30 JANUARY 1926, Page 29


WELLINGTON. By the Hon. John Fortescue. (Williams and Norgate. 10s. 6d. net. )

The historian of the British Army was well qualified to write a short life of Wellington. We need only congratulate him on the complete success of his memoir. It is well balanced, scrupu- lously accurate and fair, and extremely readable. Mr. Fortescue notes both the lights and the shades in his portrait, He excuses the Duke for his harshness in Spain, on the ground that both officers and men were ill disciplined and needed an iron hand to control them. But he admits that Wellington at his best was not an amiable person like Marlborough. Mr. Fortescue thinks that Wellington's early experience in the unhappy campaign of 1794 in the Netherlands, where an ill-equipped and half-starved British army had to retreat before the French, made a lasting impression on his mind. In India he learned how to keep an army well fed while on the move, and it was this knowledge which helped him to beat Napoleon's Generals in Spain, where the French plan of living on the country was impracticable. The Peninsular War is sketched in masterly outline. The Duke's political career is briefly and judiciously summarized, and the book closes with an admirable chapter on Wellington as a General and as a . man. Mr. Fortescue's Wellington deserves to rank with Southey's Nelson as a national classic.