17 MAY 1884, Page 15


rTo THE EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR.'] SLE,—Some time ago I was asked to join in an effort about to be made (so it was said) to reinstate Baker Pasha in the military service of the Crown. I refused, and hoped to hear no more of the matter,—feeling, as it would seem much too confidently, that nothing could come of so unwise a proposal. Within the last few days I hear that, so far from having been abandoned, it is obtaining wide support and sanction amongst persons of char- acter and standing, including Members of both Houses. You, Sir, will be, no doubt, aware whether this is so. If it be, it is high time that some public protest were made; and I know of no place so fit for the purpose as your columns.

I have always understood that the soldier in a national army (as distinguished from the soldier of fortune, whose sword is at the service of the highest bidder) is solemnly pledged to the defence of his nation's life,—to the upholding of the ground and bulwarks of that life, of which by far the most important is the sacredness and purity of the family, by the sacrifice of his own life, if needed.

The soldier of fortune is engaged to do the business of killing, and, of course, takes the highest price he can get, in hard cash and all other tangible ways. It is his trade. But if the national soldier allows himself to regard his work as a trade, and not as a very noble profession, he becomes at once the most dangerous of all men to family, and therefore to national, life. This danger is more threatening to England than to any other nation, because our Eastern Empire, in which our soldiers spend so much of their lives, holds out such strong temptation to them to look on themselves, not as national soldiers, but soldiers of fortune. It is all the more needful for us to keep up a high standard of duty, and so to bring home to our soldiers that they are not mere killing machines.

How, then, stands the case in question P I dislike referring to an old and bad story ; but there is no help for it when such a challenge is before us. Here, then, is a man of mature years, in command of a regiment, married, of high distinction as a soldier, who indecently assaults a modest girl in a railway car- riage, and so persistently that she is driven to risk her life to avoid him. Is that the kind of man England needs to lead her young soldiers in battle P I hope that all of us have long since pardoned the man, and are still sorrowing over such a fall—that we are glad to hear of his making such atonement as is possible in services where the soldier of fortune is needed. But that is quite another thing from asking that he may be restored to a place of honour in our Army.

"Non tali until-it) nee defensoribus istis Tempns eget."

—I am, Sir, &c.,