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other most essential matters in the field, without the experience of actual close contact with an enemy, although they afford some useful guides in the art. If a considerable body of officers who served in the Peninsula, and of the regiments who were engaged in that warfare, could have been suddenly revived in their then condition, the affairs of the campaign in detail would have been better conducted than they were by the inexperienced, although zealous, officers and men of whom the Crimean army was composed.

We cannot, then, think ill of the employment, in the first instance, of a certain number of such old officers of experience, who appeared to be robust for their age; and although bodily activity is most desirable in the highest stations in the field, certainly it is less indispensable in those upper stations of different departments where great exertions are only occasionally required. Still, recognising the value of strength and activity, we would undoubtedly make the old officers give place to younger blood, as soon as the latter can have acquired a reasonable amount of experience, and shall have other wise shown themselves to be competent; for it is not only that experience is required by the officers themselves, but the public or higher authorities should have experience of the capabilities of those whom they wish to place in commands. And here arises another fallacy. It is often said, Replace the old generals by able and younger men. That the officers thus indicated for preferment are younger men can be ascertained unmistakably; but who, without trial, is to pronounce on their fitness for command, when it is notorious that many a gallant and most meritorious regimental or staff officer has made a very bad commanding general?

It has been very much the practice to point to the Russians, as masters in the art of war; we think that it will be found that the Menschikoffs and Gortschakoffs exceed in age any of our Crimean generals. But the fact which makes the outcry against experience more than ordinarily mischievous in this instance is, that

in no other profession, so much as in the profession of arms, is experience of such vital importance. Nothing perhaps is so much misunderstood as this question, judging by the tone and expression of the public prints of the day, which speak as if a general like a poet nascitur non fit; and the term "heaven-born general," so constantly employed, would seem to imply that the chief who is to lead our armies to victory, is expected to spring suddenly from the earth in full panoply, as Minerva from the brain of Jupiter.

The fact is, that the principles of the art of war have remained the same in all ages. Parallels are daily drawn between the operations of the great generals of antiquity and those of the present century. The pages of Xenophon, Herodotus, Cæsar, and Polybius, are pregnant with instruction for the modern officer; and there is not an instance in their works where the reasons given for any particular operation would not apply with the same force to the same operation, repeated by modern armies.

The art of war is nothing more than the application of these principles to practice; and were they simplified to their greatest degree, by supposing the operations to take place in a perfectly level country, producing all that would be required for the sustenance of both armies, it is possible that the art of war might be learned as a theory, and applied like problems of Euclid. But as such conditions cannot exist in actual warfare, and the physical features of the earth, the comparative civilisation, and power of production of the country which is the theatre of war, cause an endless variety in the operations, the man who conducts an army must possess a fertility of resources, and a self-reliance, which experience of these varying conditions alone can give. If the reader carefully considers the campaigns of any great master of war, he will see how generally a timidity and want of enterprise characterised his earlier operations, until an experience of what troops can or cannot effect, gave the vigour and decision necessary for his subsequent triumphs.

Having said this much in favour of experience, we will return to our original subject, and endeavour to show how little justice there is in the abuse which has been lavished on the officers of our army.

The erroneous reasoning of making the persons employed responsible for every evil of system, has naturally led to the persuasion that there is something radically defective in the composition of the body of our officers.

We will admit that many cases of hardship and of favouritism may be pointed out, and of advantages given to men possessing interest and means, that are not on principle defensible, and which it would be praiseworthy to endeavour to have amended-although we doubt whether, practically, we can ever attain such Utopian perfection as is advocated, and whether the imperfections of human nature will not occasion similar evils to arise, although in other shapes, after any change; but we absolutely deny that any results of the present war have exhibited, in the conduct of the bulk of the officers, proofs of a necessity for any change whatever. They have displayed activity, courage, intelligence, and a due knowledge of their profession, only wanting in the experience which actual service alone can give. The troops were avowedly in a very high state of discipline and exercise, which could not be the case were the officers defective in quality; and yet, without bringing forward any particular cases against them, but merely vague attacks upon the whole en masse, various are the demands for their improvement-some of them harmless, and even advantageous if kept within reasonable bounds-but others positively mischievous.

The purchase and sale of commissions is the great champ de bataille, on which the army reformers are certainly strongest. It is indefensible in principle, and only tolerated and continued on account of the financial difficulties in getting rid of it. Nor is it to be justified because the evils arising from it are not of the extent of which it is accused; as, for instance, it is not true, although frequently inferred, that any man who has money can purchase advancement

up to the command of a regiment, without difficulty and without needful qualifications. The regulations afford a check upon such a course; and that they are attended to may be admitted from the result, that officers who have purchased as rapidly as they could, have proved perfectly as good in their positions as others who have obtained their promotion by services alone.

