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548 EXTRACT FROM THE BISHOP OF HEREFORD'S LAST CHARGE.
SEE how the merry townsmen are thronging forth to-day;
The woodman, in the greenwood, at early dawn was found,
I do desire the shadows, when I shall homeward go,
Farewell, ye sunny meadows! farewell, thou sunny plain!
O weary day, &c.
Oh, wherefore do they linger? My soul would fain go home;
*The words of George Tankerfield, awaiting his martyrdom, while the Sheriffs were at a marriage feast. He had been sent to St. Albans, to be burnt in a field near the Abbey.
There is a merry bridal, therefore they wait so long;
Where is the wedding garment for me, a bidden guest?
Hark! hark! I hear their footsteps; the kindled torch I see;
Long time have I been bidden, and now my soul is fain
At last they ring to even-song.
Not in the ancient abbey, this night shall I bow down;
In Heaven will be my even-song.
Review of Books.
THE LIFE OF LORD HILL, G. C. B., Late Commander of the Forces. By The REV. EDWARD SIDNEY. Murray, 1845.
THIS biography is not one of great and exciting interest, either as detailing the experience of a Christian mind, or the "hair-breadth escapes" of a soldier. It was perhaps hazardous to a village pastor to step so far out of his line and habits as to write a purely military memoir; in which he could hardly be expected to employ himself, con amore, even in recording the facts of this "just and necessary" war. And, in fact, the extreme modesty and freedom from selfishness of Lord Hill, and his intense and untiring devotion to his profession, have rendered those epistolary communications, on which Mr. Sidney relied for the substance of his Memoir, too brief and too cold to supply graphic and animated recitals of events, in themselves the most splendid. We are called upon, however, in the main, to survey a soldier from principle, not from the natural love of bustle and
tumult and the exuberance of buoyant energy and strength, quietly and steadily, modestly and unobtrusively, in a kind, conciliatory, and generous spirit, pressing forward through a long series of years in a peculiarly successful and glorious career; the friend and brother of his officers, the father of his men, the idol of the army, and the object of malicious envy to no one. Even when he reached the highest post of military honour that could be conferred on him, it was the wish of all the changing parties in power that Lord Hill should continue at the head of the army. This is surely a pleasing contemplation.
There is something in the natural temperament of that highly respectable family from which Lord Hill came-the Hills of Hawkestone-that was calculated to give rise to this assemblage of excellent qualities; but, besides this, it is to be remembered,
that true religion-the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour-has been long had in reverence among them; and that the names of several very eminent Christians are on record, who gave lustre to the family by their piety: and there appears good reason to suppose that, during his military careeer, Lord Hill was not without serious thought and sound religious principle; and that in the decline of life, when he felt more and more the comparative worthlessness of this world's fleeting honours, his mind was turned still more effectually to the glorious realities of eternity.
It is on this ground especially, that we notice the work. We cannot suppose our readers to take peculiar interest in the details of war. Not all the adornment of military skill and prowess, nor all the national interest which must be taken in such struggles as the last continental war for the world's liberty, can hide the melancholy reality of those scenes of deadly strife and carnage. And it is to be hoped most sincerely, that as education, and the influence of divine truth spread in the earth, and individuals see the battle-field in its true character, both nations and governments will be increasingly unwilling to unsheathe the sword. Whilst, however, imperious necessity still lays this duty upon men, it is well to know, from examples like this before us, that, in proportion as a man is a Christian, he does not make the worse, but the better soldier; that Christian principles, early imbibed, lead to the steady and honourable fulfilment of duty in all the trying vicissitudes of the military profession, till, in the close of life, they ripen into deeper views of a more awful warfare, a more momentous victory. It is a wellknown fact in the army, that at the storming of St. Sebastian's, the soldiers who fell highest upon the breach in the storming-party, had carried their Testaments in their bosoms. And we cannot refrain from recording another equally interesting fact. At the siege of New Orleans, when it had become quite evident, even to the men, that any further continuance of that unfortunate attack would be only
the needless sacrifice of human life, the 93rd Highland regiment was ordered up. They were a body of veterans, and of known Christian character. They at once stated their readiness for the duty, however arduous; but, knowing what was before them, they asked for a delay of three minutes. This was granted. The whole regiment was at once prostrated for that period in silent prayer. They rose, and moved onward; and in twenty minutes more they were a skeleton regiment!
