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ONE of the many vexed questions which seem now to be engrossing public opinion is military promotion by purchase. The Times, and a numerous party, are for the immediate annihilation of our present system, establishing promotion simply as a cordon of merit, and exemplifying to every grade of our community the hackneyed aphorism that each private soldier carries a field-marshal's bâton in his knapsack. The Times is very sanguine on its present bantling of reform, and considers the plan feasible and easy of realisation. On the other hand, Lord Palmerston, and a still more numerous party-carrying with them, on two occasions the majority of the Senate House-consider this new idea simply preposterous, or, in their own words, "Utopian."

Before entering into the subject in detail, we take it for granted every one of our readers are aware promotion in the army is by purchasethat is to say, each grade up to the rank of a lieutenant-colonel is to be bought. After that rank an officer is promoted by what is technically called "brevet." These commissions are sold by government, who, bythe-by, are only brokers in the matter, as the original price has been appropriated almost a century past. For instance, D is a captain, and wants to sell. He receives the regulated price of his company from Lieutenant B- (the senior lieutenant), the price of his lieutenancy from Ensign C- (the senior ensign), and the price of his ensigncy from A. E, "gent," as he is very equivocally styled. It must therefore be patent to every understanding government reaps no pecuniary advantages from what the Times designates "these mercantile transactions." Officers who die in the service, or are dismissed by sentence of courtsmartial, have the prices of their commissions sequestered, which go towards a sinking-fund that covers the loss to the country of promotions without purchase. We shall now give a tabular statement of the prices of commissions, with the daily pay of their respective ranks:


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Prices of Commissions and Daily Pay of each Rank-(continued).

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It is estimated, that if the system of promotion by purchase was annulled, the legislators of such an act would saddle posterity with an increased debt of between eight to nine million pounds sterling, totally irrespective of the half-pay list, which may with perfect safety be estimated at four millions more, making, at the very lowest calculation, a national debt of twelve millions sterling! whilst the annual pay of officers alone is four hundred thousand a year. The question which naturally arises to every thinking person is: "Is England justified in saddling her posterity with such a sum upon two debates in the House of Commons, and upon four or five leading articles in the Times newspaper?"

At this time, engaged in the greatest war our kingdom ever has seen, when not only the sword, but famine, pestilence, and neglect are decimating our ranks, no lack is found in applications for commissions-it being notoriously the case that the general commanding-in-chief never had his list so full-and when officers themselves are all in favour of promotion by purchase, let us ask, "Is this the very period to select for annulling the system, for taking a clean wipe out of the slate of figures, for saddling posterity with a debt of twelve millions sterling, and for favouring a 'whim of a moment' of the great Thunderer of Printinghouse-square?"

Let us see.


Let us, however, take it for granted, simply for argument's sake, that promotion by purchase is annulled-that we have saddled the country with twelve millions sterling-shall we, pray, have obtained our ends, and have made promotion in the army the standard of merit and not money Are not all our readers aware that there is " extra money" given, nearly equalling the regulation price contained in the tabular form given above? Yes. Are they not aware such is contrary both to civil and military law? Yes. Is it not so laid down, both in the Mutiny Act and Act 49 George III., cap. 126, sec. 7? Yes. And yet most assuredly is it as well known as that the Nelson column stands in Trafalgarsquare, that in a "crack cavalry corps" a lieutenant-colonel will give as much as fifteen thousand pounds for his command, being in excess over the regulated price of nine thousand eight hundred and twenty-five pounds; and a captain in the same distinguished branch of the service,

* After seven years' service, one shilling per diem extra.'

six thousand pounds, being an excess again of one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five pounds. This is done in the face of stringent laws, civil and military, which are unable to restrain this trafficking. Let us pause. Let us ask, inquire, and think whether any means, save Utopian ones, could be devised to prevent commissions becoming mercantile transactions? It must not, in the first place, be presumed for a moment that those two services, where commissions are not purchased—namely, the Royal Artillery and the East India Company-are exempt from the taint of filthy lucre. Far otherwise: money is the surest means of promotion in that intelligent and intellectual branch of her Majesty's army whose head-quarters are stationed at Woolwich, whilst our good friends the loyal and brave officers of dear old rich Nunky John Company-in many regiments, if not in all-have a fund with which the juniors purchase out the seniors. The Times may draw invidious comparisons, and pray the military service generally might be assimilated to the Indian one, where every officer looks upon his profession as his home, and his pay and emoluments as his patrimony; but rest assured that it is so inherent in our national natures, that, whether Royal or Indian officer, he will endeavour with that pay to improve that home; and as each succeeding step entails such benefit and comfort, he will endeavour to do that towards himself whereby he is most benefited, and whereby he is made most comfortable. Give an Englishman a mud hovel in the wilds of Galway, he will do his best with money and exertion to turn it into a cottage ornée, and exactly in the same ratio are those effects felt in the British army.

