Page images
PDF
EPUB

entered as such to the number of 6928, in Mr. P. Melvill's Table at page 1l, of his second examination,

Our pages have, at different times, contained much information on all branches of the Indian Army. We profess now to offer few new facts; but, with the aid of the mass of evidence before, us, to correct some errors and to sketch the present and past condition of the Army; and also to point out many points in which its efficiency may be improved without increasing its expense. Costing now eleven millions a year, or little short of half the revenue of the country, the Army cannot be increased without risk of bankruptcy. Reform and adaptation, not numerical increase, then, are required. Reform in the French rather than in the English fashion; not in pipe clay details ; but in arms, accoutrements and drill; above all in tone and morale. In putting not only the right sort of soldier of all ranks and creeds in the right place, and giving him an object and a motive for simple duty, but offering him inducements to zeal and exertion. In short, to substitute to a certain extent, rewards for merit in lieu of for old age. Our remarks must necessarily be desultory, and will touch the prejudices, and even the interests of many. They will therefore not be popular; but we trust they may be useful.

We have vainly sought for exact detailed states, at different periods, of the Indian Army, in Blue Books, in Histories, in Army Lists, as also from private sources. Captain Rafter quite misleads his reader. He gives two European regiments, instead of three, at each Presidency, though a third was raised a twelvemonth before his book was published. He calls all the Engineers “ Royal Corps.” What he means by “twelve Regiments of Irregular Infantry” and “ sixteen of Local Militia” in Bengal, we are at a loss to imagine. The expression—“Militia”-smacks of his book being a “get up” in Paternoster Row. Unfortunately we have no Militia in India. All are mercenarios; the most faithful in the world, but still mercenaries. The men who fought against us under Mahratta and Sikh banners are now our trusty soldiers. They are ours to the death, so long as we keep covenant with them. Their salt is their country and their banner. We cannot expect and do not deserve more: we have done little to induce personal attachment in sepoys or in any other class. The time, we hope, is coming, when both will have greater reason than at present, to fight for love of our supremacy.

The evidence before Parliament has scarcely assisted us more than Captain Rafter has done; we have puzzled ourselves for very many hours, over the Blue Book figures and tables, but have not succceded in reconciling the statements of the different authorities or even the evidence of the same individual at different times. We have therefore concocted a table for ourselves.

ents of tables, belves for

Tabular Statement of the Army of India in January 1856, including

tingents and Irregular Corps officered from the Line ;

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Of the 6215 officers, 782 are medical. Invalid officers are not included, Horse are not included, but only Corps included in Army lists. The one weak as a total of three average Corps. In the same way two and three Corps or DeEuropean officers and soldiers, and 275,304 Natives, 516 Field Guns, as also a Mortars might be brought into the field within a month.

all Her Majesty's and the Hon'ble Company's Troops ; all the Con. also the Field Regular and Irregular Guns attached.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

but simply those on the strength of Regiments. Police Battalions and Police Corps of Cutch Horse is counted with the two strong Regiments of Scinde Horse tachments are occasionally clubbed. The grand total 323,823 includes 48,519 small Mountain Train, are attached. Three hundred Battering Guns and as many

We submit this account to our readers with much confidence, as containing a nearer approximation to the total strength of the Army, and even of its details, than any other published document.

In preparing the above table we have derived assistance from Mr. Philip Melvill's evidence, but have not always been able to ascertain his meaning, nor are we satisfied that his figures are always correct. Most of ours are taken from the Army Lists. Mr. Melvill gives no details of the Contingents, but clubs them at 32,000 men, which is above their strength.* We have entered them in our table, with other Irregulars, under their several heads, Artillery, Cavalry, and Infan, try. It will be observed that we estimate the army at 323,823, which though differing in detail, closely agrees with Mr. P. Melvill's total of 2,89,529, added to 32,000 Contingents. Our total strength includes 1400 Dragoons, 24,200 Royal Infantry, 2660 Horse Artillery, 4044 Foot Artillery, 6215 Officers of the Company's Army, 9000 Company's Infantry, 700 Veterans and 300 Ordnance, Warrant, and N. C. Staff, making a total of 48,519 European officers and soldiers. The 275,304 natives include 2569 Sappers; 4480 Foot and 440 Horse Artillery ; 9450 Regular and 23780 Irregular Cavalry ; also 170,000 Regular and 51,150, quasi local or Irregular Infantry,t and 516 Guns are attached, 138 being Horse Artillery.

