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niy letter of the 23d inst. in your issue of the 26th, and I appreciate to a certain degree the disclaimer (I again use the word advisedly) which you make as to the charge of cowardice against the 78th Highlanders. But I cannot pass it bye without certain observations.
You deny that your charge implied as much, but I leave it to the public to say what they infer from such a phrase as “the cholera in their hearts, as well as their stomachs." You say that if I “would but condescend to read what was said carefully," I would see, you “hope and believe," your want of intention “ to disparage a corps," &c. My perception is hardly so keen.
You say "the writer of the paragraph," or item, “is as much interested in the honour and good repute of the 78th Highlanders as the 'late Captain,"" Hardly! If the writer had ever served in that corps he would never have perpetrated his blunder-and if he never did serve in that corps, then he cannot possibly have its honour so near at heart as one who did serve.
You have lost sight of the whole gist of my letter of the 23d, which was to draw attention to the fact, that your reply to the letters of your correspondents was insufficient and placed in an obscure part of your paper, and that I demanded a full denial, to which there should be given a prominence equal to that of the original calumny.
Doubtless ere this you have received sufficient assurances of your error. I am satisfied with the upshot, and will not say who has eaten the leek, though I might add
The truth you speak, doth lack some gentleness
When you should bring the plaster. I have stated my name, and am willing to quote my authorities, whereas your informant keeps his incognito.
You have stated that you are not going to accept my opinions, nor are you going to allow me to appropriate your space as I think fit. My letter, which you did not publish, and which was simply in defence of my old corps, surely does not warrant such an answer; and, in common fairness, I must ask you to insert this reply in your issue of Saturday. At the same time I reserve my undoubted right to reproduce the whole of this matter, together with such further observations as I may think warranted, in columns other than your own.-I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Colin MACKENZIE, late Captain, 78th Highlanders. The Army and Navy Gazette of the 2d April 1881 was published in due course, but it contained neither my letter nor any comment upon it; although it exhibited one of the editorial staff endeavouring to blunder out of another “inaccuracy.” Inaccuracy is the curse of journalism, and lest I incur its odium, I will at once state my authorities, as against my masked opponent, who apparently drew his long-bow at a venture. I have it from Sir Henry Havelock Allan, General Havelock's son, and a host of officers, non-commissioned officers, and private soldiers, who served with Havelock's column, and whose names would fill several pages of your Magazine, that General Havelock NEVER told the 78th that they had the cholera in their hearts as well as their stomachs." That gallant old veteran, General Sir Patrick Grant, who was Commander-in-Chief in India, from the death of General Anson till the arrival of Lord Clyde, and consequently during Havelock's march, never heard of such a speech being addressed to the
78th. If he had, would he be likely to esteem it an honour to be their full Colonel to-day?
If Havelock's true opinion of the 78th is required, his own words will be sufficient to prove it. In his confidential report on the regiment, just before leaving Persia, he says:
• There is a fine spirit in the ranks of this regiment. I am given to understand that it behaved remarkably well in the affair of Khooshab, near Bushire, which took place before I reached the army; and during the naval action on the Euphrates, and its landing here, its steadiness, zeal, and activity under my own observation were conspicuous. The men have been subjected in this service to a good deal of exposure, to extremes of climate, and have had heavy work to execute with their intrenching tools, in constructing redoubts and making roads. They have been, while I have had the opportunity of watching them, most cheerful ; and have never seemed to regret or complain of anything but that they had no further chance of meeting the enemy. I am convinced the regiment would be second to none in the service, if its high military qualities were drawn forth. It is proud of its colours, its tartan, and its former achievements.”
Havelock, writing to General Neill, after the second battle of Butseerut Gunge, 5th August 1857, says :—"If I might select for praise without being invidious, I should say they (the Madras Fusiliers) and the Highlanders are the most gallant troops in my little force.”
