12 AUGUST 1905, Page 13



[To THE EDITOR Or THE "SPECTATOR.'] SIR,—For the first time I am not in accord with my gallant friend General Sir Alfred Turner. He has done the country great service by his championship of the Volunteers. No man knows them better. Few would have been so courageous. But when in the success at the polls of the present Opposition he sees "a new era for the Army" (Spectator, August 5th) I cannot agree with him. True, Mr. Arnold-Forster will probably lose the Unionist party more Unionist votes at the polls than will be lost through any fiscal differences. But that is because he has shown himself a destructor without power of reconstruction, because his tongue is less sympathetic than his heart. But what of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Leader of the Opposition ? His words of approval of Mr. Arnold-Forster's proposals to reduce the Volunteer Force stand on record. Never a word of help has come from him. He is an ex-Minister of War, and he is still" War Office" through and through. What hope have we of him with his eternal Votes of Censure, for which no man on earth cares a rush ? No, I am wrong. They are invaluable to the Chief Unionist Whip,—to "enthuse" his men, to bring them together, to keep them alert. But could the House of Commons have seen the Volunteer Brigade in camp, perfectly ordered by Volunteer officers alone, overlooking the German Ocean at Felixstowe ! Had they seen the Suffolk battalions ; had they seen the 1st Northamptonshire detrain forty-four officers and fifteen hundred men, after six hours in the train, as fresh and steady as from barrack-rooms instead of from boot factories, hon. Members of all parties would say, as I do : "This Volunteer Force shall not be reduced, shall not be kept in suspense, harassed, and discouraged, while the people and their representatives have votes and the right to spend the public money as they choose."—I am, Sir, &c., House of Commons. C. E. HOWARD VINCENT.

[It is possible that Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman may be inclined to take the regular War Office view of the Volunteers, but we do not believe that after what has happened there is any risk of the next Government carry- ing out Mr. Arnold-Forster's policy in regard to the Volunteers and Militia. The nation, in our opinion, has already pronounced on that policy in unmistakable terms. The electors are at last beginning to understand the value of the Volunteer Force.—En. Spectator.]