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impression of the spectators, or the fleet in general, that the idea of the manæuvre had been conceived at the very moment of its execution, we suppose it will not be thought necessary for us to say any thing. Without making much allowance for professional pride and partiality, we may admit that this was a natural enough impression among the midshipmen, or officers, whose duty it was to know nobody greater or wiser than their gallant admiral, and his captain of the fleet, -who bad never heard of Mr Clerk or his demonstrations, and above all, who had not been informed,—as we now are,—that this admiral and captain had been studying Mr Clerk's plans and directions for this very manæuvre, both before they left England, and since they had been at sea,—that neither of them ever claimed the discovery as his own,—and that one of them, at least, (and we hope and believe both,) bad always acknowledged that all their knowledge of it was derived from Clerk's information, and that they were but the executors of his invention. We have nothing to say, therefore, either of Captain Dashwood's graphic and eloquent account of the deep thought and intense meditation in which Sir Charles Douglas appeared absorbed, immediately before he made his bold proposition to the admiral, or to the more sober description of the other witnesses of the scene, who concur in his impression, that the conception originated in that moment of visible inspiration, and that no dull civilian bad any thing to do with its generation. We know now what the civilian had to do with it; and have nothing to say to these opinions or impressions, but that they prove nothing as to the fact, and are now, at least, as plainly erroneous, as they were at the time, we have no doubt, honest, natural, and magnanimous. If a man of known talents recites a beautiful copy of verses, with an air of inspiration and deep feeling, it may be very natural for his friends and admirers, , to whom they are quite new, to have a strong conviction that they are his own composition,-more especially, if they bear some reference to his own situation and feelings, and if he rises from a long reverie to recite them. But of what consequence is this conviction, or any detail of the circumstances on which it was founded, after it is proved that the said verses had been printed in a book with another man's name, half a year before, and that the inspired reciter had a copy of that book in his pocket, and had been reading and praising it that morning in his chamber?
The whole extrinsic evidence relied on by Sir Howard Douglas being thus disposed of, nothing remains but to consider that which he has brought forward on the authority of Sir Charles Douglas himself. And this, we must confess, is a very awka ward, and even distressing part of our task. We have the greatest possible respect for the memory of Sir Charles Douglas. A braver, purer, more high-minded and honourable man, we believe, never existed. We are proud of him as a countryman; and can perfectly understand that Sir Howard, who is generally understood to have inherited his character, should be proud of him as a father. We think he has done right, too, in vindicating his claim to the honour of being the immediate adviser of the grand operation of the 12th of April ; and we are of opinion, that he has triumphantly established that point, and completely put down, in his additional statement, the cavils of the Quarterly reviewer on the subject. We even think that he is entitled to assume, that but for his father's promptitude, energy, and decision, the line probably would not have been broken, nor the decisive victory gained that day; and we agree with him in thinking that that distinguished officer, and that great service, were unduly overlooked in the distribution of thanks and honours on the occasion, and that it was fitting, even at this distance of time, for his son to reclaim for him from the public the honours that had been so long withheld. But when we come to the question with which alone we are concerned on this occasion,—the question whether he, or his admiral, (for there can be no distinction,) had been previously instructed in this maneuvre, by means of Mr Clerk's communications, we cannot but feel very painfully, that Sir Charles Douglas has been placed by the statements or disclosures of his son in a very awkward and embarrassing predicament. What predicament, indeed, can be more awkward, than for a man, dead or alive, to have nothing but his own averment in his own favour, to oppose to the direct testimony of many honourable and disinterested persons, and to a body of circumstantial evidence, if possible, still more conclusive? or if any thing can aggravate the awkwardness of such a position, it must be, that this testimony of the party in his own behalf, does not appear to have been always uniform; and that the averment ultimately maintained by his advocates, is not consistent with part of that testimony. This, however, we are compelled to say, is the predicament in which Sir Charles Douglas appears to us now to stand. We have not the least idea that he could ever aver any thing he did not believe to be true,—but that there are contradictions between the testimony we have already considered, and the averments ascribed to him by his son, is unfortunately indisputable; and though we think we see how they may be in some measure reconciled, we cannot but feel the discrepancy to be distressing, and cannot but observe, that, if any irreconcilable difficulty remains, the neutral evidence must be preferred.
· We have seen the evidence by which Lord Rodney's knowledge of Clerk's discovery, and his sense of its value, before he left England is established, and the tenor of his uniform acknowledgments. All this, however, it is a part of Sir Howard's case to discredit or deny. He says distinctly, at pages 29 and 30 of his original statement, that it is impossible that the admiral should have had any such information, and not have communicated it to his captain, in the many anxious and confidential consultations they had, as to the impending conflict; and he adds, as we understand, on the express authority of Sir Charles himself, (p. 34,) that the admiral had never in the remotest degree alluded to such a communication. This alone raises a question of great and grievous perplexity. But it is nothing to what remains bebind. Mr Clerk has stated distinctly, through the mouth of Mr Playfair, that he had various meetings with Sir Charles Douglas, before he sailed with Lord Rodney, at which his whole system was discussed; and he has mentioned some of the points on which Sir Charles was hard to be persuaded. He has also specified, that some of these meetings were by appointments made through the late Dr Blair of Westminster, and that three gentlemen of the family of Adam, including the present Lord Chief Commissioner, were present at one of them. The Lord Chief Commissioner, the only survivor of the party, bears testimony to the correctness of this statement, and says he distinctly recollects such a meeting, when the naval tactics were fully discussed. In addition to all this, Lord Cranstoun is reported by his cousin to have stated to him, the very day of his arrival with the despatches, that the great maneuvre of the day was adopted in consequence of explanations made by Mr Clerk to Sir Charles Douglas, whom he had met in London some time before, and that it was a frequent subject of discussion at the admiral's table during the voyage. Yet Sir Howard Douglas has now referred to a letter of the deceased Sir Charles, dated from St Lucie in March 1783, in which it appears that, in answer to some communication of such a claim having been set up by Mr Clerk, he stated, that the whole • story was so far-fetched, improbable, and groundless, as not to • deserve a serious refutation;' and added, that he did not remember any, even the faintest, trace of any such conversation or communication as Mr Clerk had been understood to refer o to!'
