Charge of the Light Brigade
The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British light cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. British commander Lord Raglan had intended to send the Light Brigade to prevent the Russians from removing captured guns from overrun Turkish positions, a task for which the light cavalry were well-suited. However, there was miscommunication in the chain of command, the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire; the Light Brigade reached the battery under withering direct fire and scattered some of the gunners, but they were forced to retreat and the assault ended with high British casualties and no decisive gains. The events were the subject of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's narrative poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade", published just six weeks after the event, its lines emphasise the valour of the cavalry in bravely carrying out their orders, regardless of the nearly inevitable outcome.
Blame has remained controversial for the miscommunication, as the order was vague and Louis Edward Nolan delivered the written orders with some verbal interpretation died in the first minute of the assault. The charge was made by the Light Brigade of the British cavalry, which consisted of the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers, the 8th and 11th Hussars, under the command of Major General James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan. Present that day was the Heavy Brigade, commanded by Major General James Yorke Scarlett, a past Commanding Officer of the 5th Dragoon Guards; the Heavy Brigade was made up of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, the 5th Dragoon Guards, the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons and the Scots Greys. The two brigades were the only British cavalry force at the battle; the Light Brigade were the British light cavalry force. It mounted fast horses which were unarmoured; the men were armed with sabres. Optimized for maximum mobility and speed, they were intended for skirmishing, they were ideal for cutting down infantry and artillery units as they attempted to retreat.
The Heavy Brigade under James Scarlett was the British heavy cavalry force. It mounted heavy chargers; the men were armed with cavalry swords for close combat. They were intended as the primary British shock force, leading frontal charges in order to break enemy lines. Overall command of the British cavalry resided with Lieutenant General George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan. Cardigan and Lucan were brothers-in-law. Lucan received an order from the army commander Lord Raglan stating: "Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance to the front, follow the enemy, try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop horse artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate." Raglan wanted the light cavalry to prevent the Russians from withdrawing the naval guns from the redoubts they had captured on the reverse side of the Causeway Heights, the hill forming the south side of the valley. This was an optimum task for the Light Brigade, as their superior speed would ensure the Russians would be forced to either abandon the cumbersome guns or be cut down en masse while they attempted to flee with them.
Raglan could see. However, the lie of the land around Lucan and the cavalry prevented him from seeing the Russians' efforts to remove the guns from the redoubts and retreat; the order was carried by Captain Louis Edward Nolan. Nolan carried the further oral instruction; when Lucan asked what guns were referred to, Nolan is said to have indicated with a wide sweep of his arm—not the causeway redoubts—but the mass of Russian guns in a redoubt at the end of the valley, around a mile away. His reasons for the misdirection are unknown. In response to the order, Lucan instructed Cardigan to lead his command of about 670 troopers of the Light Brigade straight into the valley between the Fedyukhin Heights and the Causeway Heights. In his poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", Tennyson dubbed this hollow "The Valley of Death"; the opposing Russian forces were commanded by Pavel Liprandi and included 20 battalions of infantry supported by over 50 artillery pieces. These forces were deployed at the opposite end of the valley.
Lucan himself was to follow with the Heavy Brigade. Although the Heavy Brigade was better armoured and intended for frontal assaults on infantry positions, neither force was remotely equipped for a frontal assault on a dug-in and alerted artillery battery—much less one with an excellent line of sight over a mile in length and supported on two sides by artillery batteries providing enfilading fire from elevated ground; the semi-suicidal nature of this charge was evident to the troopers of the Light Brigade, but if there were any objection to the orders, it was not recorded. The Light Brigade set off down the valley with Cardigan in front, leading the charge on his horse Ronald. At once, Nolan rushed across the front, passing in front of Cardigan, it may be that he realised that the charge was aimed at the wrong target and was attempting to stop or turn the brigade, but he was killed by an artillery shell and the cavalry continued on its course. Captain Godfrey Morgan was close by and saw what happened: The first shell burst in the air about 100 yards in front of us.
The next one exploded on touching the ground. He uttered a wild yell as his ho
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory; some historians are recognized by training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere. During the Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt trial, it became evident that the court needed to identify what was an "objective historian" in the same vein as the reasonable person, reminiscent of the standard traditionally used in English law of "the man on the Clapham omnibus"; this was necessary so that there would be a legal bench mark to compare and contrast the scholarship of an objective historian against the illegitimate methods employed by David Irving, as before the Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt trial, there was no legal precedent for what constituted an objective historian.
