lords, I had the happiness to become acquainted with that gallant and noble man, Sir George Cathcart, by official communications before I ever saw him personally; and from the official correspondence which I held with him for a year and a half, while he was Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, I must say that I never was more struck with the ability, the honour, and the devotedness of any man. In common with the rest of those who were acquainted with him, I confidently looked forward to the time when he would take a position in the British army of the highest value to the country, and to that Sovereign who, as much as any one of us, regrets his death. He and his companions sleep on the bleak hills of a foreign coast, but I am confident their names will live for ever, not unhonoured, in the sad and grateful remembrance of the people as well as in the military records of this country.

I rejoice, my Lords, that upon this occasion we are enabled to extend our Votes of Thanks beyond their usual bounds. We have had during this contest an ally such as it has rarely been our good fortune to possess in any former war, and I propose to your Lordships that we should vote Thanks to that gallant army which has shared with ours its labours and its triumphs. I need scarcely remind your Lordships of that eminent man who undertook the command at the commencement of the operations—though, under the circumstances of the case, of course, I cannot name him in the Vote—or of the distinguished General who so worthily succeeded him in command of the French army. Marshal St. Arnaud, as is well known, left his country to assume the command of the French army with the conviction that he had a mortal malady upon him, and that, in all probability, it was impossible for him to return alive to his own country. He showed the greatest devotion to the service of the army, and I have it repeatedly in private letters from Lord Raglan, that up to the moment of his death the greatest possible harmony and confidence existed between his Lordship and that gallant officer. In fact, Marshal St. Arnaud and Lord Raglan might have been brought up in the same service, and have been serving in the same army, so far as their communications were concerned. Marshal St. Arnaud left Varna with the French and English forces on the 7th of September. In the course of the short voyage to the opposite coast he became so seriously ill, that the officer who had been sent by Lord Raglan to communicate with him, reported that he believed it to be impossible that the Marshal could ever land on the shores of the Crimea. He, nevertheless, rallied for a time; he landed, be mounted his horse, and, though I believe that repeatedly during the battle of the Alma he was obliged from intense suffering to dismount, he gallantly remained at his post, and, as you know, died almost in the hour of victory. He was succeeded in command by General Canrobert, whose frank and noble conduct has as greatly endeared him to the British army as to Lord Raglan and the British officers. They all respect his military abilities—they admire him as a soldier—they regard him as a man. Let me also add, though it may be uncommon to mention in a Vote of Thanks an officer second in command, that to General Bosquet, second in command of the French army, a tribute of admiration is due. General Bosquet has been brought into more especial contact with our troops; he has served with the English forces upon the right, and I can state—from information derived from the most authentic sources—that our troops look upon him almost as if he were a general in their own army, and I believe they would be as ready to follow him to victory as they would be to follow any general who holds the Commission of the Queen. Such has already become the feeling of affection and of concord which subsists between the armies of the two countries. I would also add, that I propose to your Lordships to vote Thanks to the French navy, as I propose to do to our own navy, for the distinguished services they have rendered, and for the assistance they have afforded in all the operations of the war. The French army and the French navy, allied in the same efforts with ourselves, have, I rejoice to know, participated in the same triumphs; and I am confident your Lordships will feel your own emotions of enthusiasm are mingled with theirs, and will as heartily afford your thanks to these allied troops as to your own.

I feel, my Lords, how inadequately I have submitted these Resolutions to your Lordships; but I trust that lengthened remarks upon my part are not necessary upon a subject at once so grateful and so much in accordance with your Lordships' feelings and sympathies. Were it not that I am certain he is prepared to undertake the duty, I should invite the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) to second the Motion which I have had the honour to submit to your Lordships. It has been my fate, during the few years for which I have occupied a seat in this House, to be frequently in collision—impar congressus—with the noble Earl; but I feel certain that upon this occasion, we shall be as completely agreed as any two Peers on this side of the House. I invite—with confidence that it will be afforded—his fervid eloquence to strengthen my feeble voice in appealing to your Lordships to give this vote the sanction of your unanimous approval, and I am equally confident that you will, by a generous response, record your approbation and gratitude for the brilliant services rendered by the united armies, which have added fresh lustre to the military fame of England and France. The noble Duke concluded by moving the following Resolutions—

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat the Thanks of this House be given to Field Marshal The Right Honourable Lord Raglan, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, for the Energy and distinguished Ability with which he has conducted the Operations of Her Majesty's Forces in the Crimea, for the brilliant and decisive Victory obtained over the Enemy's Army on the Alma, and the signal Defeat of a Force of vastly superior Numbers on the Heights of Inkerman.

