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Cotterell. Vols. I.-III. London. 1848-1859.
3. An Account of some recent Researches near Cairo,
undertaken with the view of throwing light upon the
Geological History of the Alluvial Land of Egypt.
Instituted by Leonard Horner, Esq. From the Philo-
sophical Transactions. Parts I. and II. London.
18.55 and 1858
ART. I.—Correspondence of Charles, First Marquis Cornwallis.
Edited, with Notes, by Charles Ross, Esq. 3 vols. London,
1858. THE 'HE career of the Marquis Cornwallis was in many respects
a remarkable one. Without lofty ambition or shining talents, without being a hero, an orator, or a statesman of the first class, he filled effectively the most prominent place on four conspicuous stages at four of the most trying epochs of British history. He commanded the army which, from no fault of his, gave, by its surrender at York Town, the first clear glimpse of coming independence to the United States. He was Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in India from 1786 to 1794, when our Indian policy required the nicest and most judicious handling. He was Lord Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland during the agitation of the Union, the passing of that momentous measure, and the rebellion and invasion which preceded it. As British ambassador, he negotiated the peace of Amiens in 1801. He also held the post of Master-General of the Ordnance in 1795, after having haal the refusal of the seals of Secretary of State from Mr. Pitt. When the mutinous spirit of the officers of the Bengal army began to excite serious alarm, Lord Cornwallis, at the earnest request of the Premier, was on the point (Jan. 1797) of proceeding a second time to India to supersede Sir John Shore (Lord Teignmouth), who was thought deficient in firmness; and the same high appointment was a third time pressed upon him and accepted in 1805, in the October of which year he died, from over-eagerness in the discharge of his public duties, at Ghuznee.
The Correspondence of a man who was employed in this manner, who was trusted to this extent, who inspired unabated confidence in bis judgment, courage, and integrity to his dying day, can hardly fail to be replete with interest and instruction, although whether to the full extent of three bulky octavo volumes, may be questioned by that class of readers who prefer being fed with essences and, from dread of being bored, attempt to skim Vol. 105.-No. 209.
the cream of a heavy-looking publication by skipping every other page, as dogs, from fear of crocodiles, lap water from the Nile as they run. Uninviting as it may appear to some, this work contains so large a quantity of authentic information, and affords such ample materials for the correction of contemporary annals, that it may be regarded as indispensable to the student of modern history, and (to adopt the stereotyped phrase) as emphatically one of those books which no gentleman's library should be without. It will take rank with the best political memoirs or compilations that have appeared within living memory, with the marked advantage of being far better edited than most of them. There is hardly an allusion, a reference, a dubious passage, or a disputed fact, in the three volumes, which has not been pointed, explained, or decided by Mr. Ross; - hardly a patronymic to which, on its first occurrence, he has not appended a brief account of the owner. We are regularly informed when, where, and how all and each of Lord Cornwallis's family, friends, acquaintance, and correspondents, of high or low degree, were born, married, and died; not unfrequently how many contested elections they stood, and how many votes they polled. The index is copious and minute, so that we may confidently refer to the work as
a repertory of biographical details touching most of the political and social notabilities who flourished, and many of the illustrious obscure who did not flourish, between 1776 and 1805.
Mr. Ross is the son of General Ross, the life-long friend and for some time the aide-de-camp of Lord Cornwallis, to whom most of the confidential letters now printed are addressed. The editor of the papers is moreover married to Lady Mary, third daughter of the second Marquis. He was a member of the House of Commons from 1822 to 1837, a Lord of the Admiralty in 1830, and of the Treasury in Sir Robert Peel's administration of 1835. He is now one of the Commissioners of Audit. His opportunities have been excellent, and his own personal observations and reminiscences are sometimes amusingly interwoven with the notes. For example, in reference to the first Lord Malmesbury, we find :-
His correspondence, published by the present Lord Malmesbury, proves that, in his anxiety to obtain information, he was not always very scrupulous as to the means. One anecdote, not given there, is, it is believed, quite authentic. When minister at it was of great importance to obtain possession of the secret instructions given to one of his colleagues. All other means having failed, he carried to a successful issue an intrigue with Madame de a near relation of the minister in question, and through her obtained the papers.' A competitive examination for the diplomatic service in those