Justice Gray leant on the research of one of the expert witnesses, Richard J. Evans, who compared illegitimate distortion of the historical record practice by holocaust deniers with established historical methodologies. By summarizing Gray's judgement, in an article published in the Yale Law Journal, Wendie E. Schneider distils these seven points for what he meant by an objective historian: The historian must treat sources with appropriate reservations. Schneider uses the concept of the "objective historian" to suggest that this could be an aid in assessing what makes an historian suitable as an expert witnesses under the Daubert standard in the United States. Schneider proposed this, because, in her opinion, Irving could have passed the standard Daubert tests unless a court was given "a great deal of assistance from historians". Schneider proposes that by testing an historian against the criteria of the "objective historian" even if an historian holds specific political views, providing the historian uses the "objective historian" standards, he or she is a "conscientious historian".
It was Irving's failure as an "objective historian" not his right wing views that caused him to lose his libel case, as a "conscientious historian" would not have "deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence" to support his political views. The process of historical analysis involves investigation and analysis of competing ideas and purported facts to create coherent narratives that explain "what happened" and "why or how it happened". Modern historical analysis draws upon other social sciences, including economics, politics, anthropology and linguistics. While ancient writers do not share modern historical practices, their work remains valuable for its insights within the cultural context of the times. An important part of the contribution of many modern historians is the verification or dismissal of earlier historical accounts through reviewing newly discovered sources and recent scholarship or through parallel disciplines like archaeology. Understanding the past appears to be a universal human need, the telling of history has emerged independently in civilizations around the world.
What constitutes history is a philosophical question. The earliest chronologies date back to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, though no historical writers in these early civilizations were known by name. Systematic historical thought emerged in ancient Greece, a development that became an important influence on the writing of history elsewhere around the Mediterranean region; the earliest known critical historical works were The Histories, composed by Herodotus of Halicarnassus who became known as the "father of history". Herodotus attempted to distinguish between more and less reliable accounts, conducted research by travelling extensively, giving written accounts of various Mediterranean cultures. Although Herodotus' overall emphasis lay on the actions and characters of men, he attributed an important role to divinity in the determination of historical events. Thucydides eliminated divine causality in his account of the war between Athens and Sparta, establishing a rationalistic element that set a precedent for subsequent Western historical writings.
He was the first to distinguish between cause and immediate origins of an event, while his successor Xenophon introduced autobiographical elements and character studies in his Anabasis. The Romans adopted the Greek tradition. While early Roman works were still written in Greek, the Origines, composed by the Roman statesman Cato the Elder, was written in Latin, in a conscious effort to counteract Greek cultural influence. Strabo was an important exponent of the Greco-Roman tradition of combining geography with history, presenting a descriptive history of peoples and places known to his era. Livy (59 BCE
The Mitford family is an Aristocratic English family whose main family line had seats at Mitford, Northumberland. Several heads of the family served as High Sheriff of Northumberland. A junior line, with seats at Newton Park and Exbury House, descends via the historian William Mitford and were twice elevated to the British peerage, in 1802 and 1902, under the title Baron Redesdale; the Mitford sisters were William Mitford's great-great-great-granddaughters. The sisters, six daughters of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, Sydney Bowles, became celebrated, at times scandalous, figures, they were caricatured by The Times journalist Ben Macintyre as "Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover. The family traces its origins in Northumberland back to the time of the Norman conquest. In the Middle Ages they had been Border Reivers based in Redesdale; the main family line had seats at Mitford Castle and Mitford Old Manor House prior to Mitford Hall in 1828. Nancy Mitford married Peter Rodd and had a longstanding relationship with French politician and statesman Gaston Palewski.
She lived in France for much of her adult life. She wrote many novels, including the semi-autobiographical The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, she was a biographer of historical figures, including the Sun King. Pamela Mitford was known as "Woman", she divorced millionaire physicist Derek Jackson. John Betjeman, who for a time was in love with her, referred to her as the "Rural Mitford". After her divorce, she spent the remainder of her life as the companion of Giuditta Tommasi, an Italian horsewoman. Thomas Mitford was educated at Eton, he had a lengthy affair with Tilly Losch during her marriage to Edward James. He died during World War II. According to Jessica's letters, he supported British fascism and was posted to Burma after refusing to fight in Europe. Diana Mitford married aristocrat and writer Bryan Walter Guinness in 1929, she left him in 1933 for British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, with whom she had a son, Max Mosley. She was interned in Holloway Prison during the Second World War.
