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and addition of phosphorus old bronze guns might be revived, and that with guns as with men, phosphorus might be found to be the vis vitæ, the secret of vital power. A very successful and interesting series of experiments was conducted during the year at Shoeburyness, which had principally tro objects, to test the strength of Palliser shells, and the heavy naval ordnance, and the bronze field-gun for India.
The experiments which attracted most interest were those with the mitrailleuse, but this interest has faded since the experiments have been carried into real warfare in the last few months. It is satisfactory to notice in regard to experiments that the oldfashioned way of testing iron plates has been superseded. Instead of using the old smooth-bore gun in testing the plates of the 'Devastation' and Glatton' last year, the 7-inch rifled gun was used with chilled shot.
In connection with ordnance, we ought to notice the torpedo experiments which have lately been conducted. Some reproach has not without reason been levelled at the Government for not having given enough attention to torpedoes, but the subject has now been taken up with vigour, and will not, after the melancholy accidents at Cuxhaven, be readily abandoned.
In the dock-yards, two points must be noticed, the closing of Deptford and Woolwich, and the rapid progress made in the extension works at Portsmouth and Chatham. When these works are complete, and some years must yet elapse before this takes place, they will afford the most ample accommodation for our largest ships. Through a very excellent plan devised by Colonel Clarke, C.B., the Director of Works, the Marines have been employed on these works with the most successful results At the commencement of the year, the reductions which had annoyed the Government and the Dockyards, had been effected so as to bring down the establishments to their proper state.
In what state then is the Navy now? Is it satisfactory or pot ? This question cannot be answered off hand, but it can be answered so far that we can say it is efficient for all practical purposes, and is in a more clear and satisfactory state than it has been for years. War has broken out, and we are able to meet it in a fair way if it were unhappily to affect us. This, at least, is true in regard to the Navy. We have plenty of powerful menof-war, plenty of efficient sailors, and plenty of guns. Excrescences and useless encumbrances have been renoved ; reforms have been introduced, and efforts have been made, and are now being made, to still further raise the standard of efficiency. In the material branches Mr. Baxter has successfully combated prejudice, and placed the purchase of stores on a sound and easily intelligible footing. Mr. Childers has, in the administration and military branches, endeavoured to abolish what was useless and make the Navy a service which in time of war could be
of the Dock for their proper Is ita, but it practical
readily and easily handled, and be capable of easy expansion. There have been errors; but how can they be avoided in the progress of reform ? To attempt to hide them, or to evade their admission would be foolish; for they have been in matters of detail, and not of principle. We have, as a nation, to thank the Government for its earnest and successful endeavours to place the Navy on a proper footing. The maintenance of naval supremacy is absolutely essential to this country, and not for years has the Navy been placed on such a footing to ensure this as at present. Much remains to be done. Reserves are wanted of ships and men; but they can, now that all obstructions have been removed, be readily obtained. The retrospect of the past year is satisfactory, and will, if carefully studied dispel easily in any iinpartial mind any fear which may be entertained that our interests as a naval power are in any way endangered.
THE RESERVE QUESTION.
By CAPTAIN E. ROGERS.
Clearly under present circumstances this is the question, not only of the hour but of the future, inasmuch, as no such opportune moment has occurred within living memory to place on a firm and substantial basis the defensive resources of the kingdom, and, in the well-weighed words of our War Minister, “ to obtain a system which shall secure the dignity of the country against panics perpetually recurring, which shall be consistent with sound economy in tiine of peace and give us a safety against aggression in time of war.”
Hitherto, we have been content to meet emergencies in a spasmodic sort of way, and the process seemed so natural and feasible there was danger that it would degenerate into a national habit. At length, however, Great Britain, prompted neither by greed of glory, nor lust of conquest, is roused to more sustained efforts, and throughout the length and breadth of the land declares itself alive to the necessity of military reform, in tardy acknowledgment of the principle that no nation can secure its independence by the most efficient and numerous standing army unsupported by a system of well organised reserves.
It is not always well to be off with the old love before we are on with the new, and ere the knell of standing armies is rung over the unfortunate hosts of Sedan and Metz, it behoves us, at the commencement of what may be a most momentous year in our annals, to enquire what is the nature of the Landwehr, on which, in the wisdom of our Legislators, the country is for the future chiefly to rely. That the subject is an all-important and all-absorbing one, in the face of contemporaneous events justifying the consideration of the many plans and sug. gestions with which the Press has lately teemed, cannot be denied, but, and notwithstanding the angry growl of the hungry Northern Bear, there is no need to approach the question in a spirit of panic, alike undignified and unreasonable.
Thanks to our successful policy of neutrality we can afford to be patient and to hasten slowly, always remembering as Mr. Card. well remarked with practical sententiousness that, “even if this were a period of dauger, it is obvious to everyone that all we could do would be to make the most of the means in our hands."
What then are these means and how best may we utilize them? This is the simple problem to be solved, and we propose to enter on its consideration through the natural channel of a review of our past efforts in this direction.
To go no further back than the beginning of this century, we know that a temporary levée-en-masse Act was passed, which enabled His Majesty to require military service of all men between the ages of 17 and 55. Those, however, who came forward voluntarily, were exempted from service in regiments of the Army and Militia, to which the others, raised by conscription, were subjected, and as Mr. Clode, in his “History of the Crown Forces,” observes very pertinently to our present enquiry, " these provisions may be thought to illustrate the expediency of keeping Volunteers upon an establishment separate from that of the Militia, for to avoid service with the Militia, 42,000 offers of volunteer service were received out of 500,000 persons liable to serve."
