Page images

Froulay—which it would have probably done had she been married in 1715—but the edition of 1759, which continues the history of the family, introduces Renée as married to the Marquis de Heymont in 1737: thirdly, in the edition of La Chesnay des Bois, in 1772, that writer continues still further the genealogy, and notices the death of James, Marquis de Créqui, in the preceding year, and adds, that by this event Charles, the son of Renée de Froulay, has become Marquis de Créqui:' and, fourthly, we find that the genealogies of the two different families of Tessé and Créqui agree in the same story. That of the Créqui family is given in the foregoing table: and in that of the Froulay family it is stated that · Renée Charlotte de Froulay was married on the 18th of March, 1737, to Louis de Créqui, Marquis de Heymont, cadet de la branche ainée de la maison de Créqui.' We must further remark that out of this genealogy of the Froulays arises another remarkable contradiction in point of fact to the statements of the Memoirs, The Marquise Renée is made to say, that the death of her brother in his youth was, by her thus becoming an heiress, the cause of her marriage with M. de Créqui. Now, it appears, if any faith is due to history, that Renée's brother, the Marquis de Froulay, survived her marriage above eight years; and that, so far from dying a youth prior to 1713, he was a general officer, killed at the battle of Lafeldt, 11th July, 1745.

Our readers may ask how it is possible that any man of common sense and of the most superficial literature could fall into such extraordinary—such obvious mistakes? We might content ourselves with replying, in the words of Molière

• Vous avez raison; et la chose, à chacun,

Hors de créance doit paroître ;
Un conte extravagant, ridicule, importun,
Cela choque le sens commun-

Mais cela ne laisse pas d'être !' We have only to state the facts, and cannot be expected to account for such strange inaccuracy; but the bold ignorance of some modern French writers is quite amazing. We proved in a former number* that M. Lemontey—the editor of Dangeau's ? Memoirs’—the author of an historical essay on the reign of Louis XIV., on the strength of which essay he was elected into the French Academy-showed, in that said essay, that he had never read (though he did not fail to quote) the 'Memoirs' of St. Simon, and had attributed to an anonymous satirist— whose name he lamented he could not discover'—some of the most remarkable and best known passages of St. Simon's work. After such an example of the learning of the academicians, we cannot be sur* See Quarterly Review, vol. XIX. p. 476.

prised at any degree of ignorance in the obscure tribe who live by that disreputable class of fabrications which it has of late been our duty to expose.

We add, that the literary merit of the work is worse than nothing -vulgar trash-stupid threadbare stories, not only common to all the French jest-books, but to be found in our own Joe Millerindecent in many passages, disgusting in more, contemptible in all.

* Since writing the above, we have received from Paris the result of a search which we caused to be made in the official registers of burial in that city. It confirms all we have said, and all we suspected. The lady who died in 1603, (14 Pluviose, an. xi.) was Renée de Froulay-born in 1715—the widow of Louis Marie de Créqui. This settles the matter.

Art. VI.—The Dispatches of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wel

lington, K.G., during his various Campaigns in India, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, the Low Countries, and France, from 1799 to 1818. Compiled, from official and authentic documents, by Lieut.-Colonel Gurwood, Esquire to his Grace as

Knight of the Bath. Vol. l. London. "1834. 8vo. IN N 1832, Lieut.-Colonel Gurwood published a volume of the

• General Orders of the Duke of Wellington, during his Portuguese, Spanish, French and Belgic campaigns from 1809 to 1815;'-a volume which we believe to be of more practical use, not only to military students, but even to experienced officers, than all the theoretical works that ever have been written on military economy. It is, indeed, an admirable code of regulationsfounded on the broadest principles, but descending into the most exact detail—for the equipment, subsistence, discipline, and police of an army, for all that tends to its own comfort and honour to the protection of its friends and allies--and to the defeat of its enemies. The deserved success of that work has induced the gallant and intelligent editor to undertake another, somewhat similar in its nature, but of a wider scope—a collection, as far as he could obtain them from authentic sources, of all the dispatches and letters, official, semi-official, and private, of the Duke of Wellington, from his first appearance in India, as Commandant of the 33d regiment of infantry, down to the period of the Army of Occupation in France—from 1799 to 1818. • The Duke,' says Colonel Gurwood, is now presented to the 2 E 2

world * The work which approaches most nearly to the same character is one which appeared in Paris in 1819, in five volumes, under the title of Correspondance inédite, Officielle et Confidentielle, de Napoleon Bonaparte. It begins with the Italian campaign of 1796, and continues to that of Egypt, in August, 1798. It does not state by whom or on what authority it is published, but the documents contain abundant internal evidence that they are genuine-and the work, as far as it goes, is a valu. able historical compilation ; but it falls very short of what Colonel Gurwood's present volume is, and what his sequel promises to be, as a history of the individual. It is very imperfect in its series, and somewhat meagre in its substance-exhibiting but little of the real springs of action-and containing none of those unreserved and confidential communications of private opinions and personal proceedings, that form the chief value and curiosity of Colonel Gurwood's publication ; which, considering its greater detail, its more authentic public, and its more confidential private, character—its larger scope-its great extent--and yet its greater individuality, we may therefore venture to pronounce unique.

world for the first time, as the historian of his own brilliant career.' -Introd. p. 11.

These two publications form a work unique* in its kind, and, if continued as begun, will afford the most—we had almost said the only—complete and authentic view that has ever been given of the military life of any great commander. The Commentaries of Cæsar-invaluable as sketches historical and moral of the state of Europe in his day-admirable for the graces of style—and authoritative from the candour, the impartiality, and the lofty sagacity of the illustrious author-the most illustrious, perhaps, of mankind-have been, are, and ever will be, in the first rank of military as well as literary merit— the manual of soldiers, and the model of writers; but they include but a small portion of Cæsar's history. They do not gratify the legitimate curiosity we feel about the early developments of his genius. We should desire to see him in his early campaigns in Asia, and to possess his own account of the expedition against Mithridates. We want, also, the history of his successful campaigns in Spain and Portugal, which would probably, if they had been traced by his pen, appear quite as important, and almost as interesting, as his subsequent campaigns in Gaul. There seems a curious coincidence in the general character of the military services of Cæsar and of the Duke of Wellington.

Their first successes were in Asia, over native tribes instigated to war by emissaries from the enemies of their mother countries. The responsibility assumed by Cæsar, in marching against the aggression of Mithridates, which threatened Syria and Asia Minor, was probably less, and certainly did not exhibit more political foresight and personal decision, than Sir Arthur Wellesley's moving, on his own authority, the army collected at Trincomalee for the attack of Java, to Bombay, in order to its being employed to counteract the French invasion of Egypt and Syria :—and after those early instances of superior talents, it was in Portugal and Spain, and eventually in France and Belgium, that they both exhibited their matured greatness on a wider stage, and with more important and memorable results. We do not pretend to institute a comparison, after the manner of Plutarch, between these two great captains ; but such coincidences seem curious enough to justify a passing notice.

But even in the Commentaries themselves, as a military history of the Gallic war, there is much to be desired. However candid Cæsar may have been, it is impossible that he should have been quite impartial. It is hardly in human nature, that, writing for posthumous fame, he should not have attenuated reverses and swelled successes. Still more improbable is it, that, in writing a history-not of passing—but of past events, he should have recollected, in detail, all the local and temporary objects of his doubts and solicitude, and the conditional measures by which, in this event or in that, he designed to have repaired a disappointment or corroborated a success. Yet these are the instances in which the talents of the great general develop themselves, and which are of the greatest use to the military student. The ultimate results constitute history; but the individual qualities of the commander-his intellectual and moral powers—are best traced through the details, by the sagacity with which he foresees, and the resources by which he provides for, possible accidents and alternative events. The history of a nation may be written in generals—that of a great officer can be appreciated only in its details. It is common, to a proverb, to talk of the chances of war; and it is incontestable that much of the success and failure of even the most prudent captain is influenced by what is popularly called chance; but the ablest officer is he who the most accurately calculates, and the most carefully provides, for these various chances. The best consideration we have been able to give to military history satisfies us that there is, in war, much less of what is commonly called chance than the world generally supposes--less, we should say, than in most other walks of life, and we are much mistaken if this publication does not prove that chance contributed as little to the Duke of Wellington's successes as to those of any minister that ever attained office-of any bishop, or judge on the bench--of any firstrate merchant_or, in short, of any man who has advanced himself conspicuously in the scale of society. Wherever Cæsar enters into such details, we see how generally the event justified his foresight; and if he had written a diary, or if some officer of his staff had registered, from day to day, his views and reasonings, it would probably be seen, that what looks to the vulgar eye most like chance, was, in truth, a calculation. But such

a work

a work was not the object of Cæsar-it would not have accorded with the practice or taste of his time. With a modesty which we may admire, but must regret, he tells us little of his personal history: his private views, motives, and designs, are little more opened by him than they subsequently were by Hirtius, or might have been by any well-informed historian of his life. Indeed, the whole Commentaries belong rather to general history, than to the biography of Julius, or the school of military tactics. The publication now before us is of a different character. It is written, for the most part, by the Duke of Wellington's own pen; but without any design of contributing either to biography or history. It is not liable to the imputations of egotism or partiality which attend memoirs, nor to the suspicion which naturally attaches to relations composed after the events :-it gives us the dispatches of the time—the letters of the day—the notes of the moment - official, public, private, and confidential — written in the closet and in the field-before the battle—during the conflict-after the victory: we have the events fresh-and-fresh, to use a familiar phrase—we learn, in unreserved confidence, the general's desigus, his apprehensions, and his hopes—we see, in exact detail, bis means, his forces, and his measures—we trace, as they arise, the successive events and the successive application of the commander's resources, material and mental, to the exigencies as they occur-and, what is the most important merit, and to the reader the greatest charm of all, is that we are satisfied that all is real-all sincere-all true-no distortion of facts-00 colouring of motives—no palliation—no exaggeration. We witness the scene exactly and literally as it passed there can be neither misrepresentation nor mistake, so far as the Duke is concerned: he may have been, in a particular case, misinformed; he may have entertained expectations which were not realized; he may have formed an erroneous opinion; but, at least, the facts, the information, the expectation, the opinion, are laid before us exactly and undisguisedly as they appeared or belonged to him at the moment. This would be, indeed, a severe test to try any man by, even in the ordinary and unruffled course of private life. Let any of our readers examine his own mind, and, endeavouring to recollect his original impressions on any point, honestly observe the variations which time, circumstances, and events have operated in his own opinions—and he will then comprehend the kind of crucible into which this publication puts the Duke of Wellington's character; and he will be astonished at that admirable consistency which good sense, good nature, good temper, and good nerve, have imprinted on the Duke's earliest actions and on his latest. Of him, indeed, it may be truly said, that he is

• Ad

« PreviousContinue »