From such a scene I must turn to the further work that lies before me in the events of the next twenty years; and it will be convenient to deal first with the political aspect of the Army’s history. England, it must be observed, had not yet recovered from the indiscipline and unrest of the Great Rebellion. Since the death of Elizabeth the country, except during the short years of the Protectorate, had not known a master. William 杭州按摩保健技师 of Orange, who had at any rate the capacity to rule it, was unwilling to give himself the trouble; Marlborough, while his power lasted, had been occupied chiefly with the business of war; and during the reign of both war had been a sufficient danger in the one case and a sufficient cause of exultation in the other to distract undisciplined minds. Now, however, there was peace. A foreign prince had ascended the throne, a worthy person and very far from an incapable man, but uninteresting, ignorant of England, and unable to speak a word of her language. The tie of nationality and the reaction of sentiment which had favoured the restoration of Charles the Second were wanting. The country too, after prolonged occupation with the business of pulling down one king and setting up another, had imbibed a dangerous contempt of all authority whatsoever.
Other influences contributed 杭州丝袜按摩足疗 not less forcibly to increase the prevalent indiscipline. Many old institutions were rapidly falling obsolete. The system of police was hopelessly inefficient, and the press had not yet concentrated the force of public opinion into an ally of law and order. In all classes the same lawlessness was to be found; showing itself among the higher by a fashionable indifference to all that had once been honoured as virtue, an equally fashionable indulgence towards debauchery, and an irresistible tendency to decide every dispute by immediate and indiscriminate force. Among the lower classes, despite the most sanguinary penal code in Europe, brutal crime, not of violence only, was dangerously rife. No man who was worth robbing could consider himself safe in London, whether in the streets or in his own house. Patrols of Horse and Foot Guards failed to ensure the security of the road between Piccadilly and Kensington; and 杭州足疗按摩不正规的 further afield the footpad and the highwayman reigned almost undisturbed. Nor did great criminals fail to awake lively sympathy among the populace. The names of Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard enjoy some halo of heroism to this day; and frequently, when some desperate malefactor was at last brought to Tyburn, it was necessary to escort him to execution and, supposing that the gallows had not been cut down by sympathisers during the night, to surround him with soldiers lest he should be rescued by the mob. All over England the case was the same. Strikes, riots, smuggling, incendiarism and general lawlessness flourished with alarming vigour, rising finally to such a height that, by the confession of a Secretary-of-State in the House of Commons, it was unsafe for magistrates to do their duty without the help of a military force.
Against this mass of disorder the only orderly force that could be opposed was the Army. It will presently be seen that the Army had grave enough faults of its own, but the outcry against it was 杭州夜生活去哪里 levelled not at its faults but at its power as a disciplined body to execute the law. So far, therefore, the unpopularity of the Army was fairly universal. But its most formidable opponents were bred by faction, the Jacobites who wished to re-establish the Stuarts naturally objecting to so dangerous an obstacle to their designs. The howl against the Army was raised in the House of Commons as early as in 1714, and in 1717 a Jacobite member who, being more conspicuous for honesty than for wisdom, was known as “Downright Shippen,” opened a series of annual motions for the reduction of the forces. This self-imposed duty, as he once boasted to the House, he fulfilled on twenty-one successive occasions, though on thirteen of them he had found no seconder to support him. If this had been all, no great harm could have resulted; but the watchword of a baffled opposition, artfully stolen from old times of discontent, was too useful not to be generally employed, and “No Standing Army” became the parrot’s cry of every political adventurer, every discontented spirit, every puny aspirant to importance. Walpole himself did not disdain to avail himself of it during the four years which he spent out of office between 1717 and 1721, and the stock arguments of the malcontents were never urged more ably nor more mischievously than by Marlborough’s Secretary-at-War. The Lords again were little behind the Commons, and Jacobite peers who had commanded noble regiments in action were not ashamed to drag the name of their profession through the dirt.
