Imatges de pÓgina
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Russia must ultimately belong to one or other of us, he means not that he is greedy for extended territory, but that this kind of rule cannot last. He is continually harping on the fact, but is in no hurry to realise it.

One very remarkable result occurred as the consequence of the great Durbar for proclaiming the Queen as Empress of India. The Khan of Khelat was so impressed by the magnificence of the empire as he saw it there displayed, that be asked to be admitted as a feudatory. Clearly as regards the possibility of Colonel Hanna's Backwards policy that is an important element. To abandon a declared feudatory of the empire would obviously be a very different thing from retiring from certain stations in the hills. As an illustration of the effect likely to be produced on Eastern minds by that gorgeous magnificence and display of power, together with the ocular evidence of the unity of the empire, the prayer of the Khan is significant. On the whole, we think that the fact that the ceremonial, admirably carried out as it was from a spectacular point of view, was something much more than a mere piece of theatricalism is conclusive. 'Appearance' is still, as Goethe declared it to be, one of

the kings of the world. You call these toys,' said Napoleon when he was distributing his new-fangled ribbons, decorations, and honours. Well, you govern men with toys. The ruler who does not appreciate the value of appearances does not know much of mankind. We are not keenly anxious to follow through the detail of the conferences which led gradually up to the Afghan war. They have lost their interest now, except in so far as they exhibit the minds of Lord Lytton and the Amir. It seems to us clear that the Amir throughout was actuated by several feelings : fear of the overt readiness of Russia to act whilst we talked ; confidence that whilst, if we appeared in the kingdom, we should never be content to stand by and tranquilly watch the iniquities of his rule, Russia would not trouble him about such matters; the genuine hatred towards us of a former friend who thought he had been betrayed in the Seistan award, and by Lord Northbrook's protest against his iniquitous treatment of his son. Given that it was important for us to maintain our own infuence at Kabul to the exclusion of that of Russia, and that it was worth the cost of a war, and the whole sequence follows inevitably without any other explanation whatever being required. The two views were diametrically opposed and there could be only one result. Colonel Hanna's first volume on the Afghan war

was brought out before he can have had the opportunity of studying Lord Lytton's papers in full. He very justly complains of the difficulties entailed upon historians who wish to arrive at truth by the partial publication of official documents. On the whole, now he has a fair collection from both sides with which to deal. We hope that when he brings out his second volume, he will do more justice than he has hitherto done to some of the finer qualities of those who do not agree with him, and that perhaps he may even join us in congratulating Lady Betty Balfour on the way she has accomplished her task of love.

There is one feature of Lord Lytton's administration of India to which we have not alluded because it lay outside the great question of frontier policy which we have here discussed. It is only just that we should give due recognition to the ability and success with which Lord Lytton dealt with the problem of Indian famine.

ART. XII.The War in South Africa. IT T is abundantly clear that the nation is engaged in a far

more formidable war than three months ago was contemplated either by the people or the Government. The causes that produced it, or rendered it inevitable, it will be for history to investigate. The results which will flow from it lie concealed in the future. At the present time men's thoughts are concentrated upon the war itself, the preparations made for it, and its actual conduct in the field. Of the last, however, it is still impossible to write with adequate knowledge. The military authorities have wisely forbidden all publication of news or facts which may be useful to the enemy, and, moreover, till military critics are in possession of the information upon which our commanders have acted, their opinions are certain to be greatly at fault.

As regards British preparedness for war, however, and the results of the earlier military operations in South Africa, it is highly desirable that men should carefully and calmly inquire into what has actually been done, should recognise the difficulties to be overcome, and should endeavour to reform what is amiss. That we are at war with the South African Republic and the Orange Free State is of course not due to the War Office. Their business has been to organise the military strength of the nation with the means placed at their disposal, and to render to the Government' a strict account of British readiness to take the field. It has been the duty of successive Governments and Parliaments to decide upon the scale of our armaments on land and sea, and the duty of the military and naval departments to give us the very best army and navy procurable, to carry out the general objects these Governients have had in view.

