Volume 58: Sir George Macleay correspondence, 1848-1880: No. 042

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[Page 42]

say than our local country as our climate can resemble another.  We had most fortunately a comparatively fine day on Saturday, that is to say that it only spitted & did not actually rain, & so the great Review of Un Voluntiers in Hyde Park came off successfully, most successfully.  I had failed fortunately as it turned out, to get a Ticket for the Stand put up in front of Park Lane and took places on the top of a House in the Bayswater road, a little beyond the Marble Arch, from which I had, or should say we, for Mrs. Macleay was with me, a most perfect view of the whole ground.  They say that there were but 20,000 men present.  The official accounts must be legal of course, indeed it is not likely that they would under rate the numbers, but to my eye there appeared nearer 40 or 50,000.  They formed a dense mass all the way from the Bayswater road to Albert Gate.  The darkness sombre hue of the uniforms is rather against Military effect, and in a tutelary view evidently a mistake, for these black masses as they appeared after, and the case wd be the same with individuals as good a mark as men in scarlet would.  At the same time, the dark solemn tints carried with them a sense of stern & earnest determination which seemed not unbefitting men who professing no love for the pomp & circumstance of War, had stepped out solely from ordinary life to defend their country in her need.  It is perfectly wonderful, how in the short span of one year, during our prolonged winter one may say, the wettest one known in England, such a body of men would have been brought to such perfection indeed.  I assure you I have seen many regiments in the line march worse than the least proficient of these Volunteer Regiments which are [indecipherable] & sinew & personal bearing.  There is no comparison between the two bodies.  They all look gentlemen.  In fact it was a sight which brought an Englishmans heart to his mouth.  I have felt a prouder and a happier man now since I witnessed it.  Another 100,000 such men and there is plenty of such material for double that number, and Napoleon would as soon think of cutting his throat as invading the land which produces them.  A great number of Frenchmen i [indecipherable] to say came over to witness this review, and will depart I have no doubt wiser men.  The role of the French papers now I have no doubt will be to decry English schemes of aggression


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