Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

8 erthygl ar y dudalen hon




THE SPIRIT OF CRITICISM. Before Greneral GATACRK UAS misled by a Capo policeman into the jaws of death, before Lord METHUIN had attempted to dislodge a force of Boers and nondescripts from trenches and behind boulders and almost inaccessible places, before Sir Red- vers BULLER met with a check in his attempt to fo-c;e the passage of the Tugela, the spirit of criticism was silent. But immediately (xATACi: i; took a wrong turn by night, as soon itS Lord METHUEN discovered I that his best plan was to retire and await reinforcements, when BeLLER found the enemy too strong for him at one point, someone began to murmur, the discontent spread, a number of journalists became panic-sxricken, &nd the cry went forth that our forces in South Africa were in- capable A&f performing the task before them, those in charge of the affairs of the War Office had blundered and the country must demand a strict account from the Govern- ment. Not two months ago the British public were congratulating themselves upon what Sir REDVERP BTTLLEK was going to do with the Boers. They were astounded that sixty thousand troops were to be sent out and the new panic-stricken journalists wrote as though they had visions of hosts of Boers fleeing at the first sight of a red- coat and a magnificent march of British troops straight to Pretoria to accept the surrender of KRI/GER and the other ring- leaders of the ajati-Engissh party. We go still further a&d state that in the early stages of the war it was not an uncommon opinion in this country that Sir GEORGE WHITE ought to De able to meet and defeat the whole force of Boers with the eleven or twelve thousand troops he then had at command. When Mr. MICHAEL RAY declared to the people of Newtown that when the history of this war came to be written by a dispassionate and impartial historian the defence of Lady smith would be one of the most glorious chapters in the whole mili- tary history of Britain, there were more than a few who did not believe him. The :S.tock-in-ti\ide and the clap-trap of the pro- Boer party in this country was made up of references -to the poor untrained people who were seeking to defend their Father- land against our trained and well-armed legions. The very people who are now doing all the shouting are the people who at the coi-ninen, -eiiient thought it would be so easy, and who were astonished at the decision to send,, out as many as sixty thou- sand men. On what evidence is the War Office or the Government to be condemned ? We deny that any substantial case of ineffi- ciency or incompetence has been made out. We deny that any case has been presented which could not be Thattered by the news of one solid victory by the wings and main body of BULLER'S army over the Boer forces, and we have no hesitation in saying that the alleged lessotif, we have learned at the hands of the Boers will have been for- gotteii within a fortnight of the recep- tion of the news of a. solid victory. The people who alone will profit by these lessons are those now accused of incompetence and who are commanded to make way for better men:" Every war which this country has waged, this country has profited by. This war has been man- aged far more to our credit than was the Crimea, as those who are old enough to remember, well know. We have profited by our previous fights, and we are now receiving valuable lessons in the method of dealing with a wily, mobile, crafty foe, generalled and led by officers the best and most skilled in modern warfare—a com- bination of the crafty methods of fighting adopted by the half-savage and those of the best skilled Europeans. Much of the criticism has been directed towards our artillery, and no sooner was it discovered that our field artillery had not the range of guns owned by the enemy n y which did not come within the same category, than there was a roar of "I told you sc," and I thought as much," and there at onoe sprang to the front the vast body of people who had known it all along and expected exactly what bad happened. They rejoiced when they learned that a number of our Naval' guns had been mounted on favourable positions, but when they talked of organising field batteries of 4-7 naval guns, they talked arrant nonsense. A man cannot carry naval guns under his arm, neither will it be possible to drag them over rough and heavy roads should the principal characteristic of the rest of this struggle be mobility. Long Tom may be an excellent gun in position but if ever there is a rush for Pretoria, it will be found that Long Tom" will not stand the pace, and that our Royal Horse Artillery is neither composed of duffers nor armed with toy shooters. The news of a victory to-day would sober the nation in an hour, and within a week the effects would have disappeared.