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Welsh History Review


Vol. 4, nos. 1-4 1968-69

Soldier-surgeon : the Crimean war letters of Dr. Douglas A. Reid, 1855-56 : Book review.

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the limitation of armaments went side by side with an ardent sympathy
for struggling nationalities overseas: this is illuminated by a fascinating
letter to Kossuth in 1853 that Mr. Masterman has discovered in the
Széchényi Library in Budapest and appended to the present edition.
This book also contains many instances of Cobden's political realism-his
frank acknowledgement (p. 105) that his views on foreign policy might
well divide former adherents to the Anti-Corn Law League, and some
shrewd observations (p. 231) on the tactics to be pursued by the radical
press. There are also superb judgements on contemporaries-on Glad-
stone ('I fear he sometimes entangles his conscience in his intellect'), on
Palmerston and Bright. Those who still follow Bright's later account and
see his partnership with Cobden simply as 'twenty years of most intimate
and most brotherly friendship' may find some surprises in this book.
For Welsh historians, the great interest here lies in the large number
of letters printed from Cobden to the Welsh radical, Henry Richard.
Last year, honour was rightly done to Richard's triumphant return for
Merthyr Tydfil in the 1868 election, and his subsequent twenty years in the
House as champion of Welsh and other causes. This volume recalls the
earlier Richard, the cosmopolitan radical, the tireless secretary of the
Peace Society and leader-writer on the Morning and the Evening Star.
Cobden throughout was Richard's mentor, whether in exposing the
empty character of such terms as the 'equilibrium' of Europe, or in
warning him to restrain his journal's call for parliamentary reform. But
the relationship was far from being a one-sided one. There is still much
to be written on Richard's career as an advocate of international con-
ciliation; important light may be shed here in Goronwy Jones's forth-
coming volume from the University of Wales Press, Wales and the Quest
for Peace, 1815-1939. In the interim, not the least of Mr. Masterman's
services is to remind us that Wales, no less than England in the mid-
nineteenth century, had its apostle of peace.
The Queen's College, Oxford
REID, 1855-56. Edited by J. O. Baylen and A. Conway. University of
Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1968. Pp. vii, 158.$5.25.
In 1924 Dr. Douglas Reid was buried in Tenby, where for many years
he had been a magistrate and town councillor as well as Medical Officer
of Health. The great adventure of his life had been seventy years earlier
when, as a newly qualified surgeon, he served with the British army during
the Crimean War. While in the Crimea, he wrote frequent letters to his
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