Page images

every order of the commander-in-chief, or most scrupulous obedience to orders." other his superior officers in America.* The same despatch contains a fresh inIt is possible, however, that these last in- stance of Whitmore's hostile attitude, from structions may not have been received by which it appears that, in addition to the him at the time. It is interesting to light infantry, Wolfe had asked for some remember that Whitmore was the very pioneers from the Boston Militia. "The person alluded to in Wolfe's subsequent men were asked," he says, "if they chose letter to Lord Barrington as the officer to go; and as it seldom happens that a who had been put over his head. This New England man prefers service to a promotion was probably to the command lazy life, none of them seem to approve of at Halifax, to which Whitmore was ap- the proposal. They did not ask it and the pointed in January, 1758,† but which he general would not order them." This never actually filled, as he was appointed further episode is rendered still more inin the following September governor of teresting by the official correspondence Louisburg. Wolfe thus alludes to him which passed between Wolfe and Thomas in a private letter, dated February, 1758: Hutchinson, the able lieutenant-governor "He never was a soldier, though other of Massachusetts, who having been rewise a very worthy gentleman. I pray quested by Amherst to furnish Wolfe with you beware how you employ him near the three hundred provincial pioneers for top." which he had applied, not only used the greatest exertions to despatch them in time to join the expedition, but wrote to Wolfe earnestly advising him in case of necessity to borrow these troops from the provincials of the Louisburg garrison, who would be replaced by the Boston pioneers on their arrival. We have seen with what success Wolfe attempted to carry out this reasonable proposal.

In any case, however, Whitmore failed in his duty, as he writes to Pitt on the very day after his refusal of Wolfe's application to signify the execution of his orders with reference to the Quebec expedition, and observing that "the inferior force of the enemy" renders it extremely improbable that any "inconvenience can arise from weakening the garrison, by an exchange of regulars for provincials.§ Never was a man more thoroughly condemned out of his own mouth, and never perhaps was a momentous campaign more nearly ruined by official blundering and professional jealousy.

In a despatch to Pitt, written on the eve of the departure of the expedition, Wolfe reviews the numerous delays and disappointments which he has encountered. His experience was, perhaps, the most extraordinary one that had ever befallen a British general since the scandal of the Irish campaign of 1689-90. We learn from this statement the gravity of Whitmore's refusal to exchange the light infantry for the rangers, for Wolfe complains that the latter are so weak that he " expects no service from them," which, he adds, was the reason for his demand for light infantry to mix with them. Now Pitt in his instructions had laid especial stress on the necessity for an effective muster of this arm of the expedition. With respect to this failure Wolfe encloses a copy of his correspondence with Whitmore, with the following generous comment: "If Brigadier Whitmore did not consent to my proposal, it has proceeded from the

Secretary's Common Letter Book, No. 184.
Secretary's Common Letter Book, No. 182.
Letters to American Governors, 1758.
A. W. I. No. 88.

It is far

It has been confidently stated by Wolfe's biographer that the selection of his colleagues in the command of the expedition to Quebec was left to himself with the exception of the appointment of Brigadier Townshend, who, we are informed by his kinsman, Horace Walpole, "thrust himself" into the service and was permitted to take part in it in order to relieve his friends from his importunities. more probable, however, in the absence of actual proof, that Pitt deliberately selected the subordinate generals of the Quebec expedition upon the same principle that he had adopted in the selection of the commander-in-chief. Just as he had forecast the chances of success possessed by the young hero whose remarkable ca reer he had so attentively watched, so it was his whim to second him with three young men of birth and breeding who, without any great pretensions to generalship, were distinguished by the highest personal courage and moral character. Pitt, perhaps, had argued wisely that good blood would be sure to tell in such a dangerous service as this. He did not calcu late, however, for the leader's persistent ill-health, which gave an unlooked-for op. portunity for his colleagues to take a more

A. W. I., No. 88. ↑ Ibid.

prominent part in the affair than was risks of warfare. This considerateness either intended or desirable. From the was even apparent to Townshend's friends first Wolfe had foreseen the desperate at home, and we find one of them writing nature of the venture with the force at his that, "in this instance and some others I command, and for the first three months see in General Wolfe a great tenderness of the compaign it seemed as though its for Mr. Townshend." It is painful to ruin was inevitable. These continued relate that this "kindness" was repaid failures did not increase the general's rep with wanton ingratitude, not from any utation in the eyes of his aristocratic staff, actual malevolence on Townshend's part, and before long the brigadiers had begun but apparently from an irresistible impulse to criticise his tactics and to bless them- of his nature to exercise his caustic wit at selves in secret for their freedom from the expense of his truest friends. Already responsibility for his blunders. Of these he had given evidence of this unamiable three officers Townshend may be taken as propensity in the case of his former patron the type, not an uncommon one in those and commander, the Duke of Cumberland, days, of political simony. Popular among whose conduct of the Continental camhis own set, and possessed of a consider paign he had ridiculed in some telling lamable local reputation, Townshend was yet poons. A fresh opportunity now presented wholly unqualified to take a leading part itself of criticising his new commander's in either politics or warfare. An exem- operations, an amusement in which he was plary son and husband, and a model lord-joined by one at least of his fellow-brigalieutenant, the worst side of his nature diers. Thus Townshend writes to his was displayed by his contact with the countless meannesses and jealousies of a political and military career. His request to be employed in the dangerous service of the Quebec expedition, if it was really made by him, is highly creditable to his professional zeal. But, unfortunately, neither he nor his friends could forget that he was heir to a title, and as such privileged to undergo just as much of the discipline and hardships of war as were suited to a passing fancy. He might go if he liked and return when he liked, and every care was to be bestowed upon his comfort and safety. The military authorities at home hastened to applaud with all mankind" this "spirited and magnanimous "diers. From this moment these worthy offer of service, while the commander-inchief in America, writing to acknowledge his new subordinate's "kind assurances of friendship," observes that his condescension "makes me very happy, and I shall try to prove myself deserving of the continuance of it."*

