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general assurances in which the present Government deal so largely, and on those many parts of the subject which lie outside the ken of the unofficial world. Though enquiry and criticism are the duty of a Parliamentary Opposition, it is clearly beyond their competence to undertake the supervision and correction of such branches of executive administration. If it were necessary to do so, they ought without delay to change places with the holders of office.

The time may come when, instructed by military reverses, we or our children may think it incredible that an English Government should have been willing, amidst the warnings of the past year, to allow weeks and months to slip away with the needful precautions neglected : still more extraordinary that Parliament and the country should have been content to accept excuses too transparent even to be plausible, and to risk the vast fortunes of England upon the accident of the hour, the forbearance of our enemies, or the generosity of our rivals. To appreciate the extent of this neglect is difficult for any ordinary civilian, to whom war on English soil is almost without meaning; but it is hardly too much to say, that in those departments of military organisation which Prussia has brought to such high excellence, and in which every other Continental Power is striving to rival Prussia, our preparations might be written down as nil. In men, in material, in training, in equipment, in the proportionate blending of localisation and concentration, in transport, -in all that makes an army readily available for attack or defence, and distinguishes it from an armed rabble, we are, if

measure our requirements by the conditions of our time, nearly, if not absolutely, deficient. The torpedoes to which the American war had given such prominence, with which even Turkey and Egypt thought it necessary to be provided, which might be invaluable for the defence of our seaport towns, and which had been recommended more than two years ago by the Floating Obstruction Committee, remained only in the domain of official controversy. It was repeatedly asserted, and the assertion met with no denial, that in the autumn of last year there was but one torpedo in existence in the arsenal, or, as it might be more fitly termed, the military museum of the English nation. As it was with torpedoes, so is it with our supply of the particular gunpowder which is suitable to the new class of ordnance, and which is the very breath of modern warfare. Discussions in Parliament and the Press made it unequivocally clear that, during the last two years of unwise economies, our Government, like one of those financing companies of whose acuteness we are accustomed to speak more highly than of



their honesty, had been living upon our capital stock of powderthat we had none of the first class in store, an insufficient quantity of a second and inferior class and a redundancy of à third and worthless kind ;—that this third class would be ineffective in action, incapable of developing the power of our modern artillery, even damaging to them, and is in practice rejected by the Navy ;-that the Government establishment can barely produce an amount equal to one year's consumption in time of peace; and that, as long experience shows, contract powder, which can only be procured of the second and inferior quality, is untrustworthy and extravagantly costly, when, in a moment of urgency, the difficulty of the Government becomes the opportunity of the manufacturer. Again, as with gunpowder so with our fortifications. Ten years have gone by since Lord Palmerston induced Parliament to accept a scheme for the defence of our great arsenals; but the proposals of the Commissioners have been pared down to save money ; portions of the work done are officially declared to be neutralised by an absence of the collateral supports which formed a part of the original design; some of their most important recommendations have been deliberately set aside, and generally the fortifications are not completed or the full complement of guns mounted. The condition of Gibraltar and Malta—the keys of our Eastern empire and the guarantees of our existence as an European power—is even worse. With small garrisons and an inadequate number of trained gunners, with an extensive range of fortifications to defend, and those fortifications unready for war, they seem to court the attack of the first unscrupulous opponent. Even our greatest commercial seaports cannot be pronounced secure. Undefended by earthworks on the land side, by guns and turretships towards the sea, their vast wealth might, on a sudden declaration of war, be at the mercy of a few ironclad privateers or fireships. What the United States do not grudge to their seaboard—what the Colonial Legislatures of New South Wales and Victoria think it prudent to do for Sydney and Melbourne, the British Government decline to sanction for the security of the great seaports through which English commerce passes, and without which English commerce would cease to exist. Extravagant to recklessness, if Purchase is to be abolished, or the Alabama damages are to be compensated, or the Radical vote is to be conciliated, they are penuriously economical where the commercial credit and safety of the country are so deeply concerned.

It is melancholy to protract the long catalogue of shortcomings and negligences and ignorances. Weapons, stores, men

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too few to horse the batteries and often too young to stand the strain of a few weeks'campaign-transport and waggon-trains and road engines and field hospitals, and all the thousand-and-one necessities for moving and feeding and arming and tending and giving life to an army, with all the further supplies of spare equipments which, whether to follow up success or to retrieve defeat, is the essential condition of modern warfare—are either wanting or exist in such scanty proportions as to be, for practical purposes, non-existent. For these reasons, to say that some parts of our small army, such as the Royal Artillery, are admirably armed, organised, and officered, is no real answer. The enormous scale on which a modern campaign is laid out, the prodigious waste of men and material, the absolute necessity of a large surplus on which to draw, and the exceptionally heavy calls which, in the event of war, must be made upon us, render it dangerous, at least, to hazard everything upon any small, however highly-trained, forces. But to say, in accordance with the approved formula of Ministerial apologists, that we are better supplied now than we were in former years, is-assuming the correctness of the assertion—wholly beside the argument. When the Duke of Wellington estimated in 1847 the minimum force for defence in the event of invasion at 40,000 men, he did so in reference to the armaments of other nations and the existing conditions of Continental railways and shipping. Obviously all questions of attack and defence are relative; and when the facilities of foreign aggression have been quadrupled and quintupled, it is like the idle talk of children to assure us that we are stronger than we have ever been before, because we have received, what is in comparison with other countries only an infinitesimal increase of strength in some of our supply departments.

