§ Order of the Day for the Consideration of the Queen's Message of yesterday read.
§ The Message having been read by the Clerk at the table,
§ LORD PANMURE
said: My Lords, in rising to move that Her Majesty's gracious Message be now taken into consideration, I trust that your Lordships will bear with me while I perform one of the most painful duties of my present position, a position which, my Lords, whatever may be its honour, is not unattended with deep distress, when we have to contemplate not simply the ravages of war, but also those which have been made by disease, and which are still more awful to contemplate when we think of the noble heads which 389 have been bowed by this twofold scourge. My Lords, this occasion is particularly painful not only on account of the nobility of the victim, but also because we are called upon to record our national regret that one has been taken from the command of our army, in whom not only the nation had confidence, but whose merits as a soldier entitled him to the love and esteem of all. My Lords, it has pleased God to remove Lord Raglan from the head of the army in the Crimea; and it is a singular fact that the same calamity should have fallen upon both the great men who were originally placed in the command of the allied armies. France has had to grieve for the loss of St. Arnaud; and England has now to mourn the death of Lord Raglan.
My Lords, it is scarcely necessary for me, in speaking of the character of Lord Raglan, to remind your Lordships of the distinguished services which he has rendered to his country. At an early age he embraced the profession of arms with all the ardour of his noble blood, and with all the success that his eminent natural talents enabled him to achieve. In the year 1807, Lord Fitzroy Somerset was selected by, and associated with, that great commander the Duke of Wellington to serve upon his staff on the occasion of the expedition to Copenhagen. Sir Arthur Wellesley, with an eve which was more capable, I believe, than that of any other man of discerning the intrinsic merits of those whom he had to employ, singled out Lord Fitzroy Somerset to act upon his staff, and the intimacy which then sprang up between them increased from the year 1807 to the year 1852—in fact, during the whole life of the Duke of Wellington, Lord Raglan retained the confidence of that illustrious Captain, whose comrade it was his high privilege to be. My Lords, there was no action or service in which the Duke of Wellington was engaged in the Peninsula in which, I believe, Lord Raglan did not take part; and it was his singular good fortune, in the only siege which seems to bear a comparison with that which he was conducting at the time of his death—namely, the siege of Badajoz—to be among those who were foremost in the breach at the capture of that fortress, and, as history informs us, to him it was that the Governor of Badajoz surrendered his sword. My Lords, we may follow Lord Raglan through almost every field of the Peninsular campaigns, until we find him achieving 390 to himself glory and an imperisable name at the Battle of Waterloo, where he had the misfortune to be wounded, and sustained the loss of an arm. At the close of the war, in 1815, instead of retiring into private life, or giving himself up to the enjoyment of social ease, he still devoted himself to the public service, and continued to do so until the hour when it pleased the Almighty to remove him from this earthly scene. My Lords, during the forty years of peace which this country enjoyed, I believe that the benefits which Lord Raglan rendered to the army by the mode in which he assisted successive Commanders in Chief at the Horse Guards with his able advice and co-operation were not less valuable to the country than his services were eminent in time of war. My Lords, I am, perhaps, somewhat capable of judging of the manner in which he discharged his public duties. For six years I was associated with that noble Lord as Secretary at War, and I had then the opportunity of witnessing the calmness with which he conducted all matters connected with his department, his high sense of honour, and his anxiety at all times to promote the welfare of that service in all its ranks, whose interests, from the highest to the lowest, he had so much at heart. My Lords, that noble Lord won for himself all the laurels to which a soldier could aspire; and he also gained for himself, from the Government of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby), with the full approbation of the country, the honours of the peerage. My Lords, he has now been removed from amongst us, but not until he had had the opportunity of showing that, although years had crept upon him—though he had reached that period of life when every man would naturally be disposed to rest from the labours that had occupied his preceding years—yet no sooner did the conflict commence than he cheerfully offered his services to his country, by which they were with avidity accepted, and he took that command fur which no man in England was better qualified. My Lords, you all know with what success Lord Raglan has conducted the army in the East in all the operations in which it has been engaged. But few of your Lordships do know that to which the Government is capable of bearing testimony—namely, the signal success with which Lord Raglan conducted that intercourse between the allied armies of England and France, and helped to promote 391 that perfect community of feeling and unity of action between the two forces, without which no conjoint operations could have prospered. Indeed, my Lords, I should say that if there was one point in which Lord Raglan's peculiar talent was more conspicuous than another, it was in the manner in which he maintained the alliance between the two great countries, establishing between the soldiers of both armies the most intimate and friendly relations, and serving to consolidate both Empires in an alliance which I trust will never again be disturbed. My Lords, these are services the importance of which I do not think I exaggerate when I describe them as invaluable. That noble Lord's career is, alas, now closed. His iron frame has had at last to succumb to the power of disease, and we are now called upon to honour one who is now at rest with all a soldier's honours thick upon him. He has gone beyond the reach of criticism, and the tongue of calumny can no longer reach his ear. In the death of that noble Lord, England laments the loss of an intrepid warrior, a great commander, and an accomplished gentleman, as well as a noble and distinguished citizen.
