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Drake Letters Index 69. Daily News 3 April 1855 ◄ ● ► 71. Examination of W. H. Drake 30 March 1855
The Drake Letters
 
The Times (London), 10 April 1855: Lord Palmerston and the Commissariat Service
LORD PALMERSTON AND THE COMMISSARIAT SERVICE.
        The following is a copy of the letter of remonstrance forwarded by the Commissariat officers serving in the Crimea to Commissary-General Filder, C.B., for the purpose of being transmitted by the last mail to Lord Panmure, 1 the Minister for War:-
 

“Balaklava, March 17.
 
        “Sir, - It is with great reluctance that we have decided upon the course of addressing you these remarks, with a request that you will lay them before his Lordship the Secretary for War; but we feel that it is due to the department to which we belong and to ourselves individually to notice the following reflections cast upon the commissariat officers by Lord Palmerston in his speech in the House of Commons on the 19th of February, viz:-
 
         “‘And I must say that there was great truth and great force in the observations which fell from the hon. member for North Warwickshire, in answer to the attacks which have been made upon the aristocracy, along with him I suppose we must include the gentry of the country, for I believe the term ‘aristocracy’ includes the two. In reply to the charges that our army has not been successful, as it ought to have been, in consequence of the great number of gentlemen who are officers in it, I think the hon. member made the most triumphant answer, by showing that where your system has broken down – that where evil has arisen from want of capacity, of energy, of intelligence, or of accurate and zealous performance of duty – it was not that the gentry, not that the aristocracy, not that the noblemen in the army were at fault, but persons belonging to other classes of the community. It is the medical department, the commissariat department, and the transport department, which nobody contends are filled with the sons of the aristocracy or the gentry, - it is there that your system has broken down, it is there that the service has failed, and that it is that has been the main cuase of the suffering of which we are all complaining.’
 
         “We can hardly imagine that Lord Palmerston could have meant that the officers of the commissariat do not belong to the class of society called ‘gentlemen;’ but the expressions made use of by his Lordship certainly convey that meaning; and it is plainly stated that the officers of the commissariat have been ‘wanting in capacity energy, intelligence, and in the accurate and zealous performance of duty.’ As these expressions emanate not from a quarter which might be treated with indifference, but from a Minister of the Crown, cognizant, it may be presumed, of the merits of the question who thus prejudges it, before any decision by the commission of inquiry now pending is arrived at, their effect upon the public mind cannot but be as injurious to the department as they are offensive to the individuals of whom it is composed.
 
         “It is not for us to point out the causes of the failures in the various arrangements connected with the campaign, but we trust that his Lordship, the Minister for War, under whose orders we have the honour of being placed, will afford us the protection to which we conceive we are fairly entitled, that he will not withhold from us a just appreciation of our most strenuous endeavours to perform our arduous and responsible duties, and that he will afford us an opportunity of proving that we have not been ‘wanting in capacity, energy, intelligence, or zeal.’
 
         “We have enjoyed none of the advantages consequent upon war with respect to promotion, &c., which have been so liberally extended to every other branch of the army. Our services and our exertions have not been recognized inany public manner, and we cannot feel otherwise than greatly aggrieved that we should be thus held up to the public as having been ‘the main cause of the evils which have arisen.’
 
         “We are invidiously designated as not belonging to the class of society usually termed ‘gentlemen,’ but as belonging to other classes of the community. While we conduct ourselves honourably it matters little with what families we are connected; but we contend that the officers of the commissariat, as a body, do belong to the class termed ‘gentry,’ and that we are as well educated, as well informed, and as honourable and upright in every respect as any other body of officers in the army.
 
         “Our duties are of a most responsible nature, and there are no officers in the service in whom such an amount of trust is placed, which should surely entitle us to be classed in the highest ranks of the public service.
 
         “If we have not acquitted ourselves to the satisfaction of our superiors, we invite inquiry into our conduct; but as we are confident that we have at least exerted ourselves to the utmost, we most respectfully be that his Lordship will not disregard the honour of, or refuse to do justice to, a department under his control, and dependent upon him for official support.
 