Assuming, indeed, the truth of the proposition so often laid down, that it is our policy to have a small but complete army,

capable of expansion' as runs the somewhat equivocal expression of the day, it is clear that every stress should be laid upon the augmentation and development of those scientific and elaborate departments of military administration which cannot be provided on the

of the moment. To a certain extent, this has been the case with our Artillery and Engineer services; but with them almost alone. The Intelligence department cannot be said to have an existence; the field telegraph, which has played so great a part in recent wars, exists only for a very limited force. Our Transport service cannot undertake the movement of a single corps d'armée without borrowing largely from, and thereby impairing, the efficiency of the Artillery. Many, if not all, branches of our Supply departments are confessedly most weak; whilst our Cavalry, apart from the question of equipment, which has long seemed to us to require a careful reconsideration under the altered circumstances of modern war, is numerically so weak, that in the event of invasion it would be barely equal to the common details of outpost duty. It is true that for such purposes we ought to find a valuable support in our 14,000 Yeomanry; but they have been so long and systematically discouraged by successive Liberal Governments, that unless thoroughly reconstituted, they would be unable to render any real service. Our dependence would therefore be upon that regular cavalry which, only a few years since depreciated by the hasty opinion of the country, but now recognised as one of the characteristic features of Prussian manœuvres, is a plant of very slow growth; for officers of experience have never estimated the time within which a cavalry soldier can be fully formed at much less than three years. Into the further and serious question, whether when so formed he is equal to the work which a Prussian Uhlan is expected to perform, we will not here enter. The French system of outposts was acknowledged by the Emperor Napoleon in 1859 to be inferior to the Austrian; the Austrian in 1866 was very inferior to the Prussian ; and it might perhaps be asked to which of these three-French Austrian, or Prussian-does our system most nearly approach?


Serious as these reflections are, they almost pale before the still graver doubt, whether the English soldier of the line is of the same substantial stuff as were his predecessors who on so many battle-fields, and generally against such long odds, won for us the not unmerited compliment, that it was well for the world that there was not a larger supply of British Infantry. Whatever may be now or hereafter the improvements of military science, the physical power and endurance of the men, whether on the march or in the close shock of battle, must remain essential and determining conditions of success. In 1866 the Austrian soldiers fought well; but it was remarked that man for man they were physically unequal in weight and height to the Prussians; and in the war of last year the same contrast between French and Germans was still more marked. Under the old long-service system the English soldier, though gathered to the standard without much regard to class or antecedents, was a man in the prime of his strength, with tough and tried sinews, capable of undergoing fatigue and exposure: under the new system, which professes a pedantic but not very real regard for ethical considerations, the English soldier is a weak puny boy from seventeen to nineteen years old, with his muscles unset, his con


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stitution unformed, his health as unable to bear the strain of hunger, illness, or exposure, as his body is to resist the actual tug of war. It was a grave responsibility to reduce the standards of height, of breadth across the chest, and of range of vision, with no better excuse than the formation of a so-called Reserve, which up to this time has done little beyond draining away our best soldiers and non-commissioned officers. But to do this in the face of remonstrances from almost every officer of eminence, and in spite of the distinct warning from an authority so friendly to the present Government as Lord Sandhurst, that they were

organising defeat,' is a procedure for which the utmost charity can hardly find an explanation. But whatever excuses the ingenuity of partisans may discover, we trust at least that no one will venture to suggest that in this we are copying the Prussian model. The Prussian system of a Reserve, with its localised regiments and its universally obligatory service is, as might easily be shown, the exact opposite of that which our Government has adopted. It is, in fact, optional to us to choose either a short-service system, with its large reserves and its localisation of regiments analogous to that of Prussia, so far as English habits and requirements permit-for every army should be organised in view of its national characteristics and conditions -or the long-service system of former times, but accompanied by a considerable increase in numerical strength, and by a rate of wages that would enable us to compete fairly for men in the labour market. We will not now discuss the merits of these alternatives ; it is enough to say that, under either, the defence at least of the country might be adequately secured; but, so far as Prussian organisation is concerned, we are for the present removed alike from its excellencies and its demerits.

In many Volunteer regiments very different and superior qualifications are to be found, and men are to be seen who in physical appearance would do no discredit to any army in the world. But except for the uniforms that they wear, the arms that they carry, much personal zeal, and a very moderate amount of drill, the Volunteers remain, after ten years' existence, much as they were when they first offered their services to the country. Unorganised in every sense of the word, unsupplied with equipments, with great coats, and till lately with proper weapons, the men have received as little encouragement from the Government as their officers have had instruction. The finest material in the world has been allowed to run to waste for lack of a little statesmanship

But evil as the Government at last admit our condition to have been at the beginning of the year, it is now insinuated that a

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