She remained a devotee of Adolf Hitler. Unity Valkyrie Mitford was known as "Bobo" or "Boud" to her siblings, her adulation of and friendship with Adolf Hitler was publicised. She shot herself in the head days after Britain declared war on Germany, but failed to kill herself and died of pneumococcal meningitis at West Highland Cottage Hospital, after being transferred from Inch Kenneth. Jessica Mitford was known as "Decca", she eloped with Esmond Romilly to the Spanish Civil War. She spent most of her adult life in the United States. Two years after Esmond was killed during the Second World War she married Robert Treuhaft, whom she met as a fellow US government employee, she was a member of the American Communist Party until 1958. She wrote several volumes of memoirs and several volumes of polemical investigation, including the best-selling The American Way of Death about the funeral industry, she was the grandmother of James Forman Jr. and Chaka Forman, sons of the African-American civil rights leader James Forman by her daughter Constancia Romilly.
Deborah Mitford married Andrew Cavendish who became the Duke of Devonshire, with him turned his ancestral home, Chatsworth House, into one of Britain's most successful stately homes. She wrote a dozen books; the sisters achieved notoriety for their controversial but stylish lives as young people for their public political divisions between communism and fascism. Nancy and Jessica became well-known writers: Nancy wrote The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, Jessica The American Way of Death. Deborah managed one of the most successful stately homes in Chatsworth. Jessica and Deborah married nephews of prime ministers Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan, respectively. Deborah and Diana both married wealthy aristocrats. Unity and Diana were well-known during the 1930s for being close to Adolf Hitler. Jessica ran away to become a communist. Jessica's memoir and Rebels, describes their upbringing, Nancy drew upon her family members for characters in her novels. In the early 1980s, Deborah became politically active when she and her husband Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, joined the new Social Democratic Party.
The sisters and their brother Thomas were the children of David Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, known to his children as "Farve" and by various other nicknames. Their mother was Sydney Freeman-Mitford, Baroness Redesdale, known as "Muv", the daughter of Thomas Bowles. David and Sydney married in 1904; the family homes changed from Batsford House to Asthall Manor beside the River Windrush in Oxfordshire, Swinbrook Cottage nearby, with a house at Rutland Gate in London. They lived in a cottage in High Wycombe, which they used as a summer residence; the siblings grew up in an aristocratic country house with distant parents and a large household with numerous servants. The parents disregarded formal education of women of the family, they were expected to marry at a young age to a financially well-off husband; the children had a private language called "Boudledidge" (pronou
The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900; the Gallery is an exempt charity, a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture and Sport. Its collection belongs to the government on behalf of the British public, entry to the main collection is free of charge, it is among the most visited art museums in the world, after the Louvre, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unlike comparable museums in continental Europe, the National Gallery was not formed by nationalising an existing royal or princely art collection, it came into being when the British government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein in 1824. After that initial purchase the Gallery was shaped by its early directors, notably Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, by private donations, which today account for two-thirds of the collection.
The collection is encyclopaedic in scope. It used to be claimed that this was one of the few national galleries that had all its works on permanent exhibition, but this is no longer the case; the present building, the third to house the National Gallery, was designed by William Wilkins from 1832 to 1838. Only the façade onto Trafalgar Square remains unchanged from this time, as the building has been expanded piecemeal throughout its history. Wilkins's building was criticised for the perceived weaknesses of its design and for its lack of space; the Sainsbury Wing, an extension to the west by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, is a notable example of Postmodernist architecture in Britain. The current Director of the National Gallery is Gabriele Finaldi; the late 18th century saw the nationalisation of royal or princely art collections across mainland Europe. The Bavarian royal collection opened to the public in 1779, that of the Medici in Florence around 1789, the Museum Français at the Louvre was formed out of the former French royal collection in 1793.
Great Britain, did not emulate the continental model, the British Royal Collection remains in the sovereign's possession today. In 1777 the British government had the opportunity to buy an art collection of international stature, when the descendants of Sir Robert Walpole put his collection up for sale; the MP John Wilkes argued for the government to buy this "invaluable treasure" and suggested that it be housed in "a noble gallery... to be built in the spacious garden of the British Museum" Nothing came of Wilkes's appeal and 20 years the collection was bought in its entirety by Catherine the Great. A plan to acquire 150 paintings from the Orléans collection, brought to London for sale in 1798 failed, despite the interest of both the King and the Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger; the twenty-five paintings from that collection now in the Gallery, including "NG1", arrived by a variety of routes. In 1799 the dealer Noel Desenfans offered a ready-made national collection to the British government.
