20 JANUARY 1855, Page 10


IF the situation has in any degree altered since last week, it is to present us with a darker prospect of peace. Russia has not yet been convicted of insincerity, but the suspicions against her have gained ground; and the conviction is stronger that if we are to have a peace in terms, it must be an armed peace—a peace on guard. The great question which Russia has been more or less secretly agitating throughout her imperial existence will be less settled by her agreeing to a peace while the object of the war in the Crimea is still unaccomplished, than if she were forcibly com- pelled to yield the concessions without which peace cannot be ac- cepted. But, independently of Russia, there are other reasons for doubting whether the tranquillity of forty years on the Continent —not quite unbroken during that forty years—can be restored. It is scarcely possible to lay the finger upon any place in the map where there is not some domestic sore, or else some foreign ques- tion which would render the duration of tranquillity precarious. If Europe be not ere long divided by the present quarrel into two parties, the Russian and the Anti-Russian, there are two other parties into which every country of the Continent might be more calamitously divided ; and we do not discern in any part a dis- position to set aside reliance upon military arbitrement. As for ourselves, we of England have not yet adopted Mr. Cobden's prin- ciple of abstaining from all intervention in the affairs of coun- tries that do not concern us. We might, indeed, have sonic diffi- culty in discovering such countries; but at all events our own is engaged, with all its heart and strength, in as complete an interference upon disinterested grounds as it undertook before 1815. If all the countries of the Continent could look closely into their own internal condition, reform what is wrong, and strengthen themselves organically, we should then have every nation.independent, and peace throughout the Continent. If, in

addition to this, Russia were to see the error of her ways, abandon her rapacious encroachment upon alien states, look at home, and imitate her more civilized neighbours, then indeed we should have a peace more honourable and durable than the world ever saw. But we need not speculate upon the consequences of a state of Europe not yet within view. Few Continental states are profiting by experience. Russia has only 'withdrawn her case from court because the pleading has gone against her, and she reserves it till another opportunity more favourable for herself. If she inveigle us into a peace, therefore, it must, as we said before, be an armed peace—peace on guard.

What would be our condition for maintaining such a guard ? The practical experiment in the East has not been altogether satisfactory. It might tell us, that although the country still has the same stuff of our race the same raw material for armies and navies, we lack the capacities of command and combined adminis- tration to wield these forces with adequate results—that we seem to be incapable of more than raw fighting. Of our army in the Crimea, it appears, nearly three-eighths are at present non-effec- live ;- our artillery has been overmatched by the despised Rus- sians; our soldiers of all arms have been exposed to sufferings„ not perhaps unparalleled in war, but such as the country neither contemplated as necessary nor believed to be unavoidable. The British soldier, indeed, unequalled for disciplined bravery in the battle-field, is not equipped with the training of a campaigner. It was a mockery to send him nnroasted coffee without roaster or grinder, but give him the best material and he scarcely knows bow to make coffee ; he knows not, as our correspondent Mr. Bridges Adams said last week, the way to lie down in his coat so as to keep himself warns; he cannot build a hut ; he cannot bake a cake of bread; he cannot repair his arms or his clothes ; he cannot forage. On foot or on horse it is the same. The infan- try man is trained to be "steady," but " slow." ; the cavalry man, in a country illustrious for the blood of its horses and the ash of its riders, is so equipped and drilled, that horse and rider are worn out by parade exercise, and only recover freedom and strength when the rush of battle frees them from that restraint and enables them to trust to the life that is in them.

