« VorigeDoorgaan »
example of a · Voluntary Principle’ as it is well possible to meet.
This has become obvious to the recruit, who has learnt to assert himself by wholesale breach of contract. To encounter this successfully, it has been thought expedient to resort to a modified idea of short service in the ranks, viz. six years. The term, however, is found to be too long if free will is to be observed, if the man is to be a voluntary soldier in practice as well as in principle like his officer. Therefore, we say, boldly grapple with your difficulty. Act firmly, logically, and conclusively on the principle to which you declare your adherence, viz. the voluntary principle. Let that adherence be shown by the adoption of real and positive short service in the first instance by the man of full age, by the resolute abstention from the unworthy arts of the Line-recruiting sergeant, by recurrence to the free will of the old disengaged soldier when he is in India or other foreign parts, by distinction of inducement between the half-trained Militia lad and the full-aged Line soldier ; by appeal, in short, to those facts and sympathies by which all trades and industries are supported, which cannot, like the Army, seek a national exchequer on which to rest.
It is not to be expected that in a paper of this kind we can enter much into detail. We may, however, appeal to Sir Lintorn Simmons' argument and to his figures for a convincing proof that there is nothing financially alarming in the proposals which have been hazarded. The question before us is by no means insoluble. It is to be resolved partly by that proper application of the national resources suggested with such patriotic earnestness by the accomplished general officer we have quoted, and partly by administrative reforms in the adaptation of the official means at our disposal through which unity may come to take the place of diversity, and competition for the same raw material may be caused to disappear among those who are in truth constituents of the one service of the Crown.
This, however, may be said. Just as it is right that the skilled infantry Line soldier should be better paid than the halftrained Militia one, so it is but common sense, if viewed from the industrial standpoint, that the cavalry man should be much better paid than the infantry Line man, and that the emoluments of the trained gunner and engineer should rise in proportion. In short, following the example of all trades and industries, every man should be paid according to his deserts and the class of work he does.
With regard to her Majesty's Guards, it may be borne in mind we must pay for appearance, size, and conduct in difficult circumstances, as for other commodities. Just as a sixfoot London footman commands higher wages than his country compeer of five feet six, so the corps d'élite of tall men should be so well cared for as to make discharge from one of the battalions of Guards the first of punishments. It is not necessary to pay them as high as the Police for this purpose, for the men are younger and without families.
And now a few words may be permitted on the point of the soldier's emoluments. It is the fashion of military financiers to lump together the different advantages possessed by the soldier -lodging, rations, medical attendance, daily pay--and then to say he is better off than if he had remained a day labourer of some sort. Even in figures this calculation fails if the comparison be made with the price of labour in many counties and probably in all the large towns in the three kingdoms. But there is an element for consideration which escapes the attention of the military financier, or advertisers of War Office benefits to the public. Thus the soldier, at least the unmarried one, finds much of his money is in general spent for him under authority. His accounts show him the owner of a shilling a day, besides rations, barracks, &c., but as a matter of fact it is a fair question whether on the average he obtains throughout the year more than sixpence a day out of the shilling. This will
, of course, vary in different regiments according to the idiosyncrasies of commanding officers, but we believe the assumption is not far wrong that one of the chief disgusts of the young soldier is the discovery how little ready money he can dispose of, and that, although comfortably lodged and fed, he cannot overcome his disappointment on being made practically aware, that in a crude pecuniary sense, he is not so well off as when he took his daily dinners under a hedge and lodged as he best could. This is not said in blame of what goes by the name of the regimental system, but merely to show how it is the shoe pinches, that the rates of pay are really insufficient, whether they be tried with reference to the value of the time of the men as measured by other industries, or by the rude but by no means unpractical tests applied by the men themselves.
This article has already extended to so great a length that but a bare allusion can be made to the great question of Reserves. There can be no doubt they should be made effective, and should have the habit of assembly, of coming to call at the brigade centre to which they are affiliated. Drill is not wanted for such old soldiers as those who have passed into the
Reserve. But the habit of assembly in military form and of publicly acknowledging their obligations, is an imperative necessity, if the institution is to be raised from the state of sham in which it now exists, if the objects of the retaining fee are to be secured.
Each Reserve soldier should receive the full pay and advantages of the branch to which he belongs, during such time as he may be taken from his ordinary avocations, in addition to the retaining fee, or daily fourpence. We are without the data which would warrant the utterance of an opinion on the sufficiency of the fee, and as to whether the term of six years be too long. These are points of the utmost consequence which should be very seriously considered by the War Office.
It being our earnest desire to see a certain proportion of the sull-grown Militiamen gradually transfer their services to the Line, we should wish while making the Army Reserve a reality, generally to induce the Militia Reserve by handsome bounties to inaugurate the new system and to become Line soldiers, and then to dispense with it. The request might be put to them to commence on a three years' term in the ranks, with the other conditions which have been already indicated. Were the existing Militia Reserve so applied we should have an invaluable element for the recruitment of our Indian battalions without again committing ourselves to the ruinous depletion of our Line regiments serving in the United Kingdom of all the men of full age and sufficient physical development on account of Indian demands.