In such circumstances, where the slightest false step might have imperilled the very existence of the Army, the administration of the forces and the recommendation of their cost to the House of Commons became matters of extreme delicacy. It has already been told how the King, as the alarm of the first Jacobite rebellion subsided, voluntarily reduced the Army by ten thousand men at a stroke. Such policy, dangerous though it was from a military standpoint, was undoubtedly wise; it was the sacrifice of half the cargo to save the ship, an ingenious transformation of a necessity into a virtue. Even before the Spanish War was ended but fourteen thousand men were asked for as the British establishment, the remainder of the Army being hidden away in Ireland; and the same number was presented on the estimates up to the year 1722. In the autumn of that year, however, the administration insisted that the number should be raised to eighteen thousand. The spirits of the Jacobites had been raised by the birth of Prince Charles Edward; there had been general uneasiness in the country; troops had been encamped ready for service all the summer, and six regiments had been brought over from Ireland. The augmentation was bitterly opposed in Parliament, but was carried in the Commons by a large majority, and was judiciously executed, not by the formation of new regiments but by raising the strength of existing corps to a respectable figure. Until this increase was made, said Lord Townsend in the House of Lords in the following year, it was impossible to collect four thousand men without leaving the King, the capital, and the fortified places defenceless.
Having secured his eighteen thousand men, Walpole resolved that in future this number should form the regular strength for the British Establishment. In 1727 the menace of a war with Spain brought about the addition of eight thousand men, but in 1730 the
former establishment was resumed and regularly voted year after year until the outbreak of the Spanish War in 1739. Year after year, of course, the same factious motives for reduction were put forward and the same futile arguments repeated for the hundredth time. “Slavery under the guise of an army for protection of our liberties” was one favourite phrase, while the valour of the untrained Briton was the theme of many an orator. Men who, like Sir William Yonge and William Pulteney, had held the office of Secretary-at-War, were, when in opposition, as loud as the loudest and as foolish as the most foolish in such displays. “I hope, sir,” said the former in 1732, “that we have men enough in Great Britain who have resolution enough to defend themselves against any invasion whatever, though there were not so much as one red-coat in the whole kingdom.” On the side of the Government the counter arguments were drawn from an excellent source, namely, from the disastrous results of wholesale disbandment after the Peace of Ryswick. The establishment was, in fact, far too small. It would have been impossible (to use Walpole’s own words) even after several weeks’ time to mass five thousand men at any one point to meet invasion, without stripping the capital of its defences and leaving it at the mercy of open and secret enemies.
Foiled in its attempts to reduce the numbers of the Army, the Opposition sought to weaken it by interference with its administration and discipline, for which mischief the discussion of the Mutiny Act gave annual opportunity. Here again it was Walpole who set the evil example. He it was who maintained that the Irish Establishment must be counted as part of the standing Army, who insinuated that the British regiments, with their enormous preponderance of officers as compared with men, were potentially far stronger than they seemed to be, who encouraged the Commons to dictate to the military authorities the proportion that should be observed between horse, foot, and dragoons. He too it was who imperilled the passing of the Mutiny Act by advancing the old commonplace that a court-martial in time of peace was unknown to English law, and that mutiny and desertion should be punished by the civil magistrate. He it was once more who blamed the ministry for sending the fleet to the Mediterranean instead of keeping it at home to guard the coast, and gave his authority to the false idea that the function of a British fleet in war is to lie at anchor in British ports. Such were the aberrations of a conscience which fell blind directly it moved outside the circle of office.
The Opposition was not slow to take advantage of such powerful advocacy, but fortunately with no very evil results. An address to the King was carried, praying that all vacancies, except in the regiments of Guards, should be filled up by appointment of officers on the list of half-pay. The King willingly acceded, for indeed he had already anticipated the request; and this rule was conscientiously adhered to, both by him and by his successor. It made for economy, no doubt, but it also weakened what then counted as the most efficient form of military reserve; and the result was that officers were forbidden to resign their commissions, being allowed to retire on half-pay only, so that their services might still be at command. The Articles of War were also sent down to the Commons, and may still be read in their journals. It must suffice here to say that they made careful provision for the trial of all but strictly military crimes by the civil power. Here, however, was a new precedent for allowing Parliament a voice not only in the broad principles, but in the details of discipline.
The Opposition in both Houses did not at once take advantage of this innovation, but confined itself to discourses on the inutility and danger of a Mutiny Act at large. It was not surprising that the ignominious Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, should have declaimed against the Act, but it was a sad revelation of factious feeling to find an old colonel, Lord Strafford, declaring that the country got on very well without it in King William’s time. Nor must it be thought that, because the Act was ultimately passed every year, no inconvenience resulted from the obstruction in Parliament. On at least one occasion it was not renewed in sufficient time. The courts-martial held after its expiration were therefore invalid, and as prisoners could not be tried twice for the same offence, a number of them escaped scot-free. It was not until 1726 that the attacks upon the measure began to subside, and even then the Government was afraid to introduce necessary amendments, lest by calling attention to the Act it should blow the dull embers of hostility anew into flame.