If we demand a prompt and thorough military reform, we find that, the very instrument of management and reform is itself dis- organized and incompetent to its purpose. Any degree of consoli- dation that has been accomplished in our administrative depart- ments, by bringing the Secretary at War's Offiee and the Commis- sariat under the Ministry of War is not all-sufficient to satisfy the alaims of the case presented by Lord Grey early last session, and more or less confirmed by the events of every subsequent month.* Lord Grey's is still the latest comprehensive and authentic sur- vey of the whole subject—the latest approach to a report. A well-organized administration would have a central head, with separate departments under it to execute the orders emanating from the chief authority. But our separated departments exer- cise in many cases a coordinate authority; and while they feel an official jealousy of each other,—a jealousy which, we believe' has obstructed the progress of oonsolidation in the interval since Lord Grey spoke,—their conduct is more like that of contractors, not under bond and penalty, than of public servants. If improvements have been made since Lord Grey exposed the deplorable conse- quences of not supplying fresh meat to the troops in. Jamaica,— and we were told that defects of that kind, had, been completely cured,—the improvements have not been sufficient, during the most arduous siege ever undertaken, in the most unfavourable sea- son and circumstances, to secure for our soldiers a constant suffi- ciency of wholesome food. The reform of the Commissariat in its relations with other departments cannot be enough to meet. Lord Grey's complaint, or the reformed working could not have results in the Crimea so far resembling those in Jamaica. In May 1838 Lord Grey pointed out the mortality Bermuda, through bad provision and defective mizalieal attendance we have the mortality at Scutari and Bakklava. It may be a fair retort on the censor of last session, but it is not a. satisfaction to the public, to say that Lord Grey was himself in office for years and did not aa- p.mplish the reforms of which he proved the necessity : that was 1U. tune of peace—the sacrifice was only the life of individual soldiers, only the waste of this country's resources—there was no risk of national dishonour and imperial calamity. Lord Grey showed, that in 1837 the troops in the West Indies were so crowded in their barracks that they were only, allowed eighteen inches of sleeping-room : the soldiers in the Crimea have been allowed, a larger space—as much as they pleased of the muddy ground. But, said Lord Grey, no combination of talent and expe- rxencei, no zeal, no high character, could. prevent evils of this kind, because they are essential consequences of the system which rele- gates different parts of the same duties to different departments. Thba Board of Ordnance, for example, once supplied the cavalry with carbines, but not with sergeants' swords; the Orduance sup- plied, the greatcoats, the Colonel the rest of the clothing ; one thing 1f1 under the Treasury, another under the Secretary at War, ano- ther under the Commander-in-chief, another under the Master- General of the Ordnance ; and the over-division is followed out in the subdivisions of the departments. If the Commander-in-chief is anwerable for the destination of a force and its swords, the Colonel for the regimental orders and the jackets, the Beard. of Ordnance for the greatcoats and the roof,. the Secretary at War for the pay, —it would scem that none of these officers can be, strictly speak- !• Speech of Earl Grey on the Administration of the Army, in. the House of Lords, on. the 7th April MC. ing, answerable for the army as a whole; and each is jealous of the other, or has been so. Our War Administration, cannot act upon itself ; how then can we expect it to act u I the army ? It cannot gave effect to its own orders in lamely- iatrative basi- 1 II ness ; how then can we expect organic unity in. the t,.-oes ? The state of subdivision appears to be such that the military right hand cannot blow what the military left hand doeth.. That we have had inquiry since 1837 is true; but it has been on comparatively minor subjects—such as corporal punishment, the state of the coast defences, or, within the last few months, the officering of regiments. We find out the inorganic condition of our army by the disastrous working. From these facts, therefore, the first want of all appears to be a thorough inquiry throughout the whole system.

But it would be worse than waste of labour—it would be the suicide of purpose, if we entered upon an inquiry, without a definite object. The inquiry is into the condition of the instru- ment: the necessity for that instrument, the use to be made of it, we know beforehand. We must be prepared with a stronger army to guard the peace, abroad as well as at home ; we need a machinery for reconstructing it ; we must put ourselves in a state, social as well as political, to produce that stronger army better managed, and better watched by an informed and interested public. It would be idle to say, although it would be true, that we must become "a more military people." It is of course not to be calculated that a commercial community, with set duties, will at once and suddenly convert itself into a soldiering race like the French ; we cannot expect it, and it will not be. But it is possible to increase and diffuse the military habits of the country through the pro- fessional military bodies ; and it is this at which we ought to aim. Luckily, the tendency of industry and trade is at once to economize labour, to increase production, and so to accumulate a larger mass of wealth and disengage more hands,—furnishing the treasury and the men. Already we have amongst us a Militia, which, besides being the great school and reserve for the army, connects the people more closely with military resources and ideas. Its very popular- ity is a proof that the public mind can be turned towards military habits and predilections. The practical school of military experi- ence and intelligence on a large scale, however, must be the pro- fessional army ; but to render that army effectual for its duties abroad, or its moral and political reaction upon the habits and ideas of the people at home, it must be extended and improved.. The single measure of opening the profession, by admitting the ranks to commissions, would effect much to connect the army with the people ; and by drawing into it all classes and their in- terests, it would stimulate the reaction of military influences on. the community. The very exercises requisite to place our army on a level with the French would give more fife to the same in- fluence.. And a reformed army would be an instrument of further reform. It is from well-constituted armies that great military im- provements come ; from commanders with faculties called out by active service that we have military inventions. It is a Napoleon or a Wellington that strikes out new views on strategy ; a Minie that gives us a rifle ; a Nolan that introduces new spirit and chivalry into cavalry service. But again we say, that the start- ing-point for this 'vast necessary improvement is inquiry, more thorough and more connected than that which has lately been un- dertaken.