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SIR GEORGE POMERO Y-COLLEY.
SOME PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS.
SIR WILLIAM BUTLER's re- I succeeded him in the duties markable book 1 has brought to of chief of the staff in South
mind many rcollections, both Africa in the latter year; and sad and stirring. It seems to again, only a few months later, me a masterly presentment of in 1880, I succeeded him as a life of no ordinary kind. It private secretary to the Viceseems to me to state with calm- roy of India, so that I had ness and to prove with clearness ample opportunities of knowthe beauty of a noble character, ing him and his work under and to set forth impartially and many and varied conditions. dispassionately the historical We first became acquainted events in which Sir George in 1868, when I was appointed Colley was a chief actor—events Professor of Military History around which political and party at Woolwich, and he was exstrife has stormed and raged. aminer in that subject for the I shall not attempt to review Council of Military Education.? the book, for I could not pre- I was at once struck with the tend to be an impartial critic. clearness and fairness of the It is the work of a personal questions set by him in his friend and old comrade, about examination papers. Nearly one who in his life was also all of them were directed to my comrade and friend, and all exercise the thinking powers that I propose is to add a brief of the students, but not all: humble tribute, drawn from my some were simply directed to personal recollections, to the bring out their knowledge and memory of one whom to know memory of historical facts. was to love and honour. And he explained to me that
It was my lot to be associated while the former class of queswith Sir George Colley or to tion aimed at stimulating to follow after him on many oc
the fullest the abilities of casions. We were colleagues the ablest and most original as instructors in military his- thinkers, the latter class of tory at home; we were com- question was given to enable rades in the Ashanti war of the students who had not 1873-74; we served together original ability, but who had on Sir Garnet Wolseley's staff worked conscientiously and in Natal in 1875; we again well according to their lights, served together in Zululand to reap the reward of their and the Transvaal in 1879. efforts, and obtain the quali
i The Life of Sir George Pomeroy-Colley, K.C.S.I., C.B., C.M.G., by Lieut.General Sir William F. Butler, K.C.B. London : John Murray, 1899.
2 See page 80 of the Life.
fying amount of marks. He “ The Tactics of the Three also explained to me that in Arms as modified to meet the allotting marks for the answers requirements of the present to the questions in which he day.” In the discussion which asked for views and opinions, followed, many of our ablest he was not influenced by the soldiers and deepest military agreement or non-agreement of thinkers took part : Sir Edthe opinions stated with his ward Hamley, Sir Patrick own views, but judged them M‘Dougall, Sir Lintorn Simentirely by the clearness and mons, and some of the finest ability with which they were of the older school, Sir William stated and reasoned out. He Codrington, Sir Percy Herbert, entirely believed that the ob- and Lord de Ros. Reading the ject of teaching military his- speeches again now, I have no tory, strategy, and tactics was hesitation in saying that by far not to cram the minds of our the ablest and most far-seeing future officers with facts and was that by Colonel Colley, theories, but to enable them which opened the discussion. from facts to deduce principles, It is a masterpiece of close which would help them when and analytical argument. Comin time to come they would mencing by showing that only have to think for themselves a small part of a force in situations of difficulty. attempt flank-attacks, and that
I soon learnt that I was in the great bulk of it must be presence of no ordinary mind, prepared to attack to its but of one which used facts front, or remain inoperative, in order to arrive at principles; he proved how superior the and in 1869, having undertaken new formations must be to the to lecture at the United Service old for such frontal attack. Institution on the Last Cam- After distinguishing between paign of Hanover, I wrote to the formations required for him for his opinion on certain bringing troops into position points, and received in reply for the final rush, and those that masterly sketch of the needed for carrying out that spirit of the new Prussian rush, he spoke of attack tactics, which is given by Sir with the bayonet, said that William Butler at pages 81-84 every nation in Europe beof the Life, and of which he lieved the bayonet to be its says, “It will be allowed that special weapon, and continued, the man who had thus early in words the truth of which caught the principles and ob- must in the last days and hours jects of modern battle tactics of his life have been terribly possessed a rare power of in- present in his mind :sight into questions upon which “This is merely the expression of may depend the existence of the fact that whenever two forces nations."
