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practice, for owing to the principle on which it is now granted, an almost irresistible inducement is held out by the State for men to leave the service just when they are becoming valuable in the ranks. The prospect of 181. or 20l. of ready money is too much for most men. But what use do they make of it? Nineteen times out of twenty the money is of no benefit to the recipient, but rather a source of evil; it is soon spent, leaving him to regret that he ever left his regiment; and the position becomes very curious when it is found necessary to offer a bounty for continuance of service with the colours in India, for then the Government bids against itself; in one hand it jingles the sovereigns of the deferred pay; in the other, the rupees of the bounty. Late experience has proved how powerful the former is in counteracting the attractions of the latter, for only a small proportion of those who could grasp at once deferred pay have accepted the large bounty offered for the extension of Indian service.
The system of deferred pay might with advantage be retained for the re-engaged soldier, and continued to all ranks alike for five years, the period of service proposed for the attainment of full rate of pension in the lower ranks. By restricting deferred pay to re-engaged soldiers, it would act as an inducement to men to leave the Service voluntarily when they are no longer required to remain in it, and its cessation after a fixed time would operate in the same direction. It would be a boon to the old soldier, and would help him to settle down in comfort, and there is less probability of its being squandered, as it would come to him at a time of life when he may be expected to know better what to do with it.
Final Employment.-We now come to the question of the final employment of the soldier either as a member of the reserve, or discharged as a pensioner. With a short service of only three years before passing to the reserve, it is hoped that men will return easily to civil life, and that the probability of their remaining undisturbed will be greatly increased; for with a long service open to those who wish to make the army their profession, it may reasonably be expected that there will always be such a sufficiency of trained soldiers in the ranks as would obviate the necessity of calling out the reserve, except in time of 'imminent national danger,' as was the original intention.
If this result be secured, some of the principal difficulties with regard to reserve men will have disappeared. At the same time, their position must always demand the careful attention of all classes, official and private. If we are to maintain in the ranks of civil life a large body of trained soldiers as a reserve, ready at call for the defence of their country, it is the duty of all to enable these men to live. The public obligation towards them cannot cease with a dole in the shape of reserve pay. Many might be employed in public offices, or in some way under the departments of the State.
Government set the example, providing for as many reservists as possible, and permitting them to attend their training (which should be carried out annually) without loss of pay; it might then be hoped that the public would follow suit. If employers would act towards reserve men in this spirit, the tax on the patriotism of the nation would still be but small, compared with that which the Continental countries of Europe have to pay in the shape of forced service; and if we must look at the question from a commercial point of view, let it be remembered that any inconvenience that might arise from the employment of reserve men would be but an infinitesimal premium on a valuable policy of insurance. If nothing be done to benefit reservists, the reserve, instead of being a strength to the army, may prove the destruction of our voluntary system of recruiting.
Then, again, the question of State occupation for discharged soldiers should be seriously taken up. If pensions have to be given to a certain number of men in order to maintain an efficient army, they must be liberal, or else an equivalent must be found. The most convenient equivalent would be suitable employment in Government offices, which requires less physical labour than the army demands. Hitherto, these situations have been filled without regard to the peculiar claims of the army and navy on the State; a great source of economy is thus lost, and a means of making the army popular neglected. Much is done by private societies, notably the Corps of Commissionaires, under its patriotic and indefatigable founder, to assist discharged sailors and soldiers; but such employment as these societies are able to provide is no economy to the State, and private employers benefit by the pensions which would be saved if some of the many valuable Government posts, now given to civilians, were reserved for competent naval and military pensioners.
In the above remarks, I have confined myself to what appear to be the principal causes of the unpopularity of the army, and have suggested such remedies as seem to me desirable; and I have endeavoured to draw the attention of the public to, and enlist their sympathy with, a question which concerns them very closely, if they will only believe it. An army we must have, if we are to continue as an Imperial Power, or even exist as an independent nation; and if this army cannot be obtained by voluntary means, we shall have to resort to Conscription. What sacrifices that would entail it is my earnest hope British homes may never be called upon to realise.
The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake
VOL. XLIX-No. 288
A thousand claims to reverence closed
3n ber as Dotber, Wife, and Queen.
Victoria the Good
STIFLE the throbbing of this haunting pain,
She is not dead! Though summoned to the skies,
To teach us where our foremost duty lies, Truth, justice, honour, simple worth to prize, And what our best have been to be again.
She hath gone hence, to meet the great, the good,
The loved ones, yearn'd for through long toilsome years, To share with them the blest beatitude,
Where care is not, nor strife, nor wasting fears,
THE blow which everybody knew must sooner or later fall, but which all men put out of their thoughts as something not to be contemplated, has descended upon us at last with awful suddenness, and the new year, the new century, gloomy and depressing in many other aspects, has brought with it the crowning sorrow of the Queen's death. It is not an event to be lightly discussed or appraised by any man. The commonplaces natural to us all on such an occasion seem indeed to be strangely out of place in presence of this catastrophe, so long foreshadowed and withal so completely unexpected. For the moment it blots out every other topic, and seems to leave our world strangely empty of all other subjects of interest. 'I am simply stunned,' was the remark of one man of affairs as he spoke of the impending sorrow, and his words fairly summed up the mood in which the thinking people of the country have met this overwhelming loss. And yet the Queen was in her eighty-second year, and was known to be suffering from the natural infirmities of old age. Surely, outsiders will say, the British public ought not only to have been prepared for, but almost reconciled to, an event which, in the course of nature, has long been imminent? Yet it was not so. Possibly the stubborn way in which we put all thought of the Queen's death and its consequences out of our minds was due to the depth of our reverence and affection for her, the reverence and affection which lead a man to believe that the dearest member of his own household can never be taken from him. Possibly it was founded upon the wonderful example which the Queen herself