4 MAY 1895, Page 3

There has been a weak place somewhere in the management

of the Indian Supply Departments. It has long been sus- pected that rifles were stolen, the usual explanation, when -they were found, being that the weapons had been picked up after skirmishes. On entering Dir, however, an unusual quantity were found by the officers of the expedition, together with ten thousand rounds of cartridge still packed in Government boxes. That indicates wholesale stealing, and will doubtless produce a rigid investigation. The cause of the evil is, we fancy, fairly well understood. There is not, and probably cannot be, a perfect system of stocktaking in the Government stores, with their huge masses of material, and the actual receipt and giving out of the goods is entrusted to men who are not gentlemen, and who, in comparison with their responsibilities, are wretchedly paid. The remedy is, of course, to pick the men much more care- fully; but they ought besides to have special pensions after reasonable periods. They would not risk losing them. The evil does not go far enough in most departments to be of military importance, but cynics doubt that as regards transport. Whole cavalcades of beasts have to be purchased in a minute, they die like flies, and the officers simply cannot either personally examine the animals or count the dead. They must trust inferior contractors, and the temptation on the latter is very great.