Now, however strange to some minds may be the union of true piety with legalized bloodshed, it is quite evident that it exists; and that true piety in the soldier's bosom is as much the principle of the heroic fulfilment of duty as in any other profession. Of this fact our army has supplied abundant and unquestionable proofs—such, that if the military authorities are to be led by undoubted experience, they would encourage the increase of religious instruction among the soldiery, as the true way of improving their morale both in "field and foray." It is at the same time both painful and pleasing to notice an allusion to the fact, that "Lord Wellington did not view with indifference the melancholy destitution of the means of grace" in the Peninsular force, and "twice vainly made urgent representations to government on the subject, asking for active and efficient clergymen;" and that when at last, through the spreading influence of a few pious individuals, many banded together to seek among themselves in private the privileges they could not enjoy in public ministrations, "officers who, during the campaign, regarded these proceedings with disapprobation, have -though deeply attached to our own excellent church, with its order, discipline, and doctrine, since spoken of the leaven then working in the ranks, with wonder and respect, and with grief at the apathy of the government.'
It would have been desirable if some details of the life of this very amiable and worthy man could have been furnished by some companion in arms; for the daily traits of such a
character could not but be interesting. And as it is, we are left to learn the exercise of his principles merely from the routine and obedient fulfilment of the duties of his calling, and from the occasional acknowledgments in his short private letters, of the kindness of Providence to him and his. We learn, however, with much pleasure, that "Lord Hill was not at that ball at Brussels from which the chieftains were summoned to the field of Waterloo." He was at his post, attending to the movements of the enemy, and his own duties. The
night previous to the battle was spent by Lord Hill and his staff in a small house by the road side leading from Brussels to the field." Sir Digby Mackworth, who was on his staff, says, that, at the grand crisis of the day, "he placed himself at the head of his light brigade, and charged the flank of the imperial guard as they were advancing against our guards. Lord Hill's horse was shot under him, and, as he ascertained the next morning, was shot in five places. The General was rolled over and severely bruised, but in the melée this was unknown to us for half an hour. We knew not what was become of him; we feared he had been killed." "When the tremendous day was over, Lord Hill and his staff again re-occupied the little cottage they left in the morning. His two gallant brothers, Sir Robert Hill and Colonel Clement Hill had been removed wounded to Brussels. The party was, nevertheless, nine in number; a soup, made by Lord Hill's servant, from two fowls, was all their refreshment, after hours of desperate fighting without a morsel of food. Lord Hill himself was bruised and full of pain. night long the groans and shrieks of sufferers were the chief sounds that met their ears." Sir D. Mackworth, fatigued as he was, wrote a very graphic account of this last tremendous struggle, which he has permitted to be inserted in this volume, and which he concludes with these words. "Lord Hill and staff retired to a small cottage, where we now are. We have but one room between nine
of us, including his lordship-all but myself asleep."
Now what we desiderate, is to know what were the feelings and communications of nine such men, on the eve of such a death-strife and after its close. How gratifying it would have been if the intercourse of thinking, and pious, and brave men, could have risen up before us. What was the expressed sense of a merciful protecting providence? what was the blessing and thanksgiving over their moderate meals, when so many of their fellow-men were groaning round them and so many had "bit the dust"?
The proverbial reserve of the English character is well known; and in religious feelings it is greatly increased from an unnecessary fear of what is called "cant"; but, surely, it could not be that in such crises, amidst such men as Lord Hill and his chosen companions, thrown together, day and night, in one room, some demonstration should not occur of the deepseated feelings of the soul. In a letter to his sister, Lord Hill says, "let us be thankful for all mercies, and never forget that Providence which has protected us." Could we but have heard what each one who had escaped with his life, in the warmth of present gratitude, said to his fellow!
