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canal; but your opposition makes us believe that it is practicable.
'Those among us,' I answered, 'who fear it, sometimes found their fear on grounds unconnected with its practicability. They say that it is a political, not a commercial, scheme. That the object is to give to French engineers and French shareholders a strip of land separating Egypt from Syria, and increasing the French interest in Egypt.'
• What is the value,' answered Tocqueville, ‘of a strip of land in the desert where no one can live? And why are the shareholders to be French ? The Greeks, the Syrians, the Dalmatians, the Italians, and the Sicilians are the people who will use the canal, if anybody uses it. They will form the bulk of the shareholders, if shareholders there are.
My strong suspicion is, that if you had not opposed it, there never would have been any shareholders, and that if you now withdraw your opposition, and let the scheme go on until calls are made, the subscribers, who are ready enough with their names as patriotic manifestations against you as long as no money is to be paid, will withdraw en masse from an undertaking which, at the very best, is a most hazardous
*As to our influence in Egypt, your journal shows that it is a pet project of the Viceroy. He hopes to get money and fame from it. You imitate both his covetousness and his vanity, and throw him for support
Paris, May 21.—The Tocquevilles and Chrzanowski drank tea with us.
We talked of the French iron floating batteries.
'I saw one at Cherbourg,' said Tocqueville, “and talked much with her commander. He was not in good
"Chrzanowski has passed thirty years fighting against or for the Russians. He began military life in 1811 as a sous-lieutenant of artillery in the Polish corps which was attached to the French army. With that army he served during the march to Moscow, and the retreat. At the peace, what remained of his corps became a part of the army of the kingdom of Poland. He had attained the rank of major in that army when the insurrection on the accession of Nicholas broke out. About one hundred officers belonging to the staff of the properly Russian army were implicated, or supposed to be implicated, in that insurrection, and were dismissed, and their places were supplied from the army of the kingdom of Poland. Among those so transferred to the Russian army was Chrzanowski. He was attached to the staff of Wittgenstein, and afterwards of Marshal Diebitsch, in the Turkish campaigns of 1828 and 1829. In 1830 he took part with his countrymen in the insurrection against the Muscovites, and quitted Poland when it was finally absorbed in the Russian Empire. A few years after a quarrel was brewing between England and Russia. Muscovite agents were stirring up Persia and Affghanistan against us, and it was thought that we might have to oppose them on the shores of the Black Sea. Chrzanowski was attached to the British Embassy at Constantinople, and was employed for some years in ascertaining what assistance Turkey, both in Europe and in Asia, could afford to us. In 1849 he was selected by Charles Albert to command the army of the kingdom of Sardinia.
• That army was constituted on the Prussian system, which makes every man serve, and no man a soldier. It was, in fact, a militia. The men were enlisted for only fourteen months; at the end of that time they were sent home, and were recalled when they were wanted, having forgotten their military training and acquired the habits of cottiers and artisans. They had scarcely any officers, or even sous-officers, that knew anything of their business. The drill-sergeants required to be drilled. The generals, and indeed the greater part of the officers, were divided into hostile factions—Absolutists, Rouges, Constitutional Liberals, and even Austrians —for at that time, in the exaggerated terror occasioned by the revolutions of 1848, Austria and Russia were looked up to by the greater part of the noblesse of the Continent as the supporters of order against Mazzini, Kossuth, Ledru Rollin, and Palmerston. The Absolutists and the Austrians made
spirits about his vessel, and feared some great disaster. However, she did well at Kinburn.'
'She suffered little at Kinburn,' said Chrzanowski, 'because she ventured little. She did not approach the batteries nearer than 600 mètres. At that distance there is little risk and little service. To knock down a wall two mètres thick from a distance of 600 mètres would require at least 300 blows. How far her own iron sides would have withstood at that distance the fire of heavy guns I will not attempt to say, as I never saw her. The best material to resist shot is lead. It contracts over the ball and crushes it.'
‘Kinburn, however,' said Tocqueville, “surrendered to our floating batteries.'
"Kinburn surrendered,' said Chrzanowski, 'because you landed 10,000 men, and occupied the isthmus which connects Kinburn with the main land. The garrison saw that they were invested, and had no hope of relief. They were not Quixotic enough, or heroic enough, to prolong a hopeless resistance. Scarcely any garrison does so.'
We talked of Malta; and I said that Malta was the only great fortification which I had seen totally unprovided with earth-works.
*The stone,' said Chrzanowski, is soft and will not splinter.'
'I was struck,' I said, 'with the lightness of the arma
common cause, whereas the Rouges or Mazzinists were bitterest against the Constitutional Liberals. Such an army, even if there had been no treason, could not have withstood a disciplined enemy. When it fell a victim to its own defects, and to the treachery of Ramorino, Chrzanowski retired to Paris.'—(Extracted from Mr. Senior's article in the North British Review.')
Chrzanowski died several years ago.—ED.
Defences of Malta.
ment; the largest guns that I saw, except some recently placed in Fort St. Elmo, were twenty-four pounders.'
*For land defence,' he answered, “twenty-four pounders are serviceable guns. They are manageable and act with great effect within the short distance within which they are generally used. It is against ships that large guns are wanted. A very large ball or shell is wasted on the trenches, but may sink a ship. The great strength of the land defences of Malta arises from the nature of the ground on which Valetta and Floriana are built, indeed of which the whole island consists. It is a rock generally bare or covered with only a few inches of earth. Approaches could not be dug in it. It would be necessary to bring earth or sand in ships, and to make the trenches with sand-bags or gabions.'
I asked him if he had read Louis Napoleon's orders to Canrobert, published in Bazancourt's book?
'I have,' he answered. “They show a depth of ignorance and a depth of conceit, compared to which even Thiers is modest and skilful. Canrobert is not a great general, but he is not a man to whom a civilian, who never saw a shot fired, ought to give lectures on what he calls “the great principles” or “the absolute principles of war."
He seems to have taken the correspondence between Napoleon and Joseph for his model, forgetting that Canrobert is to him what Napoleon was to Joseph. Then he applies his principles as absurdly as he enunciates them. Thus he orders Canrobert to send a fleet carrying 25,000 men to the breach at Aboutcha, to land 3,000 of them, to send them three VOL. II.
leagues up the country, and not to land any more, until those first sent have established themselves beyond the defile of Agen. Of course those 3,000 men would be useless if the enemy were not in force, or destroyed if they were in force. To send on a small body and not to support them is the grossest of faults. It is the fault which you committed at the Redan, when the men who had got on to the works were left by you for an hour unsupported, instead of reinforcements being poured in after them as quickly as they could be sent.
'In fact,' he continued, the horrible and mutual blunders of that campaign arose from its being managed by the two Emperors from Paris and from St. Petersburg. Nicholas and Alexander were our best friends. Louis Napoleon was our worst enemy.
• There is nothing which ought to be so much left to the discretion of those on the spot as war.
Even a commander-in-chief actually present in a field of battle can do little after the action, if it be really a great one, has once begun.
'If we suppose 80,000 men to be engaged on each side, each line will extend at least three miles. Supposing the general to be in the centre, it will take an aide-de-camp ten minutes to gallop to him from one of the wings, and ten minutes to gallop back. But in twenty minutes all may be altered.'