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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, No. 370, August 1846   By:

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BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCLXX. AUGUST, 1846. VOL. LX.

CONTENTS.

THE ARMY, 129

MY COLLEGE FRIENDS. NO. IV. CHARLES RUSSELL, THE GENTLEMAN COMMONER. CHAPTER I., 145

THE ROMANTIC DRAMA, 161

THE MINSTREL'S CURSE. FROM UHLAND, 177

THE MINE, THE FOREST, AND THE CORDILLERA, 179

"MORIAMUR PRO REGE NOSTRO," 194

MESMERIC MOUNTEBANKS, 223

COOKERY AND CIVILISATION, 238

THE LATE AND THE PRESENT MINISTRY, 249

EDINBURGH: WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET; AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed. SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.

BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCLXX. AUGUST, 1846. VOL. LX.

THE ARMY.[1]

When we glance back at the bright page of British military history, so thickly strewn with triumphs, so rarely checkered by a reverse, it seems paradoxical to assert that the English are not a military nation. Such, nevertheless, is the case. Our victories have been the result of no especial fitness for the profession of arms, but of dauntless spirit and cool stubborn courage, characterising the inhabitants of the narrow island that breeds very valiant children. Mere bravery, however heroic, does not of itself constitute an aptitude for the soldier's trade. Other qualities are needful qualities conspicuous in many European nations, but less manifest in the Englishman. Naturally military nations are those of France, the Highlands of Scotland, Poland, and Switzerland every one of them affording good specimens of the stuff peculiarly fitted for the manufacture of soldiers. They all possess a martial bent, a taste for the military career, submitting willingly to its hardships and privations, and are endowed with a faculty of acquiring the management of offensive weapons, with which for the most part they become acquainted early in life. A system of national conscription, like that established in many continental countries, is the readiest and surest means of giving a military tone to the character of a people, and of increasing the civil importance and respectability of an army. But without proceeding to so extreme a measure, other ways may be devised of producing, as far as is desirable, similar results.

We appeal to all intelligent observers, and especially to military men, whom travel or residence upon the Continent have qualified to judge, whether in any of the great European states the soldier has hitherto obtained so little of the public attention and solicitude as in England? Whether in any country he is so completely detached from the population, enjoying so little sympathy, in all respects so uncared for and unheeded by the masses, and, we are sorry to say it, often so despised and looked down upon, even by those classes whence he is taken? Let war call him to the field, and for a moment he forces attention: his valour is extolled, his fortitude admired, his sufferings are pitied. But when peace, bought by his bravery and blood, is concluded, what ensues? Houses of Parliament thank and commend him, towns illuminate in honour of his deeds, pensions and peerages are showered upon his chiefs, perhaps some brief indulgence is accorded to himself; but it is a nine days' wonder, and those elapsed, no living creature, save barrack masters, inspecting officers, and Horse guards authorities, gives him another thought, or wastes a moment upon the consideration of what might render him a happier and a better man. Like a well tried sabre that has done its work and for the present may lie idle, he is shelved in the barrack room, to be occasionally glanced at with pride and satisfaction... Continue reading book >>


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