[—Gladstone at the Dispatch-box]
London, February 10. Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer of dogmatism and Duns Scotus of finance, has provided a further demonstration of the old saying that faith moves mountains. By faith, Gladstone has resurrected the dead, and by faith increased the strength of the British army in the Crimea from 11,000 to 30,000 men[a]. He is demanding the same faith from Parliament. Unfortunately the report from Dr. Hall, head of the medical department in the camp at Sevastopol, has just arrived[b]. Not only has the 63rd Regiment entirely vanished, according to this report, and of the 46th, which left Britain last November 1,000 men strong, only 30 are still fit for service, but Dr. Hall declares that half of the troops still on active service should be in hospital and that there are at most 5,000-6,000 men really fit for service in camp. Anyone who is familiar with the tricks performed by pious apologists will not doubt that, like Falstaff, Gladstone will turn 6,000 rogues in buckram[c] into 30,000. Has he not already told us in last Thursday's sitting that the two estimates arose from different points of view, e.g. the minimisers of the army in the Crimea were not counting the cavalry as he was, as though there had been any cavalry worth mentioning since the battle of Balaklava. For Gladstone it is a simple matter to count in those who are "not there". It would be hard to outdo the unction with which in last Thursday's sitting he concluded his "budget" on the strength of the army —in which every debit figures as credit and every deficit as surplus —saying that "he forgave the opponents of the government their exaggerations". It would be equally hard to outdo the tone and posture with which he exhorted the Members of Parliament not to let themselves be carried away by "emotions". To bear the woes of others with humility and equanimity —so runs the God-fearing Gladstone's motto.
Written on February 10, 1855
First published in the Neue Oder-Zeitung, No. 73, February 13, 1855
Marked with the sign x
Printed according to the news-paper
Published in English for the first time in MECW
Gladstone's speech in the House of Commons on February 8, 1855. The Times, No. 21973, February 9, 1855.—Ed.
Published in The Times, No. 21972, February 8, 1855.—Ed.
Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, Act II, Scene 4.—Ed.
The battle of Balaklava took place on October 25, 1854. Units of the Russian army tried to cut off the British and Turkish troops taking part in the siege of Sevastopol from their base in Balaklava. They succeeded in inflicting serious losses on the enemy, especially on the British cavalry, but failed to achieve their main objective. For a description of this battle see Engels' article "The War in the East" (see present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 518-27).
Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 14
(pp.12-13), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980