My Lords, it is not for me, on such an occasion as this, to enter into details of that which will appear before your Lordships in another shape; but, at the same time, while paying a tribute to the late commander of our army, I cannot altogether pass by those who have fallen at his side, or forbear from asking your Lordships to honour such names as those of Cathcart, Strangways, Campbell, Adams, Estcourt, Yea, Shadforth, Egerton—names, my Lords, to which I might add, I regret to say, many others which will equally live in the memory of the nation and in the history of their country, and which will swell the long list of those whose valour has shed lustre on our arms. I will move—That a humble Address be presented to Her Majesty to return Her Majesty the Thanks of this House for Her Majesty's most gracious Message, informing this House 'That Her Majesty, taking into Consideration the great and brilliant Services performed by the late Fitzroy James Henry Lord Raglan, Field Marshal in Her Majesty's Army, and Commander in Chief of Her Majesty's Forces at the Seat of War in the East, in the Course of the Hostilities which have taken place in the Crimea, and being desirous in Recognition of these and his other distinguished Merits to confer some signal Mark of Her Favour upon his Widow Emily Harriet Lady Raglan, upon his Son and Successor to the Title, Richard Henry Fitzroy Lord Raglan, and the next surviving 392 Heir Male of the Body of the said Richard Henry Fitzroy Lord Raglan,' and to assure Her Majesty that this House will cheerfully concur in such Measure as may be necessary for the Accomplishment of this important Purpose.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
I must beg pardon of my noble and gallant Friend (the Earl of Cardigan), who had also risen, for interposing; but, however unnecessary it may be, I should do justice neither to what I feel to be my duty nor to my deep and sincere feelings on this occasion, if I did not take the earliest opportunity of rising to express, however feebly, my full and entire concurrence in the grateful tribute which has been paid by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the War Department to the too long list of those whose loss this country has to deplore while it venerates their memory, and more especially to that illutrious commander who, at no very early period of his life, yet too early for his country's good, has been withdrawn in the midst of an arduous and protracted struggle. My Lords, I am confident that amongst all your Lordships and in this country generally there is but one feeling—of earnest admiration, mingled with deep regret—at the melancholy event which has so suddenly deprived our brave army of its gallant commander. It has not been his lot, indeed, to fall upon the battle field. It has not been his to fall in the moment of victory. His has been the far bitterer fate to fall by disease and pestilence at a moment of disappointment and loss. Thus has he fallen, amid the regret of two armies, and of the two greatest nations in the world, who alike will do justice to his military merits and to his personal character. He is gone—and he has left behind him a name as an English soldier and an English gentleman which will reflect additional honour upon, the long race from which he sprang. It is not for me—it would be most unbecoming in me—to attempt a panegyric upon his military merits and services. Such a duty will more fittingly devolve upon one or other of his noble comrades in arms, whom we are happy to see within the walls of your Lordships' House, and who best know how well he was entitled to that respect and veneration with which he was regarded by all ranks of the British army. My Lords, it was the singular fortune of Lord Raglan that although he had been concerned in greater, more important, and more extensive military services than almost any man of his time, yet he had 393 had fewer opportunities than any man—certainly than any man of his own rank, age, and station—of displaying his qualities for supreme command. It is impossible not to perceive that, during the whole of the early period of his career, those qualities which fitted him for high command, though they were, no doubt, perceived and appreciated by the quick and piercing intellectual eye of the great commander under whom he served, and were possibly fostered by him, were overshadowed by the stupendous genius of his mighty chief. But, though acting as a subordinate, it is no slight praise to say that, not only, as my noble Friend has stated, did Lord Fitz Roy Somerset early extract the attention of his great commander, but that from 1807 to 1852, whether in the field or the Cabinet, the Council or the Horse Guards, he equally maintained that which was a great distinction, and which without great ability, great integrity, and great fidelity, he never could have maintained—the unhesitating and unceasing friendship and the entire and unlimited confidence of that great man. Again, at a later part of his career, when, with an absence of all selfish consideration which reflected upon him the highest credit, he volunteered to lead the armies of England in the campaign which Is now going on, the hasty manner—I trust I may be forgiven for saying so—the hasty manner in which the campaign was conceived, the inadequate means which he had at his command, and