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body of non-commissioned officers above him. Thus the toady and the suspect among his fellows, steps above them into almost unlimited power. It is plain that if once a worthy staff of non-commisioned officers could be instituted in any regiment, this mode of election would work satisfactorily enough. At present it is iniquitous to a degree. The man whom his comrades avoid becomes their ruler and their tyrant, while the means of persecution at his command are infinite. As can be readily surmised, he is not the more likely to overlook them because he is disliked. If he is indiscreet enough to perpetrate a tangible wrong, he hås still a loophole of escape; the ear of
a the authorities is exclusively his; for the soldier dare not speak to an officer, save when introduced to him by a sergeant or a corporal, wh stands by during the interview, and gives the word to “right about face, quick march,” when it is ended. If the soldier chance to be commanded by a humane officer, and succeeds in calling forth a reprimand upon his persecutors, he does so at a risk; for he well knows the penalty which attaches to his temerity ; if not, he will soon discover it to his cost. There are innumerable irksome duties to be performed, daily, in every barrack, which usually fall to the lot of the defaulters in the regiment; to any of these the non-commissioned officer can, and does, doom the man whom he most dislikes. How much of the truth is to be gleaned before a parliamentary or military inquiry from the mouth of non-commissioned officer or from that of the private? Will the former criminate himself? Will the latter ruin his prospects of advancement (however weak these may be) by fully speaking his mind, knowing that he returns, a marked man, to the ranks ? Assuredly not!
To enumerate cases of petty tyranny on the part of non-commissioned officers is beyond my present purpose and beside the mark. I have dwelt upon them elsewhere. When I have shown that inferior men are appointed to rule the soldier, I have done enough; an evil result is to be expected, and is but a necessary corollary following the injudicious investiture of these men with official power, fenced round by official protection.
But this evil is to be encountered and overcome; the remedy appears to me as simple as it is secure. A certain amount of education is necessary for a non-commissioned officer ; I would let that requirement stand, as at present; and bearing it in mind, I would,
Among the modern military changes, there is one introduced by martinets—not soldiers, only martinets—who will not let a poor soldier eat his dinner his own way.
The innovation is that of prohibiting a man addressing his officer unless in full uniform, and accompanied by a non-commissioned officer, also full dressed! This is a very dangerous innovation; it is digging a ditch between the officers and their men! (Thus) the men are at the mercy of the non-commissioned officers, who, as all officers know well, will, like other men, play into each other's hands, and oppress the man who complains.”—Gen. Sir C. J. NAPIER, Journal, April 27, 1851.
when a vacancy occurred, allow the privates of the company to take the first step towards suggesting a fitting man to fill it. Why not permit them to vote by ballot for a certain number of their fellows who might be willing to put themselves forward as candidates ? If this concession were made, the difficulty would be overcome. tain number (say six) of the successful candidates in each company should then be called upon, each in turn, to drill a squad; he who performed the task most creditably, in the opinion of the officers, to have the corporal's step. To apply this test to any step but the first would, at present, clash with many vested interests, to which time has lent countenance: and it might, therefore, be thought unjust to apply it. I leave that point to the Horse-Guards to consider; for myself, I should be inclined to enforce it at once and generally. We are called upon to meet and check a growing evil, affecting not only the army, but, through it, the nation, and the personal interests of expectant corporals on the watch for successional promotion are not for a moment to be weighed in the same balance with the public safety and the stability of the service.
It may be said that popular men, chosen by the soldier himself, when once they have succeeded in gaining their promotion, may subsequently abuse their power. True, but the same remedy may be applied as simply and as readily as in the first instance.
It is possible--nay almost certain--that if this plan were to be forthwith pursued, some captains would find themselves minus noncoms., and face to face with their respective companies. Even such a result is less dangerous than that which must sometime tread upon the heels of routine, if it continues to pursue its course unchangeably and unchecked.