Finally, we would suggest that during times of peace and while Militia regiments are merely called out for training, and are not embodied for service, they should as much as possible be treated as territorial bodies, and except on very rare occasions never moved out of their respective counties. It is a terrible mistake to treat these half-trained corps as if they were thoroughly finished and perfect Line regiments: a greater blunder than the association of them with the Army Proper in the mimic campaign and very great fatigues of the so-called Autumn Manoeuvres can hardly be conceived. The regiments are not prepared by previous instruction, the men are not hardened, there is not, there cannot be, the required discipline for the successful encounter of the difficulties and positive hardships incidental to such a trial. The results are seen of intense disgust in the districts which furnish the men. Recruiting either stops or is very seriously interfered with.
On the other hand, we know from our experience of 1854–55 how thoroughly efficient these battalions become after an embodiment of six or even four months. They are then as fit as Line regiments for any kind of military fatigue. The course we condemn is the attempt to make children run before they can walk, which saps the popularity of the force, and is therefore fatal to easy recruitment.
That which we recommend is the reasonable one. It maintains the local popularity of the Militia. The surrounding communities are freed from alarm. The inducement to enlist is not weakened. If, as we hope to see, the latent military feeling of the country is developed in favour of the army by a practical and easily intelligible system, the Militia becoming the first great feeder of our Line, the enormous importance of the foregoing considerations cannot fail to attract the attention of authority. It is a simple but by no means a small matter which was for a long time the subject of misconception, the latter being aided perhaps not a little by the desire in high quarters a few years back to produce theatrical effects. In this country, at least, such effects finally end in ridicule and exaggerated misappreciation.
Our task is done. We proposed to set before the public the wants which have grown upon us in the gradual changes of the last forty years. These wants have been shown on indisputable evidence to be at least twelve times greater than was the case at the commencement of the present reign. These wants must continue to increase, yet the old obsolete means of supplying them remain almost identical with what prevailed two hundred years ago ; there being in this a strange and fatal distinction between ourselves and all other nations of the modern Europe in which we live. Other countries, be they right or wrong in their views of military extension, act firmly on such views, adapt means to end, or, to use the language of the philosopher, they have since the wars of the First French republic, since the campaign of Jena, and more especially since the reigning Emperor of Germany became King of Prussia, persevered in the continuous adjustment of internal
relations to external relations' in the arrangement of their modern system of defence. It is in vain for us to say whether they are right or wrong. Their point of departure may not be such as we may approve, but this is beyond our control. It remains, then, for us to carry out our continuous adjustment' according to the principles on which, as declared by all our leading public men, the country is determined to rest. The means of execution have been indicated.
Until a solid system of recruitment based on the voluntary principle according to an engagement of Short Service,
sufficiently paid to establish the reality of the principle has been developed; until the shameful conventional crimes of desertion and fraudulent enlistment have been abolished, not by punishment, which is impossible, but by a remodification which shall substitute co-operation for competition and ruinous rivalry between two branches of the Service of which the one is the legitimate feeder of the other; until the Army Reserve shall have assumed a positive and effective reality, there should be no intermission of that movement so long and gallantly persevered in by Lord Elcho, and pursued with such success in the discussions of last year in and out of Parliament.
ART. III.-1. Journal et Correspondance de André-Marie
Ampère. Publiés par Mme. H.C. Paris: 1872. 2. André-Marie Ampère et Jean-Jacques Ampère. Corre
spondance et Souvenirs (de 1805 à 1864). Recueillis par
Madame H. C. Paris : 1875. 3. Madame Récamier; with a Sketch of the History of Society
in France. By Madame M *** London : 1862. . A SAYING is current among Roman Catholics that there is
no Purgatory for France; the French being either too good for the need, or too bad for the efficacy, of the purifying fires. Plenty of contrasting examples in point will immediately start up from history to confirm this proverb, and, if we judge our neighbours correctly, the readiness with which they will endorse it may be taken as a further proof of its truth. But, in sober earnest, there is nothing more difficult than for one nation fairly to judge of another. What lies on the surface will ever be only superficially judged; the deeper strata are seldom laid bare to investigation or comprehension. As a rule it may be admitted that the distinguishing merits of the French and English races—like the distinguishing beauties of the sister arts—lie in their very differences; and hence are the less amenable to mutual sympathy and intelligence. We puzzle our French brethren in one way; they us in another. We chill them by the undemonstrativeness of our social habits ; they, in some measure, shock us by the laxity of theirs. Our home-strictness is, or has been, our national pride; their warmth of friendship their national charm. Accordingly, by a natural inversion, all true pictures of French inner life, by the strength and fidelity of the friendships they record, are singularly calculated to touch and even reprove us.