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Hester applied for leave to see him, but was refused. Taking, hotever, the opportunity of Sir Walter's being at dinner, she went into Mr. Pitt's room. Though even then wandering a little, he imme diately recollected her, and with his usual angelic mildness wished her future happiness, and gave her a most solemn blessing and affectionate farewell. On her leaving the room I entered it, and for some time afterwards Mr. Pitt continued to speak of her, and several times repeated,'Dear soul, I know she loves me ! Where is Hester? Is Hester gone?' In the evening Sir Walter gave him some champagne, in hopes of keeping up for a time his wasting and almost subdued strength; and as Mr. Pitt seemed to feel pain in swallowing it, owing to the thrush in his throat, Sir Walter said: 'I am sorry, Šir, to give you pain. Do not take it unkind.' Mr. Pitt, with that mildness which adorned his private life, replied: 'I never take anything unkind that is meant for my good. At three o'clock on Wednesday Colonel Taylor arrived express from His Majesty at Windsor, and returned with the melancholy [news] of all hopes having ceased. I remained the whole of Wednesday night with Mr. Pitt. His mind seemed fixed on the affairs of the country, and he expressed his thoughts aloud, though sometimes incoherently. He spoke a good deal concerning a private letter from Lord Harrowby, and frequently inquired the direction of the wind; then said, answering himself
, East; ah! that will do; that will bring him quick: at other times seemed to be in conversation with a messenger, and sometimes cried out Hear, hear!' as if in the House of Commons. During the time he did not speak he moaned considerably, crying, 'O dear! O Lord !' Towards twelve the rattles
came in his throat, and proclaimed approaching dissolution. Sir Walter, the Bishop, Charles, and my sister were lying down on their beds, overcome with fatigue. At one (Jan. 23] a Mr. South arrived from town in a chaise, bringing a vial of hartshorn oil, a spoonful of which he insisted on Mr. Pitt's taking, as he had known it recover people in the last agonies. Remonstrance as to its certain inefficacy was useless, and on Sir W. saying that it could be of no detriment, we poured a couple of spoonfuls down Mr. Pitt's throat. It produced no effect but a little convulsive cough. In about half an hour Mr. South returned to town; at about half-past two Mr. Pitt ceased moaning, and did not speak or make the slightest sound for some time, as his extremities were then growing chilly. I feared he was dying; but shortly afterwards, with a much clearer voice than he spoke in before, and in a tone I never shall forget, he exclaimed, 'Oh, my country! how I leave my country!' From that time he never spoke or moved, and at half-past four expired without a groan or struggle. His strength being quite exhausted, his life departed like a candle burning out.'
Pitt's last exclamation, 'Oh, my country! how I leave my country!' is printed in the work before us how I love my country! But we understand that, since the publication of his work, Lord Stanhope has discovered an earlier copy from the blotted and blurred MS., in which leave,' and not love,' is the reading. As far as internal evidence goes, there cannot be a doubt. The one is slightly melodramatic, and by no means natural in a man who carried the repression of feeling to an excess: the other sums up with eloquent conciseness the circumstances which cast a gloom, deeper than the gloom of death, over the dying statesman's thoughts.
Though it has hitherto rested on no very distinct authority, it has always been the popular belief, that Pitt died with the exclamation Oh, my country l' upon his lips. It is strange that Lord Macaulay should have treated the tradition with ridicule, and dismissed it as “a fable. There can be no doubt of its substantial authenticity now; but it was so true to the nature and the past career of the great Minister, that the wonder is that it should have ever been disbelieved. It was mournfully in character with a life devoted to his country as few lives have been. Since his first entry into the world he had been absolutely hers. For her he had foregone the enjoyments of youth, the ties of family, the hope of fortune. For three-and-twenty years his mind had moulded her institutions, and had shaped her destiny. It was an agonizing thought for his dying pillow, that he had ruled her almost absolutely, and that she had trusted him without hesitation and without stint, and that this was the end of it all. At his bidding the most appalling sacrifices had been made in vain; and now he was leaving her in the darkest hour of a terrible reverse, and in the presence of the most fearful foe whom she had ever been called upon to confront. Such thoughts might well wring from him a cry of mental anguish, even in the convulsions of death. It was not given to him to know how much he had contributed to the final triumph. Long after his feeble frame had been laid near his father's grave, his policy continued to animate the councils of English statesmen, and the memory of his lofty and inflexible spirit encouraged them to endure. After eleven more years of suffering, Europe was rescued from her oppressor by the measures which Pitt had advised, and the long peace was based upon the foundations which he had laid. But no such consoling vision cheered his death-bed. His fading powers could trace no ray of light across the dark and troubled future. The leaders had not yet arisen, who, through unexampled constancy and courage, were to attain at last to the glorious deliverance towards which he had pointed the way, but which his eyes were never permitted even in distant prospect to behold.
Art. VIII.-1. Shot-proof Gun-Shields as adapted to Iron-Cased
Ships for National Defence. By Captain Cowper Phipps
Coles, R.N. London, 1861. 2. Second Report of the Royal Commissioners on the National
Defences. London. 3. What is good Iron, and how is it to be got? By R. H. Cheney.
nish Europe with a series of surprises which defy the calculations of our most sagacious politicians, and at first sight appear to set at nought all the experience hitherto gained in the wars on this side of the Atlantic.
