« PreviousContinue »
The above includes only the leading existing military stations, but it is evident that many trading ports of great importance, in case of war, will urgently call for protection, and must have detachments of more or less force ; it is also for consideration whether, to protect such vast property as is in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and other great towns, the police would not, in such times, require the support of some troops.
If militia, volunteers, &c., are to form part of the occupation, they should exceed the numbers indicated, and be supported by one-fourth of regulars of those numbers as a minimum.
It will be observed that these posts are of vast importance, and that, if assailed successfully by even a very temporary excursion of an enemy, it is not a mere plundering of property that will be the consequence, such as could be made good by a money compensation, but a crippling of resources that rould require an immense outlay tery many years to re-establish, and would lead to a succession of subsequent losses to the country of vital importance.
Take the matter of seaports, as the most important of these items: without numerous heavy batteries, an enemy's squadron, or a few cruisers, could penetrate into them, destroy dockyards, shipping stores, public and private magazines, &c., &c.
If these batteries are not secured on the land side also, by landing a few thousand men they will be taken in reverse, and an opening made for the entrance of the ships, and the work of destruction may be effected by them and the troops.
The latter (but not the former) evil may be prevented by an ample garrison of troops; but the great use of the fortifications is, that when so many forces are required in the field and everywhere, three-fourths of them may be spared at each place, by the construction of permanent works of defence; and, what is of very great importance, the garrison in fortifications may be partly composed of a description of forces that would be of very little service in the field.
Now this is a simple, unvarnished sum total of disposable regulars. account of our present military posi- There never was so entire a delusion tion drawn from the best authorities, as this idea. To military men it will and which may be fully relied on, and appear superfluous to attempt seriit must suggest to every reasonable ously to refute it; but, unfortuand reflecting mind the most serious nately, we have to deal not with consideration. Here, it appears that, military men, who do understand the to oppose a landing, or defend London subject, but with civilians who do and Woolwich, (which, as it is well not--and who, however able and well known, is wholly unfortified, we could informed on other subjects, are, unnot-including the whole pensioners fit fortunately, quite at sea on this, and for service - muster above 10,000 therefore the following considerations men! That is our force to resist are necessary. 200,000 men whom France, if she As to the Irish police, who are the had the command of the Channel for most numerous in amount, and the three days, could pour upon us; or most efficient in quality of all these 50,000 or 60,000 men, who, even auxiliary troops — as they amount if we retained our naval superiority, to 12,000 men, and are not only thomight by the aid of steam-vessels roughly brave and disciplined, but be suddenly landed any day on our perfectly equipped-we put them en. shores! And as to guns, the whole tirely aside for two reasons. Though ready for the field in the whole of admirably drilled and equipped for Great Britain and Ireland, taken the service for which they are intogether, are fifty-one; of which, tended, they never have been drilled beyond all question, not more, at for field operations, and could not act the very utmost, than forty could with regular soldiers in the field. by possibility be got together to Neither the officers nor men are acmeet an invader in the south of quainted with those duties, nor have · England.
been trained to that species of serMr Cobden and the Peace Congress vice. They make a splendid appearparty swell the numerical amount of ance at a review or inspection ; but this force considerably, by adding when have they been taught to exethe dockyard battalions, coast-guard, cute movements in large bodies in yeomanry, and Irish police, to the the field ? They are the elements of a gallant army, but not one as yet. In Europe gave Ireland an opportunity to the next place, supposing they were revenge the hourly insults and tyrannies all as thoroughly disciplined as our of England-if the convulsion which the Foot Guards or crack regiments, they prognostications of English statesmen could not be of the least service to teach us to expect bursts upon us--it, as Great Britain in the event of an in.
we said last week, we be thrown upon vasion, for this plain reason, that
our own resources, and have to choose
our part in the struggle—this new fetter they, and double their number,
would be torn to pieces in an hour, or be would, in such an event, be required
the agent to announce to England that to keep Ireland quiet. We have sup the subject she has scourged for centuries posed, in the preceding calculations, had abjured her authority and defied her the whole regulars, above 21,000 ef- will." fective men, withdrawn from Ireland to join in the defence of the centre of
And, again, touching The Times' the empire ;-could the whole police,
recent criticism on Young Ireland's
renewed "ferocity," the Nation (June or any part of them, be also brought over, leaving the whole of Ireland
4) again explains its meaning in these to the tender mercies of Ribandmen
terms: and Repealers? The thing is quite “ In the present state of this country, ridiculous, after the experience we with public opinion in a trance, and the have had of Irish Catholicism: and population marching to the hustings intherefore nothing more need be said stead of the arsenal, it would be utter on that head.
