17 DECEMBER 1870, Page 12


[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SEECTATOE.1 SIR,—One word about Army organization, a matter only touched on in what I wrote upon " Bismarckism." My friends and my- self, for great European ends and for the sake of permanent peace, are prepared to accept, and even to advocate, all necessary military efforts, a powerful army and navy, equipped with all the scientific appliances of modern war. There is hardly any sacri- fice in money or in men which we would not face, to restore the integrity of France and rebuild the shattered State-system of Europe. Only we decline to meet the growth of the military temper in the German race by fostering it in our own. We think that the plan of turning the nation into soldiers is one essentially retrograde and savage. We see how it has brutalized and en- slaved the cultivated Germans. We should look with horror on its extension to Englishmen. Above all, we will resist by every means in our power any sort of conscription. A powerful army is to be raised entirely by free service. Its organization is a matter of science and wealth. The raw material even in trained men exists abundantly already.

Throughout this letter I have spoken, as you see, of "us," and not of " myself." What I said about the Army is no mere fancy of my own. It expresses the views of a party. I do not pretend to be, like the eminent man with whom you mention my name (more Socratico), an original thinker in politics. I act with a party, large enough for all practical deliberation, and never found very far off the opinions of the mass of the working-men. The question of Army Reform is obviously a coming question, and you cannot suppose we have failed to consider it and form a conclusion. Our conclusions on this matter are quite in accordance with principles of policy consistently expressed by us for years past ; and perhaps when the time comes we shall not be found to be alone. I see a tendency in journalists to treat men who protest against the Prussianizing of our institutions somewhat as the Prussian officials treat those who oppose the annexation of Alsace. However, I think you will find there will be no forced drill of English citizens.—I am, Sir, &c., FREDERIC HARRISON.

P.S.—By the way, why is a man who on a great question

occasionally with his name makes known his opinion " an ideologue" who intervenes in everything, whilst a journalist, who writes every week or every day on every topic anonymously is,—well, I suppose, an eminent publicist ?