The close shaving of a soldier's head for crime is, to my mind, repulsive and inhuman—savouring more of barbarous times than of the present—and tends to sap all sense of self-respect. If the award of punishment is not deemed heavy enough, let it be increased in severity: but do not send a man forth among his fellows, civil and military, with a brand upon him which is fatal to his self-esteem.
Again, the hour of returning to barrack is absurdly early; if retained at all, it should be retained as a punishment, binding only upon
those who had previously offended. A man of good character should be allowed a certain laxity. I would myself suggest at least an additional hour; so that after a weary day's drill, he might be in a position to spend his evenings socially, among civilian friends, outside the barrack walls; and not be compelled, as he is now, to withdraw when more favoured mortals are beginning to enjoy themselves. It should be the aim of a legislature, in a free country such as this, in which institutions are safe, to throw down as much as possible the barriers that exist between the soldier and his fellow-countrymen : intercourse with
them cannot but tend to the soldier's good ; and the more he is allowed to mix with the world, without infringing the necessary duties of his profession, the better.
Why not allow good-conduct men certain privileges, and provide them with passes, to be held by them till forfeited by breach of discipline? I believe an almost incalculable amount of good would be the result. I am certain that the boon of an extra hour and a half, for instance, after tattoo, would be hailed with delight by the men and eagerly sought for. It has the merit of being easily and cheaply tested. There can be no difficulty in its working. At present every man who enters barracks after regulation hours, reports himself to the guard. Every privileged soldier should be compelled to go through the same form. If he made his appearance drunk, he should forfeit his pass for a limited time (on the first offence), and lose it altogether after a stated number of forfeitures. Suspension should, however, be the only punishment for a first crime on the part of an otherwise well-conditioned soldier.
Of one thing I am firmly convinced, namely, that all commissions of inquiry will fail unless composed exclusively of civilians (I would except the Duke of Cambridge, perhaps, in whom the soldier has confidence); I say this without meaning to cast any slur upon the officers of the service, but simply because I know the soldier will not speak his mind in their presence. If we take exception to the management of any private firm, we do not entrust the investigation of its affairs to the heads of it; the illustration applies exactly to the present case. It may be a question still whether the soldier will speak his mind even to civilians, so dangerous to his prospects is the risk. The safest and surest mode would be, for the civil commission to apply to the Horse-Guards for the names and addresses of men of good character, who have, within a certain period, purchased their discharge, and to take the evidence of these: they are “without the pale,” and need fear nothing. The soldier who has served the stipulated number of years, and is receiving a pension, is not so likely to remember ills that galled him far distantly in the past; while he who has made a sacrifice to become a soldier, and a second to regain his liberty, is likely to speak freely, feelingly, and to the point.
I cannot conclude without reproducing a passage from “Army Misrule,” in reference to recruiting. You give a certain sum to induce a man to become a soldier. He is enlisted (I will say nothing of what he has to go through during the various stages of acceptance by the authorities—perhaps a full sense of their degrading tendency is palpable only to a class of recruits who are above their influence). The recruiting officer wears a beard, smokes his pipe openly in the street, puts his stock into his pocket, and slings his waist-belt on his arm—a mere reckless sort of fellow, who drinks his beer with the
green ploughboy and the haggard London starveling in an easy, familiar way, suggestive of perpetual equality, or, at worst, of kindly authority. This seems natural enough to the green ploughboy and the city starveling, for both are Englishmen who “never will be slaves !” They get drunk, enlist, and shaving is then essential, pipes are unallowable, stocks become indispensable-even at meals, -and the whole dream of voluntary servitude is dissipated, while the reality becomes a constant nightmare and a heartburn. You start with the possession of the raw material, which you have gained by dishonest dealing, and which has cost you money ; he (the raw material) finds that you are a rogue, and he strives to quit your service; he succeeds, and you
then offer a bribe to a rival servant—a policeman—to capture him. At this stage of the proceedings you have lost doubly. You get him back by force, and then punish him ; in other words, render that state of life which was at first unpleasant absolutely unbearable. Surely, this is scarcely compatible with wisdom—with common sense ? Putting humanity out of the question, and looking at it simply as a matter of business, it assumes a suicidal aspect, and must continue to have a suicidal result. It is as if a man were to cheat another in the sale of an article, then compel him to purchase again; and, lastly, to insist upon his becoming a constant purchaser and consumer of that article without grumbling.