The next attempted encroachment of Parliament was of a more dangerous nature, though it was more than a little excused by extreme provocation. In the heat of resentment against the opposition to his favourite scheme of an Excise Bill, Walpole in 1733 persuaded the King not only to dismiss his opponents from their places about the court, but to deprive the Duke of Bolton and Lord Cobham, Colonels of the King’s Dragoon Guards and of the Blues, and Cornet William Pitt of the King’s Dragoon Guards of their commissions. This was to inflict the severest of military punishments short of death for a political disobligation, and was justly seized upon by the Opposition as a monstrous abuse. Lord Morpeth accordingly brought forward a motion in the Commons to make officers of the rank of lieutenant-colonel or above it irremovable except by sentence of court-martial or upon address of either House. The issue thus raised was direct, since by the Articles of War no officer could be dismissed except by Royal Order or sentence of a general court-martial. The debate was very ingenious on both sides, but the motion was lost without a division. The most remarkable speech was that of General Wade, who opposed Lord Morpeth on the ground that he had the greatest difficulty in collecting officers for a court-martial, and that they would be still more negligent if they could be dismissed only by sentence of their fellows. “In short, sir,” he said, in words of significant warning, “the discipline of our army is already in a very bad way, and, in effect, this alteration will only make it worse.”
The study of the mingling of political and military influence on the Army will enlighten us as to the cause of this indiscipline. In the first place, it will be noticed that there was no Commander-in-Chief. Lord Cadogan had succeeded Marlborough as captain-general, but even Marlborough had been powerless since his restoration, and he was not in the modern sense of the word a commander-in-chief. The result was that the whole of the authority attached to the office fell into the hands of the Secretary-at-War. That functionary still received as heretofore a military commission, and was nominally a mere secretary, not a minister nor secretary-of-state; and early in the reign he took the opportunity in the person of William Pulteney to repudiate anything approaching to a minister’s responsibility. So far as any one was answerable for the Army, it was that secretary-of-state whose duties were later apportioned to the Home Office; and hence we find the Secretary-at-War, though really in control of the whole Army, sending daily requests to the Secretary-of-State for the preparation of commissions, since he himself in theory could sign documents not as the King’s adviser, but only as his clerk. As a mere matter of routine this arrangement was most inconvenient, but this would have signified little had it not also been dangerous.
Peculiar circumstances, now long obsolete, gave this irresponsible secretary peculiar powers. In the first place, it must be remembered that as yet barracks were almost unknown. There were, it is true, barracks at the Tower, at the Savoy, at Hull, and at Edinburgh, wherein there was accommodation for the half or even the whole of a battalion; and there was also a barrack at every garrisoned town capable of holding at least the handful of men who were supposed to keep the guns in order. But for the most part the Army was scattered all over the country in minute detachments, for inns were the only quarters permitted by the Mutiny Act, and the number of those inns was necessarily limited. In Ireland the paucity of ale-houses had led comparatively early to the construction of barracks, with great comfort alike to the soldiers and to the population, but in England the very name of barrack was anathema. It was in vain that military men pointed to the sister island and urged that Great Britain too might have barracks. The Government was afraid to ask for them, and the opposition combated any hint of such an innovation, “that the people might be sensible of the fetters forged for them.”