the insufficient supply of the means of movement for the army, which, to a considerable extent, paralysed the exertions he might otherwise have made, prevented the full display of his military talents. But, although, as my noble Friend has said, we may all be aware of the physical obstacles which Lord Raglan had to encounter, it cannot be known, perhaps it never will be known—at all events it will not be known until the present generation shall have passed away and this war become matter of history—what other obstacles, what other difficulties, what other impediments, he had to surmount for the purpose of obtaining that share of success which has thus far crowned the arms of the allied Powers. But, my Lords, of this there is no doubt—for there has been an uniformity of testimony which leaves no possibility of doubt—that few other men in Lord Raglan's position could have so completely and entirely overcome the inevitable difficulties and embarrassments of 394 a divided command, or could have done so much as he has done, by his temper, by his moderation, and by his invariable good humour and courtesy, to consolidate a feeling of perfect confidence and goodwill, not only between the two commanders and the two armies, but also between the two countries, whose intimate and close alliance is at this moment of most essential importance to the welfare of Europe. Perhaps it has not been in the field that the abilities of Lord Raglan have been most eminently displayed. During the long period of peace, to which my noble Friend has referred, there is no man who has come in contact with Lord Raglan—whether soldier or civilian—who has been connected with him either in his private affairs or in the performance of public duties, who will not bear testimony to the invariable courtesy and temper, to the habits of business, and to the justice and impartiality with which he administered the functions of the high office most of the labours of which, as is well known, during the latter years of the life of the Duke of Wellington devolved upon him. In that capacity, my Lords, Lord Raglan laboured unceasingly and successfully to promote the improvement of the military service of the country, and Lord Raglan will have long passed to his last rest before the British army will forget or cease to acknowledge how much for its efficiency, its discipline, and its comfort it is indebted to his unceasing efforts. My Lords, I think it is not the least of Lord Raglan's claims upon the public confidence and the public respect, as well as upon the public gratitude, that being, I fear, one of the illustrious examples to be found in the history of this country—and to be found in that of few others—of men who, after having for a long period been engaged in arduous employments, having performed distinguished services, and filled high and responsible offices, have at their deaths left their families and their nearest connections in circumstances by no means of ease and oppulence—it is, I say, no little credit to Lord Raglan that, at a time of life when he might easily and gracefully have retired from the discharge of arduous duties, in the possession of a high and honourable office, which for the first time in his military career afforded him the slightest prospect of being able to lay by anything for a future provision for his famity—that at that moment, at a time of life when he might still have hoped for many years to 395 perform the duties and enjoy the emoluments of that office, unconnected with any political questions, and undisturbed by any political uncertainties—that at that moment, with a noble and disinterested forgetfulness of self, at the first call of the Government, at the first demand of his military duty, he was ready to sacrifice those prospects which might have insured him considerable pecuniary ad vantages, and contributed to the future comfort of his family, and, without a moment's hesitation, risked the valuable life which is amongst the noblest victims of the war in which we are engaged. My Lords, I say that all these circumstances—the military services of Lord Raglan, his long connection with the most illustrious captain of our day, whose confidence and friendship he possessed to an extraordinary degree—the services which he performed in the civil administration of the army—above all, the disinterested and noble manner in which, at the call of duty, he again girded on his sword and entered the field of war—and, in addition to that, the manner in which at the head of that army he has performed the most arduous and the most important duties entitle him, hardly less than his great master and chief, to the respect and veneration of the country at large. The gratitude of Parliament, however liberally will not be profusely displayed in a recognition of his distinguished merits. Most cordially, therefore, do I support this Address to the Throne, in which we assure Her Majesty that we share in the grief and concern which she feels at the loss of so valuable a servant as Lord Raglan, that we shall heartily concur in whatever means Her Majesty may graciously be pleased to employ to mark Her sense of his great merits, and that, in common with the country at large, we gladly avail ourselves of the opportunity afforded to us of marking our appreciation of his services, and our deep respect and veneration for his memory.