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat the Thanks of this House be given to— Lieutenant-General Sir John Fox Burgoyne, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Lieutenant - General Sir George Brown, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Lieutenant-General His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; Lieutenant - General Sir De Lacy Evans, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Lieutenant-General Sir Richard England, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Lieutenant-General The Earl of Lucan; Major-General The Earl of Cardigan; Brigadier-General, now Major-General, the Honourable James Yorke Scarlett; Major-General Henry John William Bentinck; Major-General Sir Colin Campbell, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Major-General John Lysaght Pennefather, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Major-General William John Codrington; Brigadier-General, now Major-General, Henry William Adams, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Brigadier-General, now Major-General, Sir John Campbell, Baronet; Brigadier -General, now Major-General, George Buller, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Brigadier-General, now Major-General, William Eyre, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Brigadier-General, now Major-General, Arthur Wellesley Torrens; *Brigadier-General, now Major - General, Richard Airey, Quarter-Master- General; *Brigades General, now Major - General, James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt, Adjutant-General; And to the several other Officers, for their Zeal, Intrepidity, and distinguished Exertions in the several Actions in which Her Majesty's Forces have been engaged with the Enemy.

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat this House doth highly acknowledge the distinguished Discipline, Valour, and Exertions displayed by the Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers of the Army under the Command of Field Marshal Lord Raglan in all the Operations in the Crimea; and that the same be signified to them by the Commanders of the several Corps, who are desired to thank them for their distinguished and gallant Behaviour.

OrderedThat the Lord Chancellor do communicate the said Resolutions to Field Marshal The Right Honourable Lord Raglan; and that he be re- quested by the Lord Chancellor to signify the same to— Lieutenant-General Sir John Fox Burgoyne, Lieutenant-General Sir George Brown, Lieutenant General His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, Lieutenant-General Sir De Lacy Evans, Lieutenant-General Sir Richard England, Lieutenant-General The Earl of Lucan. Major-General The Earl of Cardigan, Brigadier-General, now Major-General, The Honourable James Yorke Scarlett, Major-General Henry John William Bentinck, Major-General Sir Colin Campbell, Major-General John Lysaght Pennefather, Major-General William John Codrington, Brigadier-General, now Major-General, Henry William Adams, Brigadier-General, now Major-General, Sir John Campbell, Baronet, Brigadier - General, now Major - General, George Buller, Brigadier-General, now Major-General, William Eyre, Brigadier-General, now Major-General, Arthur Wellesley Torrens, *Brigadier-General, now Major-General, Richard Airey, *Brigadier -General, now Major -General, James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt, And to the several Officers who served in the Army under his Command.

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat the Thanks of this House be given to Vice-Admiral James Whitley Deans Dundas, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, to Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and to the several Captains and Officers in the Fleet under the Command of the said Vice-Admiral, and also to the Officers of the Navy and Marines employed on Shore in the Siege of Sebastopol, for their indefatigable Activity and Exertions in conveying Her Majesty's Land Forces to the Crimea, in effecting their Disembarkation, and in co-operating with them during the Siege of Sebastopol.

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat this House doth highly approve of and acknowledge the Services of *Rear-Admiral the Honourable Montague Stopford, Captain of the Fleet, of the Seamen and Marines on board the Ships under the Command of Vice-Admiral Dundas, and also of the Seamen and Marines employed on Shore in the Siege of Sebastopol, in their indefatigable Activity and Exertions in conveying Her Majesty's Land Forces to the Crimea, in effecting their Disembarkation, and in co-operating with them during the Siege of Sebastopol and that the Captains of the several Ships do signify the same to their respective Crews, and do thank them for their praiseworthy and gallant Conduct.

OrderedThat The Lord Chancellor do communicate the said Resolutions to Vice-Admiral Dundas; and that he be requested by the Lord Chancellor to signify the same to Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, to *Rear-Admiral the Honourable Montague Stopford, and to the several Captains and other Officers referred to therein.

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat this House acknowledges with Admiration the distinguished Valour and Conduct of those who have perished during the present Struggle in the Service of their Country, and feels deep Sympathy with their Relatives and Friends.