This vast Army occupies about 1,350,000 square miles of country and protects and overawes about 150 millions of people. There is therefore about one soldier to 465 of the population, but so unequally divided, that in the Punjab the proportion is one to 200, whereas in Bengal it is one to 3000. Intermediately and in the south, it varies according to the circumstances of the country, a single Regiment being here and there stationed at long intervals, but more frequently a Brigade with Cavalry and guns being located together.

The Army as above detailed, does not include the Punjab Police Battalions, the Scinde and other organised Police, altogether numbering at least 16,000 drilled, and well armed, soldiers; most of them quite equal to average Irregulars. I To these may be added about one hundred thousand ordinary Police and Revenue

. * Since writing the above we have observed that Mr. Melvill reckons the Guicowar and Mysore Contingents as part of his 32,000, and as being on the same footing with the Gwalior and Hyderabad Contingents ; but such is not the case. The two latter are disciplined bodies, officered by English gentlemen ; the others, especially the Guicowar's, are neither officered nor disciplined.

+ They are more Regular than the Regular Battalions of Clive's time, and indeed differ little from the Regulars except in having only three officers instead of twenty-four. Few of them can correctly be called local.

I We have taken no account of the projected Oude Contingent and Bengal Police Battalion.

peons, the “Idlers” of Sir Charles Napier. He estimated the number in the Bengal and Agra Presidencies at 158,000 ; but the correct number is 59,000, and in the Punjab 11,000. In somewhat similar proportion 30,000 will be the number for Bombay and Madras. If to this hundred thousand, we add the vil. lage police throughout the country, an array of numbers equal to the whole strength of the Army might be made. And if we count, as our predecessors the Moguls would have done, or as any European Government but our own would do, the armies of native states situated within our limits, we may nearly complete the full million, and rival Xerxes of old, or the Czar of to-day. That we allow the village police of Bengal to be breakers, instead of conservators of the peace, is surely our own fault. If they commit dacoitees and overawe landholders and planters, and act energetically against the law, for a motive, they can also for a motive, fight dacoits to maintain the law. Whole districts in the N. W. Provinces filled with the brethren of the fighting classes of Oude have never, during the last seventy years, seen a British sepoy. Sir George Clerk, no mean conservator of the peace, in his evidence before Parliament considered it quite feasible to make use of the 30, to 40,000, hereditary village police of Bombay, now set aside, though still enjoying service lands.

In regard to native armies, when we were comparatively weak, they fought on our side. The Nizam helped cordially at Seringapatam. Less cordially different Mahratta chiefs have at times done so. The Rajpoots were more true to us than we were to ourselves, during Monson's retreat. Sikh Contingents served at Bhurtpore and in the Nepal hills. The Sikh army, in its worst days, helped us to force the Khyber, and a portion even accompanied us to Cabul. The Goorkhas periodically offer their services, and Golab Singh's regiments have, on two occasions, fought valiantly by our side in Hazara. Above all, the Bhauwalpore Nawab fought our battle, when the weather was thought too hot for us to fight it ourselves. Bearing these facts in mind, we would steer a mean course between those who would have made over Delhi and Agra to the Rajpoots during the Sikh war, and Sir Charles Napier's alarm of the Goorkhas, of Hydrabad, Golab Singh and the Burmese. Indeed, we are of opinion, that all but the last might without difficulty be induced to aid in the conservation of the public peace.

The expense of the Army, including the dead-weight, is eleven millions a year, or nearly one-half the revenue of India. To increase it, as many suggest, would be to risk bankruptcy. It already exceeds by 158,000, the strength when Lahore and Gwalior had large hostile armies at our very doors; and is 30,000

or us to fighter battle, Wazara. Abo

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »