The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37
"Civilisation:" A Picture."
"Civilisation:" A Picture."
We pause to contrast our civilisation towards the Chinese at Canton with our civilisation towards the Russians at Odesse Strange that the excuse for not bombarding an enemy's town namely, that it conta ned chiefly private property—should stand us in so little stead when it is the town of a confiding friend and ally which is in question. What sort of civilisation is it that spares enemies, but murders friends?
Let the respectable Englishman who does such things to others now suppose, if he can, war-steamers to commence bombarding London as we did Canton. Let him imagine the terrible din, the roar, the bursting of shells, the smashing of round shot, the whistling of rifle-bullets on all sides. He I dares not go out of his house, and is walking to-and-fro, not knowing what to do, when crash comes a shell into his I diningroom, exploding and blowing one side of the room into the street, tearing one or two of his children piecemeal close to him, and hurling his wife against the opposite wall—a disfigured mass of bones, brains, and blood. He rushes horrorstrieken into the streets, and everywhere he sees the same sights. The cupola of Saint Paul is riddled with shot; the Monument down; his beloved Bank sacked by ticket-of-leave men; Westminster Abbey a wreck and a ruin; Buckingham and Saint James Palaces shattered and destroyed; page 64 Exeter Hall and the Theatres all in a blaze; crowds of people hurrying down Cheapside, along the Strand, through Piccadilly—hither, thither, anywhere, everywhere, purposeless and lost, wringing their hands, bewailing children and relatives, or utter ruin, and howling forth their despair; houses falling; railway-stations choked with struggling fugitives; the city an infernal chaos, as though all the demons of hell had broken loose upon it and were reeking direst vengeance in an orgie of blood, smoke, flame, and confusion. . . .
The humanity which spared Odessa and its trade, at the cost of all the English and French blood afterwards shed before Sevastopol [100,000 men, £200,00;),000 money] has its just and fitting complement in the craven cruelty which has been shown by Admiral Sir Michael Seymour (made a K.C.B. by Lord Palmerston for not hurting the Russians in the Baltic) in bombarding the city of Canton, with its miilion and a half of defenceless inhabitants!
Queen Victoria has indeed been reduced to a cipher by her Moire du Palais if her socalled servants can dare to assume and to exercise her highest prerogative—that of making war—and can commit with impunity such atrocious acts in her majesty's name. If the Peace Society and all just men are in earnest we shall see them join heart and hand in endeavoring to punish the most monstrous and dastardly crime which the historian has ever been called upon to record.