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ment, he voted for his party, spoke little, and attended but slightly to business. His feelings of affection, damped from the first, received a further check in regard to the lady of his choice, and he was left to throw his whole energies, when the proper time arrived, into his professional duties, at the same time that he was encouraged and incited to exertion by obtaining with borrowed money the command of his regiment.
He commenced the second stage of his existence, that of active service, by drawing up a code of standing orders, and placing his regiment in the highest state of efficiency. And in May, 1794, he embarked at Cork, at the commencement of his twenty-sixth year, for the Low Countries. He there received, again, as it were, in adversity, the most valuable lessons that could be afforded to a young soldier of an observant niind, for he saw everything that was vicious in an army. His first military operation (unnoticed by Mr. Gleig) was the evacuation of Ostend in the presence of the enemy, and he showed himself intrepid and intelligent in the rear-guard during a subsequent retreat. He was promoted (by seniority) in January, 1795, from his regimental command to a brigade of three weak battalions. He • fought for existence' with the rear-guard of the army, in a winter of dreadful suffering, until the remains of the British troops were embarked at Bremen, in the spring of 1795. The evils of a divided command and state jealousies, the necessity for forethought and system, the advantages of conciliation and fair dealing with the inhabitants of a theatre of war, the importance of efficient departments and equipments, of prompt action, and of attention to time, were thus deeply impressed upon him in the rugged lessons of his first campaign; and the results may be plainly traced throughout his subsequent conduct and correspondence:
* You can't conceive such a state of things,' the Duke used to say long years afterwards. “If we happened to be at dinner and the wine was going round, it was considered wrong to interrupt us. I have seen a packet handed in from the Austrian head-quarters, and thrown aside unopened, with a remark, That will keep till to-morrow morning. It has always been a marvel to me how any one of us escaped.
On his return to England, early in 1795, Colonel Wesley was depressed in spirits, and disgusted with his profession.
for some hours every day; and alluded to his having commenced acting upon this rule before he went to India, and to his having continued to act upon it. This is a fact that, I apprehend, is unknown as to the Duke of Wellington, and it is a very important one.'--Notes on the Battle of Waterloo, by the late General Sir James Shaw Kennedy, K.C.B., &c. London, 1865.
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Unable to marry, or even to live upon his income, he applied, under the advice of Lord Mornington, to Lord Camden, who was still Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to find him a situation either in the Board of Revenue or in the Treasury. Failing, fortunately, in this attempt to quit the army, he embarked in the autumn at Southampton with his regiment for the West Indies, but was driven back to Spithead. When the regiment embarked for India, in April, 1796, he was unable, from illness, to accompany it. He overtook it, however, at the Cape of Good Hope, and taking passage with Sir Pulteney (then Captain) Malcolm in the · Fox,' landed with it at Calcutta in February, 1797. We have heard on the best authority, and from different sources, of an interesting letter which was written home by Captain Malcolm after that voyage, to the effect that he found young Wesley a dull companion enough at first, but that he formed a very high opinion of him on better acquaintance, during the latter part of the voyage, and believed they would hear great things of him afterwards. We have made inquiries of the family, bat have not yet ascertained what became of this letter.
Mr. Gleig quotes Mr. Canning's remark, that India was 'a country fertile in heroes and statesmen,' and points out truly the opportunity which it afforded for the development of Colonel Wellesley's high qualities. But he is ‘far from supposing that wherever he served his mind would not have awakened sooner or later from the half-lethargic state in which throughout his earlier years it may be said to have lain.' And he states that 'from the day of his arrival at Calcutta a complete change took place in the moral and intellectual nature of the man. We think these expressions much too strong. No man can be known until he is tried ; or appreciated, especially when characterised by much natural reserve, until opportunities arise for the display of his powers. Colonel Wellesley had, according to Mr. Gleig's own account, while still very young, "devoted all the time that could be spared from his duties in the Irish Parliament to improving the discipline of his battalion.' He had drawn up a code of standing orders for it,' and brought it to such a state of efficiency that the 33rd was pronounced to be the best drilled and most efficient regiment within the limit of the Irish command.' He had been taking pains to acquaint himself in all sorts of odd ways with everything worthy of notice which passed around him. His forte was the power of rapid and correct calculation.' He had shown exceeding promptitude,' as well as judgment and coolness,' and 'greatly distinguished himself' in the disheartening campaign of the Low Countries. And surely such a man cannot properly be said to have lain in a “half-lethargic' state, or to have changed his
whole nature as further opportunities and responsibilities called forth his latent talents and energies. The truth is, as Mr. Gleig says further on, that “the experience of war and its requirements which he had accumulated in the Netherlands’ bore fruit, as might be expected, in due course. Coming from a recent campaign in Europe, he was naturally consulted by the Government in Calcutta as to the equipment and administration of the army. He set to work again as soon as he reached India, to acquire information, not only as to the military situation, but also in regard to the political relations of the Company. Having learnt all he could in Bengal, he visited his old friend Lord Hobart, the Governor of Madras, and made himself master of the affairs of that Presidency, and, as Gurwood says, of ‘other parts of the Carnatic” also. His published memoranda, reports, and despatches show how hard he laboured for his advancement, by studying all matters connected directly or indirectly with his profession,-geographical, financial, and even agricultural,— as well as all the details of military management and equipment. He lost no opportunity of acquiring general popularity, by entertainment or otherwise, in spite of his continually straightened means; of obtaining credit for his ability, integrity, and sound judgment; or of employing interest in high quarters. He persuaded his brother to accept, to their mutual advantage, the post of Governor-General, which had been offered to him. He writes to him, according to Mr. Gleig,” “I strongly advise you to come out. I am convinced that you will retain your health, nay, it is possible that its general state may be improved, and you will have the fairest opportunity of rendering material services to the public, and of doing yourself credit.’ And Lord Mornington arrived, accordingly, at Calcutta, on the 17th of May, 1797. This was a critical period in the history of British India. “Citizen' Tippoo Sahib, in communication with the French Republicans, was preparing, with 50,000 men trained by French officers, to attack Madras. Colonel Wellesley was sent there
* The letter containing these sentiments occurs at vol. i. p. 17 “Supplementary Despatches.’ “In a letter which I wrote to you, I believe in the month of March, I pressed you to look to the government of this country, and you may easily conceive that I am glad to find that there is so near a prospect of my wishes on that subject being accomplished. I am convinced that you will retain your health; nay, it is possible that its general state may be mended; and you will have the fairest opportunities of rendering material services to the public, and of doing yourself credit, which, exclusive of other personal considerations, should induce you to come out. I acknowledge I am a bad judge of the pain a man feels upon parting from his family. . . . . I shall be happy to be of service to you in your government; but such are the rules respecting the disposal of all patronage in this country, that I can't expect to derive any advantage from it, which I should not obtain if any other person were Governor-General.’
with his regiment without any special appointment. As the Governor-General's brother, he no doubt possessed considerable influence, though it is, perhaps, too much to say that he became in a few days, the moving spirit of the Government in which he had no legal voice.' He continued to impress upon his brother the wisdom of avoiding a rupture if it were possible to do so,' while every preparation was being made for war. He obtained command of a division on the Mysore frontier on the death of a senior officer, and the general superintendence remained,' as Gurwood says, p. 12, vol. i., 'with him, until Feb. 1799,' when General Harris arrived to assume the personal command of the army, which had proceeded to Vellore.
Three letters here quoted by Mr. Gleig, without date, are of great interest. Conceiving that his exertions had not been properly appreciated,* he wrote to his brother as follows:
The General f expressed his approbation of what I had done, and adopted as his own all the orders and regulations I had made, and then said that he should mention his approbation publicly, only that he was afraid others would be displeased and jealous. . . . As in fact there is nothing to be got in the army but credit, and as it is not always that the best intentions and endeavours to serve the public succeed, it is hard that when they do succeed they should not receive the approbation which it is acknowledged by all they deserve. I was much hurt about it at the time, but I don't care now, and shall certainly continue to do everything to serve General Harris, and to support his name and authority.'
When Lord Mornington repaired in person to the Madras Presidency, in accordance with his advice, and proposed further a wish to join the camp, he afterwards wrote again plainly to him, I
- Your presence in the camp, instead of giving confidence to the General, would, in fact, deprive him of the command of the army.
* Colonel Gurwood says, on the other hand, at vol. i. pp. 12, 13.—'When General Harris joined the army to take command, after receiving the reports of the heads of corps and departments, he was so pleased with all Colonel Wellesley's arrangements that he conceived it to be an imperative duty to publish a General Order conveying commendation of the merits of Colonel Wellesley during his temporary command.' While Mr. Gleig says, at p. 21-'Such exertions had never before been heard of on that side of India, and General Harris wrote of them privately to the Governor-General in terms of high commendation. But there the matter ended.'
† 27th February, 1799, ‘Supplementary Despatches,' vol. i. p. 199. We have made our quotations from the Despatches themselves, as Mr. Gleig is not always perfectly accurate.
$ 29th January, 1799, Camp near Vellore, ‘Supplementary Despatches,' vol. i. P. 187.
. . If
.... If I were in General Harris's situation, and you joined the army, I should quit it. In my opinion he is at present awkwardly situated, and he will require all the powers which can be given him to keep in order the officers who will be in his army. Your presence will diminish his powers, at the same time that as it is impossible you can know anything of military matters, your powers will not answer the purpose which even those which he has at present may if you or Lord Clive are not in the army.'
Remonstrating against the interference of the Military Board at Madras, in dispensing patronage to the field force under General Harris, he wrote,
"I told Lord Clive * all this long ago, and particularly stated to him the necessity of giving the General credit, at least, for the appointments of the different Commissaries, if he did not allow him to make them. It was impossible to make him too respectable, or to hold him too high, if he was to be placed at the head of the army in the field. This want of respectability, which is to be attributed in a great measure to the General himself, is what I am most afraid of. However, I have lectured him well on the subject, and I have urged publicly to the army (in which I flatter myself I have some influence), the necessity of supporting him, whether he be right or wrong.'
This is the only instance on record of a young Colonel in the British service, scarcely thirty years of age, so interfering with the affairs of his superiors and of all about him. He lectures the Governor-General on the necessity of non-interference in military matters, and appoints to him the bounds which he shall not pass. He tells Lord Clive, the Governor of the great presidency of Madras (the second Lord Clive), and the Military Board at Madras, what are their particular duties and how patronage should be administered. He complains, on the one hand, of the General under whom he is serving for appropriating the credit which he claims for himself; and he expresses apprehensions, on the other hand, in regard to the same General's 'want of respectability,' while he engages at the same time to use his influence with the army for his support, whether he is right or wrong.
Mr. Gleig remarks on the first of these letters, ‘From this generous resolution Colonel Wellesley never departed;' after the second, 'Nor did his loyalty to the officer under whom he served end there;' and after the third, “It is impossible to over-estimate the generosity of conduct like this.' But it will be seen that he leans in doing so—as generally throughout his work—to one side
* 4th February, 1799, “Supplementary Despatches,' vol. i. p. 192.