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat the Thanks of this House be given to General Canrobert and the French Army for their gallant and successful Co-operation with Her Majesty's Land Forces in the Attack on the Enemy's Position at Alma, for their energetic and timely Assistance in repelling the Enemy at Inkerman, and for their distinguished Exertions in concert with Her Majesty's Troops in the Siege of Sebastopol; and that Field Marshal Lord Raglan be desired to convey to them the present Resolution.

Resolved, Nemine DissentienteThat the Thanks of this House be given to Admiral Hamelin and the French Navy for their cordial co-operation with Her Majesty's Fleet in conveying the Allied Forces to the Crimea, in effecting their Disembarkation, and in the Siege of Sebastopol; and that Vice-Admiral Dundas be desired to convey to them the present Resolution,

[* These names were ordered to be inserted in the Resolutions by Resolutions of the 18th December.]


My Lords, having upon former occasions taken an opportunity of expressing, feebly and inadequately indeed, but most sincerely and cordially, my deep sense of the debt of gratitude which this country owes to those gallant and distinguished men, of every rank, to whose efforts we have owed the great and brilliant success which has been achieved by our arms, I should not have thought it incumbent upon me to say a single word, nor should I have risen on this occasion, had it not been to give to the noble Duke and to your Lordships the most convincing proof of the entire unanimity of the House, by desiring—politically opposed as I am to Her Majesty's Government—to express on my own part, and for those noble Lords with whom I have the honour of being connected, our entire acquiescence in the Motion which the noble Duke has proposed. The noble Duke, in his appeal to me, has done injustice to the manner in which he has brought this subject under your Lordships' notice, for, in no lengthened address, he has most clearly, most simply, and with the truest eloquence—because it was the eloquence of his heart—enumerated with official authority those services for which he calls upon your Lordships to give, as I am sure you will give, the willing tribute of your Thanks. I feel, therefore, my Lords, that any appeal to me to add to the description and the statements of the noble Duke is one to which I could not respond without exposing myself to the charge of egregious presumption. I cordially concur, and I am sure your Lordships will concur, in the Thanks moved by the noble Duke to the distinguished officers whom he has mentioned, and to those whose names (from the impossibility of enumerating all who have done their best) he has of necessity omitted. I certainly shall not accept the invitation of the noble Duke to contrast the success which has been achieved by the army with the deficiencies that some may think existed in the means and appliances at their command. Their deeds require no such contrast; their achievements require no such adventitious colouring; and this is not an occasion on which, whatever may be my opinions, I should wish to recall the memory of such things. Let us be content on this occasion to do honour to the brilliancy of their achievements, and to record our tribute of sincere admiration and gratitude to those men who, under whatever difficulties, have so nobly maintained the honour of the British flag, and are still sustaining most gallantly the arduous struggle in which they are engaged. It fell naturally to the part of the noble Duke, in the situation which he occupies, to enumerate by name some of the most distinguished commanders and leaders of our army. I can speak with no such authority, and, indeed, it would be an act of invidious presumption on my part were I to refer to the performance of duties in the field, when all, from the highest to the lowest—from that gallant and distinguished officer who had long the honour and advantage of enjoying the intimacy and confidence of that great man the Duke of Wellington, and who has proved himself worthy of the school in which he learned his military duties—from that distinguished Prince of the Blood who has added a fresh title to his Royal birth in the self-sacrifices he has made in the service of his country, who has shared the soldiers' labours, privations, toils, and dangers—the latter even to a degree which may almost be considered imprudent—when all, from men occupying these distinguished stations, these high positions in the army and in social rank, connected even with the Royal family of this country, down to the very humblest individual who serves in the ranks, have been actuated by an equal desire to perform that which is the first object in the mind of every Englishman—to perform, unostentatiously indeed, but perseveringly, unhesitatingly, unflinchingly, their duty; all these, I doubt not, have been sustained and cheered in the hour of their greatest peril and privation, by the idea that those perils and privations would not be lost upon a grateful country, and that the admiration, at all events, if not the Thanks of their Sovereign, of Parliament, and of the country, would be freely accorded to men who had made such sacrifices and endured such privations. The navy, it is true, on this occasion have not had an opportunity of distinguishing themselves upon their own element by such active service as the army; but whatever it has been in their power to accomplish has been accomplished with a zeal, an activity, and an energy which will bear comparison with any former achievements of that gallant service. And when I speak of the achievements of the navy on their own element, I must not forget to mention, and to mention with satisfaction and with respect, the voluntary exertions of those gallant seamen and marines, not upon the sea, but in assisting their fellow-labourers and fellow-heroes of the army, by sustaining the toils and dangers of the land service. I believe the army will not be slow to acknowledge the debt of gratitude they