The apportionment of quarters fell within the province of the Secretary-at-War; and it is obvious that whether the presence of soldiery were an advantage to a town or the reverse, the power to inflict it could usefully be turned to political ends. A frequent accusation was that troops were employed to intimidate the voters at elections; and indeed the newspapers, not very trustworthy on such points, assert that at the election at Coventry in 1722 the foot-soldiers named two persons and the sheriff returned them. Whether this be true or false it was not until 1735 that the Mutiny Act provided for the withdrawal of the troops to a distance of at least two miles from the polling-place during an election. But it was not so much for their interference with the free and independent voter as for the burden which they laid on the innkeeper that the soldiers were disliked. Whether this burden was really so grievous or not is beside the question; it was, at any rate, believed to be intolerable. As early as in 1726 the King had asked for additional powers in the Mutiny Act to check the evasion by the civil authorities of their duty of quartering the men, and it was just after this date that municipalities began to abound in complaints. The question was one of extreme difficulty for the Secretary-at-War, since the outcry of the civilians was balanced by a no less forcible counter-cry of officers. Municipalities seemed to think that no military exigency could excuse the violation of their comfort. Riots, for instance, were expected at Bath which, as a watering-place, was exempt from the duty of finding quarters for soldiers. The Secretary-at-War, though he did not shrink from sending troops thither to put down the rioters, looked forward to a disturbance between the civil and military elements as inevitable. Southampton, again, cried out bitterly against the arrival within her boundaries of a whole regiment of dragoons. The colonel retorted that the regiment in question had been dispersed in single troops ever since its formation, and that this was actually his first opportunity of reducing it to order and discipline. On some occasions the officers were certainly to blame, though they appear rarely to have misbehaved except under extreme provocation. Thus we find an officer, who had been denied a guard-room at Cirencester, solving the difficulty by the annexation of the town hall, another still more arbitrary putting the Recorder of Chester under durance, and a cornet of dragoons revenging himself upon an innkeeper by ordering eight men to march up and down before the inn for an hour every morning and evening, in order to disturb the guests and spoil the pavement. On one occasion, indeed, we see two officers making the wealthiest clothier of Trowbridge drunk and enlisting him as a private. These are specimens of the petty warfare which was waged between soldiers and civilians all over the kingdom, actions which called forth pathetic appeals from the Secretary-at-War to the offenders not to make the Army more unpopular than it already was. The warning was the more necessary, since, to use Pulteney’s words, giddy insolent officers fancied they showed zeal for the Government by abusing those whom they considered to be of the contrary party. This, however, was but the natural result of making the Army a counter in the game of party politics. The only moderating influence was that of the King, who, if once convinced of any abuses committed by the soldiery was inexorably severe.
Yet, on the whole, it should seem that soldiers were far less aggressive towards civilians than civilians towards soldiers. It is abundantly evident that in many places the civil population deliberately picked quarrels with troops in order to swell the clamour against the Army; and officials in high local and municipal station, in their rancour against the red-coats, would stoop to lawlessness as flagrant as that of the mob. Lord Denbigh falsely accused the soldiers employed against the famous Black Gang of poachers, a sufficiently dangerous duty, of leaguing themselves with them for a share in the profits. The Mayor of Penzance deliberately obstructed dragoons, who had been sent down to suppress smuggling, in the execution of their duty; the inference being that his worship was the most notorious smuggler on the coast. The Mayor of Bristol threw every obstacle, technical or captious, that he could devise, in the way of recruiting officers. The Mayor of St. Albans, most disgraceful of all, took the Secretary-at-War’s passes from certain discharged soldiers, whipped them through the streets, and gave them vagrant’s passes instead, with the result that the unhappy men were stopped and shut up in gaol for deserters. Redress for such injuries as these was not easily to be obtained; for of what profit could it be to these poor fellows to speak to them of their legal remedy? The soldiers were subject to a sterner and harder law than the civilians, and the civilians never hesitated to take advantage of it. They thought nothing of demanding that an officer should be cashiered unheard, solely on their accusation, and that too when redress lay open to them in the courts of law. The difficulties of the Secretary-at-War in respect of these complaints are pathetically summarised by Craggs: “If I take no notice of such things I shall be petitioned against by twenty and thirty towns; if I inquire into them the officers think themselves discouraged; if I neglect them I shall be speeched every day in the House of Commons; if I give any countenance to them I shall disoblige the officers. My own opinion is that I can do no greater service to the Army than when, by taking notice of such few disorders as will only affect a few, I shall make the whole body more agreeable to the country and the clamour against them less popular in the House of Commons.”
With traps deliberately laid to draw the troops into quarrels, with occasional experience of such brutality as has been above described, and with members of the House of Commons incessantly branding soldiers as lewd, profligate wretches, it is hardly surprising that there should have been bitter feeling between the Army and the civil population. But even more mischievous than this was the tendency of civilians, as of the House of Commons, to interfere with military discipline. It is tolerably clear, from the immense prevalence of desertion, and from the effusive letters of thanks written to magistrates who did their duty in arresting deserters, that the great body of these functionaries were in this respect thoroughly disloyal. Men could hardly respect their officers when they saw the civil authorities deliberately conniving at the most serious of military crimes. But this was by no means all. We find Members of Parliament interceding for the ringleaders of a mutiny, for deserters, for the discharge of soldiers, sometimes, but not always, with the offer to pay for a substitute; and finally, as a climax, we see one honourable gentleman calmly removing his son from his regiment on private business without permission either asked or received. And the Secretary-at-War liberates the mutineers, warns the court-martial to sentence the deserter to flogging instead of death, since otherwise interest will procure him a pardon, and begs General Wade, one of the few officers who had the discipline of the Army at heart, to overlook the absence of the member’s son without leave.
