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George the Second

Anecdotes Home






It was once found an impracticable task to make George
the Second acquiesce in a judgment passed by a court-martial on the conduct
of two officers high in the army. One of the officers had made himself
amenable to military law, by fighting in opposition to the orders of his
commander in chief, instead of retreating; by which act of disobedience,
the general's plans were frustrated. On these circumstances being detailed
to the king, his majesty exclaimed, "Oh! the one fight, the other run
away." "Your majesty will have the goodness to understand, that General
---- did not run away; it was necessary for the accomplishment of his
schemes, that he should cause the army to retreat at that critical moment;
this he would have conducted with his wonted skill, but for the breach of
duty in the officer under the sentence of the court-martial." "I
understand," impatiently returned the king; "one fight, he was right; the
other run away, he was wrong." It was in vain that ministers renewed their
arguments and explanations; his majesty could not, or would not, understand
the difference between a disgraceful flight and a politic retreat; they
were therefore obliged to end a discussion which merely drew forth the
repetition of the same judgment--"The one face the enemy and fight, he
right; the other turn his back and not fight, he wrong."





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