owe to the marine artillery, and to our gallant seamen and marines, for the efficient aid which they have rendered. My Lords, the noble Duke has said that he thought he was about to take a somewhat unusual course in expressing the condolence and sympathy this House must feel with the surviving friends and relatives of those who have fallen gallantly in the service of their country. My Lords, in looking back upon the lamentable losses we have sustained, and the many melancholy gaps which have been made in our list of officers—many coming within our own observation—your Lordships cannot but feel that if it be an irregular course in such a case to mingle with our thanks and honours to the living our regret, our admiration, and our respect for the dead—surely, if that be a deviation from common practice, there is not a Member of your Lordships' House who will blame Her Majesty's Government for having given, in a matter in which our hearts are deeply engaged—perhaps more deeply even than in rendering ho- nours to those who are still living to enjoy them—the expression of our sympathy to the relations of those who have fallen. My Lords, I am sure it will not be doubted that I concur most cordially with the noble Duke in the expression he has given to the feelings with which Her Majesty's Government have viewed and appreciated the honourable and noble support which has been given to the arms of this country by the troops. both military and naval, of our faithful Ally. I believe, my Lords, that we have had full reason, as we have had full reason before, and under very different circumstances, to appreciate the valour of the French troops and French seamen. We have never had an opportunity in which we were made more conscious of that valour, and more sensible of the importance and advantages of their services, than when, side by side, these two great nations have been carrying forward the operations of their arms in the prosecution of a just and honourable war to, I trust, an ultimate and glorious success. I rejoice that the noble Duke has taken this opportunity of doing justice not only to the memory of the late Commander in Chief of the French army—not only to that distinguished man who has succeeded to the command of the army, but to that General of the French army who has been brought into more immediate co-operation with the English troops, and whose gallant conduct and invaluable assistance, both at the Alma and Inkerman, have been so well and worthily appreciated by the British Army. In dealing with a Vote of Thanks to the French army and navy, and participating most cordially in honouring the services rendered by those forces, I cannot help expressing a doubt—I do it not as a matter of reproach, and, least of all, would I move or even suggest an Amendment—but I should be glad to hear from Her Majesty's Government if they have themselves considered bother there was any precedent in the history of this country for returning thanks to the troops of a foreign Prince. [The Duke of NEWCASTLE was understood to intimate that there was such a precedent.] It had occurred to me that the most becoming course would have been, in proposing the Vote of Thanks to the British Army, that we should recognise, on the part of Parliament and on the part of the country, the obligations we are under to our foreign allies; yet I felt that it might, perhaps, have the appearance of taking upon ourselves a position which did not properly belong to us, and of passing over the Sovereign, to whom those troops, both naval and military, owe their allegiance—the Vote of Parliament conveying Thanks to troops which owe allegiance to another Sovereign might appear to be an interference with the internal duty and allegiance of these troops to their own Sovereign, which, I am sure, would be the last thing Her Majesty's Government would wish. But I rejoice to find, whatever may have been my doubts, that there is any precedent for a course which I must nevertheless, say appears to me somewhat anomalous and somewhat inconsistent in the relations between the two Powers—I rejoice to find that there have been precedents for such a course; and, that being the case, even the slight hesitation I might have felt, not as to the substance, but as to the form of the Motion, is removed, and I can cordially join in the Vote proposed to be given. I trust your Lordships and Her Majesty's Government will not think that my having noticed this point of form exhibits any desire to be captious. I should have felt most unwilling to introduce anything on which there might be a difference of opinion in a question in which it is most important that all should be united. My Lords, to all—to the British Generals and to the British soldiers, to the British Admirals, to the British navy, and to the army and navy of France as well, this country owes for this campaign a debt of gratitude which it is not easy to discharge. It is easy, my Lords, for you to vote the Thanks of Parliament, although I think that those Thanks ought to be reserved for great and signal occasions, because, if made too frequent, they may lose some portion of their value—it is easy, my Lords, for you to return those Thanks, but depend upon it, in the services of this country, and if one may judge from one's own reasoning, in the services of other countries also, these Thanks, this expression of the obligation you owe, will be doubly appreciated by all those gallant men whom we are united in honouring. They will consider it a glorious and honourable compensation for all they have undergone, for all they have suffered, and for all they have achieved; they will consider it—and I trust that the Vote of Parliament embodying the thanks and gratitude of the country always will be so considered by those who bear in a foreign land the flag of the British nation—they will consider it not only an honourable compensation for the past, but an honourable incentive to endeavour for the future even to eclipse their former deeds by deeds of greater valour and greater daring.