§ VISCOUNT HARDINGE
It is now nearly fifty years, my Lords, since I first had the honour of becoming acquainted with Lord Raglan. It was at the Battle of Vimiera, where he acted as aid-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington. He was but a young man, and we of the same age were astonished at the admirable manner in which he then performed the duties of his position; and the great respect with which he was treated by the Duke of Wellington was a subject of great astonishment to us all, 396 until we had further opportunities of becoming acquainted with his merit. It was remarked on all occasions that if there was a word of advice to winch that great man would listen with unusual patience, it was that which proceeded from Lord Fitzroy Somerset. During the whole period that the Duke of Wellington was in the Peninsula—with the exception, I believe, of a short time when he was in England for the benefit of his health—Lord Fitzroy Somerset was at his right hand. He was present at every one of those actions which illustrate the career of our great commander; on every occasion he was foremost in the field, and he displayed the same valour and the same cool intrepidity which have so conspicuously marked his conduct in the Crimea. In this last campaign he gained the admiration and respect of his soldiers by his coolness, collectedness, and calmness; while his quick perception of the nature of the ground, and the rapid manner in which he seized every advantage which offered itself during the movements of the enemy showed that time had not effaced the recollection of his former practice in the field. The courage and military ability which he displayed whenever he met the enemy in the field won for him the admiration and confidence of the whole army. In the civil administration of the army nothing could exceed the just, kind, and liberal manner with which he treated everybody who came into contact with him. I will not enter into all the details of what has taken place in the Crimea, but I must observe that no man could have a more difficult task to perform than Lord Raglan. One of the greatest advantages in military affairs is for a commander to have unity of action; but that advantage it was not Lord Raglan's fortune always to possess, because, as my noble Friend has stated, considering the position in which Lord Raglan was placed, there might arise occasions, in which, under other circumstances, he might have been enabled to make other dispositions. Suffice it, however, to say that on all those occasions he displayed such an excellent temper and such perfect courtesy towards those with whom he had to act in the administration of the affairs of the allied army, that every one admits that the noble Lord's behaviour greatly assisted in cementing the alliance between the English and French forces. I am anxious to say that in all my communications with my noble and lamented Friend, when I was 397 Secretary at War, and he was acting in the department of the Commander in Chief, I always found myself most usefully advised, and there never was any difference of opinion between the two departments but he brought it to a satisfactory conclusion. I greatly lament the loss which the army has sustained by his death, and which I believe it will be difficult to repair. I am satisfied that Lord Raglan's powers and abilities were much greater than they were generally supposed to be, for, as my noble Friend has justly said, it was but recently that he had had an opportunity of displaying his talents. All those military men whom I have had an opportunity of corresponding with, expressed with the utmost confidence their opinion that on any great emergency the movements of the army could not have been better conducted. While acknowledging the great misfortune incurred by the country through the death of Lord Raglan, still we may fairly hope that the practice of war will lead to the discovery of talent in other persons, and I have no doubt, though Lord Raglan is not a man to be replaced in a moment, that yet by his plans and by the aid of his successor in command the present contest will be brought to a glorious conclusion. I have only to add that it will be my duty to express the honourable sense Her Majesty entertains of Lord Raglan's great services, and to-morrow I shall issue a General Order to the army for that purpose. I cordially concur in the Address which has been proposed to your Lordships, and I trust that the Vote to be granted to Lord Raglan's family will be such as will adequately furnish those means which, as my noble Friend has stated, Lord Raglan was not able to provide for them himself.
§ THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE
My Lords, having been so recently associated with my noble and illustrious Friend—for so I may call him—who, to my great grief, has now departed from us, I trust that your Lordships will permit me, as an humble Member of the army which he so ably conducted, to assure you that I most cordially concur in all that has fallen from the noble Lord the Minister of War. I do not think that, in the whole army or country, any other individual could have been selected who would have conducted in a more admirable manner the affairs of the army, or who at the head of a British force, intimately associated with our allies the French, would have conducted himself in a manner so well calculated to combine 398 the operations of the allied armies, and to insure that intimate association which is so absolutely essential to success. I have no doubt your Lordships are all fully impressed with the difficulties Lord Raglan had to contend with; but, whatever your impressions may be, I, who have had personal experience, can assure you that those difficulties were far beyond anything you can imagine. I do not mean to say that Lord Raglan was not met on all occasions with cordiality by the leaders of our allies. On the contrary, they met him on every occasion with all frankness and sincerity. But yet such was the difficulty of the allied position, and such was the intricate character of the war which Lord Raglan had to conduct, that I am persuaded, unless he had possessed a peculiar capacity for surmounting obstacles, we never should have so well cemented that cordiality with our allies, which I, for one, so greatly rejoice at seeing established. In fact, I think that my noble and lamented Friend has been, by the blessing of Providence, the instrument of bringing the alliance between the French and English forces to the satisfactory state in which it now stands. It would ill become me, so very humble a Member of that army which my noble and lamented Friend commanded, to attempt to defend him from many imputations which I have heard cast on him. History will decide upon his talents and his capabilities, and I feel persuaded that in the result history will do him justice. The noble Lord at the head of the War Department has alluded to Lord Raglan's former services. I personally had much experience of Lord Raglan's friendship when that noble Lord was, under the direction of his illustrious chief the Duke of Wellington, so ably conducting the affairs of the army in the Commander in Chief's Department, and I have no hesitation in saying that there was not a single officer in the British army who had occasion to address Lord Raglan, but felt that he was dealing with a personal friend. Every officer seemed firmly persuaded that he would be well received by him, that his claims and statements would be listened to with attention, and that his wishes would, as far as possible, be promoted by Lord Raglan. To be able to create such confidence is in itself a great talent, and no one possessed that talent to a greater extent than my noble and lamented Friend. There are very few of your Lordships but had a personal acquaintance 399 with Lord Raglan, and I think that we may all say that by his death we have lost an earnest and sincere friend. There are many distinguished officers, but no one was more distinguished by his position and talents than the deceased nobleman. While the army has lost a most distinguished officer, the Sovereign and the country have been deprived of one of their hest and most valuable servants. It may be long before we shall find a man to replace Lord Raglan in the manner we could wish. I quite agree with my noble Friend at the head of the War Department, that others will be found in the military service of the country able to conduct the war to a successful issue; but, however ably the army may be commanded hereafter, I still must say that the nation will always have to deplore a great loss in the death of Lord Raglan. I most entirely concur in the Motion submitted to the House, thinking it the bounden duty of Parliament to alleviate, as far as possible, the great misfortune which has just befallen the family of Lord Raglan in the loss of their protector, in so sad and melancholy a manner.
§ THE EARL OF CARDIGAN
My Lords, having served in the army under the late Lord Raglan, and having, during an acquaintance with him for many years, had occasion at different periods to consult him on matters connected with that profession to which I have the honour to belong, I cannot refrain from paying to his memory my tribute of gratitude for the great kindness and courtesy with which he ever treated me, and which, I know, was not confined to myself, but was extended to every member of the service. I have always felt deeply convinced of the great truth, honesty, justice, and impartiality of all Lord Raglan's views and actions; and, though he did not always sanction that which I wished, I invariably submitted to his judgment with the greatest cheerfulness, well knowing that the only motive which influenced his conduct was a sense of duty towards that service of which he was so distinguished an ornament. I certainly am indebted to the noble and lamented Lord for many advantages; for, on several occasions, during the campaign in the East, he afforded me the opportunity of performing active duties, and thus gratified my most ardent wishes. Therefore, your Lordships may well imagine what are my personal feelings of gratitude towards the noble Lord whose death we all so much deplore. As for the officers in the army, I 400 can truly state that they all fully participate in the feelings which I have just expressed, and concur in thinking that the death of that great general has occasioned an irreparable loss to the army and constitutes a national misfortune. If such was the opinion of the officers, not less so was it the opinion of the men. The men who composed those regiments, those brigades, and those divisions, whom I saw receiving that great general on the heights of Alma with such enthusiasm, will not soon forget the distinguished services which he has performed. They naturally felt great pride in having succeeded, under the guidance of their leaders, in surmounting all the obstacles which opposed them in carrying those heights in so short a time. There was not a man in the army who did not feel that their gallant and distinguished general was in as great danger, and exposed himself quite as much to the enemy's fire as any private soldier in the ranks; and if there was one who did not know it then they know it now, for it is well known to the army that the noble Lord passed the river of the Alma under a shower of the enemy's bullets, moved certain pieces of artillery, and placed them in a position where they told with great effect on the ranks of the enemy. Every one knows that on that occasion he exhibited the most undaunted bravery, the coolest and calmest courage, under the deadliest fire of the enemy, which drew upon him the admiration of all. My Lords, I cannot doubt that after the great services of that distinguished individual, after the long and glorious career he had passed, associated as it was with that great military leader now no more, both this and the other House of Parliament will mark, in a manner worthy of the occasion, the high sense they entertain of his distinguished services. If I thought it necessary, my Lords, to add another word, I would say that the language of the noble Lord, the present Commander in Chief of the army, with reference to the early and glorious death of the son of Lord Raglan in battle might be quoted with equal truth of the glorious career of the father. Of that noble youth Lord Hardinge said—"He conducted himself with the hereditary courage of his race. He was always foremost where difficulties required to be overcome." These words might be applied to the great and distinguished man whose death we now lament; and I feel confident that, on this occasion, there will be 401 no difference of opinion among your Lordships, and that all will concur in those expressions of regret which the country must feel at having lost a most distinguished general and one of the best of men.