A parallel could be found to all these examples at this day, it may be said. It is quite possible, for such ill weeds once sown are not easily eradicated, but the roots of the evil lay far deeper then than now in the overpowering supremacy of the Secretary-at-War. That official throughout this period continued to correspond directly with every grade of officer from the colonel to the corporal, whether to give orders, commendation, or rebuke, wholly ignoring the existence of superior officers as channels of communication and discipline. His powers in other directions are indicated by the phrase, “Secretary-at-War’s leave of absence,” which was granted to subalterns, without the slightest reference to their colonels, to enable them to vote for the Government’s candidate at by-elections. We find him filling up a vacancy in a regiment without a word to the colonel, instructing individual colonels of dragoons when they shall turn their horses out to grass, and actually giving the parole to the guard during the King’s absence from St. James’s. All these orders, relating to purely military matters, were issued, of course, by the King’s authority, though not always in the King’s name; and, indeed, as the volume of work increased, directions, criticisms, and reproofs tended more and more to be communicated by a clerk by order of the Secretary-at-War. In fact, the absolute control of the Army was usurped by a civilian official who, while arrogating the exercise of the royal authority, abjured every tittle of constitutional responsibility.
The result of such a system in such an age as that of Walpole may be easily imagined. All sense of military subordination among officers was lost. Their road to advancement lay, not by faithful performance of their duty for the improvement of their men and the satisfaction of their superiors, but by gaining, in what fashion soever, the goodwill of the Secretary-at-War,—by granting this man his discharge, advancing that to the rank of corporal, pardoning a third the crime of desertion. “Our generals,” said the Duke of Argyll in the House of Lords at the opening of the Spanish War, “are only colonels with a higher title, without power and without command … restrained by an arbitrary minister…. Our armies here know no other power but that of the Secretary-at-War, who directs all their motions and fills up all vacancies without opposition and without appeal.” Well might General Wade be believed when he asserted that the discipline of the Army was as bad as it could be.
From the political I turn to the purely military side of the Army’s history. Treating first of the officers, it has, I think, been sufficiently shown that there were influences enough at work to demoralise them quite apart from any legacies of corruption that they might have inherited from the past. Against their indiscipline and dishonesty George the First seems to have set his face from the very beginning. He had a particular dislike to the system of purchasing and selling commissions. If (so ran his argument) an officer is unfit to serve from his own fault, he ought to be tried and cashiered, if he is rendered incapable by military service, he ought to retire on half-pay; and so firm was the King on this latter point that the Secretary-at-War dared not disobey him. As early, therefore, as in June 1715 the King announced his intention of putting a stop to the practice, and as a first step forbade all sale of commissions except by officers who had purchased, and then only for the price that had originally been paid. One principal cause that prompted him to this decision appears to have been the exorbitant price demanded by colonels, on the plea that they had discharged regimental debts due for the clothing of the men, and suffered loss through the carelessness of agents. It should seem, however, that as the rule applied only to regiments on the British and not to those on the Irish Establishment, the desired reforms were little promoted by this expedient. In 1717, therefore, the King referred the question to the Board of General Officers, with, however, a reservation in favour of sale for the benefit of wounded or superannuated officers, which could not but vitiate the entire scheme. He thought it better, therefore, to regulate that which he could not abolish, and in 1720 issued the first of those tariffs for the prices of commissions which continued to appear in the Queen’s Regulations until 1870. At the same time he subjected purchase to certain conditions as to rank and length of service, adding somewhat later that the 杭州怎么联系校内鸡 fact of purchase should carry with it no right to future sale. Evidently ministers kept before his eyes not only the usefulness of the system from a political standpoint, since every officer was bound over in the price of his commission to good behaviour, but still more the impossibility of obtaining from Parliament a vote for ineffective men. They followed, in fact, the precept of Marlborough, and it is hard to say that they were not right.