midnight; and 255 miles by noon on the 10th-this length of cable being used in a straight line distance of something over 200 miles.

The solace under this misfortune is, that the accident does not presage any fatal error in the principle adopted. It is believed that the experience gained will suggest a remedy. Mr. Bright, the engineer, in his Report to the Directors of the Company, said :'I do not perceive in our present position any reason for discouragement; but I have, on the contrary, a greater confidence than ever in the undertaking. It has been proved beyond a doubt that no obstacle exists to prevent our ultimate success; and I see clearly how every difficulty which has presented itself in this voyage can be effectually dealt with in the next. The cable has been laid at the expected rate in the great depths; its electrical working through the entire length has been most satisfactorily accomplished; while the portion laid actually improved in efficiency from being submerged, from the low temperature of the water, and the close compression of the texture of the gutta percha: the structure of the cable has answered every expectation that I had formed of it; and if it were now necessary to construct another line, I should not recommend any alteration from the present cable.'

Let us hope that the year 1858 will witness the completion of two enterprises, each the grandest in its particular class-the 'Great Eastern,' and the Atlantic Telegraph, and each subject to failure in 1857. Indeed, we may add a third to the series, the greatest bell in Britain, which alike waits for the repairs in 1858 of a disaster occurring in 1857.


UNTIL very recently, the English notions about an English army might have been summed up in two short phrases—a thing to be proud of in time of war, and to grumble at in time of peace; but any expression of public opinion as to its state and management was held to be impertinent, and any legislative inquiry as an unparliamentary infringement upon the executive power. In this, as in everything else, the growing force of public opinion has won its way, stimulated, it must be owned, by the terrible and utterly unexpected disclosures of the Crimean war. During the progress of that war many important reforms were effected. Since the peace, those in authority have not been wanting in well-meant endeavours to improve the condition of the private and the non-commissioned officer; to demand a higher test of qualification in the subaltern; to make energy and professional knowledge qualities in the selection of the Staff. Upon such points the official administrators are not in opposition to public opinion. Upon one important point they are not in accordance with those who desire to see the army a more open profession, through the abolition of the system for the Purchase of Commissions, which has been recognised and regulated" from the time of George I., though opposed by William III. abuses of that system were, as most other abuses, more flagrant in the last century than the present. It is now a weaker instrument, or



no instrument at all, of political jobbery. We have before us an unpublished manuscript letter of Henry Conway-the subject of Burke's extravagant eulogy and of Junius's unjust abuse-who, when Secretary of State in 1765, writes thus to his brother, the LordLieutenant of Ireland :-'I wrote to you before on the sale of Mr. Johnston's commission; but having had another very pressing solicitation from Sir Richard Glynn, member for the City, and a man it imports us to oblige, I can't help adding a word farther. He has lately heard that, notwithstanding Captain Glynn's desire to purchase in the corps, and the major's repeated promises to treat with him, there is a treaty now privately going on with another captain. If it is sold at all, I do indeed think it would be an injustice to Captain Glynn, and such as might change the sentiments of his father, now much inclined to our support.' Good old times! But in our day Secretaries of State and Lords-Lieutenant of Ireland have, we hope, something more important to correspond upon; and we may further hope, that the "sentiments" of members of Parliament are not determined upon such considerations. The Purchase System of Commissions is fairly administered. The real question is, whether it is good for the country that such a system should exist at all. We have been making one step in the right direction. We have begun to inquire into the matter; and a Blue Book has been issued by a Royal Commission. We propose to bestow a brief consideration upon the one point of the evidence taken before that Commission which interests the general publicthat is, whether the very narrow gate by which the first stage of military command, and all the subsequent stages up to the rank of colonel, are reached, is favourable to the development of that national military spirit upon which our internal defence, and the safety of the dependencies of the British Crown, must in a great degree rest.