§ THE EARL OF GALLOWAY
My Lords, I cannot refrain on this occasion from expressing my regret that some Member of Her Majesty's Government did not before this come forward and give expression to the feelings which have now been uttered with so much unanimity from all sides of your Lordships' House; for I believe that if the sentiments now spoken had been uttered while Lord Raglan was yet in life they would have done more than anything else to cheer his heart and sustain his spirit under the great responsibilities with which he was charged—and in the peculiar situation in which, as the illustrious Duke has observed, he stood—nay, I will add, that it would have done more to strengthen his physical frame against the inroads of disease than the skill of all the physicians that could have been consulted. In confirmation of this I may remind your Lordships that we were officially informed that Lord Raglan's naturally good constitution did, under medical treatment, greatly rally, and that he had been pronounced convalescent, only requiring for a time perfect rest. But, I ask, what rest could be found for one whose mind was wrung with a sense of detraction and wrong, of calumny and injustice, and who felt that, while he lay on a bed of sickness, having exhausted all the energies of his mind and body in the service of his country on a foreign soil, there were none on the soil of his native land to defend him? I hesitate not to say, though I desire, at the same time, to say it respectfully, that it is the conviction of my own mind—and I know that the sentiment is shared in by other members of Lord Raglan's family—that Lord Raglan fell a victim to the ingratitude of his countrymen, and, I regret to add, the coldness and neglect—if not the desertion—of that Government of whom he was so able and so zealous a servant. The noble Lord, after having devoted the greater part of his existence to the public service, was, at an advanced period of life, commissioned to perform a Herculean task, with means inadequate to its accomplishment; and because he could not assuage the rigour of a Crimean winter, nor find in that climate the means of giving shelter to his troops— 402 for these, and such like imputations—for faults that were not his own—your Lordships know how he was subjected to the virulent and unfair attacks of a portion of the press, which laboured to bring him info disrepute and under the displeasure both of Parliament and the people. It is well known also how the noble and gallant Lord conducted himself in these circumstances—how, conscious of the value of his services, he bore these heavy trials with patience and dignified silence, exhibiting throughout them all a great Christian example. Reference has more than once been made to the fact of this noble and gallant soldier retaining the office of Master General of the Ordnance in connection with that of Commander in Chief of the army in the East; but allow me to remark that Her Majesty's Ministers, although knowing the peculiar circumstances under which he continued to hold the office of Master General of the Ordnance, did not even endeavour to mitigate the feelings which were prevalent in the country at the time by slating how admirably he had conducted the business of the department, and what important and valuable improvements he had introduced. When it was eventually determined that the office of Master General of the Ordnance should—contrary, as I believe, to the opinion of the noble Duke now no more—be placed under the control of the Secretary for War, I would ask your Lordships whether that respect and deference which were his due were exhibited towards the noble Lord, and whether he was not rather thrust from his office as if his services were little appreciated? I have felt it my duty, though it is a most painful one, to make this statement, but I will refer no further to the subject. He whose merits have been discussed to-night is now beyond human censure or human praise. He rests, as we trust and believe, in the bosom of his Saviour. That is our consolation; and we firmly believe that when the attacks of his detractors and calumniators will be despised or forgotten, his exploits will be consecrated in the pages of our military annals, and his memory will be embalmed in the hearts of a discriminating and dispassionate posterity. I do not wish to make any observation with reference to the pecuniary grant which Parliament may be recommended to make to the family of the late Lord Raglan. I may observe, however, that not with standing the great and long-continued services of that gallant and illustrious nobleman—although 403 the military services of Lord Gough in India were rewarded by a peerage which carried him over the heads of the ancient Barons of this country—the lowest place in the peerage was assigned to the hero of Alma and Inkerman, the modern Bayard, "Sans peur et sans reproche."
