Page:The Lull before Dorking.djvu/16

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10
THE LULL BEFORE DORKING.

tive to the men, and advantageous to the whole community. For, according to Mr. Cardwell's return, there are at present in Great Britain over 100,000 regular troops. If each of these infantry regiments were appropriated to a county, or division of a county, as most of them nominally are; and if to each of these were added the militia of such county, with a second battalion to be raised, we should have the number 300,000 or thereabouts, really raisable and recruited. If, taking as many men as would volunteer from the militia (and raising the rest, if required) 50,000 or 100,000 men were permanently embodied for one year at a time, we should in two or four years respectively have passed 200,000 through the military mill. The 100,000 a year would be preferable if it did not too much disturb the labour market. By enlisting these men to serve with the colours one year and to be liable for five or ten years as first and second reserve, to be called out in case of war; also by systematically embodying and really practising them every year for a fortnight, we should presently have an army of 300,000 trained men capable of being put into line in ten days, exclusive of volunteers and yeomanry who might muster half as many more efficients for contingent service.

Then as to cost, if each man be put down at £50 per annum (£42 is the estimate, exclusive of officers and transport), this 200,000 would cost us in two or four years (at two and a-half or five millions a year) just ten millions, the interest of which, if raised by loan or terminable annuities, would not be more than