England is, we are often told, a non-military nation. If that means that the English people generally think the arts of peace the true business and glory of communities; and the arts of war, instruments whose very use is interdicted to Christian men as full of evil, except where it is the only means of preventing still greater evilsthen certainly we are not a military nation. But if to be a military nation is to possess the courage and fortitude that can dare and endure all things; the freedom that laughs to scorn even the possibility of its reduction to servitude; skill in organising; the wealth which can arm, and clothe, and victual, and pay armies of any magnitude that can be practically made available-if these, glorified by the haloes that hang around our military history, reminding us of victories in every climate and age, and against almost every sort of people, then indeed Englishmen may rest contented under any imputations on her non-military character, and reply—'Well! let those who doubt-try us.'

But if there be no danger in the want of these military elements, there is sometimes danger in the fact that England will not think herself in danger: and it is so, we fear, just now. Never, perhaps, has our country had to pass through a severer ordeal than at present; and, whatever our hopes or convictions, no man can say when the

hour of safety and rest shall come. Is England sufficiently alive to her present dangers—sufficiently alive in meeting the coming difficulties? Compare the size of our regular army, and the additions making to it, with the demands of India alone-where the best authorities agree we shall require from 70,000 to 100,000 British soldiers for some years to come. We have sent 30,000, and have drained the country at home to do so. We are calling forth our militia by instalments of a few thousands at a time, having no military population to fall back upon in case of any sudden emergency, such as the conscription gives France, the landwehr gives Prussia, and the volunteers give the United States. During the harvest season the recruiting for the regular army went on so slowly that the authorities were 'perplexed in the extreme.' We are now assured that recruiting is going on much more successfully. In dealing with the recruiting system some slight improvements have been made. The bounty said to be given is given, we believe, more honestly than it was. In eloquent language divines, statesmen, and men of influence in the world, are daily urging people to flock to the standard. Alternate sarcasms and compliments are addressed to entire classes of men to give their aid in redressing the atrocious wrong done to our women and children on the plains of Hindustan. But it is, after all, obvious to any bystander that neither the number nor the quality of the recruits are such as worthily to represent the feeling and thought of the time, or to meet, as they should meet, future contingencies. Why is this? Why do not the large numbers of agricultural and town labourers give to the army young men not hanging loose upon society? Why do the middle classes stand so absolutely aloof? The 'Report on the Purchase of Commissions' furnishes an answer. An English soldier has not the same certainty of promotion as in other countries. An English soldier has not the same hope that energy, skill, and honesty will procure for him the rewards which these qualities generally command in any other occupation. In the army there is no place which the best men of the middle and labouring classes can take with selfrespect, or with justice to their own future interests. Let us, then, learn from The Report of the Commissioners appointed to Inquire into the System of Purchase and Sale of Commissions in the Army,' what are the chief features of our army government.

A young gentleman, say of 18 or 19, smitten with the attractions of the uniform, and having a certain consciousness of its effect upon the fairer sex; or having arrived at that period of life when he must choose a profession, chooses one that promises to be the least irksome to him; or having patronage to advance him in a military career; or being ambitious, and inclined to try the chances of a peerage or Westminster Abbey;' or being fit for nothing else; or being in every habit and inspiration the man out of whom must come the true soldier-such a one applies to the Commanderin-Chief or his secretary for a commission. Inquiry is made as to his character and circumstances, and if that be satisfactory, the name is entered into a book. If he be rich, he asks for a commission with purchase. If he be comparatively poor, but having influence,

he solicits for the honour of serving her Majesty, without purchase. Should he be at once poor and destitute of powerful friends or special claims, he had better not trouble himself with the matter: there is not the slightest chance for him. There are but some eighty commissions granted annually (on the average of the years 1849 to 1853) in time of peace, without purchase; and it is obvious how many claimants there must be for them among the friends and connexions of the Government and the higher officers of the army. A certain number, also, out of such commissions are properly granted to students from Sandhurst.