After the third battle of Butseerut Gunge, Havelock published an Order of the Day, 12th August 1857, of which the following forms part: --" The Fusiliers and the Highlanders were, as usual, distinguished, The Highlanders, without firing a shot, rushed with a cheer upon the enemy's redoubt, carried it, and captured two of the three guns with which it was armed. If Colonel Hamilton can ascertain the officer, noncommissioned officer, or soldier, who first entered this work, the Brigadier will recommend him for the Victoria Cross."*
Describing the grand charge of the 78th Highlanders at the battle of Cawnpore, 16th July 1857, Havelock writes :—"The opportunity had arrived for which I have long anxiously waited, of developing the prowess of the 78th Highlanders. Three guns of the enemy were strongly posted behind a lofty hamlet well intrenched. I directed this regiment to advance, and never have I witnessed conduct more admirable. They were led by Colonel Hamilton, and followed him with surpassing steadiness and gallantry under a heavy fire. As they approached the village, they cheered and charged with the bayonet, the pipes sounding the pibroch. Need I add that the enemy fled, and the village was taken, and the guns were captured ?"
In his Order of the Day after Cawnpore, he said :" Soldiers ! your General is satisfied, and more than satisfied, with you. He has never seen steadier or more devoted troops; but your labours are only beginning. Between the 7th and 16th you have, under the Indian sun of July, marched 126 miles, and fought four actions. . . . . . . Highlanders ! it was my earnest desire to afford you the opportunity of showing how your predecessors conquered at Maida ; you have not de
* Lieutenants Campbell and Crowe entered together. Campbell took cholera next day and died, and Crowe was recommended for the V.C. He did not, however, live long to wear his honours.
generated. Assaye was not won by a more silent, compact, and resolute charge, than was the village near Jchajmow on the 16th inst.”
Marshman, in his life of Havelock, relates that the night after the battle of Cawnpore, “when the arms were piled, the General called the officers of the Highlanders together, and assured them that he had never seen a regiment behave more steadily and gallantly, and that if ever he reached the command of a regiment, it would be his request that it should be the 78th, and he desired them to convey this assurance to their men.”
Arrived in the Residency of Lucknow, Havelock resigned his command to Sir James Outram, but his opinion of the 78th Highlanders never changed from that day, until he was laid in his lonely grave, beneath the tree in the Alumbagh.
So much for the charge against the 78th. I leave it to my countrymen to say whether the reckless assertion that they were rated by Havelock for having "the cholera in their hearts as well as their stomachs," has been clearly disproved or not. Ross-shire lads are keenly jealous of the honour of the old Ross-shire Buffs. Let them never forget that their national motto is, “ Nemo me impune lacessit," and that “oor Scots thistle will jag the thoombs” of any boggling journalist who attempts to make too free with it. -I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Late Captain, 78th Highlanders.
THE TARTAN AND THE KILT-FEELING IN CANADA, TO THE EDITOR OF THE CELTIC MAGAZINE.
Montreal, 14th March 1881. SIR,In common with their fellow-countrymen at home and abroad, the Highlanders and Scotchmen of Montreal and elsewhere within the Dominion of Canada had learned with unrestrained indignation of the proposal to abolish the distinctive tartans of the Highland Regiments in the British Army. A meeting was arranged to have been held in Montreal on Friday, 11th March, but in the interval since its inception the news of the explanations and disavowal of the Secretary of State for War reached us, and the meeting was in consequence abandoned.
Anticipating the possibility of expressing my own views on the subject at the meeting, I had written them down in a condensed form, and this I subsequently sent to the Montreal Herald. I send you by this mail copies of that paper, of dates 11th and 14th March, in order that, if you see fit, you may insert the extracts referred to in the columns of the Celtic Magazine --Yours very truly,
This communication reached us too late for last issue, but even yet we think it right to let our readers all over the world see how much our loyal Canadian Highlanders felt and acted in thorough sympathy with their hrethren at home at a time when their aid might have proved of great service in influencing the authorities at the War Office. Mr Macdonald, who, by the way, hails from Tain, Ross-shire, and whom we had the pleasure of meeting in Montreal last year, is a credit to his native county even among the good Highlanders of Montreal; and we are glad to give
the greater portion of his communication as a fair specimen of the patriotic feelings of thousands throughout the Dominion. He writes :
The project of discontinuing the wearing of the distinctive tartans of the different Highland Regiments in the British army is one which has been met in Great Britain, and particularly in the Highlands of Scotland, with almost universal disapprobation. Although we in Canada are far separated from the sphere in which this question is now receiving so much attention, it is proper that we should express our sympathy with the views of our fellow-countrymen in the old land, and this can be done in no more effective manner than by a petition to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, conveyed through His Excellency the Governor-General of the Dominion.
