21 NOVEMBER 1891, Page 18

We have called attention elsewhere to the series of letters.

in the Times in which Mr. Arnold-Forster, who helped greatly by his letters to improve the efficiency of the Navy, is assailing the constitution of the Army. To our minds, the key-note of his attack is to be found in the paragraphs on the inferiority of the new recruits. The terms offered are so low, that only lads, often as young as sixteen, can be obtained; and though these grow into men, they are when men drafted to India, or for special work like that of the " Mounted Infantry." The con- sequence is, that the privates left with the colours at home are mere boys, who would fight readily enough, no doubt, but who are unequal to the fatigue of a campaign ; indeed, can hardly stand up against a severe review-day. The question is most serious, as the only remedy is a decent rate of wages, and the Government is afraid to propose this lest it should be accused of extravagance. We wish very much that Mr. Arnold-Forster, in one of his letters, would say clearly whether he thinks the necessary I:3,500,000 could be saved out of existing establishments. A Hohenzollern would save it by a radical reform in the regimental system, making the -officers suffice for double the number of men, and cutting off every officer not actually doing duty ; but is a British Govern- ment strong enough for that ? Reformers are baffled at every turn by perfectly just claims to a " vested interest " in pro- motion or pension.