insanity to threaten England. We can
not give her blow for blow; but we can Nothing is more certain than that,
Un speculate on events as freely and as justin the event of a serious descent be- ly as our ancient enemy, The Times. And ing made by the French on Great behind the clouds which portend trouble Britain, not only would all the regu- and danger to England, shall we not be lar troops now in Ireland, or nearly permitted to proclaim that the sun still all, but the whole police, be required shines in whose light our country shall to keep down rebellion. Hear the renew her liberty and strength ? We do Nation, of June 4, 1852, on this sub proclaim that England's danger is Ireject, in an article on the Electric Tele- land's opportunity. And we welcome graph:
that danger; and trust that, when it comes,
Ireland will turn it to her advantage. “ It would be a fatal message, truly, The fall of the tyrant is the emancipation for Ireland,” says the Nation, “ if we in of the slave." terpreted the first despatch of this new agent of intercourse (the Electric Tele- Then, as to the yeomanry and dock graph) as a decree of perpetual subjec- battalions, the same observation aption to our country. Suppose we look plies. We are the last persons in the across the Straits of Dover. Is there not world who would throw a shadow of a scientific ligature binding England to
doubt on the loyalty of these men, or France ? And will any man pretend that feel the slightest distrust in their by this concealed agency war between
courage, or even, in a certain degree, the two historic enemies is rendered impossible for evermore! Why, England
efficiency in the field. But every was in a panic of fear two short months
man acquainted with the rudiments ago ; and even now she speculates and
even, of the military art, and none takes precautions against the designs of more than the most estimable and the successor of Napoleon. She trusts really efficient of those admirable rather to her legions than to her tele- corps, knows well that the business graphs, and enrols a militia in anticipa- of a soldier, like every other trade or tion of a message of war, which would be profession, is not learned either in a uttered as from the throats of cannon, week or a month ; and that many a not ingeniously symbolised by scientific
corps which has gone through permechanism. There are two termini to a telegraph; and it would be strange if we
manent duty of ten days, and can could not take possession of that on our
pass muster on an inspection, and own shores if this country were in arms,
make a good figure on parade, would and an invading army in England. A tele
be sadly thrown out if required to graph will threaten as well as compli
move, in double-quick time, under a ment-will bear tidings of war as well as heavy cannonade or biting fire of messages of peace. And if a war in Minié rifles, and would rapidly sink or melt away under the ills of drip- nion may be, we are well aware there ping bivouacs, night marches, and may be a difference of views among scanty rations. Admirable and ser- many able and patriotic men. We viceable as auxiliaries to regulars, they speak of the great military posts we could never be placed in line with hold in many parts of the globe, and them, or relied on as a substantial without the possession of which all addition to our effective force in the attempts to maintain our maritime field. Add to this that the dockyard superiority, or prevent ourselves from battalions would all, in the event of being blockaded in our own harbours, an invasion, be required to defend and our independence and industry, their own works, in addition to the even at home, utterly destroyed. regular forces assigned for that pur- Gibraltar, Malta, Corfu, the Bahama pose ; and with them they would be Isles, the Cape, Martinique, Aden, few enough. And as to the yeo. Ceylon, Hong-Kong, and a vast many manry, it must be recollected that others, are not so much colonies, in they are, for the most part, composed the proper sense of the word, as of persons in rural life and scattered maritime fortresses, without posover an immense tract of country, session of which our fleets would be and therefore they could not be imme- unable to circumpavigate the globe, diately collected at a single point in our means of sending out supplies the south of England to oppose a and reinforcements to India would sudden landing and rapid march be cut off; and that magnificent posupon London, of a formidable con- session would soon be lost, and with centrated French army. Many days, it all our other colonial possessions probably weeks, must elapse before in the world. If we lose them, how the yeomanry — how active, loyal, is our revenue to be maintained, or and courageous soever-could by pos- ourindustry nourished?—for, rely upon sibility assemble, and reach the south it, every one of them would, as soon of England, from Yorkshire, Lan- as emancipated, imitate the example cashire, Cheshire, and the north, of the French, Prussians, and Amerieven supposing those great deposits cans, and lay an import duty of 30 of mercantile and manufacturing per cent on our manufactures. What wealth could with safety be left un- would then come of our export trade protected, when every sabre and to our colonies, now amounting to bayonet in the regular army was £19,000,000 annually? And yet how already drawn off to meet the in- are they to be preserved against vader near the métropolis. And in the wide-spread internal discontent those few days or weeks, the greatest which prevails in our colonial estadanger would be incurred, and the blishments, or the open bostility of empire might be lost.
