Page:The Lull before Dorking.djvu/12

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THE LULL BEFORE DORKING.

Leaving Parliament discussing terms of compensation while they ought to be considering the best substitute for Purchase, and other greater matters, this is what might occur to such a one incensed with actualities, and unbiased by cant.

It is true we have no yet approved great general such as Marlborough or Wellington; there may be some in posse, but not yet in esse. We have, however, some three or four men at least, who have some practical ability in war—some indeed actually sitting (as yet almost dumb) in the great council of the nation. There is a man who once made Ireland safe by a system of military organization, and persuaded thereby sundry Fenian scarecrows, and American officers who had seen strategy, that invasion or rising would be madness. There is another, who marched up to Magdala in Africa, and in spite of all we could do to hamper him, succeeded with very small loss In doing all we wanted in about as complete a manner as we generally do anything. There is a general whom we have lately delighted to honour, who is said to have studied the Prussian system on the spot, and to regard with some contempt our amateur organizations. There is yet another commander, a man of singular modesty, for whom lately scarce any press epithet was too severe, because at a certain mixed review of Volunteers and Regulars he dared to say that Volunteers so organized would be of hardly any appreciable use in actual warfare. There are others: but if these, or some of these, were closeted together, they might, perhaps within a week or less, set forth the general outlines of a plan