This offer was declined and Bourgeois bequeathed the collection to his old school, Dulwich College, on his death. The collection opened in 1814 in Britain's first purpose-built public gallery, the Dulwich Picture Gallery; the Scottish dealer William Buchanan and the collector Joseph Count Truchsess, both formed art collections expressly as the basis for a future national collection, but their respective offers were declined. Following the Walpole sale many artists, including James Barry and John Flaxman, had made renewed calls for the establishment of a National Gallery, arguing that a British school of painting could only flourish if it had access to the canon of European painting; the British Institution, founded in 1805 by a group of aristocratic connoisseurs, attempted to address this situation. The members lent works to exhibitions that changed annually, while an art school was held in the summer months. However, as the paintings that were lent were mediocre, some artists resented the Institution and saw it as a racket for the gentry to increase the sale prices of their Old Master paintings.
One of the Institution's founding members, Sir George Beaumont, Bt, would play a major role in the National Gallery's foundation by offering a gift of 16 paintings. In 1823 another major art collection came on the market, assembled by the deceased John Julius Angerstein. Angerstein was a Russian-born émigré banker based in London. On 1 July 1823 George Agar Ellis, a Whig politician, proposed to the House of Commons that it purchase the collection; the appeal was given added impetus by Beaumont's offer, which came with two conditions: that the government buy Angerstein's collection, that a suitable building was to be found. The unexpected repayment of a war debt by Austria moved the government to buy Angerstein's collection, for £57,000; the National Gallery opened to the public on 10 May 1824, housed in Angerstein's former townhouse at No. 100 Pall Mall. Angerstein's paintings were joined in 1826 by those from Beaumont's collection, in 1831 by the Reverend
Legacy of the Great Irish Famine
The legacy of the Great Famine in Ireland followed a catastrophic period of Irish history between 1845 and 1852 during which time the population of Ireland was reduced by 20 to 25 percent. The Great Famine was a watershed in the history of Ireland, its effects permanently changed the island's demographic and cultural landscape. For both the native Irish and those in the resulting diaspora, the famine entered folk memory and became a rallying point for various nationalist movements. Modern historians regard it as a dividing line in the Irish historical narrative, referring to the preceding period of Irish history as "pre-Famine". Political reaction resulting from the Great Irish Famine was muted, because of the limited electoral franchise that existed at the time. While Irish politics in the 1820s to 1840s had been dominated by the Catholic Emancipation and "Repeal" movements under Daniel O'Connell, it was not until the 1880s under Charles Stewart Parnell, nearly forty years after the Famine, that a major Irish nationalist political movement, the Home Rule League appeared.
Parnell was instrumental in establishing the Irish Land League, to achieve land reform. Outside the mainstream, reaction was slow; the 1848 Young Ireland rebellion under Thomas Davis, though occurring at the start of the Famine, was hardly impacted upon by the Famine, as much as by the clash between the "constitutional" nationalism and Catholicism of O'Connell and the pluralist republicanism of Davis. Another rebellion would not occur again until the 1860s under the Fenians/Irish Republican Brotherhood. Historians have speculated that, such was the economic and social impact on Ireland, the nation was numbed into inaction for decades afterwards. Though its electorate was a small part of the population, those Irish privileged to vote continued until the mid-1880s to vote for the two major British political parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals, with more votes and seats going to the latter though it had been the party of government during the Famine; because of the skewed franchise, a large body of voters continued to vote for unionists, who wished to maintain the Union that joined Britain and Ireland.
The British Royal Family avoided some censure, due to their perceived impotence in political affairs. Although some believed the myth that Queen Victoria had only donated a miserly £5 to famine relief, in fact the sum was £2,000, the equivalent of £61,000 today, from her personal resources, she was patron of a charity that fundraised. On instruction of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Victoria made what was seen as a propaganda visit in 1849. However, this visit was conducted under stringent security measures and was not free from protests or controversy; the celebrations associated with her visit just after the famine were compared to "illuminating a graveyard" in a newspaper editorial at the time. It is estimated that one and a half million people died during the Famine and that a million emigrated between 1846 and 1851. A large proportion of these were Irish speakers, the poorest districts, from which emigration continued to flow, were Irish-speaking; the Famine was not the only reason for the decline of the language but it was a conspicuous element.
