25 JANUARY 1896, Page 18

At a banquet at Salisbury on Wednesday, Lord Lansdowne declared

that the Government were endeavouring to give com- pleteness to the national defences. The lack of a reserve of am- munition was rapidly being got over, the factories at present turning out 2,000,000 rounds a week. At the same time they were increasing the artillery arm of the service. Recruiting was in a satisfactory condition. Twenty years ago, the Army bad 37,000 men less than now. Yet the number of punish. ments now was less by 38,000 than in 1875. The difficulties con- nected with the Volunteer force were largely financial. They were 1,800 officers short. An interesting fact in this connec- tion was noted by Lord Lansdowne. Daring the past few weeks the War Office had received "innumerable offers from gentlemen in all parts of the country to raise new corps for the purpose of national defence." Lord Lansdowne also noticed that every year some 40,000 men left the Volunteers who had had "at least three years' training." This showed how large a part of the civil population had been trained to arms.