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In what scheme are there not difficulties ? The first Napoleon found no insuperable difficulties in his selections for the Legion of Honor. We doubt if either Napoleon ever decorated a notorious coward ; that is one who had given proof of cowardice. So it might be with us. The Army itself can sufficiently judge such questions. After each action, let a hundred or thousand decorations be adjudged. No difficulty will be found in ascertaining who are best entitled to them. There may be heart-burnings and dissatisfaction. There cannot be more than at present. Half the value of a decoration is lost to A. B. and C., when it is also worn by D. E. and F.
We have much to say on many other points, but must reserve most of our remarks for another occasion. The great, the vital question is the officering the army. We have roughly sketched our scheme-roughly but, we hope, sufficiently to explain our meaning. Sir Charles Napier, a General of decided ability and of large experience, who had led both Bengal and Bombay troops into action, has declared that the present system is canvassed in every Guard-room. To a certain extent this assertion is correct, and the fact bodes no good. Sir Charles advocated the introduction of Natives into the covenanted ranks of the Army, but he would have found it difficult to carry out his scheme; caste, food, a hundred causes, will for half a century at least, present such amalgamation. The difficulties far exceed those of entrance into the Civil and Medical services, and in them they are not small. But, if all that ought to be done cannot be done, there is no reason why we should sit still and wait until obvious mights are clamoured for; until, in a voice somewhat louder than that of the European Officers, in the days of Clive, the “excellent drills" and the “tight pantalooned” combine to assert their claims. What the European Officers have repeatedly done, may surely be expected from Natives. We shall be unwise to wait for such occasion. Come it will, unless anticipated. A Clive may not be then at hand.
Those who have watched events, or have studied Indian Military History, can distinctly trace almost all past murmurs and mutinies, we might indeed say every one, to some error or omission, trivial or great, of our own. Pay has been the great stumbling block. Whether in Bombay, Madras or Bengal, doubts as to the intentions of Government in regard to pay, have been at the bottom of most mutinies. In Bengal such affairs have generally been exaggerated, while in Madras and Bombay they are kept quiet, if not hushed up. We confess to preferring the quiet system-washing dirty linen at home : the linen should, however, always be washed, somewhere and somehow! quietly, but fully.
This motive to mischief should be disposed of at once. It should
not be in the power of any stupid Commander or Paymaster to refuse what Government had conceded. The Bombay rule of auditing all bills before payment is good and preventing retrenchments, shuts one doorof dissatisfaction. But even at Bombay, a plain unmistakeable Code is wanted in addition even to “Jameson's.” One has repeatedly been attempted, but has always failed of accomplishment. Amusement might be derived from the narrative of the failures, if the results were less grave. We look anxiously for the very long promised Bengal Code, but fear disappointment. An Officer who had scarcely done any Regimental duty, with a Regular Corps for twenty years, aided by two young Artillery Officers, however clever, was not the fitting President, and they were not the fitting Members, of a Committee to prepare a Code for all branches of the Bengal army. We strongly recommend that the new Code, with all others extant, of the three Presidences, be made over to a Committee of mixed Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry Officers, and that a Code for India be prepared, in which every question, involving the rights of individuals, of all branches of the three Armies, should be distinctly and unmistakeably laid down in the briefest way consistent with clearness. Such a Code would be more valuable than three more European Regiments, or than five hundred miles of rail.
