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XIV HOUSE OF GORDON.
colours crippled its author for years. But, unhappily, achievement is
rarely commensurate with the enthusiasm which promotes it : hardly
any other type of history is undertaken with more devotion and less
capacity. The reason is obvious. Most regimental histories are pro-
duced by officers who, while devoted to the traditions of their corps,
have little aptitude and less opportunity for research. In nine cases
out of ten they are content to tell the story of their regiment in the
terms of the part it played — and that is often a subordinate part —
in various campaigns. Look at most of the histories produced dur-
ing the past ten years, and you will find that the South African War
is told at a length equal to all the other campaigns of the corps put
together. If a succession of the officers is given (as it rarely is), it
supplies as a rule only the services in the corps under review ; not
one history in a hundred attempts to say who these officers were,
though most regiments have had a regular procession of officers from
the same family, brought in largely by territorial associations. The
result is that most of the histories will have to be done over again,
if only because the material at the War Office has scarcely been looked
at, while in still fewer cases have the archives of family charter chests
been utilised. One feels this acutely in the case of the Gordon High-
landers. It happens that the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, the
descendant and representative of the founder, possesses in his archives
at Gordon Castle a large number of letters and documents dealing with
its inception as a semi-private enterprise. The regiment itself is pecu-
liarly happy in having had preserved (at Castlehill Barracks) its first
muster roll, almost unique for its elaborate details of historical, socio-
logical, and eugenic, as well as purely military, interest : yet, though we
have had at least three books on the regiment during recent years — Mr.
James Cromb's, Mr. James Milne's, and Colonel Greenhill-Gardyne's —
it has not been used, and what is worse, it cannot be used for many
years to come, for the field is already full. It would indeed not be easy
to match the perverseness which has persisted in dealing with regi-
mental history in every way except the family and territorial spirit.
Therefore, the present work breaks what is practically new ground.
It is quite typical of this failure that few dictionaries of militaiy
biography have been produced among us. One does not forget the Royal
Military Calendar oi Sir John Philippart, published in 1815, but it confines

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