My Lords, I am happy to find by the proposed Vote of Thanks that the naval service is included, and by the remarks that have been made both by the noble Duke and the noble Earl, that all objections on the ground of the inefficient conduct of the Commander in Chief, and of the service in the Black Sea, are at once and for ever put an end to. It is now, I presume, shown that the services of Admiral Dundas have been successful in blockading the Straits of Kertch, that he has thoroughly prevented all communication between Odessa and the Crimea by sea, and that those services are appreciated, and that every word which has been stated in the public prints, and talked in the clubs, and in various parts of the country, is pronounced in the most undoubted language as false; and that not only had the blockade been most effectually supported and maintained, but that the whole service in the Black Sea had been conducted in the most exemplary manner. Under the peculiar circumstances of the war, our naval forces have been completely divided in the public service in the Baltic and in the Black Sea; and although you have, by what appears to me the necessity of the case, found it your duty to confine your Thanks for the naval service in the Black Sea, still I feel that your Lordships will all join in the sentiment that in the Baltic the services have been of the most arduous description, and that the officers of the navy in that sea have fulfilled the duty which they had to perform with admirable ability, and that in voting Thanks to the fleet in the Black Sea we are not unmindful of the services which have been equally as arduous in the Baltic. When we consider the character of the climate, the nature of the navigation, the absence of lights, the withdrawal of landmarks, the difficulty of navigating ships of such enormous size as have been sent to the Baltic—every ship of which will be brought back to your island in safety—we should see that the service presented vast difficulties, and the manner in which they have been overcome reflects as great credit upon the seamen in the Baltic as any conduct of our navy in any part of the world. But in addition to this, there are also a great number of officers in the Baltic who have had opportunities of distinguishing themselves in action, who have been before the enemy and have then distinguished themselves by their coolness, their steadiness, and in the conduct of their ships. Indeed, mention was made the other night by my noble Friend opposite of the taking of Bomarsund as being an important act in the operations of the war. This was accomplished certainly with the assistance of a large French force; but, as we know from the despatches of Sir Charles Napier, the naval branch of the service, whenever it has been called on to act, has conducted itself with the greatest possible efficiency. I have been induced to take part in this discussion simply for the sake of doing justice to the services of the Baltic fleet; and I am sure Her Majesty's Government will join with me when I state that, though the naval service has been separated into two distinct branches, and your Lordships have now thought fit to return their Thanks to one, you were not unmindful of the valuable services performed by the other.