When we bear in mind that in a great degree we owe the existence of Canada as a British colony to the bravery of a Highland Regiment (the Fraser Highlanders), that so materially assisted at the capture of Quebec, our present action can be justly construed into a tribute to the memory of that illustrious band of heroes. It is recorded that on the occasion of the assault upon Quebec an order was issued that the bag-pipes were not to be played lest their note should give the enemy untimely warning. The immediate effect of this order was that the Highlanders were observed to lack their customary spirit in the assault, upon which their colonel took means to remonstrate against the order silencing the pipes. “Then let them play, in Heaven's name," was the general's response, upon which, the well-known warlike blast being sounded, the men charged with irresistible fury and carried everything before them. This instance is an illustration of the probable effect of any endeavour to change or suppress the cherished customs and traditions of the Highland soldier. What, let me ask, is to be gained by the proposed change, by which the Black Watch, Mackenzie, Cameron, Gordon, and Sutherland tartans, are to be suppressed in order that some uniform pattern, to be devised or agreed upon, shall be substituted instead of these time-honoured regimentals.
The mind which could devise the suppression of the individual distinctiveness of the Highland regimental dress for the sake of uniformity or economy, is on a par with that which would wish to see the Highland hills levelled with the plain, the Highland rivers converted into canals, and the Highland lochs into milldams.
Is it to be tolerated, that the presumption of some red tape official is to be allowed to sap the glorious traditions and memories of the 42d at Fontenoy and the Nile; the 78th at Lucknow; the 79th at Waterloo ; the 92d in Spain ; and the 93d at Bala. clava. No, it is due to the memory of these brave men and their gallant leaders that we should indignantly protest against any change having such a tendency.
After referring to the deeds of Abercrombie at Alexandria, Colonel Cameron of Fassifern, Sir Colin Campbell, and Sir Robert Munro of Fowlis, and a host of others, whose heart beat to the Tartan, he proceeds, quoting from “The Vision of Don Roderick":
And oh ! loved warriors of the minstrel's land,
Yonder your bonnets nod, your tartans wave,
And harsher features and a mien more grave,
As that which beats beneath the Scottish plaid ;
And level for the charge their arms are laid,
Where lives the desperate foe that for such onset staid. The most offensive feature of the proposed change lies in the fact that it appears to have been contemplated without consulting the views of those most immediately concerned, as is evidenced by the great outcry against it from the recruiting fields of the Highland regiments. It is a change which, if carried into effect, would doubtless lead to results which not only every Scotchnian, but every loyal British subject would deplore.
Is not the pattern of a tartan of equal importance to a Scotchman as the colour of a rose is to an Englishman? Then let us remember that the English nation fought the bloodiest civil war recorded in history over the predominance of the white or the red rose, these symbols being emblematic of the different opinions of the time just as the present regimental clan tartans, and one uniform pattern of tartan, are emblematic of the antagonistic opinions in the present day of, we may say, on one side the entire
Scottish nation, and on the other the authority of some unpatriotic military Jacks in
And Sirs, if aince they pit her till't
She'll tak' the streets
I' the first she meets.
ONLY A FISHERMAN'S DAUGHTER,
Only a fisherman's daughter,
Bare-footed nymph of the bay,
Rosy-cheeked, laughing, and gay:
Fondling him oft on her knee,
Only a fisherman's daughter,
Nursed 'neath the song of the sea,
Almost an angel to be.
Watching the lighthouse afar,
Sadly from over the bar:
Rolling in wrath on the shore :
Sweet little fisherman's daughter, &c.
Moaning its sorrowful lay,
Toiling for her far away :
Watching the boats as they come,
Loved little fisherman's daughter, &c,