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view was effected, and who might probably have been witnesses of what passed on the occasion. The answer to all this is, that, when he made that statement in his preface, Mr Clerk could have no idea that any such controversy, as has now arisen, would ever occur; and though it was natural for him to take advantage of the first opportunity, after the splendid exemplification of his theory in 1782, to explain historically how that event was connected with his speculations, it certainly could not occur to him to produce, and put on record, regular legal evidence of a fact, which he had no occasion to suppose would ever be disputed, and which we shall immediately show had been, and to his knowledge, publicly and openly admitted by the party principally concerned. It may fairly be assumed to be impossible, that he should have put forth this historical statement in that preface, if he had been conscious that it was not accurately true; but, being so conscious, it is submitted to be equally plain, that nothing but such a statement could then appear requisite; and that it is rather unreasonable, after the lapse of near fifty years, to call for proofs that might easily bave been obtained at the time, but which no one at the time had thought of requiring; and as to a fact, which, even at the present moment, no one has brought into question. We assume, therefore, as another element in our case, that, before Sir George Rodney sailed in December 1779, Mr Clerk had communicated his project of this famous manœuvre, in all its details, to an intimate friend of that gallant officer, for the purpose of being explained and recommended to him; and that this friend did undertake so to communicate it.
With regard to Sir Charles Douglas, the case stands somewhat differently. Mr Clerk, in his preface, certainly does not name that gallant officer ; but merely states that he had communicated his ideas to a variety of professional persons. It is perfectly well known, however, and can be proved by a number of his surviving friends, that he always averred that Sir Charles Douglas was among the individuals with whom he had so consulted—that he had entered largely into the discussion with him; he being one of the persons upon whom he had found it unusually difficult to impress some particular parts of his system. The nature of these averments, however, is fortunately already on record, in Mr Playfair's Treatise on the subject, published in 1821, in which, speaking expressly on the authority of Mr Clerk, he states,
• Sir Charles Douglas, before leaving Britain, had many conferences with Mr Clerk on the subject of Naval Tactics, and, before he sailed, was in complete possession of that system. Some of the conferences with Sir Charles were by the appointment of the late Dr Blair, prebendary of Westminster; and at one of these interviews were present Mr William
and Mr James Adam, with their nephew, the present Lord Chief Commis. sioner for Scotland. Sir Charles had commanded the Stirling Castle in Keppeľs engagement; and Mr Clerk now communicated to him the whole of his strictures on that action, with the plans and demonstrations, on which the manner of the attack from the leeward was fully developed.
- The matter which Sir Charles seemed most unwilling to admit, was the advantage of the attack from that quarter ; and it was indeed the thing most inconsistent with the instructions given to all admirals.'
Now, the only one of the persons here referred to, who yet survives, is the venerable Judge above mentioned—and he, upon being applied to, after the late publication of Sir Howard Douglas, was pleased to state in a letter, dated 17th November 1829, which is now before us, that he cannot recollect having been present at any meeting between the parties, by the appointment of the late Dr Blair ; but that he perfectly recollects, that Sir Charles Douglas and Mr Clerk met at his (the Lord Chief Commissioner's) own house in Chesterfield Street, Mayfair, during Mr Clerk's visit to London, in the end of 1779, or beginning of 1780, when Mr Clerk's plans of Naval Tactics were fully discussed between them. The original of his lordship’s letter shall be submitted to the inspection of any one who may wish to peruse it. We will by and by lay before our readers another letter, from a near relation of the late Lord Cranstoun, who was in the admiral's ship on the memorable 12th April 1782, and was the individual who brought home the despatches announcing that important victory, which embodies that noble lord's testimony, that the maneuvre in question had been suggested to • Sir Charles Douglas, in a conversation with Mr Clerk a considerable time before. Thus remarkably corroborating the direct testimony of the Lord Chief Commissioner, and the distinct and articulate statement of Mr Clerk himself, as put on record by Mr Playfair.
If we were to stop here, we think we might be held to have made out our case. It is admitted that Mr Clerk invented, demonstrated, and matured the discovery in question, years before it had been thought of by any other person. It is proved that he took the greatest pains to have it communicated to Sir George Rodney in the end of the year 1779, and obtained a solemn promise from Sir George's most intimate friend, whom he was seeing every day, that it should be so communicated; and it is proved that about the same time it was communicated to, and fully discussed with, Sir Charles Douglas, in more than one personal interview. Within less than eighteen months after these communications, these very two persons, Sir George Rodney and Sir Charles Douglas, sailing together in his Majesty's ship the Formidable, are found carrying that very manœuvre, till this time confessedly unheard of in the navy, into operation, upon the very principles and with the very results which Mr Clerk had predicted ! Laying the conclusive proof of the direct communication to Sir Charles Douglas out of the question, we would ask any man of plain understanding, what conclusion he would draw from the admitted and undeniable facts, of Clerk's previous and original discovery-of his communications to Atkinson, for the purpose of baving that discovery conveyed to Sir George Rodney-and of the subsequent adoption of this new and startJing manæuvre by that same Sir George Rodney, within little more than a year after we find Atkinson bad undertaken to explain and recommend it to him? Upon that state of the fact, it is possible, no doubt, that Atkinson may have neglected to make the communication which he had undertaken to make, and bad no motive for neglecting; and it is possible that, while no other officer, and no other human being, bad, up till this time, dreamed of the manæuvre, this very Sir George Rodney, alone of all mortals, should of himself have again devised and conceived this very manæuvre-that, without preparation or study, he should have repeated the discovery at which Clerk, after much study and preparation, had previously arrived; and even that he should have ventured to carry it into effect, at the very moment it first occurred to him, in contradiction to all his own prejudices and those of the profession, and in violation of the standing instructions in the service, to which he had till then given the most implicit obedience. Such a coincidence, we repeat, may be possible ; but this is all that can be said of it; and it is only possible, as other things are, which no sane person,
however, will believe, except to escape from an absolute impossibility -only possible, as the production of an Iliad may be, by jumbling a load of types together at random, or the simultaneous composition of two Iliads by persons on the opposite sides of the globe. Or, to illustrate this by a nearer and more familiar example, suppose an ingenious man, a little skilled in architectural drawing, knows that his neighbour is about to build a house, and is kind enough to plan and draw out for him a complete and original design, and to give this, with various relative calculations and estimates, to a common friend, to be delivered and recommended to the person about to build—and that, without enquiring farther about the matter, he sees, in the course of next season, the very building which he had explained and designed, in all its parts and proportions, rising gradually on his neighbour's lawn, and finally attracting universal admiration by its convenience and finished beauty-Would any man in his senses doubt from whom the plan had been derived, or require any farther evidence that the whole merit of the invention belonged to the volunteer artist,
and that it had not been invented a second time, by the worthy person who profited by it? more especially if the plan was altogether unlike any thing that had ever been seen in those parts before; and if the man, on whose grounds it at last sprung up, had been known never to have turned his thoughts to such subjects, or to have entertained violent prejudices against the style in which it was conceived. Even this, however, we submit, is a weaker case than that with which we have now to deal; and, if the direct communication to Sir Charles Douglas be taken into view, an incomparably weaker case.