wife during the investment of Quebec, that "General Wolfe's health is but very bad. His generalship, in my poor opinion, is not a bit better;" adding that "he never consulted any of us till the latter end of August, so that we have nothing to answer for, I hope, as to the success of this campaign." It will be seen presently how far Townshend was prepared to abide by this disclaimer. The occasion of Wolfe's first consultation with his colleagues was indeed a peculiar one. On the 24th of August, prostrated with fever and still more a prey to disappointment and anxiety, he placed his secret instructions and private plans in the hands of the briga

officers seem to have assumed a new and critical attitude. This was especially noticeable in the debated point of the mode of attack to be made against the defending army beyond the river St. Charles as a last desperate attempt to win the town. It would appear that Murray, acting in These humiliating revelations prepare concert with Townshend, had presented a us for almost any outrage upon profes- paper to Wolfe objecting to his scheme.‡ sional propriety, but it does not appear When the memorable attack was made, that the favored brigadier conducted him- on the 13th of September, we learn from self, during the earlier part of the cam- a memorandum § preserved by Townspaign at least, with anything else than courage and modesty, which went far to compensate for his inexperience. The truth is that Wolfe, with the rough kindness which made him the darling of the rank and file, cultivated his new colleague to the best of his opportunities, kept him always beside him, and on more than one occasion guarded him from the ordinary

Hist. MSS. Commission, xi. 4, p. 306.

hend, that the force under the command of the brigadiers was dropping down the south side of the river according to Wolfe's orders, which it was suddenly discovered would cause them to be carried by the force of the current beyond the point of attack, "and thereupon the

Hist. MSS. Commission, xi. 4, p. 317.

↑ Ibid., p. 308.
Ibid, p. 316.
§ Ibid., p. 322.

[blocks in formation]

I shall look for the letter you mention, and take a copy of it, and deposit the original with you. Since so black a lye was propagated think myself very happy that you will be on the spot to contradict whatever Ignorance or Faction may suggest. I have no copy of the paper I sent by you to Gen. Wolfe concerning his scheme of landing between Point au Tremble and St. Augustine, but the publick orders are sufficient proof of his intention to do it, and likewise of the suddenness of the thought of landing when he did. Indeed, his orders throughout the Campaign show little stability, stratagem, or fixt resolution. I wish his friends had not been so much our enemys; his memory would probably have been dearer to his country than now it can be. We are acting on the defensive. You have the execution of the Plan and . . . will manage it with as much tenderness to the memory of the poor General as the nature of the thing will admit of.

The hostility of those who are called here Wolfe's friends was excited not only by the alleged attempt of Townshend to detract from his share in the victory which was so dearly bought by his death, but also probably by certain not unjustifiable suspicions of that officer's share in the passive resistance that had been offered to the expedition from first to last. This view of the matter may be gathered from a contemporary "Letter to a Brigadier General," which has been attributed to the Duke of Cumberland himself, and in which Townshend is accused in the strongest terms of disloyalty to his leader's memory. A refutation of this charge was attempted by Townshend himself, or more probably by his brother Charles, which sufficiently disposes of the ridiculous accusation that he had been induced by jealousy to refrain from any public eulogy of Wolfe in his despatch describing the battle. The same charge might just as easily have been made against Admiral Saunders, who in a private letter to Townshend speaks feelingly of their common loss in the death of their friend the general,§ and Townshend

Hist. MSS. Commission, xi 4, p. 316. Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxx., p. 507, which gives a copious analysis of the contents of this brochure. Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxx., p. 507. Townshend MSS., 310.

was able to quote a similar tribute written by himself to a friend in England."*

The truth is that Townshend's was one of those peculiarly callous natures which are capable of inflicting the keenest pain upon others without the consciousness of moral turpitude. Just as he had predicted the failure of the expedition and disclaimed all responsibility for its management, so when its success was unexpectedly assured, he coolly appropriated all the credit that chance threw in his way in a despatch † which vividly portrays the shallowness and self-sufficiency of his professional character. What we cannot so easily forgive is the insincerity and ingratitude which he displayed toward one with whom he lived on the closest terms of professional companionship, and whose infirmities he ridiculed whilst seeking an opportunity to take advantage of them in order either to clear himself from the blame of failure or to put in his claim for the merit of success according to the uncertain issue of events.


Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxx., p. 507.

† War Office Original Correspondence, North America, 1755-61.

From St. James's Gazette.


As regards criticism, composers generally have often been heard to complain that those set in judgment over them are not in most cases composers themselves. Some extracts from Mendelssohn's correspondence with Moscheles, as published in Scribner's Magazine, will serve to show what treatment they might expect to meet with were their works submitted to the criticism of composers even of the very highest character.

There is scarcely any great composer -Beethoven always excepted that Wag. ner, in his "Opera and Drama," has not attacked ; and one feels less indignant with him for his attitude towards Mendelssohn, when it appears that Mendelssohn could himself be guilty, if not of injustice, of intolerance at least. Writing privately to Moscheles, he was, of course, not called upon to spare the composers of his time, as, from good taste, he possibly would have done had he been addressing himself to the public; and whether his views be considered harsh and unfounded, or, as many will think, in the main sound, it is

interesting and important to know what rondos that are so frightfully vulgar that they really were. The only two compos- I am ashamed to play them to decent ers whom he praises unreservedly, placing people."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

them above all comparison, are Handel Liszt is treated more seriously, but and Beethoven. He writes with enthusi- otherwise not more favorably than Herz. asm about some performances of "Don" What you [ie. Moscheles] say of Liszt's Giovanni" which he has been conducting harmonies is depressing. I had seen the at Düsseldorf; and " Don Giovanni" was thing at Düsseldorf and put it aside with to be followed by "The Water-Carrier indifference, because it simply seemed of Cherubini, whom he greatly admired, very stupid to me; but if that sort of stuff though he held that by working in Paris is to be noticed and even admired, it is and for the Paris public Cherubini had very provoking. But is that the case? I ended by spoiling his style. Cherubini's cannot believe that impartial people can later operas were, he said, far too noisy; take pleasure or be in any way interested and he wondered why, apart from the ques- in cacophony. Whether a few reporters tion of art, Cherubini and other composers puff it or not matters very little; their did not reserve their masses of brass for articles will leave no more traces than the great effects. Cherubini, writing an opera composition." The next sentence dison a light subject, namely, Ali Baba, is poses of no fewer than five composers at accused of one very pardonable fault one fell swoop. “What Messrs. Reissiger that of resembling Auber. Indeed, apart and Co. compose is different, but just as from the exceptions already noted, Men- shallow, and what Heller and Berlioz write delssohn speaks disparagingly of every is not music at all; and even old Cherucomposer he mentions; from Auber, Ber- bini's 'Ali Baba' is dreadfully poor, and licz, Chopin, Ferdinand Hiller, Stephen borders on Auber." Heller, and Liszt, to the Chevalier Neu- In another collection of letters Menkomm and Henri Herz. He was surely delssohn expresses his dislike of Auber's right about the two last; and nothing can music, speaks contemptuously of his orbe better than what he writes about Herz, chestration, and is quite shocked when the alleged inventor of "airs with varia- he thinks of the scene in "Fra Diavolo" tions" in a particular form. After excus- where the interesting Zerlina takes off her ing himself for not hearing a certain Mlle. dress and does her hair before the lookBelleville play one of Herz's pieces (the ing-glass, little knowing that her movesaid Mlle. Belleville had, it appears, a ments are being watched by two members face "that could not possibly belong to an of Fra Diavolo's band. Auber (cited by artist") he asks, "Why should I hear Prosper Mérimée in his "Lettres à une those variations by Herz for the thirtieth Inconnue") said of Wagner's music that it time? They give me as little pleasure as was "Berlioz without melody." Berlioz rope-dancers or acrobats; with these, at expressed a wish that some night when least, there is the barbarous attraction "La Gazza Ladra" was being played at that one is in constant dread of seeing the Théâtre des Italiens with Rossini as them break their necks, and that one finds conductor, theatre, composer, and audithat they do not do so after all. Those ence might all be burned together. Wepianoforte tumblers do not so much as risk ber, who, as a rule, appreciated all good their lives; but they do our cars, and that music, wrote a bitter attack on Beethoven's I for one will not countenance. I only Seventh Symphony. Beethoven, after wish it were not my lot constantly to be hearing Paer's "Léonore; ou, L'Amour told that the public demand that sort of Conjugal," told the composer that he liked thing. I too am one of the public and his opera and "meant some day to set it demand the very reverse." Mendelssohn to music"-which, under the name of declares, all the same, that he likes Herz," Fidelio," he fortunately did. Men of and will continue to like him if he will only abstain from writing variations for two performers, or, if that be too much to ask, if he will avoid winding up with "those

strongly marked tendencies are generally, indeed, unable to appreciate men whose tendencies are strongly marked in another direction.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

For EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.

Single Numbers of THE LIVING AGE, 18 cents.

« PreviousContinue »