Whether by purchase or not, the name once on the book, the candidate must go to Sandhurst to be examined. This ordeal is generally preceded by a special training-' cramming' as it is called —at a private preparatory establishment, the conductors of which know exactly what is expected from the aspirant, and take care to fit him to satisfy that expectation by the shortest possible routes. The examination at Sandhurst successfully passed, the candidate for purchase may be appointed to the first vacancy which occurs through the retirement of an officer who sells-a contingency that has seldom, we believe, long to be waited for. The candidate without purchase must pause until a vacancy occurs through death, and then has to take his chance often among a host of rivals. In this, the first of the buying and selling series of transactions which so peculiarly distinguish our army, the regulation' or Government price is never exceeded. (Report, p. xx.) No credit is given. The commission,' we are told, is never gazetted until the required sum has been paid to the army agent.' The Regulation price of the first step varies from 450l. for the ensigncy in a foot regiment to 1,2607. for a cornetcy in the Life-Guards.


Suppose two youths, one with-one without-purchase; the former rich, the latter poor; have obtained their ensigncies in a foot regiment, or their cornetcies in a regiment of cavalry. Will they now start fair, having an equal chance of promotion? Let us see. officer dies, or some addition is made to the proper number of the officers, and there is a vacancy. The vacancy that most frequently occurs is through the retirement of some of the higher officers by the sale of their commissions. Every officer below has then the right to enter upon the vacated place, in the strict order of seniority-always provided-Shakspere's if was not more potent in meaning than this provided-provided he has the wherewithal to pay for it. Now the regulation price of commissions is a serious affair; but that price is a mere piece of military pleasantry—a fiction founded on no fact, and which laugh at all attempts, even those of Government, to keep it down. Mr. Charles Hammersley, an eminent army agent, told the Commissioners, that for the cavalry anything under double the regulation price is considered very reasonable.


The prospect which this very reasonable' price to a poor man, advanced from a subaltern position, or still advancing, is not very encouraging. For a lieutenantcy in a foot regiment, the regulation price is 7007.; for a captaincy, 1,8007.; for a majority, 3,2007.; for a lieutenant-colonelcy, 4,500%. In the cavalry, much higher; in the


household troops higher still. The officer whose seniority would entitle him to the promotion, may be fitted in all respects to receive a superior command; but he has no thousands wherewith to purchase. Others next to him may be in the same position. But then comes a man whose one merit possibly is his wealth; and if he has not been guilty of any flagrant misconduct, or exhibited notorious incapacity, his is the vacant place. And this may, must go on; juniors with money passing over the heads of their seniors who have it not, till the latter lose all heart in the service, and become disappointed The Report also states, in the broadest way, that one of the two principles that regulate promotion is, that no officer however deserving shall be promoted without purchase over the heads of his seniors in the regiment, consequently the path is absolutely barred against the poor man, except when casualties occur through deathgiving a general step upward. He has not even a chance arising from the fact that no officer below him may be able or willing to purchase; for in that case the vacancy is filled up from the half-pay list, or from some other regiment. The power to purchase ceases when the rank of lieutenant-colonel is reached. That is the point at which even the military conscience stops in its power of accomnodating itself to social circumstances or influence.

What the practical effect of these arrangements is on the army itself, let the Commissioners tell us: Under such regulations there is little inducement for officers to acquire proficiency in the science of war, or to study the military progress of other nations. An officer who performs his routine duties, and who keeps a sum of money available to purchase his promotion, as opportunities offer, may look forward with confidence to the attainment of high military rank; while the subaltern who has not the means to buy advancement, may serve during all the best years of his life in distant stations, and in deadly climates, yet he must be prepared to see his juniors put over him, for he will find that knowledge of military service, and attention to regimental duties, do not avail him.' The Report states this result of the purchase system in a much more effective way than we can state it. But it is presented only as a summary of the evidence of those witnesses, military or civil, who desired the abolition of that system. The larger number of those examined recommended its continuance, chiefly upon the grounds of expediency; they said, that under that system the officers of our army had been distinguished for the possession of the qualities which distinguish the gentleman, of which courage is not the least. Some also said, that no other system would do in England; inferring, that if the commissions of the army were thrown open, there would be no due restraint of parliamentary and other patronage. No doubt what Mr. Secretary Conway wished to do under the purchase system, might be done to a far greater extent under the system without purchase. But when we know that the system does not prevail in the highest branches of the service, the Artillery and Engineers, why is it so strenuously held to be impracticable in the Line, the Cavalry, and the Household Troops?

There are anomalies with regard to the purchase and sale of com

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