§ THE DUKE OF BEAUFORT
said, he should bog their Lordships' indulgence while he made a few remarks on the speech of his noble relative who had just addressed them (the Earl of Galloway). He could not help agreeing with his noble relative that Lord Raglan had not been supported by the late or the present Government in the way in which he ought to have been, and he could not help remembering that they had, night after night, remained silent whilst they had heard him calumniated—he referred more particularly to what had taken place in another place; but still he regretted that his noble relative should have taken that opportunity of making these charges against Pier Majesty's Government. He was sure that nothing could have so much grieved the gallant spirit which had departed as to have listened to such a speech as that which his noble relative had just delivered. He (the Duke of Beaufort) knew that Lord Raglan felt that he had the support of the Ministers, although they had not come forward as he (the Duke of Beaufort) thought they ought to have done in his defence; and he also felt that he had the support, and it might even be almost said the friendship, of his gracious Sovereign. He knew that he had been sustained, and that he would continue to be sustained in all his efforts. He had received throughout the campaign the support of his Sovereign and of his country; and under all the circumstances of the case, he (the Duke of Beaufort) should again express his regret that his noble relative had taken that opportunity of making the remarks he had addressed to their Lordships.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
My Lords, I own that I have felt considerable reluctance in addressing your Lordships, lest I should in any respect weaken the effect of those observations which have fallen from noble Lords who, like my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Derby), from his high political position—like my noble Friend (Viscount Hardinge) from his great professional experience—like the illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge), and the noble Earl (the Earl of Cardigan), from their 404 recent services in the field—are so well entitled to speak upon a question of this nature. I wish, however, to have the opportunity of stating how much Her Majesty's Government are gratified at the unanimity of feeling which has been exhibited by your Lordships upon this most sad occasion, and which we believe to be a faithful echo of that feeling of regret which pervades every class of the community. I can perfectly understand the feelings which have led my noble Friend (the Earl of Galloway)—suffering under this domestic affliction—to speak out his mind upon this matter; but I think, after the observations which have been made by the noble Duke (the Duke of Beaufort) with such singular good taste, that it will be more consonant with your Lordships' feelings if I avoid the slightest defence of Her Majesty's Government, whether with regard to the charge of their want of appreciation of Lord Raglan's services, or to that of their having shrunk from defending that noble Lord's conduct in the field. I believe, nay Lords, that the country is not now ungrateful. I believe that this country—like many other great, and free, and energetic nations—is at times a severe, an impatient, and a hard taskmaster; but I believe also that in this instance, as has almost invariably been the case, its final judgment is a just and a generous one. Lord Raglan was brought up in a school, in which he had opportunities of seeing how far a sense of public duty could carry men in the service of their country. He had also an opportunity of seeing that, however they might be subjected to blame in the first instance, the good sense of the country invariably came to their rescue at last. Several noble Lords have referred to the charges and accusations which have been made against Lord Raglan. I can state that Lord Raglan's sense of public duty, his delicacy of feeling towards others, his feeling of pride—and I use the word in its best and noblest sense—prevented him from uttering the slightest word in defence of his conduct when charges were made against him which had not the slightest foundation in fact. I am informed—and I believe there are those here present who can confirm the statement—that in Lord Raglan's most intimate and confidential letters, up to the day of his death, there is not one angry word respecting the persons who brought those charges against him. I am also informed that in one of his last letters he expressed his 405 strong belief that, among all those persons who had thought it their duty to complain of his conduct, there was not one single individual who was actuated by any feeling of ill will towards him. I think this fact constitutes a far better defence of Lord Raglan than I could establish if I were to go minutely into questions respecting the abolition of the Mastership of the Ordnance, or other details into which, upon a fitting occasion, I should be most happy to enter. The illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge), who has spoken with so much good feeling upon this subject, alluded to certain difficulties which were incidental to Lord Raglan's position. I believe I may appeal to the Secretary for War, who I am satisfied will confirm my statement, that there does not exist in the War Office one single despatch of Lord Raglan containing the slightest accusation of any sort or kind against our brave and gallant allies, or describing any single transaction in a manner which reflected greater credit upon our own army than upon the gallant army with which he was acting. I believe the feeling which has been exhibited by your Lordships is the feeling of the country at large. I believe there is not a man in this country who, entertaining the highest admiration for Lord Raglan, does not feel the deepest regret at our irreparable loss. All must feel the deepest sorrow that he who enjoyed, not only an English, but a European reputation, as one of the bravest and gentlest—one of the most chivalrous and one of the best men who ever sacrificed his life in his country's cause—should have been taken from us at the moment of a crisis of such great delicacy and importance.
