Obrázky na stránke

being given to the man who re-engages after twelve years' service, this latter increment to be in the nature of deferred pay. These increases would not entail the heavy charge which might, at first sight, be supposed, as it is intended that they should be met by doing away with good-conduct pay, and deferred pay, in its present form.9

After re-engagement, the soldier should be entitled to a pension ; the principle being that every re-engaged man (who, by the very fact of his being permitted to re-engage, may be considered to have done twelve years' good service) should have established his claim to a pension, if he continues to conduct himself properly, and if he is not



The totals given are total receipts during service. The good-conduct pay is calculated on the most favourable terms,


At 3 Years Service.
Present Rate.

Proposed Rate.
£ S. d.


a. 3 years' ordinary pay, at 1s. 54 15 9 Fears' net pay, at 1s.

5+ 15 9 1 year's good-conduct pay, at id. 1 10 5 3 equivalent of free mess

ing, necessaries, &c., at 4d. 18 5 3

56 6 2 Total gain

16 14 10

73 1 0

73 1 0 Gain = 51. 11s. 7d. per annum=3}d. per


At 12 Years Scaricc. 12 years' ordinary pay, at 1s. 219 3 0 12 years' net pay, at 1s.. 219 30 4 good-conduct pay,

12 equivalent of free messat ld.

6 1 8

ing, necessaries, &c. at 40. 73 1 0 6 years' good-conduct pay,

9 years' additional pay, at 31. 41 1 10 at 20.

18 5 5 0

[blocks in formation]

per diem.

333 5 10

333 5 10 Gain=77. 98. 8d. per annum=5d. (nearly)


At 17 Years Service. 17 years' ordinary pay, at 1s. 310 9 9 3 17 years' net pay, at 1s.

310 9 3 4 good-conduct pay,


equivalent of messat 1d.

6 1 8 ing, necessaries, &c., at 4d. 1039 9 6 years' good-conduct pay,

14 years' additional pay, at 3d. 63 18 4 at 2d.

18 5 3 5 deferred pay, at 3d. 22 16 7 4 years' good-conduct pay, at 3d,

18 5 3 1 year's good-conduct pay, at 4d.

6 1 8


359 3 1
141 10 10

Total gain

500 13 11

500 13 11

Gain = 87.6s. 6d.perannum = 5 d. (nearly)

per diem.

otherwise provided for by State employment, in which case his pension would remain in abeyance. With the revival, however, of the permission to serve on for pension, and consequent on the abolition of good-conduct pay as proposed, some change might conveniently be made in the scale of pensions, especially for the lower ranks. It is the latter period of a soldier's service—–viz., from sixteen or seventeen to twenty-one years—which are so often unprofitable to the State, if he is still included among the rank and file, and it would be advantageous to enable these worn-out men to leave at an earlier

age than at present. Some of the older soldiers might be provided with extra-regimental posts; but in the fighting ranks of the army, service should, as a rule, cease at seventeen years, or at the average age of thirty-five. For such men a suitable pension should be available with a graduated scale (as at present) to be decided on by the Commissioners of Chelsea Hospital, according to the nature of each case, commencing with sixpence a day for men over twelve years' service, and attaining a maximum at seventeen years' service.10

10 In fixing the rate of pensions regard should be had to the following considerations, which materially affect the contentment of the several ranks. It should be remembered that regimental non-commissioned officers perform the most arduous and troublesome duties of any of their class. The functions of those among them who are fortunate enough to get staff employment may be more important, but their work is comparatively easy. This principle, which is well understood in the case of officers, should apply also to the non-commissioned ranks; the reward of the more important services being higher pay and attendant advantages, but not a higher rate of pension. Subject to modification in accordance with these considerations, and to the extension of the scale to an earlier period of service, the pensions of sergeants and superior ranks might remain at the present rates. Some rough edges in the Pension Warrant which operate harshly might, however, conveniently be rounded of. For example, the service, viz., three years, in a grade required to qualify for pension in that grade appears in some cases to be too long. The regulation also which requires that pensions shall be decided by the rank held by a soldier at the time he attains twenty-one years' service tells hardly on boys who begin to reckon their service from time of enlistment, or about fourteen years of age as a rule. They do not come on for promotion until they are men, but complete twenty-one years' service while still comparatively young; yet all advancement of rank subsequent to the completion of twenty-one years goes for nothing, an it may easily happen that of two colour sergeants of the same age, who come up for discharge together, the one who may have given good service as a boy, and been in the army for a longer term of years, will receive the smaller pension. Above all, in fising the rate of pensions the record of a soldier's early errors should not be carried too far. If he has not behaved well, he is unworthy to continue in the service, and should be discharged, but if he is allowed to re-engage for pension, he should (subject to good conduct) receive according to a fixed scale.

Speaking generally, the scale of pension should be modified as follows:

(1) The minimum service at which pension of all ranks could be obtained to be twelve years instead of fourteen, and the earlier pensions to be given on more liberal terms than at present;

(2) The maximum pensions of Classes IV. and V.(see Royal Warrant) to be attained at seventeen years' service, instead of twenty-one years';

(3) The maximum pensions of Classes I., II., and III. to be attained (as at present) at twenty-one years' service, but all non-commissioned officers of and above the rank of sergeant to be allowed to increase their pension until twenty-one years' service, without reckoning boy's service.

It has been said that good-conduct pay should be done away with. This pay, obtainable at the rate of one penny a day, after certain periods of good behaviour, and represented by a badge or chevron, is not altogether a satisfactory system of reward, and the regulations by which it is worked often operate with great and incalculable severity. The badges are not worn exclusively by the best behaved soldiers, and it is possible for a man with several badges to lose one of them by sentence of a court-martial, and to be entitled to wear the remainder when released from prison. Should it be considered desirable to retain the badges, there seems to be no reason why the chevron should not still be given (entirely independent of pay) to mark certain periods of average good conduct.

