Bulwer-Lytton's Farewell Speach

Gravesend, England
October 1858

Following is an excerpt of Sir Lytton's farewell speech to the detachment sent to British Columbia.

Soldiers, you are going to a distant country, not, I trust, to fight against men, but to conquer nature; not to besiege cities, but to create them; not to overthrow kingdoms, but to assist in establishing new communities under the sceptre of your own Queen.

For those noble objects, you, soldiers of the Royal Engineers, have been specially selected from the ranks of Her Majesty's armies.

Wherever you go, you carry with you not only English valour and English loyalty, but English intelligence and English skill.

Wherever a difficulty is to be encountered, which requires in the soldier not only courage and discipline, but education and science, sappers and miners, the Sovereign of England turns with confidence to you.

If this were the service of danger and bloodshed, I know that on every field, and against all odds, the honour of the English arms would be safe from a stain in your hands; but in that distant region to which you depart, I hope that our national flag will wave in peaceful triumph, on many a Royal birthday, from walls and church towers which you will have assisted to raise from the wilderness, and will leave to remote generations as the bloodless trophies of your renown.

Soldiers! You will be exposed to temptation.

You go where gold is discovered, where avarice inflames all the passions.

But I know that the voice of duty and the love of honour will keep you true to our officers, and worthy of the trust which your Sovereign places in her Royal Engineers.