§ THE EARL OF ELLESMERE
My Lords, I cannot forget that some thirty years have passed since I was first associated in the public service with the gallant nobleman who has been referred to, and that that association formed the commencement of a friendship amounting to intimacy which has never ceased. I can bear testimony to all that has been said of the merits of Lord Raglan. I have watched with deep anxiety the recent career of my noble and departed Friend. I have watched with admiration, conduct which has been truly described as rivalling the heroism of antique bravery, and the perseverance and constancy with which he met all the difficulties of his situation. I may add, with reference to what has fallen from the noble 406 Earl near me, respecting the rash, malevolent, and premature accusations to which Lord Raglan was exposed, that I observed them with deep concern, and that by no one could they be regarded with more pain than by myself. I have strong faith in the truth of what has been said by my noble Friend upon the Ministerial bench (Earl Granville)—that the sagacity, the wisdom, and the justice of the British people will ultimately vindicate Lord Raglan from the aspersions which have been cast upon him; and my belief in the future vindication of Lord Raglan is founded on the firm conviction that there is not a soldier now standing upon the glorious battlefields of the Crimea to whom the future fame and reputation of Lord Raglan are not dearer than his own. It was owing to the salutary advice of Her Majesty's Ministers, and, more than that, to the general reputation of Lord Raglan's services that he received his appointment, and it is false to say that aristocratic influence had one iota to do with that appointment. He was called to the position he occupied by the unanimous verdict of the people; and though that verdict may, in some cases, threaten to overstep the bounds of prudence and to override the prerogative of the Crown, in the case of Lord Raglan it was given solely because he was the man best fitted for the post. Acting upon the great maxim of his illustrious master—obedience to the call of duty—he accepted the office. I know not whether Lord Raglan consulted any friend on the subject; but I know that no friend could have advised him to act otherwise; but I am also sure that, without exercising more than ordinary wisdom, every person who considered the subject must have foreseen the arduous nature of the duties which Lord Raglan was about to undertake. He knew that he was called upon to measure the sword of England against that of an antagonist remarkable for his vast resources, who had, during forty years of peace, unceasingly laboured to increase the military power and the military discipline of his country; he knew that he would have to oppose such resources, so far as England was conerned, by powers which were, perhaps, ultimately as inexhaustible, and by a gallantry that could not be exceeded, but, at the same time, by material resources and agencies of warfare which had to be hastily collected for an immediate purpose from a country which, from an economy 407 which I do not venture to censure or blame, bad, during those forty years of peace, neglected the organisation of large armies. He had other difficulties to contend with, not the least of which were the difficulties attending a divided command; but he boldly faced all these difficulties, and with a perseverance that nothing could daunt, with a temper that nothing could ruffle, and, I am ashamed almost to mention, with a courage under fire which nothing could allay, he overcame the greater part of them, and maintained the struggle till, not the dangers of battle, but the ravages of disease deprived us of his services. My Lords, for such a man, be his detractors who they may, I place entire reliance on the ultimate verdict of the people of England, and I believe that that verdict—unanimous, or nearly so, as I anticipate it will be—will be re-echoed from Calais to Marseilles by the brave, generous, and gallant nation who have been his companions in arms, and who, of all nations in the world have perhaps the least reason to be jealous of the military fame of such a warrior.
My Lords, the present is not an occasion when either private friendship or personal feeling should induce your Lordships to speak of the merits of one whose loss we all deplore. It is on public grounds only, and on account of Lord Raglan's prodigious merits as a public man and a public servant, that I heartily concur in the Motion which has been proposed by my noble Friend. On account of his great merits as an administrator both in peace and in war—his great and transcendent merits as a captain, who has led our troops to victory, to splendid and glorious victory—his prodigious merits as a military commander in that most difficult position, as the commander of a portion, and an inferior portion in amount, of a combined army, in which his wise conduct, his perfect justice, his great skill, his unbounded suavity of manner has preserved, consummated, and increased the strength of that most invaluable tie which binds together the two armies, he might almost say the two countries, of England and France—that alliance which is essential to the interests and the future welfare of Europe—it is on these public grounds, and with those public feelings, that I heartily agree in the Motion which has been proposed by my noble Friend for your Lordships' adoption.
§ Motion agreed to, Nemine Dissentiente, and the said Address was Ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.
§ House adjourned to Thursday next.