HOME TRAVEL.-WESTMORELAND AND CUMBERLAND.'
At the beginning of this century, the country now so familiar to us as the Lake District was comparatively unvisited. Before that period, indeed only a few months prior to the birth of, Wordsworth, at Cockermouth, the poet Gray made a tour of the lakes, and sent an account of his excursion to Dr. Warton. The narrative, which appears in the form of a journal, is worthy of the writer. There is no attempt to describe grand scenery in grand language. He does not weary the reader, as was the wont of many travellers in his day, with a multitudinous and indiscriminate use of adjectives. His enthusiasm is genuine, but not extravagant, and his fine taste is never at fault. Gray is, I think, the first poet whose name is associated with the scenery of Westmoreland and Cumberland. A few lines descriptive of Derwentwater, in the “Pleasures of Memory,” enable us to award the second place to Samuel Rogers. There were, however, several writers in prose—for the most part terribly prosaic—who endeavoured before the commencement of this century to describe the scenery of
(1) HANDBOOK For TRAVELLERS IN WESTMORELAND AND CUMBERLAND. With new Travelling Maps. John Murray. 1866.
the Lakes. Mr. West, of Ulverston, a professor of natural philosophy, about a hundred years ago “frequently accompanied genteel parties on the tour of the Lakes,” and for the benefit of these “parties drew up a guide. He did his best, with a redundant vocabulary, to describe the scenes with which he was familiar. He tells us in words heaped upon words of mountains heaped upon mountains. His style recalls some of the most brilliant efforts of the paragraphmongers in our cheap newspapers. Mrs. Radcliffe, whose romances were once so famous, has also recorded her impressions of the Lakes. They are not striking, but she only offends when she moralises. In the year 1772, William Gilpin made, and afterwards published, his “ Observations,” and they are sensible and original enough to be worth reading still. Indeed, it is always interesting to compare the statements of an author who like Gilpin won in his day a respectable position as a traveller, and art-critic, with our own observation, or the statements of more recent writers. A great gap seems to divide us from Gilpin. The language he uses is strangely different from that which we should now employ, and some of the facts related recall days long since passed away. The tourist who has spent rememberable summer hours in the lonely valley of Borrowdale will be amused to read in Gilpin that it is “replete with hideous grandeur,” and after driving rapidly along the well-made road which leads from Rossthwaite to Keswick, one of the most populous towns in Cumberland, it will amuse him to learn that the villagers have at all times little intercourse with the country, and that during half the year they are “ almost totally excluded from all human commerce.”— “Here,” adds Gilpin, “the sons and daughters of simplicity enjoy health, peace, and contentment, in the midst of what city luxury would call the extreme of human necessity.” He sees, also, eagles and wild cats, the latter being four times as large as the domestic cat. Both bird and beast have long since disappeared from our English mountains. . Many and great changes have taken place in this
. neighbourhood since Gilpin wrote. Good roads have been formed across districts which, like Borrowdale a hundred years since, could only be traversed by horses; the distant whistle of the steam engine may in some places be heard among the mountains; the principal Lakes can be viewed from the deck of the steamer ; hotels, large, well-arranged, and supplied with all modern luxuries, invite the traveller at Windermere and Ambleside, at Ullswater and Keswick. Even the retired village of Grasmere, one of the sweetest nooks in all England, has its monster hotel, “The Lake," which, as "Murray ” truly says, is “a first-class establishment.” The price of provisions is more than double what it once was; the dalesmen are losing their rusticity; they read the newspapers, take their cheap railway excursions, and relate what they have seen in Manchester, if not in London.