Deferred pay, in its present form, although no doubt theoretically perfect, and generally popular with soldiers, fails to work well in practice, for owing to the principle on which it is now granted, an almost irresistible inducement is held out by the State for men to leave the service just when they are becoming valuable in the ranks. The prospect of 181. or 201. of ready money is too much for most

But what use do they make of it? Nineteen times out of twenty the money is of no benefit to the recipient, but rather a source of evil; it is soon spent, leaving him to regret that he ever left his regiment; and the position becomes very curious when it is found necessary to offer a bounty for continuance of service with the colours in India, for then the Government bids against itself; in one hand it jingles the sovereigns of the deferred pay; in the other, the rupees of the bounty. Late experience has proved how powerful the former is in counteracting the attractions of the latter, for only a small proportion of those who could grasp at once deferred pay, have accepted the large bounty offered for the extension of Indian service.


11 It seems unnecessary to describe these Regulations further than to explain that (setting aside the direct forfeiture by sentence of court-martial of good-conduct badges, which are the vehicle for the grant and deprivation of good-conduct pay) a penny is forfeited by the award, either by court-martial or the commanding officer, of any punishment which is entered in the Regimental Defaulters' book. Good-conduct pay is, in fact, subject to forfeiture for bad conduct generally, just as the ordinary pay is forfeited for continued acts of drunkenness; the difference being that the rules prescribing the forfeiture of ordinary pay are laid down by Act of Parliament, while the loss of a good-conduct badge, and its accompaniment of one penny a day, is regulated by Royal Warrant. As the recovery of the penny is subject to uninterrupted good-conduct for one or two years, according to circumstances, and since so trivial a punishment as eight days' confinement to barracks, or the deprivation of a single day's pay for a few hours absence, constitutes a regimental entry, a heavy fine is made consequent to the light punishment without any option of remission. It also happens that the same nominal punishment awarded to a good man and a bad man is, in reality, much heavier in the one case than in the other, the bad man probably having no good-conduct badges to be deprived of. And, again, as the grant of future increments depends upon the possession and recovery of former pennies, and pension is determined by the number of pennies enjoyed at the time the pension is fixed, it follows that the consequence of one single offence (possibly a

ght one) may affect a man's income through life.

The system of deferred pay might with advantage be retained for the re-engaged soldier, and continued to all ranks alike for five years, the period of service proposed for the attainment of full rate of pension in the lower ranks. By restricting deferred pay to re-engaged soldiers, it would act as an inducement to men to leave the service voluntarily when they are no longer required to remain in it, and its cessation after a fixed time would operate in the same direction. It would be a boon to the old soldier, and would help him to settle down in comfort, and there is less probability of its being squandered, as it would come to him at a time of life when he may be expected to know better what to do with it.

Final employment.-We now come to the question of the final employment of the soldier either as a member of the reserve, or discharged as a pensioner. With a short service of only three years before passing to the reserve, it is hoped that men will return easily to civil life, and that the probability of their remaining undisturbed will be greatly increased ; for with a long service open to those who wish to make the army their profession, it may reasonably be expected that there will always be such a sufficiency of trained soldiers in the ranks as would obviate the necessity of calling out the reserve, except in time of 'imminent national danger,' as was the original intention.

If this result be secured, some of the principal difficulties with regard to reserve men will have disappeared. At the same time, their position must always demand the careful attention of all classes, official and private. If we are to maintain in the ranks of civil life a large body of trained soldiers as a reserve, ready at call for the defence of their country, it is the duty of all to enable these men to live. The public obligation towards them cannot cease with a dole in the shape of reserve pay. Many might be employed in public offices, or in some way under the departments of the State. Let the Government set the example, providing for as many reservists as possible, and permitting them to attend their training (which should be carried out annually) without loss of pay; it might then be hoped that the public would follow suit. If employers would act towards reserve men in this spirit, the tax on the patriotism of the nation would still be but small, compared with that which the Continental countries of Europe have to pay in the shape of forced service; and if we must look at the question from a commercial point of view, let it be remembered that any inconvenience that might arise from the employment of reserve men would be but an infinitesimal premium on a valuable policy of insurance. If nothing be done to benefit reservists, the reserve, instead of being a strength to the army, may prove the destruction of our voluntary system of recruiting.

Then, again, the question of State occupation for discharged soldiers should be seriously taken up. If pensions have to be given VOL. XV.-No. 88.

4 A

[merged small][ocr errors]

to a certain number of men in order to maintain an efficient army, they must be liberal, or else an equivalent must be found. The most convenient equivalent would be suitable employment in Government offices which requires less physical labour than the army demands. Hitherto, these situations have been filled without regard to the peculiar claims of the army and navy on the State ; a great source of economy is thus lost, and a means of making the army popular neglected. Much is done by private societies, notably the Corps of Commissionaires, under its patriotic and indefatigable founder, to assist discharged sailors and soldiers; but such employment as these societies are able to provide is no economy to the State, and private employers benefit by the pensions which would be saved if some of the many valuable Government posts, now given to civilians, were reserved for competent naval and military pensioners.

In the above remarks, I have confined myself to what appear to be the principal causes of the unpopularity of the army, and have suggested such remedies as seem to me desirable; and I have endeavoured to draw the attention of the public to, and enlist their sympathy with, a question which concerns them very closely, if they will only believe it. An army we must have, if we are to continue as an imperial power, or even exist as an independent nation; and if this army cannot be obtained by voluntary means, we shall have to resort to CONSCRIPTION. What sacrifices that would entail it is my earnest hope British homes may never be called upon to realise.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »