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op! away, and glance upon such lines as these, addressed by Delta to * The opening year.’ ‘How pleasant is the opening year ! The clouds of winter melt away; The flowers in beauty re-appear; The songster carols from the spray; lif Lengthens the more refulgent day; And bluer glows the arching sky; All things around us seem to say, “Christian direct thy thoughts on high."
#! But nature now puts forth her strength,
s: * Yet ponder well, how then shall break
off The dawn of second life on thee—
o Shalt thou to hope—to bliss awake 2
o Or vainly strive God's wrath to flee ?
| Then shall pass forth the dread decree,
: That makes or weal or woe thine own ; st Up ! and to work Eternity
* Must reap the harvest Time hath sown.' i: The Winter's Wreath, p. 348. § Before we conclude, we must congratulate Mrs. Hall upon the
new volume of her ‘Juvenile Forget Me Not.’ It is exactly what * such a book ought to be, a collection of entertaining dialogues, " stories, verses, and slight essays, all of them calculated to amuse and to improve the opening mind. We are particularly well pleased with the attention which she has paid throughout her little work, to the elements of natural history, and to the removal of those absurd and unfortunate antipathies, which children are too often taught, by ignorant servants, to entertain against the lower entities of the creation.
A Rt. VI.-Memoirs of the Late War : comprising the Personal Nari. rative of Captain Cooke, of the 43d Regiment of Light Infantry : ; The History of the Campaign of 1809 in Portugal. By the Earl of - Munster: and a Narrative of the Campaign of 1814, in Holland. By Lieut. T. W. D. Moodie, H. P. 21st Fusileers. In two vols. 8vo. London : Colburn and Co. 1831.
WE do not think that either the dignity of the military profession,
or the true interests of literature or of history, have been much
consulted in the present publication. We are not surprised at the WO L. III. NO. III. D D
expedients to which some booksellers in our days will resort. We only lament that they should have succeeded at last in enlisting into the cause of delusion and puff, some of the members of a community, which, throughout the world, has been signalized by the bold frankness of its character. When we heard of this work only through the medium of its title, “Memoirs of the Late War, by the Earl of Munster, Captain Cooke, &c. &c,’ we unwittingly concluded that? an important national undertaking was about to be commenced. We thought that the son of the reigning king, himself no unworthy actor in the memorable scenes about to be recorded, had been selected for the great function of state historian—that to him the whole archives of the nation had been laid open—and the evidence of ten thousand witnesses of the late war commanded to be given. With such feelings and expectations, we opened the pages of the volumes before us, and what were the pangs of disappointment which we were doomed to experience We must say, however, that we consider Captain Cooke to be a very injured man. No one can read these volumes without being satisfied, that the gallant officer has made very considerable sacrifices, to obtain the post of superiority over the other members of this literary firm. He has nearly had the whole burden indeed of the business to himself:— he has written more than three-fourths of the work, and has, we presume, been racking his memory night and day, for materials, whilst the sleeping partners of the concern were devoted to their beloved repose. And yet how little of the credit due to his activity has Captain Cooke received at the hands of his publishers | Not only is his name, which by all the laws of justice should have stood first in the catalogue of the triumvirate, placed in an inferior situation, but the diminished size of the letters which have been provided for him, proclaim at once the injustice and prejudice of the publishers. The place of dignity is conceded to a partner who brought the smallest share of effects to the common stock; whilst he who may be said to have embarked the whole of his possessions in this speculation, is indifferently left to the effect of such consolations as he may derive from the reflection that he had merited a higher reward. But we have often in recent years been compelled to notice the gradual degeneracy of literature in this country. It has now nearly fallen beneath the corrupting influence of a mercenary spirit, and at the very moment at which we write, is made subject to all the bye-laws by which the vulgar transactions of ordinary life are regulated. When we see a partnership in literature got up for the purpose of popular attraction—offering in its nature or its ends, nothing that constitutes a substantial claim to the consideration of the public :—when we find it arranged that the chief place in this alliance is given to a member, the extent of whose interest in the common object by no means justifies such an appointment: when we consider these facts, and the motives which have given rise to them, do we not recognize at once all the craft of the broker? The city exchange, that pandemonium of all the fiends of delusion, intrigue, and device, rises before our view, and by the light which it flings upon our path, we can discover in the Earl of Munster and his co-partners, only some new and ephemeral conjunction in the mercantile sphere, destined to shine for its brief hour, and by dazzling, to delude the inexperienced and unwary. Nor is this all. The contingent which the Earl of Munster supplies on the present occasion, is neither more nor less than a piece of literary merchandize, which had been already set up to sale at a sort of periodical bazaar, entitled the United Service Journal. The noble contributor, we are quite sure, took no active part in the republication, for in what other light could such a measure be regarded, except as a tacit acknowledgment that this second birth wanted none of the characters of an entirely new and original appearance? To Lieutenant Moodie we are likewise desirous of extending the same indulgent consideration, for he too began by tempting the customers of the United Service Bazaar. Thus then, upon the explosion of this, the latest of the literary bubbles that has recently agitated the market, we discover that two of the principal proprietors are only so many unsuccessful speculators, the victims of a “heavy demand,” and whose merchandize is once more put up under quite a new designation, and assisted by the auspices of a more attractive salesman. With respect to the third proprietor, or rather the real principal in this affair, we are bound to allow him a hearing somewhat in proportion to the extent of his interest. The captain appears to us to be very unfortunate in his military destiny. The fates have so ordained it, that he has been compelled to travel by no other route, and to share in no other scenes than those which had previously been trodden or acted in by men far his superiors in power of description, though we are quite sure neither better soldiers nor more respectable members of society. He has been so peculiarly abandoned by his good genius, as actually to join in the Peninsular war nearly at the same time as our admirable “Subaltern,” whose vivid picture of the latter portion of that campaign, now maintains an honourable place in every well regulated library in the empire. Captain Cooke is thus necessarily forced to enter into unequal competition with perhaps the most formidable rivalship that ever a writer had to contend with. The result is conformable to the probabilities of the case; the captain has attempted to give “fresh beauty to the violet,” and improve those hues of exquisite colour which the pencils of our Southeys, our Napiers, and our Subalterns have communicated to most of the scenes of the Spanish war; but the effort has, as in all such enterprizes, ended in failure. Captain Cooke gives a very tedious description of his first onset in life. He began his military career in the militia, and seems to have divided his devotions between Venus and the god of war. A
love adventure which he relates with the most remarkable attention to minute facts, is about the worst of the romances to which the most fertile of all themes has given rise. He was soon transferred to the service in the line, and sailed to Walcheren with that famous expedition, which was one out of the many proofs of the feebleness that really characterized the whole career of Lord Castlereagh. On his return from the sloughs to which the British minister had consigned so many of the best and bravest of the nation, Captain Cooke, who had by this time not merely “heard of,” but had “handled arms,” succeeded in obtaining leave to join a detachment to Portugal, where he arrived near the close of 1811. He followed the British army, then on its triumphant progress across the frontier of Spain, and was present at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo. We select from his account of the storming, such portions of it as are less likely to have been heretofore communicated to the public, through other channels.
* Colonel M*Leod caused Lieutenant Madden, of the 43rd, to descend the small breach with twenty-five men, ordering him to continue at the foot of it during the night, aud to prevent soldiers leaving the town with plunder. At eleven o'clock I went to see him ; he had no sinecure, and had very judiciously made a large fire, which, of course, showed the delinquents to perfection, who were attempting to quit the town with plunder, in the garb of friars, nuns, or enveloped in silk counterpanes, or loaded with silver forks, spoons, and church plate, all of which was of course taken from them, and was piled up, to hand over to the proper authorities on the following day. He told me that no masquerade could, in point of costume, and grotesque figures, rival the characters he stripped that night.
* The fire was large, and surrounded by the dead bodies of those who fell in the first onset at the foot of the breach. The troops must have rushed up and taken the latter without hesitation: had the governor of the town only placed a few obstacles on the crest of the breach, he must have stopped the entrance of the light division altogether. He had time, as the firing from our batteries ceased two hours before the assault, and then from the rampart there was a gentle slope into the town, leading into a narrow lane, which was blocked up with a cart only, leaving a sufficient space for one person to pass at a time. The governor was most culpable ! There was no musquetry from any part of the ramparts until the head of the light division column was close to the small breach.-Amongst others lay Captain Dobbs, of the 52nd, on his back, at the foot of the breach, and stripped of his uniform. Our officer at first thought he was a Frenchman who had tumbled headlong during the strife from the top of the breach; but while he was holding a piece of lighted wood, to contemplate, with admiration, his extremely placid and handsome countenance, even in death, a captain of the 52nd knew it to be the body of poor Dobbs. On lifting him up, the blood flowed copiously from his back, a musketball having entered at the breast, and passed through his body.—A soldier of the third division came up to me and said, “ Captain Hardyman of the 45th, is killed !” for although three generals and seventy other officers had fallen, yet the soldiers fresh from the strife talked of him; and if a soldier's praise can add to a man's fame, certainly no one had a greater share than Hardyman; he was the real type of a soldier, and kind to every one. “When the troops had sipped the wine and the Cogniac brandy in the stores, the extreme disorders commenced. To restore order was impossible; a whole division could not have done it. Three or four large houses were on fire, two of them were in the market-place, and the town was illuminated by the flames. The soldiers were drunk, and many of them for amusement were firing from the windows into the streets. I was talking to the regimental barber, private Evans, in the square, when a ball passed through his head. This was at one o'clock in the morning. He fell at my feet dead, and his brains lay on the pavement. I then sought shelter, and found Colonel M*Leod with a few officers in a large house, where we remained until day-light. I did not enter any other house in Ciudad Rodrigo ; and if I had not seen, I never could have supposed that British soldiers would become so wild and furious. It was quite alarming to meet groups of them in the streets, flushed as they were with drink, and desperate in mischief. ‘On the morning of the 20th, the scene was dreary; the fires just going out; and about the streets were lying the corpses of many men who had met their death hours after the town had been taken. At eleven o'clock, I went to look at the great breach. The ascent was not so steep as that of the small one, but there was a traverse thrown up at each side of it on the rampart; hence there was no way into the town, as the wall was quite perpendicular behind the breach. When the third division had gained the top of the rampart, they were in a manner enclosed and hemmed in, and had no where to go, while the enemy continued to fire upon them from some old ruined houses, only twenty yards distant. ‘I counted more than sixty-three soldiers of the third division lying dead on the terre-plein of the rampart, exactly between the traverses I have already described. I did not see one dead soldier of that division on the French side of those traverses; but I saw some of the light division. “I saw General M*Kinnon lying dead on his back, just under the rampart, on the inside, that is, the town side. He was stripped of every thing except his shirt and blue pantaloons; even his boots were taken off. He was a tall thin man. There were no others dead near him, and he was not on the French side of the traverse either; nor was there any possibility of getting at the general without a ladder, or traversing a considerable distance along the ramparts to descend into the town, and then passing through several narrow lanes, ruined houses, and over broken stone walls, being a distance of at least a quarter of a mile, and what no human being could have accomplished during the night. It is said that he was blown up. I should say not. There was no appearance indicating that such had been his fate. Neither the state of his skin, nor the posture in which he was lying, led me to think it. When a man is blown up, his hands and face, I should think, could not escape. I never saw any whose face was not scorched. M“Kinnon was pale, and free from the marks of fire. How strange, that with the exception of the general, I did not see a soldier of the third division who had been stripped! Neither was there any officer among the dead, or else they had been carried away. I should not wonder, (if it is not uncharitable), that the general had been killed with all the others between the traverses, and that some tender-hearted follower of the army