This led to the creation of an Ireland which thought of itself as English-speaking, though with a persistent and influential reaction in the form of organisations such as the Gaelic League and the growth of a network of urban Irish-speaking activists from the late nineteenth century on. In pre-Famine Ireland Irish was the language both of a rich folk culture and a strong literary tradition; the latter persisted in the form of Irish language manuscripts containing both prose and poetry: a single collection would give the reader access to a substantial part of the literature. Many such manuscripts were taken to America after; the emigration of numerous Irish speakers to America as an immediate or long-term result of the Famine led to a movement there for the maintenance of the Irish language. This was marked in part by the foundation of Philo-Celtic Societies and the founding of the monthly journal An Gaodhal in 1881, the first such publication anywhere in which Irish was extensively used. If the political elite in Ireland remained tolerant of British political parties and the monarchy, emigrants were not so.
Many Irish emigrants to the United States associated with separatist republican groups and organisations like the IRB. The political liberties and freedom of opportunity they encountered in the States confirmed for them the potential of an independent Ireland and made them more passionate and optimistic than some of their brethren at home; the Famine and its causes became a major platform for emigrant anger, as it was the main cause for most of them being emigrants in the first place. John Mitchel, a journalist by trade proved to be a superb campaigner against British rule i
Florence Nightingale, was an English social reformer and statistician, the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers, she gave nursing a favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. Recent commentators have asserted Nightingale's Crimean War achievements were exaggerated by media at the time, but critics agree on the importance of her work in professionalising nursing roles for women. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London, it was the first secular nursing school in the world, is now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.
Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were harsh for women, expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce. Nightingale was a versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge; some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could be understood by those with poor literary skills. She was a pioneer in the use of infographics using graphical presentations of statistical data. Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously. Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May 1820 into a rich, upper-class, well-connected British family at the Villa Colombaia, in Florence, Tuscany and was named after the city of her birth. Florence's older sister Frances Parthenope had been named after her place of birth, Parthenope, a Greek settlement now part of the city of Naples.
The family moved back to England in 1821, with Nightingale being brought up in the family's homes at Embley and Lea Hurst, Derbyshire. Florence inherited a liberal-humanitarian outlook from both sides of her family, her parents were William Edward Nightingale, born William Edward Shore and Frances Nightingale née Smith. William's mother Mary née Evans was the niece of Peter Nightingale, under the terms of whose will William inherited his estate at Lea Hurst, assumed the name and arms of Nightingale. Fanny's father was Unitarian William Smith. Nightingale's father educated her. In 1838, her father took the family on a tour in Europe where he was introduced to the English-born Parisian hostess Mary Clarke, with whom Florence bonded, she recorded that "Clarkey" was a stimulating hostess who did not care for her appearance, while her ideas did not always agree with those of her guests, "she was incapable of boring anyone." Her behaviour was said to be exasperating and eccentric and she had no respect for upper-class British women, whom she regarded as inconsequential.
She said that if given the choice between being a woman or a galley slave she would choose the freedom of the galleys. She rejected female company and spent her time with male intellectuals. However, Clarkey made an exception in the case of Florence in particular, she and Florence were to remain close friends for 40 years despite their 27-year age difference. Clarke demonstrated that women could be equals to men, an idea that Florence had not obtained from her mother. Nightingale underwent the first of several experiences that she believed were calls from God in February 1837 while at Embley Park, prompting a strong desire to devote her life to the service of others. In her youth she was respectful of her family's opposition to her working as a nurse, only announcing her decision to enter the field in 1844. Despite the intense anger and distress of her mother and sister, she rebelled against the expected role for a woman of her status to become a wife and mother. Nightingale worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing, in the face of opposition from her family and the restrictive social code for affluent young English women.
As a young woman, Nightingale was described as attractive and graceful. While her demeanour was severe, she was said to be charming and to possess a radiant smile, her most persistent suitor was the politician and poet Richard Monckton Milnes, but after a nine-year courtship she rejected him, convinced that marriage would interfere with her ability to follow her calling to nursing. In Rome in 1847, she met Sidney Herbert, a politician, Secretary at War, on his honeymoon, he and Nightingale became lifelong close friends. Herbert would be Secretary of War again during the Crimean War, when he and his wife would be instrumental in facilitating Nightingale's nursing work in the Crimea, she became Herbert's key adviser throughout his political career, though she was accused by some of having hastened Herbert's death from Bright's Disease in 1861 because of the pressure her programme of reform placed on him. Nightingale much had strong relations with academic Benjamin Jowett, who may have wanted to marry her.
Nightingale continued her travels as far as Egypt. Her writings on Egypt in particular are testimony to her learn