PP/GC/LE/143 Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding gun trials, the threat of rebellion in Hungary, the American Civil War, and arrangements for sending troops to Canada, 27 August 1861
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Secretary of State for War], Harpton [Court], Radnor, [Radnorshire], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: there has been a trial of several specimen guns sent in by Whitworth. They are all big guns. A report has been complied by the scientific officers. The report is generally unfavourable, but the experiments are not complete. Once the trials are complete, a copy of the report will be sent to Palmerston. Whitworth believes the War Office is prejudice against him. Lewis has not be able to ascertain whether his suspicion is well founded. The question is not merely which of the two rifles is best, but whether Whitworth's rifle is so much better to justify changing the weapon of the entire service. "I am glad to hear your opinion that the Hungarians will not venture upon insurrection. It seems as if Poland was taking fire, and if be the case, Russia would make common cause with Austria in putting down the insurgents, and would forget the wrong of the Crimean war." Hungary and Poland would be overpowered by a united Russian and Austrian force. "With regard to America, my belief is that after the rout [MS `route'] at Bull's Run, backed by the recent reverse in the state of Missouri, the Northerners will find their hands too full to attempt another attack upon Canada. It is clear that the Northern states are bent upon giving the Southerners a severe lesson, even if they cannot subjugate them, and make them submissive members of the Union. They leave vigour by two defeats, one serious and disgraceful, and they will now use all their efforts to repair their losses, and to attain some successes. Their eyes will be turned southward, not northward, but they are reckless and unscrupulous, and it would be most unwise of us to tempt them to hostilities by the appearance of unguardedness." Lewis will find out how quickly three regiments can sail for Canada. There is no great competition for the services of the `Great Eastern'. He will also ascertain what provisions of arms and military stores are available in the British North American provinces. The weather in the Radnorshire has been fine. The harvest is beginning to be cut. There are dismal accounts of the state of crops in Ireland, owing to constant rain. The potatoes are threatened with disease. He hopes the Queen will have fine weather at Killarney. 27 Aug 1861
Two papers
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Joseph Whitworth, mechanical engineer
First battle of Bull Run or battle of Manassas, Virginia, 21 Jul 1861
Battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri, 9 Aug 1861, where outnumbered Union troops were allowed to retreat and regroup
American Civil War; Virginia; Missouri
Wales; agriculture and crops
Victoria, Queen of England
Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland
British colonial defence; Canada; threat of invasion during American Civil War
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