But it does not stop here. There is, fortunately, the most complete and convincing evidence, both that the full credit of the invention was given to Mr Clerk by Sir George Rodney, at and before the moment when it was put in execution, and was ever after openly acknowledged by him. One of the most considerable persons on board the Formidable during this remarkable campaign, was the late Lord Cranstoun, then a post captain in the navy, but serving for the time as a volunteer with Rod. ney, and very much in his confidence. It was to this noble person accordingly, that the gallant admiral intrusted the despatches which contained his account of this memorable action, and in the body of which he is mentioned in these honourable terms: 'Lord Cranstoun, who acted as one of the captains of the • Formidable during both actions, and to whose gallant behaviour I am much indebted, will have the honour of delivering these
despatches. To him I must refer their Lordships, for every ' minute particular they may wish to know, he being perfectly masa ter of the whole transaction.'
A more authoritative witness than Lord Cranstoun, therefore, cannot possibly be imagined; and though he was unfortunately dead before any of the friends of Mr Clerk had reason to think his testimony could be necessary, we are happy to say that the substance of it is still preserved in the letters we are about to quote from his two surviving cousins-german, with one of whom he dined on the very day he arrived with these important despatches; and had frequent intercourse with the other when he came, in the course of the same summer, to this part of the country, to pay a visit of thanks and congratulation to Mr Clerk, with whom he had no previous acquaintance. The letter or minute of Mr H. Cranstoun, of which the original is now before us, and shall be shown to any one who may wish to inspect it, is as follows:
Though more than forty-seven years have elapsed since the conversation, of which I now convey to you the particulars, took place, I have a perfect recollection of every part of it ; and I confidently vouch for the rigid veracity of cvery particular detailed in it,
• Lord Cranstoun arrived at the Admiralty, with despatches • from Lord Rodney, on the 18th May, 1782. I dined with him on that day, at the Royal Hotel in Pall-Mall. The conversation naturally turned on the various circumstances of the battle, 6 of which he had brought the account, and particularly the de• cisive maneuvre that obtained the victory. Lord C. asserted, that the idea of breaking through an enemy's line of battle had been suggested by Mr Clerk of Eldin, in a conversation which that gentleman had with Sir Charles Douglas a considerable time before ; • and that it was adopted by Lord Rodney, to whom it was commu. nicated at a dinner party in London, previous to his sailing to the • West Indies in the beginning of 1782. It had been repeatedly the
subject of conversation and discussion at the Admiral's table on • board the Formidable, before the opportunity of carrying it into . execution took place on the 12th April
• I have consequently a decided conviction that Mr Clerk was the original proposer of this celebrated maneuvre, and that Sir
Charles Douglas could claim only the merit of recommending • it to Lord Rodney.'
This testimony, we submit, is absolutely conclusive; and it is confirmed in all its material parts by another letter from Lord Corehouse, (one of the Judges of the Court of Session,) also a cousin of Lord Cranstoun, and residing in Scotland when his Lordship came to pay the visit that has been alluded to, to his instructor. That visit made, as might have been expected, a considerable sensation in Mr Clerk's family, and was not only very gratifying to himself, but was firmly riveted in the memory of his children, to one of whom Lord Corehouse lately addressed a letter, of which the following is an extract, the original being preserved for the inspection of any one having interest in the discussion. The material passage is as follows :— I remember, 6 after Lord Cranstoun's return from the West Indies, but in 6 what year I cannot now tell, that he said to my father, when
I was present, that he was going to Eldin to visit your father ; 6 and he used an expression of the import you mention, saying, 66 Mr Clerk taught us,” or “ Mr Clerk is our master.” I suppose
it is 35, or perhaps 40 years since I first told you this, when 6 the circumstances were fresh in my recollection. You seemed . pleased at the time, and said you remembered Lord Cran• stoun's visit to Eldin, and that your father and he discussed • Rodney's battle at great length.'
But the matter does not rest even here. While, up to the present moment, there is not a particle of evidence to show that Lord Rodney ever positively claimed for himself the merit of having first invented or suggested the brilliant manæuvre which