Four years ago, in discussing the Order in Council of November 21, 1895, we expressed the opinion that the new system of army administration therein laid down was not without defects. The responsibilities of the different heads of departments appeared to us ill-defined, and the paragraphs assigning them contradictory; too much was laid on the shoulders of the Commander-in-Chief, and too little importance attached to the duties and composition of the Headquarters Staff. Schemes of offensive and defensive operations were indeed referred to, but, as no means of framing and maintaining them was provided, preparation for war must necessarily be incomplete. We pointed out, also, that although there had

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hitherto been no continuity in our military policy, and successive Ministries had consistently shrunk from deciding for

what purpose the British Army is maintained, or to what ends its organisation should be directed,' the interests of the empire demanded that a strong expeditionary force should be ready to move to any point of our possessions at the shortest notice. At the same time, however, we entertained no fear for the immediate future. The redeeming feature of the new system, in our opinion, was the recognition of the great principle that for the proper security of the Empire the Coinmander-in-Chief must be the ablest and most experienced soldier in the service. Although reluctant to admit that personal characteristics are of more importance than the perfection of the machine, we were nevertheless so supremely confident in Lord Wolseley's capacity that, potwithstanding the shortcomings of the Order in Council, we ventured to predict that the army would soon reach a far higher standard of efficiency than it had hitherto attained. Nevertheless, we were fully alive to the difficulties in the way.

'Despite the support he may count on receiving from the Government and the country, it will be years before Lord Wolseley's work is done. The new system will not be established without much thought and toil, nor brought into order without conflict. The evils which characterised the administration of the War Office are rampant throughout the army. Over-centralisation, disregard of the chain of responsibility, the crusliing of all initiative, the apotheosis of “ red-tape," are matters of complaint and scorn in every mess-room. These ills must be swept away with a strong hand, for the opposition will be powerful. Reform will be opposed-silently perhaps, but none the less obstinately _“by men who have been trained in the best traditions, who are honestly incapable of imagining any other, whose interests are bound up with the existing chaos, and to whom a system which is a matter of course cn the Continent and in every big undertaking at home seems to spell revolution and ruin." Moreover, not only does the old order give place to new, but it is Lord Wolseley's duty to establish the new order on a firm basis, and to impress the principles of sound administration so deeply on every branch of the service that the recrudescence of the former evils shall be impossible. But if his task is heavy, his opportunity is great. . . . Can be give us an army of permanent efficiency, capable of fulfilling all our needs, and held by other nations in the same respect as they hold the British Navy ?'*

We must confess that in writing these words the thought never crossed our mind that two small republics, far away

* Edinburgh Review, January 1896.

In peace

in the interior of Africa, would soon justify, and more than justify, the plea for such an army and more thorough preparation.

We may congratulate ourselves, perhaps, that the emergency has not been greater. Nevertheless, the fabric of the empire has not been so seriously threatened since the Indian Mutiny, and the new system of military administration has been subjected to a test as severe as it was unexpected. It will be well to explain the difference between the new system and the old, and to describe the condition of the army when Lord Wolseley succeeded the Duke of Cambridge.

In the Crimean campaign it was demonstrated beyond all doubt that a long-service army was absolutely unsuited to the needs of the Empire. Even when war was raging and British enthusiasm was at its hottest it was impossible to obtain recruits, even by enlisting foreigners, either in sufficient numbers or of adequate physique. matters were far worse. Battalions of infantry dwindled to a few hundred men, many of them too old for the hardships of a campaign ; cavalry regiments were reduced to the strength of a strong squadron ; the artillery, in default of gunners, was dangerously weak in guns; the transport and supply service was practically non-existent; and, except the Militia, which could not be sent abroad unless the battalions volunteered, there was absolutely no Reserve. Moreover, the administration of the army was utterly rotten. The regiments which, by means of huge bounties, had been brought up to strength before Sebastopol were fortunately still full when the Sepoys turned against us. Yet it was with the utmost difficulty that reinforcements were at last despatched to the seat of

For the next twelve years the army drifted from bad to worse. The want of men became more crying every day; and there was no perceptible improvement in the methods of administration. In 1870, however, the astonishing success of Prussia brought into startling prominence the value of a large Reserve, and proved that an army of young soldiers, under first-rate officers, might be made a most effective instrument of war. This, combined with the impossibility of maintaining a long-service army at the necessary strength, led to the introduction of short service. While Lord Cardwell was at the War Office, a Bill was passed which limited the soldier's stay with the colours to six years, but retained him for the same period in the Army Reserve. Three years before, in 1867, another Reserve had been established,

war.

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