These were the days of the ballot, large bounties, substitutes, and hunter-volunteers, Europe one vast battlefield, we were compelled to raise and disband regular and irregular forces, not altogether disproportionate to the requirements of the present day, but as the principle of voluntary enlistment was then as now in the ascendant, our national army had to be supplemented by the hire of foreign mercenaries, of whom no fewer than 52,757 were borne on the strength of the British establishment in 1813; and yet, with all this violent and extraordinary not to say expensive and impolitic mode of recruitment, we were never able to place in the field a larger force than that which won the battle of Vittoria, nor to parade in line more than the 60,000 men who were reviewed by the Great Duke on the plains of St. Denis !
No sooner had the campaign of Waterloo been concluded, then popular pressure was brought to bear with reactionary effect upon the Government, and the heavy war taxation was obliged to be relaxed with a consequent reduction of our forces to the lowest possible figure. In 1815 we had in pay 21,314 foreign and 204,386 Imperial troops, in 1818, the former had disappeared, and the latter were reduced to 80,+79. In 1843 an attempt was renewed to raise a force subsidiary to the Regular Army by the organization of Pensioners, who were enrolled to the number of 10,000 in certain districts as a Local Force. These men were required to be under 55 years of age, and of good bodily health at the time of their discharge from the Army. Although Parliament subsequently authorized a larger number, the strength of the ten veteran battalions never exceeded 14,700 of all ranks. For this service the Pensioner receives £1 enrolment money to keep him in necessaries, viz.: 1 pair of boots, 2 shirts, 2 pair of socks and a stock. He is also presented with a suit of uniform once in seven years. When called out for their annual twelve days' drill, a battalion sergeant-major receives 4s a day, company sergeant-major 38 6d, sergeant 3s, corporal 28 6d, and private 28. In addition to these rates, each rank is entitled to sixpence extra when summoned in aid of the Civil Power, as was the case in Liverpool during the Fenian disturbances consequent upon the abortive attempt to surprise Chester Castle, on which occasion " the Locals" were embodied for two or three weeks. In conformity with the Army Reserve Act, presently to be mentioned, the enrolled Pensioners were placed under Section D of Class II.
But it was not until 1859 that any real and substantial effort was made to establish an effective Army Reserve. Under the Act tben passed, discharged soldiers of good character who had served five years or upwards became eligible, having to serve two years for one to complete a total period for pension of 21 years, if in the infantry, and 24 years, if in the cavalry.
They were made liable to be attached to regiments for home and foreign service in case of war, when they would receive the pay of the line. Their bounty or enrolment money was £4 a year paid quarterly in advance, a remarkable divergence from practice as Mr. Clode observes, “ for in no other instance had the Crown given to soldiers a bounty in time of peace for possible service on the occurrence of war.” The Act, however, resuited in an unaccountable failure, little more than 2,000 men having been induced to nibble at the seemingly tempting bait during the six years of its operation. Men enrolled under this Act are distinguished by the name of the Old Reserve and, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 1867, are classified under Section E of Class II.
While thus tracing the history of our Reserves, it may be well at the outset to insert an apology for the inevitable dryness of our statistics, but whether also they are unintelligible cannot be entirely due to the writer, when such complex acts and circulars are under recital.
By the Act of 1867, which, like its predecessor of '59, bas proved abortive, it was fondly hoped that the Reserve Forces of the kingdom would be largely augmented.
For the 1st Class, Section A, were eligible soldiers who had completed their first term of enlistment, i. e., 10 years and were unwilling to re-engage in the Regular Army. Section B: discharged soldiers under 34 years of age of not less than three years service. Section C: soldiers who had served with their regiments seven years (five abroad) to complete the remainder of their service in the Reserve, while these latter, if still under 34 years of age, could (after completing their 10 years' service) be reattested under Section D. The term of service in the 1st Class (excepting Scction C) for which a man was enrolled, was five years, when he would of course be eligible for another term of five years, if, after the first term, he were still under 34 years of age. Their pay, miscalled bounty, was or rather is £3, per annum and £1 annually to provide necessaries. When at drill or on service, their pay is the same as that of the Pensioners and Old Reserve, but they are liable to serve with the Regular Army at home or abroad and are consequently our hitherto only available Reserve in case of war. Up to the close of August last, barely 2,000 men were enrolled on these conditions, that is to say a number less by a nought than the total number limited to be raised by the authority of Parliament. Enrolments in the 1st Class ceased on the appearance of the Reserve Circular of the 7th September last.
For the 2nd Class, under Section A, were eligible soldiers, who on their discharge were unwilling to re-engage in the Regular Army and who were unwilling to enter the 1st Class. Under Section B, discharged soldiers who had served the full period of their enlistment in the Army, and under Section C, those who had completed a term of service in the 1st Class. The men under Section A.B.C. were enrolled to serve for such a period as reckoning two years for one, would complete a total of 21 years service towards pension on discharge. Under Section D came the enrolled Pensioners, and under that of E were placed the Old Reserve of 1859. The retaining pay of Class 2, Sections A.B.C., is £2 a year and £1 allowed annually for necessaries. When called out for training, or duty, they receive the same pay as the others, but are liable for home service only, enrolments, in this class were discontinued in March 1869.
We may therefore summarize the Act of 1867, as follows:Required limit of number for 1st Class .
20,000 Obtained . . . . . . . . . 2,000
Required limit of number for 2nd Class .
(Sec.: A and B . . . 3090)
Sec. : C Obtained
. . . 0000 ( Sec. : D . Pensioners 14,643 Sec. : E Old Reserve . 2,734 )