My Lords, I had no wish to take part in the discussion of this Vote, which has already been so ably proposed and seconded, but I feel that I should be doing great injustice to my own feelings if I were to omit upon this occasion to express the great sense I entertain—indeed, I may say, the unbounded admiration and gratitude I feel—towards my noble Friend (Lord Raglan) and the army which he has the honour to command, and which he has proved himself so worthy to lead to victory. My noble Friend, when he undertook the command of this expedition, cheerfully obeyed the instructions of Her Majesty's Ministers. Men of less energy and determination might have hesitated before they undertook an enterprise of such magnitude and difficulty; but my noble Friend did no such thing, but at once undertook to do Her Majesty's bidding, and entered fully and completely into the views of Her Majesty's Government. In the outset of the expedition he carried through most successfully that most difficult of all military operations, the landing of a numerous army from a fleet on an enemy's shore. Before the men embarked my noble Friend displayed the greatest possible ability in the instructions he issued, both for the embarkation and the landing of the troops; and whenever the operation of landing an army from a fleet shall be required, these instructions will remain a perfect and complete code of instructions on the subject. My noble Friend knew it was a task full of difficulty, but he never flinched from undertaking it, because, as he said, with troops like those under his command, and with officers such as those who were at the head of the divisions, he could accomplish anything which he took in hand. I know, my Lords, that, upon this occasion, Lord Raglan will experience all the happiness and pride which a great commander can and ought to expect; but I feel that one thing is wanting to confer complete happiness upon Lord Raglan in connection with this Vote of your Lordships, and that is that we have not present on this occasion that great master under whom he studied the art of war to express his approval of his gallant conduct. I should have been happy to express to your Lordships sentiments of admiration towards the army similar to those which have been used by my noble Friend behind me; but the noble Duke has discharged that duty so well that I feel I should be unnecessarily occupying the time of your Lordships were I to do so. Of every officer in command I should be happy to express the same sentiments as those of the noble Duke who proposed the Resolution, but as it would only occupy your time in vain, I shall not attempt to enter upon a description of the merits of various individuals. I may, perhaps, be permitted to state that the discipline of the army, and its indomitable courage, both in defence and attack, have never been surpassed. At the Alma, everything was achieved by the bravery and courage of our troops, marching boldly up to the attack, and showing what their valour could accomplish. On the second occasion, at Inkerman, the army showed by its power of defence what the British troops are capable of accomplishing. I feel I can do no more, after the very able speeches of the mover and seconder of the Resolution, than to express my extreme satisfaction that a young army, of which two-thirds at least may be said to have been recruits. should have distinguished themselves so well and so nobly as they have done. It also gives me great satisfaction to know that there does exist in the minds of the troops in the Crimea the greatest possible courage and determination to make the best of all the difficulties to which they may be exposed.


said, that on a former occasion, when he rose to address their Lordships, he gave way to a noble Earl who rose with him, and whom they were at all times pleased to hear. He rose on that occasion because he felt he could not remain silent with regard to the merits of our gallant army; but being disappointed, he resolved upon a future occasion to trespass again on the indulgence of the House. That day was one of those of which they ought to be proud. It was a day that long would be remembered in their Lordships' House. It was one of those days that made Englishmen proud of the land they lived in, proud of their countrymen, and proud of seeing those deeds of daring performed again which they had read of in history, but which the present generation had not had the happiness to behold. When their Lordships recollected that many of these gallant men who had distinguished themselves were their personal friends, that degree of pleasure and pride must be greatly augmented. Rejoicing as they must in the honours which our Sovereign had bestowed on Lord Raglan, they were the less surprised when they remembered that the conqueror of Alma and of Inkerman was a pupil of the Great Duke, and that Fitzroy Somerset was his favourite soldier. He (the Earl of Malmesbury) could give proofs of the estimation in which the noble and gallant Commander was held by the French troops, and of the affection he had inspired amongst the troops of his own army. With respect to the illustrious Prince whose name had been so worthily referred to that evening, he had exhibited all the hereditary valour of his illustrious race, and added a new claim to the affection and respect of all ranks and classes of his countrymen by the humanity and consideration he had shown towards his troops. He felt certain that if their Lordships rejoiced in the achievements of their army in general, they must rejoice particularly in the deeds performed by Members of that House. Their Lordships would therefore excuse him if he referred to one noble Earl, a personal friend of his, and well known to many of their Lordships, whose name had not yet been mentioned in the discussion, he alluded to the Earl of Cardigan. He begged to remind their Lordships of the extraordinary deed of arms performed at Balaklava in that memorable charge, which—whatever its results, and whatever the opinion of its wisdom or expediency, made no difference as to the nature of the exploit itself—and will for ever redound to the bravery of those who shared in its disasters and glory. Their Lordships all knew the military ardour with which their gallant Friend burned; but his highest aspiration never could have led him to expect to be placed in so distinguished a position, and where he so worthily evinced the chivalry of his nature. He (the Earl of Malmesbury) was not about to go into details of the deeds of those gallant officers who had been wounded or who had fallen. It was a melancholy list, no less than 308 commissioned officers having fallen, wounded or killed. Many, very many of those gallant officers belonged to the class called, rightly or wrongly, the aristocracy of the country—men who had often been accused of monopolising to themselves the commissions of Her Majesty's service, as though they enjoyed a sinecure which was all pleasure and pay. Such were the assertions; but after the noble manner in which they had acquitted themselves, he hoped the country would hear no more of such imputations. It could not be said in future that these men were only fit to be sent on parade. They had shown themselves worthy of the important trust reposed in them, and in discharge of that trust they nobly performed their duty—even to the death—and illustrated the French proverb, "Noblesse oblige." One word about our gallant sailors. It would be useless to discriminate or particularise on the present occasion. In peace or war gallantry had ever been the leading characteristic of our soldiers and sailors; and the present war had not only elicited that quality, but also more favourable characteristics. It was impossible to admire too highly the gentle affection towards their mothers and wives, and the patriotic and religious sentiments manifested by our soldiers in letters written by many of them red-handed from the field of battle, and after the display of unsurpassed bravery in face of the enemy. Before he resumed his seat, he felt it his duty to allude to another and less agreeable subject. He wished to direct the attention of the noble Duke (the Duke of Newcastle) more especially to a letter which had been published in all the newspapers, but which he (the Earl of Malmesbury) had not brought to the House with him, lest he might be tempted to read any portion of it to their Lordships. It was a letter written by the assistant chaplain to the Second Division of Her Majesty's army in the East. He did not wish to drag that gentleman as a culprit before their Lordships, but he felt that a man who disregarded the feelings of others could not complain if he himself was summoned to the bar of public opinion. It appeared that Mr. Lawless had not thought it inconsistent with his sacred office, after he had attended the death-beds of several of our mortally-wounded officers on the field of Inkerman, to communicate in a letter to a friend details of what had passed, with the names of these dying men, which ought never to have passed the most secret recesses of his mind, and that that friend had been guilty of the still greater indiscretion of publishing the letter. He (the Earl of Malmesbury) could state that the publication of that letter had occasioned a great aggravation of the sorrow of their relations in this country; and he believed that nothing could justify the conduct of its author. He had felt that no private reprimand could sufficiently mark the universal sense entertained of such an act on the part of the Rev. George Lawless—for that was the name of the rev. gentleman to whom he alluded; and he felt persuaded, too, that their Lordships would unanimously concur in that view of the matter. He had but one more observation to make. He and the party with whom he co-operated were prepared, as his noble Friend behind him (the Earl of Derby) had already stated, to afford Her Majesty's Government their best aid towards the vigorous prosecution of the war; and he had no doubt but that, with such an army as that of the Allies, our efforts must ultimately be brought to a triumphant conclusion. But he would address an earnest entreaty to the Members of Her Majesty's Government: if any one of those Members should feel that he was deficient in experience, let him not be ashamed to ask for advice; and if any one of them should be ignorant of any facts of importance, let him not hesitate to look for knowledge even beyond the precincts of his office. Let them avoid a rash reliance on their own personal resources, and let them not destroy, from a vain desire to maintain the supposed dignity of their position, the chance of success in that momentous contest.