the foreign powers, who would hasStrong as the preceding statement ten to secure each a fragment of so is as to the urgency of the case, and mighty a dominion, if we have not the absolute necessity of adding to the means from home of augmenting our national defences, if we would their present miserably insufficient save the empire from subjugation, garrisons ? and ourselves from pillage, confisca- If a disaster of a fatal description tion, and ruin, it becomes incompar- does befall the empire, no one can say ably stronger when the state of our that it has come upon us when not colonial possessions is considered. duly warned both by words and deeds All of them, even more than Great of our dangers. Our greatest comBritain and Ireland, are on the peace manders by sea and land, and the establishment. If a war broke out, persons best acquainted with the suband the centre of the empire was ject, concur in recommending it. The threatened, every one of them, so far Duke of Wellington, Lord Hardinge, from being able to furnish any suc- Sir John Burgoyne, Sir Charles cour to the endangered metropolis, Napier, Lord Palmerston, the late would be urgent in their demands for Sir Robert Peel, Lord John Russell, reinforcements to defend themselves. Lord Derby, ditfering as far as the We speak not only of pacific colonies, Poles are asunder on so many other as to which, whatever our own opi- subjects, are unanimous on this. But
great and deserving of the utmost his nature. The whole of the slaves respect and consideration as the opi- were emancipated in 1834: we thought nions of these very eminent men are, that gratitude for freedom in them there are considerations still more would compensate the alienation of vital to be taken into view in esti- the Boors for the confiscation of their mating the weight due to their opi- property, for a compensation not a pions. FACTS-RECENT UNDENIABLE fifth part of its value. Trusting to FACTS—NOW SPEAK IN A VOICE OF the effect of these decisive measures THUNDER. The economical policy, of conciliation and concession, and the laissez-aller system, has been listening to the suggestions of the tried both in Asia and Africa, and peace party, we withdrew our frontier, what has been the result? Why, permitted the settlement of the Caffres that we have been on the very verge on our dominions, disarmed the Boors, of losing our dominions in both in and intrusted the defence of a country consequence. Lord William Ben- as large as England, and a frontier tinck, it is well known, in conformity 1000 miles in length, to less than alike with the instructions and uni- 3000 British soldiers. What has form pacific policy of the Directors been the result? Why, that we have and his own disposition, adopted the been dragged into a long, bloody, pacific system to a considerable ex- and inglorious war. The Caffres have tent: he reduced the Anglo-Indian proved as hostile and rapacious as army from 260,000 to 180,000 men; ever, the Boors sullen and apathetic, and both he and his successors the Hottentots rebellious and uncarefully abstained, by any warlike grateful. After sixteen months of preparations, concentration of troops painful and most harassing hostility, on the frontier, or accumulation of the war is still unfinished ; several magazines, from giving umbrage or serious discomfitures have been susgrounds for jealousy to the native tained ; the enemy is still in possespowers. What ensued? Why, that sion of the rocky fastnesses in our which every man acquainted with own territory, though assailed by history predicted, and every man un- ten thousand of the best troops in acquainted with it denied-that we the British dominions; and the most were brought to the very verge of powerful empire, so far as wealth and ruin in consequence. Our disbanded resources go, on the face of the sepoys enlisted with the Sikhs, and earth, is openly defied and insulted augmented their already formidable by a horde of naked savages. force. The power wbich had the re- Are not these examples pregnant sources of a population of 80,000,000 with instruction and propheticof warnat its command, was all but over. ing to Great Britain, considering how powered by one which had only the much more exposed to danger she is resources of 6,000,000; and nothing than either our Indian empire or Afribut the indomitable firmness and can possessions. It is not the Sikhs, heroic courage of Lord Hardinge, with a population of six millions—it Lord Gough, and their devoted fol- is not the Caffres, with twenty or lowers, who emulated the three hun- thirty thousand fighting men, that dred Spartans at Thermopylæ, pre- here threaten is: an enemy, a giganvented the Indian empire from being tic enemy, a foe of four centuries' lost, from the previous adoption of standing, is at our gates. There is the pacific system, on the field of close to our shores a pation of thirtyFerozeshah!
