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causes of this evil. These gentlemen, in their conscientious desire to reduce taxation, seldom take time to consider whether the particular reductions for which they clamour are wise reductions. They may perceive that without men and horses you cannot have an army at all; but they are unable to comprehend the use of pontoons in a country where every river is bridged over; or of a waggon train and camp equipment for troops which make all their journeys by rail, and sleep every night in barracks or billets. In a word, they overlook the fact that if you desire to be ready for war, you must have by you, in peace, at least the framework of all that war requires; that waggons, pontoons, &c. cost nothing while in store; that a small estabsishment of men and horses set apart expressly to work with these
waggons can never be very expensive ; and that not the least of the advantages secured by their presence is this, that ingenuity is kept on the stretch, and that while using our own implements we are induced to inquire into the proceedings of our neighbours, to adopt their improvements if they bave made any, or to make improvements of our own.
Here, then, is one great defect under which as a military nation we must always labour,—that being more earnest in the maintenance of our civil liberties than in the extension of our military power, we shackle, not perhaps too much, but often unwisely, the will of the executive in the matter of military expenditure. For the sums annually voted even in peace are sufficient to give us all that we require, were the Assembly which votes them alive to the fact, that as much depends upon the manner of expending some 16 or 17 millions as on the liberality which supplies them.
II. Another, and at least as effective a cause of our exceeding helplessness at the commencement of every war, is to be found in the custom which has heretofore prevailed, of administering the affairs of the army through five or six different departments, each independent of the other. Some clue to this official labyrinth is given by Mr. Thompson in the compilation of which we have prefixed the title to this Article. But far greater experience than his is required to set the subject clearly before the general reader, for its tortuosities extend through every department of the State. Let us not, however, be misunderstood. Departmental administration, where the chiefs of the several departments report to one common head, and receive from him their instructions, is not only allowable, but indispensable, in the management of every extensive concern. Business could not, indeed, be carried on without such a division of labour. But when, as was recently the case in this country, each department finds itself free to take
its own course; when the Treasury could refuse or grant its sanction to all expenditure, according to the humour in which the chief clerks happened to be; when only the Commander-in-Chief could move infantry and cavalry, only the Master-General move artillery and engineers; when on the Secretary-at-War devolved the duty of providing adequate medical and other supplies; and to the Minister-at-War some ill-defined right appertained of saying when, how, and in what part of the world troops were to operate; when colonels of regiments clothed and accoutred their men, and made a profit out of the job, while the Board of Ordnance furnished great coats and arms; when the balance amongst these several authorities was so nicely hung that a fit of recalcitration on the part of one would paralyse the activity of all the rest: in such a condition of things as this, it is very little to be wondered at, if a machine which could just manage to rub on heavily and slowly in time of peace, should, when war made its demand for rapid action, prove wholly unmanageable. It is not, however, our intention to dwell at length on this part of the subject; for besides that in a recent Number we took occasion to set forth the extreme inconveniences of the device, statesmen of all shades of opinion seem now to be agreed that the device itself will admit of no kind of justification. Whether or not the right course has been adopted for applying the remedy to the disease is a point which it may become our duty to discuss byand-by. Meanwhile, we pass on to a third source of military feebleness which, though long felt and deplored by thoughtful individuals, has, up to the present moment, been studiously kept from public view by the
heads of the profession. III. There is nothing in the army itself, or in anything connected with it, which has any tendency to develop the intellect of the members of the body, or to stimulate their industry in time of peace. Promotion with us comes by purchase, by interest, or by seniority. Our Staff appointments go either to friends or relatives of the Commander-in-Chief, or to gentlemen pressed upon him by influential persons whom he would be loth to disoblige. We have no schools of instruction for officers, with the single exception of Sandhurst; and besides that the system of management there is singularly defective, it labours under this not less serious disadvantage, that nobody derives the slightest benefit - in his profession at least - from the attainment of the highest honours which this seminary can confer. Indeed, it would be hard to say, looking as well to its constitution as to the order of the studies pursued within its walls, why this senior department at Sandhurst should exist at all. It is not like the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris ---a general school of instruction for the civil and military servants of the State. It is not a cavalry school, an artillery school, nor in any degree akin to the Ecole d'Etat Major, in which the Staff of the French army is reared. But it is, like its junior, self-supporting, and therefore accessible only to officers, who can afford to pay for the education which they receive there, and support themselves all the while. Nor is this all. We believe that those best acquainted with the institution will be the most forward to acknowledge, that in the matter of practical training for the Staff, a young officer will find little in the instruction which is communicated to him at Sandhurst which, when the exigencies of a campaign arise, he can turn to account. That this state of things is inherent in the nature of the institution we are far from desiring to assert. It is, on the contrary, the mere growth of years of neglect on the part of our highest military authorities; and we are willing to believe that the day is near at hand when an effective remedy will be applied to it. But in the meanwhile the two facts stand prominently before us; first, that this great Empire does not possess a Staff School worthy of the name; and, next, that the highest testimonials from our Staff School, such as it is, carry with them no sure claim, on the part of the recipient, to Staff employment.