The other chief cause of mutiny is religion-fanaticism. Hitherto it has been restricted to Mahommedans. Hindoos are content to be let alone. The faithful, not only desire to proselytize, but go out of their way to annoy their neighbours with their ceremonies. On two or three occasions we have witnessed Mohurrum processions ostentatiously drawn up opposite a Christian church during Divine service, and there drumming lustily. The late Bolarum affair, like most Indian questions, has been taken up with party spirit. Brigadier Mackenzie possesses much of the Covenanter spirit, and Mrs. Mackenzie's book is unpopular, (we hope not Mrs. Mackenzie, objectionable as are many parts of her work ;) therefore, we fear the attack upon him was accepted in some quarters, in a controversial spirit. But having read much on the subject, we cannot discover what legitimate offence was given; and fully approve the order which sentences all directly connected with the murderous attack on Mackenzie, to condign punishment; and all responsible to be dismissed the service. The Hyderabad Contingent, of all classes, is a distinguished body, but the Deccan Mahommedans pretty generally are fanatical and insubordinately disposed, beyond any thing to be found elsewhere in India, except perhaps at Patna, and on the Peshawur border. Witness Colonel Davies' murder in 1827, and the more recent mutiny of the 4th Madras Cavalry. Davies, like Mackenzie, was a fearless, chivalrous, fellow. Their cases were even more alike than their characters. On the impulse of the moment, the comrades of the murderers avenged Colonel Davies' death, but the murder was approved of by the Mahommedans of that day, and neighbourhood, and the ringleader's grave shortly became a place of pilgrimage and a resort for Mussalman devotees. The attack on Mackenzie was also by fanatics, and was perhaps more premeditated. Mackenzie issued a perfectly legitimate order ; it was disobeyed. His mistake was in personally interfering. The error nearly cost his life, and may yet do so. His wounds were frightful, few men could have survived them. His dauntless spirit sustained him. However, this and other matters of the kind, should make us more than ever cautious against real offence. A cap, a beard, a moustache, a strap, all in their time, have given offence. All on pretence of religion. But by a little management, by leading instead of drawing, almost any thing may be done. The man who would not touch leather a few years ago, is now, in the words of a fine old Subadar, "up to the chin in it.” But the same old fellow begged that the leather might stop there, and that leather caps might not be tried. In the Corps of which that old gentleman was a worthy member, leather cap-straps had been accepted gratis in preference to paying an anna or two for cloth ones. We mention the fact as shewing what may be done with men who have all but mutinied because the Grenadiers were told to occupy the Light Company huts; and at another time, because they thought they had been prohibited taking their bedding to the guard-room. Fact, management, not Brahminism, in officers, are wanted. Hindoos and Mahomedans can respect real Christianity. They certainly do not respect Anglo-Hindooism.
Sir William Gomm's farewell order tells how much has recently been done for the European portion of the Army. Barracks are improved ; Gardens, Libraries and other sources of amusement will soon be as plentiful as they used to be scarce. Little more is wanted than to prevent individual Commanding Officers nullifying the good intentions of Government, by keeping sickly men in the plains, and sending bad characters in their places to the Hills ; bullying the men, torturing them with stocks, cloth coats and hot weather drills. In short making what are called smart regiments at the expense of the men's very lives. Railroads, waggon trains, and steamers should now prevent Europeans being moved between April and November. Too much is heard of the sun (not from them) when they are wanted for Field service, but when there is no such necessity they are too frequently exposed, even in April and May. Bri. gadiers and Generals of Divisions as well as Regimental Officers sould be held responsible for such cruel follies. The European soldier is, after all, our stand by. We are delighted at
every unattached commission that we observe given to a Company's European Soldier. Like his Officer he has more average emolument than his comrade in the Royal ranks, but like him is debarred great reward. Until lately commissions were not open to the Soldiers; yearly we hope they will become more common, With such rewards, and with rational pursuits open to the men, the tone of the barracks will rise. Drunkenness we trust will yet be the exception rather than the rule. Chunar should be abolished; it is a discredit to us.
We will no further enter on the vexed question of Cavalry than to remark that we generally support Captain Nolan's views. We mis-arm and mis-dress the Trooper, bit and saddle his horse as if the object were not to hold and ride him; and then we wonder that the same Trooper is no match for a comparatively feeble and ill-mounted Asiatic horseman. The complaint made in India is equally rife in Africa and in the Caucasus. A recent French writer observes that one Arab is good for three French Dragoons. We ourselves have witnessed one Indian horseman dealing with three English Dragoons. The annexed extract from Spencer's Crimea shews that to repulse Circassian Cavalry, the Russians are obliged to bring guns to bear on them.