had arrived within a certain distance In May 1873, at the request sufficient morale, sufficient go left in
of one another, that one which had of the Council of the United it really to wish and try to close, was Service Institution, I lectured ipso facto victorious ; and that every
my Wild Sheep Valley and afternoon we took our sleepHills, I had an unusually clear ing - bags and provisions and view of the mountains to the ascended the gorge, with a view north, and made a rough but to sleeping out, for some peak careful sketch of them; and of the main range. The stream the result of my observations issued from a glacier descending seemed to be that no pass could from a group of mountains possibly exist between any of with three principal summits, the peaks near the supposed of which the
the northern Brown and Hooker by which (Diadem Peak) was the curious any four - footed animal less snow-crowned peak I had seen active than a goat could cross. from Wild Sheep Hills. The The solution of the problem central and highest summit seemed as far off as ever,
named by Collie after after a
consultation we de- Woolley, and the third after cided to move half the out- my humble self. Our two fit over Wilcox Pass into peaks appeared to have been the Athabasca main valley. sadly misbehaving themselves This we accordingly did, leav- in bygone ages. A tremendous ing poor Roy alone to look after rock - fall had evidently taken
place from their ugly bare The Athabasca flows through limestone cliffs, and the whole a wide valley, covered in most valley, nearly half a mile wide, places with an ugly wash-out, was covered to a depth of some which we found, however, very hundreds of feet with boulders convenient for travelling pur- and débris. In our united exposes. The general features of periences in the Alps, the Himathe
scenery were less attractive layas, the Caucasus, and other than those of the charming vale mountains, we had never seen we had left, though the moun- indications of a landslide on so tains here were on a bigger colossal a scale. Following the scale, and Athabasca Peak edge of the glacier, we bivounobly filled the head of the acked, our objective next day valley. We had hoped to find being Peak Woolley, which we a lateral glen by which we hoped to climb by a steep icecould reach the foot of Mount fall that separated it from Columbia ; but the mountains Diadem. I made a delicious slope on their eastern sides in a bed of heather and pine twigs, continuous line of cliffs, inter- and slept soundly till I was sected only at places by impas- awoke by the rain pattering on sable ice-falls. We, therefore, my sleeping-bag. The weather followed the bed of the stream had changed for the worse, and for some miles, and camped at the pale sickly light of an unan elevation of 5600 feet near promising dawn had overspread the mouth of a gorge, down the eastern sky when we started which a creek tumbled in a up the glacier. All went well picturesque cascade. Our men as far as the foot of the ice-fall, spent the next morning vainly when a black cloud that had prospecting for gold, and in the been gathering over Mount
Columbia burst, and heavy rain but what impressed me here was drove us to seek shelter under a a sense of their seemingly endfriendly rock. In five minutes less continuity. Northwards, as it cleared, and we were just was to be expected, the landputting on the rope for our scape presented a sterner and ascent of the ice-fall, when with more forbidding aspect : indeed, a roar and a clatter some tons the softer and more homely of ice that had broken off features of Alpine scenery were near the summit came tumbling everywhere absent. One missed down, splintering into frag- the green pastures dotted about ments in their descent. The with brown châlets, and the five minutes' delay had been familiar tinkle of the cow-bells a lucky one, so we took the would have sounded more musifriendly hint and left that ice- cal than ever on my ears,-for, fall alone. The only alterna- as I think Mr Leslie Stephen tive peak was Diadem, which observes in “The Playground we climbed in about four hours, of Europe,' these evidences of three rock-chimneys and some civilisation improve rather than steep rocks near the top afford- spoil mountain scenery. ing us a certain amount of Collie's surveying kept us diversion. The rocks were not some time at the top, and particularly difficult, but great bitterly cold work it was.
