BLTC Press Titles

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The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde

by Archibald Forbes


One would fain gain some introspection into the nature, character, and tendencies of this young soldier, who in his twenty-first year was already a veteran of war after more than five years of pretty constant active service. It would be pleasant to have opportunities for regarding him as something other than a mere military lay-figure,—to attain to some conversance with his habits, his tastes, his attitude towards his comrades, his Chap, ii CAMPBELL'S MODESTY

relations with his family, the character of such study and reading as he could find time for, and so forth. But the means for doing this are altogether lacking. Lord Clyde was a very modest man, and it was with reluctance that he allowed his papers to be used for the purposes of a memoir. He, however, left it by his will to the discretion of his trustees to dispose of his papers, with the characteristic injunction: "If a short memoir should appear to them to be absolutely necessary and indispensable (which I should regret and hope may be avoided), then it should be limited as much as possible to the modest recital of the services of an old soldier." The trustees, seventeen years after Lord Clyde's death, judged wisely in sanctioning the compilation of a memoir, the material available for which was confided to the late General Shadwell who had been long and intimately associated with Lord Clyde both at home and on campaign. General Shadwell's biography of his chief is a most careful and accurate work; but probably because of a lack of such material as, for instance, familiar correspondence affords, it somewhat fails to furnish an adequate presentment of Colin Campbell as he was during the long years before he emerged from comparative obscurity, and became gradually a marked and characteristic figure familiar to and cherished by his fellow-countrymen.

Campbell served with a battalion of the Sixtieth in Nova Scotia from October, 1814, to July, 1815, when illhealth caused by his wounds compelled him to return to Europe. After a course of thermal treatment in southern France he served for two years at Gibraltar, and early in 1819 followed to Barbadoes the Twenty-First Fusiliers to which regiment he had been transferred. The next seven years of his life he passed in the West Indies,—the first two years of the seven in Barbadoes, the latter five in Demerara, where he served as aide-decamp and brigade-major to the Governor, General Murray. The tropical climate of the West Indies agreed with him, and notwithstanding recrudescences of Walcheren fever and frequent annoyances from his wounds he was able to enjoy life and relish the society of the colony. During his soldiering in Spain he and his friend and comrade Seward had perforce lived on their pay, and had firmly avoided incurring debt With his captain's pay and his wound-pension Campbell found himself no longer obliged to live penuriously, and indeed was able to assist his father by a considerable annual payment. And now in Demerara with his staff-appointment he was so well off that, in his disregard for money, he carelessly allowed his pension to lapse, a neglect which he had bitter reason to regret later. His friend General Murray was succeeded in the Demerara command by General Sir Benjamin D'Urban, a distinguished Peninsular officer, between whom and his brigade-major there was speedily engendered a mutual esteem and affection. Probably, indeed, those years in Demerara were the pleasantest of Colin Campbell's life. Comfortable (and we may be sure efficient) in his staffposition, and the right hand man of a chief who loved him, he was happy in his regiment and welcome everywhere in society. When in November, 1825, the opportunity presented itself for his promotion by purchase to a majority in his regiment, it was the spontaneous generosity of a colonial friend which mainly II



enabled him to buy the step. The promotion was of the greatest professional importance to him, and indeed may be considered the turning-point of his career; but it required him to vacate his pleasant appointment and to take leave of the chief whose friendship he so warmly cherished. Returning to England in 1826 to join the dep6t of his regiment, he took home with him the strongest recommendations from Sir Benjamin D'Urban to the authorities at the Horse Guards; but he continued to serve with his regiment at home until the autumn of 1832 in the rank of major, although through the kindness of a relative the money was ready for the purchase of his promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

General Shadwell furnishes us with an interesting sketch of Colin Campbell's personal aspect from a portrait taken of him in his uniform at this period of his career. "A profusion of curly brown hair, a well-shaped mouth and a wide brow, already foreshadowing the deep lines which became so marked a feature of his countenance in later years, convey the idea of manliness and vigour. His height was about five feet nine, his frame well knit and powerful; and but that his shoulders were too broad for his height, his figure was that of a symmetrically-made man. To an agreeable presence he added the charm of engaging manners, which, according to the testimony of those who were familiar with him at this period, rendered him popular both at the dinner-table and in the drawing-room."

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