“In other situations, on the banks of rivers or open places, they are equally dangerous, provided their inimitable Cavalry can act, for should they unexpectedly surprise a Russian Army, a charge from these terrible horsemen is a most disastrous affair. They then sweep down upon them like a living avalanche, and invariably throw the front and rear into confusion, cut them in pieces and disappear before the Artillery can be brought to play upon them." Page 327.
There can be little doubt that the Regulars have been over abused and Irregulars unduly bespattered with praise. The comrades of the men who rode at Laswaree, Delhi, Seetabuldee and Meanee, only want good leading and good management to ride through any Indian Cavalry. The disappearance of “the small speck of French grey” at Seetabuldee amid the host of Arabs, rivals Unitt and the 3rd Dragoons at Chilianwallah, Ouvrey at Subraon, and the Light Brigade at Balaclava. Why is it that one British Regiment, the 3rd Dragoons for instance, always covers itself with glory, while others go through campaigns unheard of? The men, materials, all but the leading, is the same! To talk of all the Irregular Cavalry as heroes is as absurd as to call all the Regulars cowards. We personally know many brave men who ran at Purwandurrah. Tha story also has yet to be told. The leaders were brave men, but they were not good Native Cavalry Officers. No man can manage well or lead successfully men whom he dislikes. MARCH, 1856.
We would not convert a man of Regular Cavalry into Irregulars, but we would have three Regiments of Company's Dragoons in lieu of six of Regular Cavalry. All others should stand, but they should be dealt with, much as we have proposed for the Infantry. The Native Officers should be collected in three or four out of the twenty-one Regiments with bonâ fide power and pay, as Troop Officers; but to those Corps four selected officers should be attached. Every Trooper should be permitted to fit his own saddle and adapt his bit to his own horse. Lancers should be abolished, and the tulwar, the weapon of the Indian horseman, should be allowed, as also a carbine and one pistol to each Trooper. It must be borne in mind that they are Light Horsemen not Heavy Dragoons.
Most of the Irregulars are good of their kind. Some very good, some bad. Some of the Officers cannot ride, some cannot talk to their men: others do so only to abuse them. Some of the Regiments are overwhelmed with debt; and yet burthened with bankers and with all sorts of tomfoolery in dress. In short, there is little system and no uniformity in the service. One Regiment wear kettles on their heads, others wear cocked hats. Few wear their own sensible turbans that will stop a sword cut and keep their faces cool. An Inspector is wanted; not an old Royal Dragoon Officer, but a first rate Irregular Officer, a Jacob, a Chamberlain, an Anderson, a Daly or a Malcolm. A man, in short, who will go on common sense principles, keep the men out of debt, insist on rational uniform and rational treatment. Such as the Irregu. lars are, there are very few instances of their misconduct, and then only when greatly over-matched; indeed unfairly tried. They are a most valuable arm and deserve every consideration. With such an arrangement as above proposed, and five Rupees added to the pay of the men, a noble body of horsemen might be secured to the Government; and fitting employment offered to the numerous broken down families, now muttering curses against us, in the streets of every large city in Upper India. Lord Gough, Sir Charles Napier, and almost all Irregular Cavalry Officers recommend the increase, even on the terms of reduction of strength of Regiments. If thirty rupees is necessary for the Scinde Horse, and for the Hyderabad (in the Deccan*) Cavalry, twenty-five is surely so for the whole body. In scarce times the Irregulars have not bread. In war time, they must plunder for subsistence. Sir Charles Napier thought they must do so in peace. What more need be said ? If more be required, let us add that each of these horsemen is a soldier gained from the enemy's ranks.
* Until lately the Hyderabad Cavalry received thirty-three Company's Rupeos a month.