4 MARCH 1871, Page 23

The l'all of Metz. By G. T. Robinson. (Bradbury and

Erans.)—Mr. Robinson was special correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, and contrived, not without very considerable difficulty, in getting himself shut up in Metz. He was an eye-witness of the bloody battles which ended in the investment of Bazaine's army, and passed through the seventy days of the siege. It is an unquestionably valuable contribution to the history of the war. Mr. Robinson saw what few, possibly no other spectator at once so disinterested and so well qualified to judge, saw, and his opinions about many things of which much question has been made is worth attention. Evidently he does not estimate very highly the military skill of either side. After the battle of Boroy, for instance, a few thousand Germans might, he says, have marched in and captured Metz. "It was Sebastopol over again." We take it that they would have been much like the Irishman whose prisoner would neither come with him nor let him go away. Of Bazaine he has a very mean opinion. Whether from being hampered by political considerations, or from incapacity, he manifestly failed in his duty, shutting himself up, for instance, in headquarters, and doing nothing to encourage his troops. The adverse opinion which the writer, after seeing the French troops at very close quarters and under circumstances which specially try the value of the officer, has formed against the practice of making a rule of promotion from the ranks is worth noting. The account of the manufacture of balloons, a plan due, it would seem, to a suggestion of the author's, is particularly worth reading. Altogether whatever forbearance the reader may have to exercise in putting up with some diffuseness, some rather forced fun, and some careless English, will be amply repaid.