The fact is, that the life and profession of an officer in the army bear no analogy with any other course of life whatever. It is in many respects a hard one, subject to a control which custom alone prevents being offensive; with very moderate comforts, irregular and sometimes harassing duties to perform; no constant occupation-his ordinary duties rather require steadiness, activity, and attention, than efforts of intellect. To be a good regimental officer is therefore not a matter of difficulty; and among the young men, usually full of spirit, of whom this class is composed, to find what a commanding officer would term a bad officer, is quite an exception. Hence the idea of making promotion dependent on merit would be so far a delusion, that except in rare cases, arising from accidental circumstances, there would be no reasons for making selections, and seniority would certainly be the habitual course. Even in the field, gallantry is so general that it is only by peculiar opportunities being afforded to an officer that he can particularly distinguish himself by that, or by a display of intelligence,-when of course it would be duly honoured, and the reputation of such officer would follow him for future advancement. Nor should they be deprived of the benefit of their good conduct in mass, as the commander-in-chief should have on record the names of all who had gallantly performed their duty in the field, in order to attend to their advancement in other corps, as circumstances may admit.

There is a great rage at present for formal examinations in learning, as a necessary test of qualification for all public offices: applicants for commissions in the army are not exempt.

It may be dangerous to presume to find any fault with that which seems

to be so universally considered as of decided propriety; but we must confess that we hold the opinion that the principle may be carried too far, and, still more, not always wisely applied. If, for instance, an examination, which is to be the test of admission, embraces subjects, or extent of knowledge, quite unnecessary for the station of life of the candidate, it must tend to narrow to undue bounds the range from which that station may be filled; and it may throw into it men who are not the best adapted for that precise occupation, because the superfluous attainments are nothing worth, while there may be a deficiency in what would be more useful.

It is not easy to explain what occasioned this sudden demand for an educational test for admission to the army, or where the necessity for it has been shown in carrying on the service. Where was a good officer ever found (at all events, till of high rank) whose value could be traced to a greater knowledge of geography or history,-or a bad one, whose failure could be ascribed to a deficiency in any of those or other such branches?

It has been a saying, in disparagement of the army, that when a gentleman had a son who was fit for no other profession, he put him into the army. Applied in less degrading terms, the sentiment may be admitted that there are qualities that will make an excellent officer in the army, which are unnecessary in other professions, and so for church, law, or medicine; but in each of these lastnamed pursuits, a peculiar amount of collegiate education is indispensable, which is not the case in the army. If a gentleman in a commercial house required a good clerk, and found one who could write well, indite a business letter, and who understood accounts on the most improved system, he would hardly reject him because he was not well grounded in the classics. On the same principle, why should attainments which, however useful in themselves, are not absolutely necessary in the army, be made the sine qua non to those entering it.

It will be very easy to pervert this

reasoning to contempt and ridicule, and to assert that it is a doctrine to encourage ignorance and barbarism; but it is not inconsistent with every desire to see knowledge increase and spread over the country. We say that it should be encouraged, and not forced, except to whatever may be the necessary extent, as regards a proper test; and it is very objectionable when applied in an inefficient, pedantic form.

Two pleas are advanced in favour of the system of educational examinations for the army, which are in some degree contradictory. One is, that it should be ascertained that the candidate had been reasonably educated; the other, that the examination is to so small an amount of qualifications, that there is no difficulty in it.

Now, we cannot conceive a casecertainly we have never witnessed an example of a young man of the class from which officers of the army have been supplied, who had not been at school, or under education for some years, and who had not consequently the rudiments of acquired knowledge implanted in some shape in his mind, although he may not have at his fingers' ends that peculiar description of information in which it is required that he should pass an examinationmuch of which, be it remembered, is directed rather to efforts of memory, and to be learned by rote from tabulated forms, than calculated to elicit any really useful knowledge appli cable to the military profession.

Altogether, we consider this examination to be a delusion. If it is on so low a scale that anybody can pass, it is manifestly a needless form; if to an extent to need a peculiar degree of preparation, it may cause the rejection of many a fine young man, perhaps of much intelligence, and who would make an excellent officer, but may be unfit for other professions, to the exclusion of that number of individuals from perhaps any means of useful occupation, although particularly equal to this one.

It is true, indeed, that there are situations in the army, such as those of staff officers under many circumstances, that require a knowledge of certain branches of science. These,

however, are a select class, and would of course be chosen for their acquirements; and subjects duly qualified will never be deficient in the great mass, with the inducements they will have before them of gaining ad


There is one mode of instruction, however, that is very eligible for officers-it is that of military colleges and academies, such as Woolwich and Sandhurst, under Government and military control,-the private establishments being very inferior for the purpose. About from one to two years at such a college would be highly useful to any young man about to enter the army; he would not only be initiated into a course of professional study, which he might subsequently be induced to follow up, but would learn drill, military exercises and habits, that are far better acquired at such a period, and in such a manner, than by the irksome operation of passing through the awkward squad when an officer.

Hitherto we have spoken of the ordinary officers of the line. The consideration of the requisite educational qualifications for an officer of artillery or engineers admits of another view altogether, there, a consider able amount of real professional acquirements is most necessary. These acquirements, necessary for officers both of artillery and engineers (but most of them more absolutely needed by the latter), are, besides the ordinary writing a tolerable hand and spelling, arithmetic, geometry, mathematics pure and mixed, natural sciences, mechanical drawing, French and German; and no one will deny that this is a pretty good list.