Lord Hill, however, said little in society on this or any other subject. In fact, his letters to his relations are little more than field-written despatches to head-quarters at Hawkestone; but his biographer says, that
having had the advantage, in early life, of instruction from several eminently pious members of his family, their example left an indelible impression on his mind." The great uprightness of his conduct, was the result of an earnest desire to have a "conscience void of offence before God and man."
"After his decease a paper of notes was found in his drawer, which, intended as it was for his own eye alone, affords remarkable evidence of the spirit in which he fulfilled the duties of his distinguished office." We give a few sentences :
"Cannot God, who raised me without myself, cannot he raise me or keep me up though my ruin should be designed and attempted. And, perhaps, it may never come to this; for who knows but God may give a blessing to my honest endeavours. Now if I neglect that which I take to be my duty, or for fear of danger or any consideration put it off, I may justly expect
* * * *
"I know that I have not the least pretence to what I enjoy. I am His debtor, and can make no other return, but by doing my duty honestly, and leaving the event to Providence.
"Be strong and of good courage: fear not nor be afraid, for the Lord thy God he it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee and the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee. He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.""
"These (and other) passages," says his biographer, "show that he was a reader of the Bible, and that he desired to regulate his conduct according to its rules. He generally dined with Lord Teignmouth, the president of the Bible Society, on the days of its anniversary, and seemed to listen with interest to the conversation of the good men who formed the parties on these occasions. What he heard he treasured up in his own bosom ; and it pleased God when sickness incapacitated him for all public duty, to make the word of eternal truth his joy and consolation.
"His attachment to his uncle, the Rev. Rowland Hill-the irregular, the eccentric, the holy, and the useful-was another very pleasing feature of his character. "He constantly showed him the most delicate attentions; and his first dinner, after he was commander-in-chief, was given to his uncle; nor did he lose any opportunity of adding to the comfort of his declining days. His funeral took place at Surrey Chapel, on the 19th of April; and though Lord Hill had been commanded to attend the King on that day, he begged his Majesty's gracious permission to be excused, that he might be present on the solemn occasion.'
In August, 1842, Lord Hill resigned his important and arduous charge; and appears speedily to have laid aside all care about worldly concerns, and to have turned his attention mainly to another world. "On the Sabbath it was most pleasing to see the fervour of his devotion, and his anxiety to attend the services of the day. He took great interest in his village church at Hodnet, and assisted most liberally to put it into a state of tasteful but unostentatious repair. The last day I ever saw him in his own house, he invited myself and others to see the alterations he had made in the church. We went, and as he left the interior, he walked pensively round the tower. He was standing on the spot which he felt conscious would soon be his grave. He gave an indistinct answer to some question, and relapsed into silence." "He seemed to have entirely thrown off all worldly cares, and to have fixed his thoughts on the mighty interests of the world to which he was rapidly hastening. He said little, but his solemnity during worship, and at the prayer of the family, was perceptible to every one present.' "All observed," says his eldest sister, "the deep feeling expressed by the invalid, when the glorious plan of redemption was dwelt upon, through the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ and those who attended his death-bed, had the comfort of believing, that the name of the Saviour was a comfort to him in his weakness. On one occasion, he selected the 51st Psalm to be read to him, as particularly suited to his feelings; and he said to one of his nephews, 'with regard to my religious feelings, I have not power to express much, and never had; but I do trust I am sincere, and hope for mercy."
How delightful it is to see the sun of a long life of successful military conflicts thus setting in religious peace! Lord Hill reached the highest honours of his profession, wore them meekly, conciliated all hearts in the use of them, laid them quietly aside, and meekly took his station, preparatory to his migration into another state of being, at the foot of the