"Ah! but we shall get a superior man to enlist!" exclaims paterfamilias. Forsooth, we have heard that cry ere this! Mr. Layard told us of some such thing when in 1846 he reduced the term of service of the soldier to ten years; and now, when the popular mania is to do away with purchase, we have the same old song. A shilling a day, with deductions, is a vast inducement to any man, surely, to enlist, with even the certainty of after some fifty years becoming a major-general-eh, good gentleman? Nay, we will not presume so much on our reader's ignorance of human nature, of the world, of Byron's noblest study, "man," as to attempt to induce him to believe that yonder youngster, "taking the shilling" at the side of the Hampshire Hog, in Westminster, is calculating how many years he has to serve ere he mounts the sergeant's stripes-how many it will be before he doffs the worsted epaulette and dons the golden one-and lastly, the exact year he finds that fabulous bâton which we are told is shortly to be hid in every man's knapsack? No! no! There are other reasons: the knit brow, the sullen look, tell of quarrels at home. Again: that sigh, those pale and haggard cheeks, those downcast, melancholy-looking eyes, bespeak poverty and neglect: some village philosopher, who has begged his way to London to earn fame, and honour, and riches, finds but too soon his equals and superiors, and reaps only poverty, neglect, and misery. Yet again: look on that merry-faced lad; his smiling lips, his dark, hazel eyes, his blithesome gait, and ringing whistle, tell of one whose spirit is above being chained to the loom or plough, and loves the stir, and danger, and excitement of war for such feelings themselves; he calculates on nought just now save which soldier he shall "stand" beer for


with the shilling he has taken. And finally, look again: that sharpfeatured, emaciated, and trembling wretch, shivering in a midsummer's sun, tells too plainly the spendthrift, the drunkard, and the criminal. There you have, good, worthy, old gentleman, your party. prodigal son, the village philosopher, the merry ploughboy, and the drunken criminal. Take a good look at them; it is the last time you will see them so. To-morrow or the next day they will be in scarlet coat and blue "overalls," part and parcel of a huge machine, that, after all is said and done, is a wee bit" feared, and laugh when foreigners talk of Inkerman, Alma, and Balaklava. Well, do you think one or either of these when they enlisted in that distinguished service, which you are now paying double income-tax to keep up, ever gave a thought of the field-marshal's bâton being in the valise? Verily, verily! no, no! Well, to flatter your whim, good old paterfamilias, we will suppose an exception to our rule-we will suppose a recruit enlists solely for the chance of becoming an officer. Does any rational reader suppose that, without realising purchase-money, the non-commissioned officer would give up his pension which, as one, he receives? But here let us again pause, and explain what "pensions" mean, at least for the benefit of our civilian readers. Every soldier discharged receives the following rate of pension for life:



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Non-commissioned officers have, in addition to the above pensions, the following rates, computed from the date of enlistment, for every year of service as non-commissioned officers, viz. :

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All these are independent of "blood money," loss of limbs in action, blindness, wounds, &c. &c.

Do you, therefore, good, worthy paterfamilias, suppose that any noncommissioned officer would give up the chance of such a comfortable retiring pension (which might, as a regimental sergeant-major of cavalry, amount to 3s. 6d. per diem) for the honour of being an officer and a gentleman, except he was safe of the contingency of the purchase-money of his promotion? Nay, for both the regulation and the sum given over that regulation, amounting, as we have already stated, to-in a crack cavalry corps-for a lieutenant-colonelcy 15,000l., for a captain 6000/.? We fear not!

But another difficulty is now thrown in the way of eradicating the system of promotion by purchase, by the very pensions to which we have just made allusion, and the country must be prepared for an additional burden of several millions sterling to meet or remove this new obstacle as it now presents itself. The artillery have large retiring pensions, as we have no

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doubt our readers are aware. Of course the line must have the same. You could not use the best term of a man's life, send him to every clime, making him serve "where the sun never sets,"-soldier from Canada to the West Indies-and when fairly worn out, and old, and useless, and fit for nothing but cackling of the old Duke of York or the iron Wellington, like our inestimable friend Joe Bagshot, we say you surely could not turn him to the barrack-gate and bid him "begone" like a drummed-out private? Nor could you make all generals, nor give to all appointments, or districts, or regiments, otherwise there would be nothing but "Richmonds in the field;" nor again could you, now the old boys are "past their work," their occupations, like Othello, "gone,' turn them loose on the streets of London, until, passed to their parishes, they are compelled to seek workhouse relief? The idea is preposterous; the Chartists would sing peans of ecstasy! You must, therefore, pension off these old boys, and the longer we were at peace, and the younger you wished your generals to be, so much the larger would your pensionlist swell. Are you prepared, good, worthy John Bull, for all this? If you are-reform by all means; if not, if your army is satisfied, waitwait a little longer-wait until farmers petition you for free trade, until peers legislate to be imprisoned for debt, until the Whitechapel thief solicits K 15 to take him up for "prigging an old lady's vipe at 'Xter 'all" wait, good John, until "the sky drops, and the heavens rain

larks !"

Merit, a cordon of merit, we must have for our army; education we must have, not the farce it is now; better pay we must have, not the miserable pittance you give now, where the private is not so well paid as the Irish bogtrotter, nor the officer as a master cotton-spinner. Besides all these, we must have a total annihilation of "police duty" for our troops. We must not send a company to Ballymacrowdy, in Mayo, because the poor are starving and the landlord is an absentee; nor a troop to Donkeythorne because its captain is cousin to the great duke there. But we must concentrate them all at Chobham, or at Aldershott, or at the Curragh, and teach them what campaigning is really likely to be; and then, when the day of battle is at hand, when the first shot is fired, they will be ready prepared for the crisis, and the heartrending tales with which our newspapers and periodicals have so teemed with these last six months will remain as but legends of the past with the other stories of the instruments of torture in use in Great Britain's darker ages. Green coffee and the rack, base cloth and the stake, "ammunition" boots and the thumbscrew, will become relics of barbarity, treasured up in the Tower of London for our children's children to see, and mayhap form the material for some startling romance for a future Ainsworth!

If we reform these, and such as these, we shall do not only a great social good, but a holy and heavenly one; our regiments will no longer become the charnel-houses for our surplus population; and surrounding nations will with one accord allow that England's army is not only brave and loyal, but wise and moral.

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