The more deeply such officers are grounded in these branches of knowledge, the better; and unless moderately possessed of these acquirements, they ought not to receive an appointment at all. But it is a very different affair when we come to classics, moral philosophy, and the power of standing cross-questioning in history, &c., which may be very useful additions, but should not by any means bear the same weight in the scale of competency, nor of relative qualifications. For example, we do most positively object to such ques

tions as the following, to be answered off-hand by young men of from eighteen to twenty-two, who are required to be thoroughly grounded in so many elementary sciences. The questions here quoted are extracted from the examination of the candidates for the artillery and engineers :

"What was the difference between

the state of Britain and that of Gaul under the Roman empire? Point out any consequences that are to be ascribed to this cause.

"Give a brief account of Anselm, Bede, Sir Francis Drake, Harley Earl of Oxford, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, Stephen Langton, Lord Peterborough, of Warwick, Sir Robert Walpole, Cardinal the first Lord Shaftesbury, Richard Earl Wolsey; and, in connection with England, of Philip Augustus, the Emperor Charles V., Prince Eugene, Frederick the Great, Louis XI., and Cardinal Richelieu.

"State from what quarters, whether the Anglo-Saxon, the Latin, or elsewhere, we have derived the wordssword, candidate, salary, sycophant, curfew, history, algebra, almanack, daughter, sister, hypocrite, book, bride, seraph, assassin, coffee, sarcasm, gazette." This question requiring either a knowledge of every language, ancient or modern, or an effort of memory which, like precise dates, gives indications, at great pains and loss of time, of a slight smattering, without any useful knowledge, of a subject.

"Explain Kant's doctrine of the categoric imperative.

"Give a short analysis of the principal doctrines that have been held on the sublime and beautiful.”

These are taken at hap-hazard, and are by no means extravagant specimens of a long series, each devised by some professor who has spent his life in the study of that peculiar branch, and who himself could not probably go through a tenth part of the examination in other branches, all of which are required of these youths.

Another proposition for the improvement of the army is, to give commissions largely to meritorious or gallant soldiers from the ranks. The arguments in favour of it are first, that a soldier, as in other professions, should have the power to

raise himself to the very highest grades; and, secondly, that he does not meet with sufficient reward for most praiseworthy services.

These arguments may be admitted as perfectly just, as regards the individuals, but must be limited by still more important considerations. That every man should be rewarded according to his deserts cannot be disputed; but let him be rewarded, and amply too, by modes that, while they satisfy and afford him full recompense, are not detrimental to the service at large; and it does not follow in any profession, that advancement in that profession is necessarily a judicious mode of rewarding services and capabilities exerted in a lower grade. Indeed we believe that, in the British service, the cases where it would be proper policy and good for the service to give officers' commissions to men who had served in the ranks are very rare. Let those particular instances be taken advantage of by all means, and even sought for; but do not make a rule of forcing them.

In the first place, see how a rigid enforcement of this rule of promoting men from the ranks would militate against the two other proposed improvements which are brought forward at the same time, and very much by the same parties,--one for a superior education for officers, and the other, to bring forward younger men into the superior stations.

We have before admitted that the educational test-or rather, we should say, the injudicious peculiarities with which the examinations are endeavoured to be enforced, are superfluous; and we would give the soldier who is to be recommended to be made an officer the benefit of that admission; but we certainly are far from desiring that the mass of officers should be composed of men who have not received in some degree a liberal education, or who should not generally be on a par in that respect with those who may be deemed of an equivalent class in other branches of the public service, or in private life.

Now certainly, in this respect, the men of any but the lowest order of education in the soldier ranks of the army are very exceptional; in the

rare cases where it is so, that difficulty may be considered to be removed, or may even be dispensed with, where the other qualifications are strong.

Age is another difficulty. The age of any man from the ranks, who had had time to establish a character to be considered eligible for a commission, would again, except in rare cases, much exceed that at which it is desirable that commissioned officers. should commence in the lower grades, viewing how that age would, by any reasonable system of promotion, be embarrassing as they rose to higher stations ;-for surely the monstrous proposition that they should at once be elevated to the higher ranks, over the heads of many of at least equal, and perhaps very superior qualifications, merely on account of age, would not be tolerated for a moment. Nor, again, could the prospect of their attaining very rapid advancement on account of their merit (even when merit is to supersede purchase and seniority) be expected to remove this difficulty, as they would thereafter come into competition with a very different class from that in which they had previously become preeminent. So long as the purchase system continues, that, of course, would be a great bar to their subsequent advancement.

There is another impediment, which the fear of an outcry against aristocratic pride and influences must not induce us to omit. Such outcry will only arise from those violent parties who, instead of taking the reasonable course of checking such influences to proper bounds, would put them down altogether; and who would have any man, who comes under the modern designation of a gentleman, considered as an inferior being. It is, the different habits and manners of the new-made officers from the ranks, as compared with those with whom they would thenceforward be associated. This will be called an aristocratic prejudice which must be overruled; but it is no such thing: the inconvenience would be felt as much on one side as on the other. When a soldier of merit is given a commission, there has always been a full disposition on the part of the

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