We was necessary, owing to descended the peak through their excessive rottenness. The pelting hail, while the thunder snow crown proved to be 100 roared and rattled among the feet high, and from its top crags in grand style, so that we (11,600) a wonderful panorama were more than once constrained burst upon us, in spite of the to halt and throw aside our murky atmosphere. Standing, ice-axes for fear of the lightas we were, on the Great Divide, ning.
In the woods we were we looked down upon a marvel- struck with a still worse storm, lous complexity of peak and with hailstones as big as—well, valley, of shaggy forest and of the usual size that hurt shining stream, with here and as they hit you ; and again there a blue lake nestling in the we ran down into camp like recesses of the hills.
Quite three drowned rats. During close, as it seemed, the over the night another thunderstorm, powering mass of the supposed the fifth in twenty-four hours, Mount Brown (now called broke over us; but though the Mount Alberta) towered frown- drippings from our leaky tent ing 2000 feet above us.
soaked my already damp sleepa superb peak, like a gigantic ing-bag, I slept soundly through castle in shape, with terrific it all. black cliffs falling sheer on In the morning we struck three sides. On almost every the tents and returned over side, far the eye could Wilcox Pass to the camp. Proreach, the world of mountains visions were again running extended : taken individually, I short, so we decided to make have seen finer peaks elsewhere, tracks homewards, and moved
the tents on the following day so rickety that a push of the a few hours down the valley. hand sent them over. We were Peyto and I started ahead of now on very short commons, havthe others to hunt sheep up a ing no meat and very little bread, valley leading to the head- and the poor dogs were absowaters of the Brazeau river. lutely starving; but it rained all On the way we found a next day, and we had to remain siderable tract of forest on fire, in camp. We ate our last sarthe charred tree-trunks and dine that evening, reserving half-burned foliage presenting a three crusts of bread for breakcurious patchwork of green and fast on the morrow, when we black, while the peaty earth pushed on as hard as we could was still smouldering and emit- down the left bank of the river. ting volumes of smoke. Two Arriving at the main stream of of our men, who had left the the Saskatchewan, we managed caravan to go hunting on the to ford it below the mouth of way up, had lit a fire to cook the North Fork, the cold weaa fool-hen, and had carelessly ther having greatly reduced the omitted to perform what is volume of water. Bear Creek every backwoodsman's first duty offered no difficulty. —namely, to thoroughly extin- neared the cache, Collie tried to guish it. Had the weather inflame our imaginations by been finer the previous week we drawing lurid pictures of a should probably have found the band of Indians gorged with whole valley ablaze and our our bacon and roaring drunk retreat down the Saskatchewan on our whisky; but we found cut off—a cheerful prospect for everything just as had a party with next to nothing left it. to eat! Leaving the fire, we Meat was still very scanty, pushed our horses on to the so I spent most of the next summit of the pass, where we day wandering about the woods tethered them and descended of Bear Creek in search of on foot some distance down the fool-hen. One wants to be stream of the Brazeau. It was perfectly alone to fully apprea pleasant valley, with low ciate the mystery and the utter rounded hills, prettily wooded, solitude of these great forests. on either side, that reminded The scarcity of bird and animal me of Wales. We saw plenty life serves to heighten the imof tracks, but no sheep, and pression of loneliness, and you returned to camp empty-handed, may walk for hours without and for the third time soaked hearing a sound except the roar to the skin with rain. The of some distant torrent or avamorning was gloriously fine, and lanche, and the soughing of the we made a forced march down wind in the tall pines and the the North Fork, so as to reach creaking of their gigantic limbs. our cache of provisions at Bear Only the play of light and shade Creek as soon as possible. The between the swaying branches camp was pitched in a grove causes the imagination at times of burned trees, some of them to people their recesses with