What is to be said of this? A complete or satisfactory explanation, we fear, is impossible. But we have one or two re
marks to offer. _1. It is infinitely to be regretted that this letter of Sir Charles Douglas was not communicated at the time, or at least during the life of Mr Clerk, to him or his friends; when an appeal to many living witnesses might have been made, by which all misrecollection must have been dispelled. In point of fact, it was never heard of, till those extracts from it were published by Sir Howard, in 1829. 2. We wish very much to see the whole letter; for even from what is given of it by Sir Howard, we are very much mistaken if it will not appear that, while it disclaims any obligation to Mr Clerk for the brilliant maneuvre in question, it equally renounces any claim for the gallant writei himself, to the merit of that discovery; and, in the very face on what Sir Howard now contends for, gives the whole credit, both of conceiving and executing that maneuvre, to Sir George Rodney alone. In one of the extracts now printed by Sir Howard, Sir Charles Douglas states, that in being so near his Com'mander-in-chief, he had a far more experienced instructor, to
guide and direct him in the execution of his duty, than the author 'alluded to; and so entirely positive was he that he had never spoken on such matters with any civilian of the name, that he took the person to whom allusion had been made to be a · Lieutenant Clark in the navy.' And he then instructs his
correspondent, that inasmuch as he is mentioned or alluded 'to, the subject should be treated as a production offensive to himself, and as highly injurious to the person who commanded in chief on that celebrated day; and who certainly did not stand in need of any instruction derived, or that could be derived, from Lieutenant Clark, or any other person that he knew of.' These expressions, we humbly conceive, are not equivocal; and as plainly disclaim any share of the honour for bimself, as they refuse it to Mr Clerk. In the first case, however, it is now established by Sir Howard, that they give an erroneous and incorrect view of the fact; and why, therefore, may it not be supposed that they do so in the other also ? If Sir Charles Douglas's deference and devotion to his admiral was such, as to make him relinquish his own just claims, for his glory, is it very difficult to imagine that he might not be more scrupulous in sacrificing the equally just claims of a stranger? And,
3. This we humbly apprehend to be the true key to the enigma and contradiction we are discussing. It clearly appears, from the publications of Sir Howard, that his gallant father had in fact a very exaggerated and romantic notion of what was due from an inferior officer to a Commander-in-chief; and carried his ideas of passive obedience and unbounded self-sacrifice to a
length, which, we confess, is to our cooler understandings, neither very intelligible, nor altogether reconcilable with propriety. It would never have occurred to us, therefore, to surmise that such a solution of the difficulty should be adopted. But since it is put upon us, and suggested by Sir Howard Douglas, it is impossible that we should refuse to adopt it. The following is the passage to which we principally allude.
• My father never could be prevailed upon to claim more than Sir George Rodney had publicly given him. There are some very high• principled, professional sentiments beautifully and strongly expressed in
several of my father's letters, severely reprobating all assumptions, whe• ther vain or just, of persons claimant of credit, which, if not officially
reported or acknowledged by the Chief, should be deemed by the public ' to be derogatory to his honour; and there are many persons still living I who remember well the delicacy with which my father waved this suba ject, when pressed or complimented upon the question.'
Now, really, if a person has made it a principle to wave or dissemble his own Just claims to a credit which he knows to belong to him, for fear the glory of his Chief may be tarnished by their assertion, he certainly is not the person by whom the just claims of a third party-a civilian especially, and a strangerare most likely to be acknowledged, to the effect of discrediting not only the chief, but the service and profession in general: And, if the single testimony of such a person, against these claims, should happen to be diametrically opposed by the concurring evidence of three or four individuals of equal worth and honour, who had no such peculiar notions, there could be little hesitation, we think, as to which should be allowed to prevail.
But it is not even from such a passage as this, that the reader will obtain a just notion of the extent to which Sir Charles Douglas practically carried this deferential and heroic dissimulation. The Quarterly Reviewer, in maintaining the cause of Lord Rodney, very naturally and exultingly referred to the following passage in Cumberland's Memoirs, on the subject of the manæuvre in question :
My friend Sir Charles Douglas, captain of the fleet, confessed to me that he himself had been adverse to the experiment, and in discussing it with the admiral had stated his objections; to these he got no other answer but that “ his counsel was not called for ; he required obedience only, he did not want advice.”—This anecdote, correctly as I relate it, I had from that gallant officer, untimely lost to his country, whose candour scorned to rob his admiral of one leaf of his laurels, and who, disclaiming all share in the man@uvre,—nay, confessing he had objected to it, did in the most pointed and decided terms, again and again, repeat his honourable attestations of the courage and conduct of his commanding officer on that memorable day.'