The war itself, not only in its origin but in its duration, bas been of a nature that no one anticipated ; and even at this moment the most experienced statesmen are as unable to predict when or how it may end as they were to foresee its commencement. The siege, if it may be so called, of Fort Sumter, which was the first event of the war, is unlike anything that is known to have occurred in Europe. We have no record of a powerful casemated fort in the sea being forced to surrender to the attacks of batteries situated on the shore before a breach was made or a single gun dismounted ; and, what is more wonderful still, before a single man was killed or even wounded on the side either of the attack or the defence. The battle of Bull's Run, which was the next great event, is equally without a parallel in the annals of European warfare ; and so, too, is the duel recently fought between the two iron-plated vessels at the mouth of the James River. This duel was, so far as we know, almost as bloodless as the siege of Fort Sumter, and, if not so momentous in its political consequences, it is yet well worthy of the most attentive consideration of all persons interested in military matters. We could afford to smile at the siege of Fort Sumter, and did not think that any knowledge was gained through that event, as to the advantage of defensive works. The battle of Bull's Run was looked upon as so exceptional that no one attempted to draw any military conclusion from its phenomena. But the action between the Merrimac' and the Monitor' has aroused the attention of English men almost as much as the affair of the Trent;' and the fight has been discussed, both in Parliament and out of doors, with a degree of interest and an amount of excitement scarcely surpassed by the announcement of the seizure of the Confederate envoys from under the protection of the British flag.
The difference, however, in the manner in which the two controversies have been conducted is striking in the extreme.
There are few Englishmen who are not capable of forming a sound judgment, when they give themselves the trouble of thinking, regarding a point in which the national honour is concerned ; and the unanimity and good sense shown by the whole people on the first occasion was as striking as it was honourable and creditable to us as a nation. Unfortunately, however, there are very few persons who have the special knowledge which is requisite to draw any satisfactory conclusions from an
from an unusual and complicated military event, or who are competent to give an opinion on the recent experiment of a fight between two ironplated vessels. The consequence is that a panic has seized the public mind. Everything is considered as known, everything as settled, by this one action. Both in Parliament and outside, the most violent opinions have been asserted in the most dogmatic manner, and Ministers have been forced by the clamour to give way against their conviction on matters nearly concerning the interests and the safety of the country. Had Parliament not been sitting at the moment, had more time been allowed for reflection, or for obtaining more accurate information, the result would probably have been different; but while things are in this position it may be well worth while to examine the details of the fight in Hampton Roads a little more closely than has hitherto been done, and to see if any modicum of real knowledge can be extracted from the vague and scanty intelligence which has yet reached us.
The first vessel that took a part in this memorable action was the · Merrimac'-since called the Virginia'-originally one of six first-class wooden frigates, built by the Americans in or about the year
1855. The Minnesota' and the · Roanoke,' which also appeared on the scene of action, are sister vessels; their tonnage ranging between 3400 and 3600 tons, and equal to that of a first-rate line-of-battle-ship. (The tonnage of our • Duke of Wellington,' 130 guns, is only 3776 tons.) They were all screwsteamers of the most improved class, and it was to match them that • Orlandos' and · Merseys,' and other vessels of that description, were constructed. The · Merrimac' was sunk and supposed to be destroyed by the Federal officers, when the Confederates took possession of the naval yard at Norfolk. She was, however, afterwards raised and converted into an iron-plated vessel of the most formidable description for inland defence, So far as can be made out from the very imperfect descriptions which have reached this country, it seems that her top sides and upper deck were entirely removed flush with the gun-deck, and for these a casing of iron was substituted, sloping inwards at an angle of 45 degrees. This coating must consequently
have extended some feet beyond the original sides of the ship at the water-line, to which it was carried, on the assumption that she floated to her original depth. Upwards it extended to the level of the original upper-deck, which was considerably narrowed, and was also covered with thin plates of iron. The weight of all this additional armour being considerably in excess of the portions removed, and for which it was substituted, seems to have lowered her line of floatation, as was intended, some three or four feet, so that her armour extended to that distance below the water-line; but her port-sills were also brought so low as to render it extremely doubtful how she would behave in the open sea, or with any swell on.
Her armament consisted of twelve guns, so disposed that four or five of them were broadside-guns on each side, and either two or one facing forward and aft in the direction of the keel. The accounts are not quite clear on this point, which is in fact of very little consequence. The broadside-guns were 11-inch Dahlgrens; the fore and aft guns seem to have been rifled, though on what system is by no means clear.
In addition to these she was fitted with two prongs or rostra, projecting from the bow, it is said, like ploughshares. These were intended to run into and pierce any vessel she might be engaged with ; and from the use made of them they appear to have been as much or more depended on by her officers than even the armament detailed above.
Thus fitted and equipped, the Merrimac' left her moorings at 11 o'clock on the 8th of March last, and steamed down the James River to Hampton Roads, at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay. Here she found two frigates belonging to the Federal navy, lying at anchor,—the 'Cumberland,' a sloop of 24 guns and 1726 tons, built in 1842, and the Congress,' by some said to be the old “Congress of our war with the United States, by others to have been built in 1841,-at all events bearing 50 guns, though only 1867 tons burthen. Both were sailing-vessels, and, as may be supposed from these particulars, neither of the first class, and the guns of the Congress' at least must have been of very small calibre to enable so small a vessel to carry so many of them.
On approaching the Federal squadron the Merrimac' seems to have singled out the Cumberland' for her first victim, and, after firing once or twice into her from her bow-guns ran straight at her, and gave her the stem' immediately abreast of the foremast. She then rounded off, firing shell from her broadsideguns into her adversary; and, having gained a sufficient offing, again ran into her right amidships ; on both occasions making