         “If we have expressed ourselves with freedom, we trust that his Lordship will make due allowance for our feelings, under what we conceive a most unjust and unfounded imputation, and we beg to assure his Lordship that we shall continue to perform our duties conscientiously, and that no endeavours will be spared by us to uphold the character of the department, and our individual reputation, at the high standard to which, we trust, his Lordship will not fail to admit they have attained.
 
“We have, &c.,
 
“G. ADAMS, D.C.G. “J. MURRAY, D.A.C.G. 2
“W. H. DRAKE, D.C.G. “J. MARSH, D.A.C.G. 3
“L. ROUTH, A.C.G. “R. BOOTH, D.A.C.G
“F. S. CARPENTER, A.C.G. “A. CLERK, C.C. 4
“W. S. ARCHER, A.C.G. “J. BAILEY, D.A.C.G. 5
“E. J. M. MAHON [sic], A.C.G. 6 “J. S. SUTHERLAND, D.A.C.G. 7
M. W. DARLING, A.C.G.  
L. W. “A. F. COOKESLEY, D.A.C.G.
“J. D. WILLAN, A.C.G. 8 “F. C. COLQUHOUN, D.A.C.G.
“J. P. LUNDY, A.C.G.  
“W. T. POWER, A.C.G. “G. R. PRIMROSE, D.A.C.G. 9
“R. CUMMING, A.C.G. “J. B. BARLEE, D.A.C.G. 10
“G. J. WEBB, D.A.C.G. “A. L. [sic] BAYNES, C.C. 11
“H. BARTLETT, D.A.C.G. 12 “W. U. GREEN, C.C. 13
“G. S. BLANE [sic], D.A.C.G. 14 “A. PETRIE, C.C. 15
“C. B. SMITH, D.A.C.G. 16 “A. CHAPLIN, C.C. 17
“J. B. [sic] THOMPSON, D.A.C.G. 18 “H. C. LEWIS, C.C.
“H. J. BROWNRIGG, D.A.C.G “J. MANNING. C.C.” 19

 
[The Times (London, England), April 10, 1855; pg. 7]
 

 
WH Drake Journal
 
155 – March 20. Up at 7. Finished letters just before mail closed. Received letters from Lu of 4 March, one from C. A. D. D. 20 Mr. Filder sent letter to Mr. Roberts about Lord Palmerston’s Speech. Fine day. ...
 
157 – March 22. Up at 7½. Recd. Lu’s letter 8 Mch. & her likeness by Claudet. 21
 


Louisa Drake

Louisa Drake (née Purkis) (1814-1862). 22
(Photo: Danie Ackermann, from the original owned by George and Nova Coetzee).



 
165 – March 30. Up at 7. Slight shower but fine. Examined by Committee Sir J. McNeill. 23
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Fox Maule-Ramsay, Lord Panmure, Secretary of State for War.
 
2. DACG James Murray.
 
3. DACG Joseph Marsh.
 
4. CC Alexander Clerk.
 
5. DACG James Bailey.
 
6. ACG Edmund John McMahon.
 
7. DACG James Stewart Calder Sutherland.
 
8. ACG James Sholto Curwen Douglas-Willan.
 
9. DACG George Ramsay Primrose.
 
10. DACG John Buckle Barlee.
 
11. CC Arthur Stuart Baynes.
 
12. DACG Henry Bartlett.
 
13. CC Walter Umfreville Green.
 
14. DACG Charles Garrow Blanc.
 
15. CC Alfred Ernest Petrie.
 
16. DACG Charles Bagot Smith.
 
17. CC Arthur Lewis Chaplin.
 
18. DACG Justus Henry Thompson.
 
19. CC John Fitzmaurice Manning.
 
20. Henry’s daughter, Charlotte Augusta Dring Drake.
 
21. Antoine François Jean Claudet. [Transcribed as Claudes ?] Whether this is the photo Louisa sent Henry, I cannot be sure.
 
22. Whether this is the “likeness” Louisa sent Henry, I cannot be sure, but it would have been taken at about the right time.
 
23. Transcribed as Sir J. McNiell
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 69. Daily News 3 April 1855 ◄ ● ► 71. Examination of W. H. Drake 30 March 1855