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The Story of the Zulu Campaign by Waller…

The Story of the Zulu Campaign

by Waller Ashe and E. V. Wyatt-Edgell

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The Story of the Zulu Campaign
Some apology or explanation may be deemed requisite, for delaying the publication of this "Story of the Zulu War" for more than a year after its conclusion. The little book itself was written very shortly after the capture of the king, Cetywayo, and the tardiness of its appearance has been, to a certain extent, intentional on my part.

Although it may seem ungracious and, perhaps, ungrateful to cavil at the war criticisms and descriptions which, by every post and telegram, adorn the pages of contemporaneous journalism, I would submit that the practice of writing ex cathedrâ on war topics the day after an engagement, is too early to allow us to examine motives as well as facts, so that we may form conclusions to which we can only justly arrive, when "Time, the corrector, where our judgments err," has softened prejudice and exposed partisan feeling. The worst and most valueless criticisms on Waterloo were given to the world immediately after the fight of Mont St. Jean. The most unreliable, and indeed erroneous, opinions in regard to the splendid errors of Inkerman and Balaklava, appeared before the Crimean war was ended, and many a hero, elevated by the verdict of contemporaneous eulogy to a temporary pedestal in the Temple of Fame, has since been dethroned by the calmer and more honest judgment of a later generation. When the Emperor Napoleon called us a "nation of shopkeepers," he, perhaps, intentionally, paid us a compliment; for peace, commerce, and prosperity, have, as a rule, I venture to hold, been more regarded in our islands than projects of violence, warfare, or conquest; and this with us has ever been an honourable characteristic of the Spirit of our present Age.

But as Sir Bartle Frere, one of England's greatest, wisest, and most humane administrators, was well aware, the great and time-honoured law of self-defence sometimes compels a State, like an individual, to resort to arms, and the Appeal of Battle, when all peaceful modes of arrangement have been vainly tried, becomes occasionally unavoidable. Then, and perhaps only then, we may be allowed, even by the Peace Society and the Acolytes who trim the lamps for Mr. John Bright, to take an interest in and feel proud of the disciplined courage, the love of honour, and the sense of duty of which we read in the campaigns, where those who are near and dear to us have fought and fallen under the British flag. Then the commanders we may have known as subalterns, but whose names are now in all circles as veritable "Household Words;" whose careers we have watched with proud, yet kindly sympathy, and whose triumphs we have seemed as countrymen to share; whose powers of intellect and prescience array, regulate, and wield at will the grim and stern materials at command; whose daring, and yet coolness in the midst of death, acts like a talisman upon the rank and file—whose providence, when one path fails, is ever ready for fresh resources and designs—are not these the men of whom we may say with Tacitus,— ( )
  amzmchaichun | Jul 20, 2013 |
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