I rise, my Lords, with a considerable degree of diffidence, to claim the indulgence of your Lordships; but I quite conceive that I should not be justified in preserving silence upon the Motion now before your Lordships. I am proud, my Lords, to say that the position I now hold is attributable, and solely attributable, to the deeds of the army of England; and I cannot therefore pass by without remark, a Vote of Thanks to that army, now serving in the Crimea, many of whom assisted—nobly assisted—me in another part of the globe. It is for this reason that I join—most cordially join—in the Vote of Thanks to the noble individual who now happily holds the command of that army, as well as to the officers and soldiers of whom it is composed. My Lords, with the sister service it has been my good fortune at various times to have been associated, and therefore I most cordially join in the Vote of Thanks to the officers and sailors of Her Majesty's Navy. Having, too, lately returned from the Continent, where I have passed some time, associating much with the officers of the French army, and being thus enabled to form an opinion as to the officers now commanding in the Crimea, I most cordially join in a Vote of Thanks to the gallant and distinguished individuals at the head of the French army, and to that noble army itself, which is so well led, and which has so cordially and so gallantly supported the army of Her Majesty. My Lords, I thank you sincerely for having attended to the observations which on the present occasion I have thought myself called upon to make in the discharge of my duty as a soldier.


while joining cordially in thanking the survivors of that gallant army which had fought at Alma and Inkerman, hoped the public gratitude would not stop here. The survivors would receive honours and decorations, but he trusted that those who had fallen would not be allowed to sleep in unhonoured graves. He thought that public monuments should he voted by Parliament to the successful commanders who had died in the public service. Some public monument, in whatever form it might be thought best to have it—some public mark of the nation's gratitude—would not, he thought, be too much to give to those who had sacrificed their lives in the service of the country.

Resolutions agreed to, Nemine Dissentiente.

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