five millions of people, the leading Turn to Africa, and see what a portion of whom, it cannot be denied, lesson the practical application of the are animated with a feeling of jealousy pacific system has taught us in its of England, as an old rival and formisouthern extremity. Lord Glenelg, dable power, however kind and hospiit is well known, adopted that policy table they may be to us as individuals. in its full extent: he thought he The two countries have in every part would conciliate savages by retiring of the world interests, commercial and before them. He trusted, with the political, which are constantly clashsimplicity of ignorance, to the mis- ing, and the conflict of which may at sionaries causing the Caffre to change any time of a sudden give rise to discussions of the most serious and em. of the field in the neighbourhood of barassing nature. Of the reality of London. This glaring piece of imthis danger it is impossible to entertain prudence and frightful defect in our a doubt, when it is recollected that national defences has been frequently three times during the last twenty pointed out by our historians; and all years-viz., once on the Eastern ques- our leaders, both civil, military, and tion and the affair of Acre; once on naval, are well aware of and deeply the Otaheite question and Queen Po- lament it. But such is the apathy of mare; and once on the Hungarian re- the public mind, and the weakness of fugees and Don Pacifico's claims—we every Government since the masses were on the very verge of a serious were let into the direction by the war with France, and on the last oc- Reform Bill, that no administration casion with France and Russia united. has yet had the courage to propose On the second occasion, Lord Pal. the fortification of these vital national merston has told us in the House of depots, nor, in truth, have they had Commons, not only that we were on the means, if they had hazarded the the verge of a war with France, but measure of carrying it through the Louis Philippe's generals had offered, House of Commons. So vast is its in six days, to put him in possession importance, however, so pressing the of London, and a squadron and the necessity of instantly adopting some troops were ready at Cherbourg for efficient measure on the subject, that that purpose. There can be no it is no exaggeration to say that the security for an independent and national existence is dependent on its powerful nation holding out such success; and that if Lord Derby's ad. prizes to the victor, but in such ministration fails in bringing forward means of defence at home as enables and obtaining the support of the Comit to set an enemy at defiance.
mons to some measure calculated to The military stores of all kinds in give us security, in this respect, our France are immense, and not only all days are numbered, and the handplaced in citadels of approved strength writing on the wall has already proand wholly beyond the reach of a nounced our doom. coup-de-main, but they are so con- If a war was to break out between nected by a net-work of railways, France and England, as it has so often constructed for the most part by the been on the very verge of doing of friendly aid of English capital, as to late years, it is by no means improbe capable of immediate transport to bable that the former country, aleach other, or to the sea-coast for em- though upon the whole inferior as a barkation. In this respect England naval power, and greatly inferior presents a painful contrast to its more in the long run in nautical resources far-seeing and sagacious rival. By far and experience, might, in consequence the greater part of our military stores of her superior means of naval preare placed at Woolwich, a position ad- paration, for a short time obtain the mirably adapted for embarkation, and command in the Channel. Napoleon, tolerably defended by the batteries of it is well known, had matured a deep Sheerness and Tilbury on the sea side, laid plan for this purpose, which but entirely open on the land, and failed, not in consequence of our havliable to instant capture by a corps of ing any naval force at home to dis20,000 men, which might suddenly pute it, but solely because Admiral effect a landing on the coast of Kent, Calder accidentally fell in with and and assail it in rear. The remainder, rudely handled the combined fleet on or reserve stores, are for the most its return from the West Indies, and part at Weedon, a position farther in Villeneuve, after he had joined the the interior, and on that account less Ferrol squadron, instead of steering liable to attack, and admirably chosen with his thirty-three ships of the line for railway communication with all for Brest, where Gantheaume awaited parts of the country; but, like Wool- bim with twenty-one, steered to Cadiz, wich, it is wholly undefended by for- in August 1805, where he was ere tifications, and would at once fall into long blockaded, and at length totally the hands of any enemy who for a defcated by Nelson at Trafalgar. week together obtained the command This extraordinary accident, or infa