Page:The Lull before Dorking.djvu/17

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11
THE LULL BEFORE DORKING.

£700,000 per annum—a very tolerable burden for the security afforded. After these two or four years the numbers to be embodied might be reduced to 30,000 or 40,000 men, and the standing army proportionately reduced; so that there would hereafter only be the expense of the annual embodiment, including pension or retainer charges, such as are in force in the naval reserve; and also the interest of the debt.

Then as to Purchase, we recommend you (the report might further say) to mind what you are doing, and to obtain some substitute before you lop down this enormous branch of a system. Meanwhile, get to know what you can about Frederick the Great and one Scharnhorst, Marlborough, Wellington, and other practical generals. Remember what is the condition as regards purchase of some of the so-called non-purchase Indian regiments (the 101st and 102nd, and others), and consider whether, in a country like this, you can altogether dispense with the influence, use or misuse, of wealth, such as you see in sundry adjutancies of militia, yeomanry, and volunteers. Just consider also some of the scandals and practical difficulties that have occurred (not altogether unknown at the War Office) in certain militia and volunteer non-purchase corps, where it is said that half a company have sometimes resigned rather than be commanded by some non-purchase officer; or in the militia, where it is said half the officers have talked of resigning sooner than be associated with some non-purchase officer. When you have pondered these things, and found a full, sufficient, and satisfactory