The Illustrated London News

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Sketches in Parliament

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1310, p. 358.

April 15, 1865


...It is probably not within the memory of many experienced Parliamentarians that the Army and Navy Estimates have been left unfinished at the Easter recess. As regards the Army Estimates, the delay has arisen out of the singular infelicity of the vote of £50,000 for the defences of Canada, which could be of avail in no possible way--unless, indeed, it was intended as an artful mode of testing the opinion of the House on the question of general policy. If that be the case, Government have had what they wished to their heart's content. The fourth discussion on the subject, as initiated by Lord Elcho last week, was dull in comparison with those which had previously gone before, although it was as full as ever of that curious argument that Canada is to be defended by England, but that England is wholly incapable of defending Canada. The debate was notable for a reproduction of a statement that, without being aware of it, the country has in its midst a modern Wolfe--a young soldier who has all the qualifications of that heaven-born commander, except that he decidedly objects to fight upon the same ground on which Wolfe was victorious. According to Lord Elcho, even such a man is to be found in the person of Major Anson, member for Lichfield, who did the House the honour of iterating the speech which he made on a former evening, and which, as interpreted by Sir John Pakington, means that the British soldier in Canada should immediately perfect himself in a manœuvre not hitherto specially included in his training--that of running away. The most satisfactory contribution to the debate was the speech of Mr. Kinglake, which, as usual, was so diplomatically shaped that no one could tell in the least which way he leaned, and one heartily wishes that all the rest of the speakers had been equally unintelligible to those persons who are, it may be supposed, most interested in knowing exactly what England will do in the event of an invasion of Canada...

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