IV. Again, the British army is singularly defective in this: that till called upon to take the field in the presence of an enemy, its officers and men have no opportunity of learning more than their duty as members of a regiment. Here and there, as at Gibraltar, at Malta, in Dublin, and perhaps at Portsmouth and Plymouth, two or more battalions of infantry may work together in brigade; and occasionally, as at Dublin, cavalry and artillery being added, some four or five thousand men manæuvre as a division in Phønix Park. And this is not without its uses. But till the camp was formed two years ago at Chobham, the concentration of a few thousand men into an army had been a thing unheard of in this country for half a century; and even at Chobham little more than the parade movements of a division was attempted. There were no reconnoissances made; no outposts established; no foraging imitated; no fieldworks thrown up; no purveyance, nor any other of the operations of a campaign, enacted even on a small scale. And, above all, there was no pausing from time to time to instruct Staff and other officers in the objects of the various evolutions which they assisted to direct. In a word, ours is a regimental system, and pothing else; and even of that it concerns us to be obliged to acknowledge that our opinion is by no means in unison with the views expressed by Lord Hardinge and, after him, by Lord Panmure.
V. Down to the very constitution of its battalions and companies, the system of the British army stands in need of revisal. We officer our regiments too exclusively from one class; we too firmly shut the door of admission into that charmed circle against all other classes. Our first commissions are given, without any serious trial of fitness, to the sons of noblemen and gentlemen, of clergymen and officers, who by themselves or through their connexions can command sufficient interest to have their names put down upon the list of the General Commanding in Chief. An examination-or, to speak more correctly, the caricature of an examination—there has been since
1849; but never so constituted as to furnish any safe test of the talents or acquirements of candidates, it has, we understand, since the breaking out of the war, fallen virtually into disuse; and we believe that we speak the language of those best qualified to give an opinion when we aid, that it is much to be desired that in its original form at least it may never be revived. Moreover, the young man, after joining his depôt or
. corps, is put to very little trouble so far as his mind is concerned. He must acquire a knowledge of regimental drill, which seldom occupies more than six weeks, and then his time and his talents are almost entirely at his own disposal. He rises late day after day, spends an hour over his tub and his toilet, devotes another hour to his breakfast and cigar, and at eleven o'clock, weather permitting, parades with his men. This done, unless he be officer of the day, he may go where he will and do as he pleases till the pleasant sound of the dinner horn bring him to the messtable, and a cigar and a rubber of whist in the ante-room wile away the evening till bed-time.
So living (we speak of our army, be it observed, in times of peace), without an aim, without an object--carrying the same indolent habits with him wherever he may chance to be sent, the youth gradually stiffens into manhood, and at the age of forty or forty-five finds himself a lieutenant-colonel by purchase. As a matter of course, the responsibility and trouble of command (for the command of a regiment is not quite a sinecure) become gradually irksome to him. He is married, too, or proposes to marry, and therefore considers within himself whether it be wise to risk, in colonial service, not only his life, but the eight or ten thousand pounds which he has expended in attaining to rank; and so-just as he was beginning to be useful, -just as the country had a right to expect something from his experience, should the emergencies of war arise, he sells out, and opens a
way for others to go through the same routine and arrive at the same issue.
VI. The internal economy-meaning thereby the domestic state and interior habits of a regiment- is very far indeed from what it ought to be in our service. The distance between the officer and non-commissioned officer and private soldier is too great. The former holds no intercourse at all with the latter, except on points of duty; and these are so managed, that they lead to no familiar acquaintance, even with character. An officer
a captain, at all events — can generally tell which of his men is a drunkard and otherwise guilty of irregularities; but which of them is prudent which reckless, which is truthful which a deceiver, which is far-sighted, ingenious, handy at a pinch, or the reverse, he knows no more than if there were no bond of union between them. How, indeed, should the case be otherwise ? The captain has nothing whatever to do with the supply of his men's wants, and has, therefore, no means of judging as to their capability of making little go a great way. The clothes which the Government supplies, they put on, and continue to wear for the regulated season; while their bread and meat, furnished by contract, they carry off and prepare for consumption in fixed cooking places, after a fixed method. Whatever instruction the men receive, they receive from non-commissioned officers. All that relates to drill comes to them from the adjutant and sergeant-major through drill corporals. All that they are taught in the manner of cleaning and taking care of their arms and accoutrements, they are taught under the sergeants of rooms by their comrades. It is only upon parade that the wellconducted man has any opportunity of hearing his officers' voices, except when by turns these latter rush through the schools, the barrack-rooms, the hospitals, and the cells, and put the stereotyped question, to which the stereotyped answer is always ready,
Any complaints here?' Nor is this all. Though a good deal has undoubtedly been done of late years to encourage in the private soldier better tastes and consequent respect for himself, his condition is still such as to deter all except the humblest or most improvident members of society from enlisting. His labours in time of peace may be light, but his whole existence is one of order and routine. His barrack-room may be weather-tight, but it cuts him off from the remotest chance of privacy. It is truly a comfortless domicile, - particularly in winter; at which season a scanty allowance of fuel, and still scantier supply of candles, often force him, against the dictates of his better judgment, to seek for light and warmth in the tap-room of a public-house. Moreover, the soldier's life receives but little gilding from the sun of hope.