TOPICS OF THE DAY.
THE ARMY ESTIMATES
HAVE been published. The Effective service exhibits a decrease of 23,955/. 5s. 9d. in an expenditure of upwards of three millions and a half. If we look at the principal branch of the service-the Land Forces, or what is properly the Army-we find there is a reduction, in numbers, of 100 horses and 59 men " of all ranks"- a saving in expense of two thousand five hundred and sixty-three pounds, five &killings, and (we like to be specific) one penny. This " paltry " retrenchment on the most expensive and over- grown of the public establishments, will create, or we are much deceived, some hard work for Sir JoHN CAM HonuousE. If we merely consider the numbers of the Army, there appears good rea- son for a positive reduction. The Duke of WELLINGTON deemed nine thousand men less than the present force sufficient for all the purposes of defence or coercion. When the GREY Ministry added so heavily to the expense of the Army, it was professed to be done solely on account of the agrarian insurrections in England and the threatening position of the Great Continental Powers. Both these causes have passed away, and we,have already between twenty and thirty thousand men in Ireland. But if these be in- sufficient to support Mr. STANLEY'S policy, what then? Have we driven away the victor of a hundred fights lest he might involve us in Continental wars, for the sake of supporting a powerful de- bater in his attempt to garrison the sister kingdom? If this be the case, Mr. STANLEY will indeed be a dear Secretary.
But there is room for very considerable retrenchment without m the least diminishing the efficiency of the Army. Some regi- ments, as may be seen by a reference to our Supplement on Public Expenditure,- cost much more than others of the same or of a somewhat greater complement. The unnecessary number of offi- cers, throughout the Army generally, but especially in the Guards, is another source of useless expense. Large sums are lavished on equipments and gewgaws in clothing, which answer no other pur- pose than to furnish jobs for commander and contractors, and to give additional trouble to the soldiers. The duties of the Colonel are discharged by the Lieutenant-Colonel; the former appointment is, in the majority of cases, a complete sinecure, which in each instance costs the country from 8001. to 1,0001. a year. The ex- pense of Agency is a mere waste of money ; and the Garrisons are absolute sinecures, though the Reformed House of Parliament has for the present decided in their favour. But the facts which we for- merly exhibited in relation to the military expenditure of France are still more convincing as to the practicability of retrenchment. After making every allowance for the difference in the wages of the respective countries, and taking not the strict, but the medium difference, the average cost of the English soldier per man is 9/. more than the French; "which, being spread over 100,000 men, shows a prima facie useless expenditure of nearly a million."' Add. all these circumstances together, and who can doubt but that a Reformed Parliament may compel a very considerable reduction? Colonel DAMES last year pledged himself as to the practicability of saving a million. The gallant officer is too honourable to evade a voluntary promise : let him lead the forlorn hope in the (list at- tack upon the War Office.t For the numbers of the troops, the ci-devant Reforming repre- sentative for Westminster is too subordinate a member of the Go- vernment to be solely censured; and having got rid of his youth- ful aversion to " standing armies," the question of eight or ten thousand men was merely a difference on a detail. The unneces- sary expense seems more peculiarly within his province ; for his high-minded predecessor resigned office rather than bring forward such estimates. The form of account is entirely under his control. Let us examine it at some little length. Those who are practically acquainted with accounts know, that in a thorough investigation of a " charge," three points may be considered essential to a proper examination,-1. Is the expendi- ture necessary? 2. Are the charges fair? 3. Are they correctly calculated ? Those who are unacquainted with Government book- keeping will be surprised to learn that no satisfactory information is furnished upon any one of these points. Mr. HuME, in moving for a return of the distribution of the Army, very justly observed, that in order to determine upon the propriety of an expenditure, it is necessary to know the particular force which is stationed in a particular place. This return was refused by Government, on the plea that our enemies (who are they ?) might take advantage of the specific information, and invade our Colonies! The second point concerns ourselves only, yet no information is given. We do not learn from the Army Estimates the pay of the soldier; we cannot ascertain the number of the non-commissioned officers, the number of the officers either in the lump or in the detail, the cost of the clothing per head, or who is entitled to " allowances," and what
• Military Expenditure of France-Spectator, No. 232, Dec. 8,1832, p. 1163.
4 While this article was passing through the press, we received Colonel EVANS'S Letter to the Electors of Westminster. In this spirited pamphlet, the Reforming soldier incidentally brings out some points which materially strengthen our arguments in favour of a wry large reduction both in the numbers and expense of the Army. We surely cannot require more than 70,000 Regular soldiers " within the home territory, in a time of profound peace, besides 50,000 Yeomanry available at a few days' notice, and 70,000 disembodied Militia, available within a few weeks ; being nearly 200,000 men embodied and available for home service within a short time "-saying nothing of the Coast Guard and the Out-Pensioners. So far, too, from the Military Sinecures being, as was represented by the Ministerial press, a mere bagatelle of some four thou- sand a year, their total amount, including offices of little more than nominal duty, is about 200,0001. So far from the appointments being generally held by deserving officers, to whom even a small salary may be an object. there are numerous instances of parties holding these sinecures, who are in -the reoeipt of other emoluments from the public purse, varying from three to seven or eight thousand a year. are their rates; and it follows aS a matter of course, that we can., not even tell whether the accounts are correctly monied. Will the Reformed Parliament sanction such a mockery of the eommen principles of arithmetic? We do not call upon Mr. HustA, or Mr. GROTE, or Mr. PHILLIPS of Manchester, to insist upon the pro- duction of this indispensable information. We will rest the case upon an appeal to two intelligent and practical Tories. Would Mr. HAWES of Lambeth or Mr. LYALL of London pay so Vague an account for hundreds as Sir JOHN HomousE has thought fit to present to a Reformed Parliament for millions? Nay, would the most inferior clerk in their counting-houses pass a claim presented in such a shape, without calling for more detailed and specific in- formation ?
On the inefficient, or Deadweight branch of the Army, Death and casualties have effected a clear reduction of nearly 200,0001. Of the sums which Whig retrenchment and accident have rendered available to the reduction of taxation, the following table exhibits an account. In juxtaposition with the actual, we place a state- ment of what we considered the possible. Cannot a Reformed Parliament verify our opinion upon the Army and Ordnance, as nearly as Sir JAMES GRAHAM has done upon the Navy ?
GOVERNMENT'S SPECTATOR'S REDUCTIONS. IDEA. • IDEA.
Army £23,955 Ordnance 91,678 Navy 208,325 £1,000,000
400,000 to 500,000 250,000 to 300,000
Non-Effective Army Expenditure.... 187,335 /87,335 Ditto Navy Expenditure.... 12,175 12,175 £523,468 £1,839,510