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Military Correspondence.

as to ourselves, and only for their good, and that we have no eventual intention of extending the frontiers or territories of our allies, the Portuguese, at their expence, or in any shape of benefiting ourselves. This has been successfully and effectually done. No Portuguese troops have been admitted into Rodrigo since the assault, when they behaved incomparably well; and a Spaniard, Don Carlos d'Espagnia, was appointed Governor. This capture has given new life to the Portuguese, and, if I mistake not, will spread like ignited powder, from one end of the peninsula to the other. I had the pleasure of seeing Don Carlos, but could not get a sight of Don Julian, though I had the greatest anxiety.

28th. --Set out on my return for Celorico, having got another servant, my rascal having been levying a contribution of nearly one half on all he expended for me. Marched through Pinhiel, a very fine town, and in tolerable preservation, especially the Bishop's palace. Crossed the river Pinhiel, a branch of the Coa, on a good stone bridge of five arches.

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A LETTER

TO

THE OFFICERS OF THE ARMY, Explaining the Cause of the Plan for an Oficer's Benefit Fund being for the present

abandoned.

GENTLEMEN,ếAS I consider it an honourable and indispensible obligation, which I owe both to you and my own character, to explain my motives for having apparently abandoned a plan which I had the honour to make public in two different Letters, one in 1810, and the other in 1811, addressed to the Officers of the Army, I again resume my pen, to introduce the above subject to your attention.

It is now nearly two years since the idea suggested itself to iny mind, that great and beneficial effects might be secured to the Officers of the Army, their Wives and Children, by the arrangement of a system, supported by voluntary subscriptions; and I earnesly set myself to work at framing, organizing, and endeavouring to perfect a plan, which struck me as of very infinite importance to my brother Officers, their Wives and Children. I was fully aware, that certain ranks of Offisers being so parsimoniously remunerated, it would be requiring a greater sacrifice than with reaso

ason could be expected, by calling on them fur a voluntary contribution to any considerable amount. However, ou examining the annual casualties in the army, the progressive increase of widows, and other adventitious circum. stances, I found my plan wight safely be established on a system of contribution extremely small; so much so, that not even the lowest ranks could feel inconve. nience from it. Moreover, my wish was to manage the scheme in such a manner that the burthen should fall on those most able to bear it; and that it might open a door for the affluent to contribute to the comfort and happiness of those who might require aid, and that in a manger congenial to the feelings of both parties. Military Correspondence.

In short, it appeared to me, that the most happy effects would result to the interests, comforts, and respectability of my brother Officers, at a time of life when they most are in need of them, or when otherwise disabled from service. I therefore ardently proeeeded in my plan, and was stimulated and encouraged by the numerous letters I received from Officers and private individuals, and more particularly from the answers I had the honour to receive from the General Officers, to whom I had sent my pamphlet. Many immediately entered into my views, and desired me to consider them as subscribers. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, in the most liberal, but delicate manner, did me the honour to express his entire approval of the plan; and also Lieut-General Crawford, Colonel Taylor, &c. &c. &c. Thus encouraged, I humbly solicited His Excelleney Sir David Dundas, the Commander-in-Chief, for the honour of his sanction; but was informed, that although His Excellency highly approved of any measure that tended to the advastage of the Officers of the Army, he could not give my plan his sanction, as he did not believe the theory could be reduced to practice. Obstructed, but not disheartened, I ceased further proceedings, and waited for an opportunity which might give a more favourable turn to the prosecution of my oleject. At length that time arrived: His Royal Highness the Duke of York resumed the command of the Army; and though I felt every sentiment of respect for the late Commander-inChief, I flattered myself that, from every circumstance, the exalted and uoble personage now at the head of the Army, would readily encourage and promote any plan which would prove of advantage to the Officers of the Army, their Wives and Children; and I was supported in this opinion by those of a General Officer, who, besides being honoured with the friendship of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, is universally admired and esteemed. This wor. thy gentleman, than whom no one is better acquainted with the generous, liberal, and humane sentiments that are so honourable to the character of the Royal Highness, arged me to submit my proposal to the consideration of His Duke of York. I did so, and was bonoured and flattered by an avowal, “ that His Royal Highness conceived that the greatest benefit might result from the adoption of such an arrangement for the provision of the widows of Officers of the Army;" and further advised me to get the report of a few General Officers on the subject. And in a communication from Colonel M-Mahon, I was assured that His Royal Highness the Prince felt every wish to promote the undertaking, but declined any interference, notil it had been matured by the opinions of some General Officers.

With redoubled eagerness I now proceeded with my plan ; and I have to express the great pleasure and satisfaction I experienced from the voluntary and disinterested offers of John Phillippart, Esq. jun. a gentleman particularly calculated, from his general kpowledge, and also very great information in figures, to render me substantial aid. Thus reinforced, we made out a general plan, and obtained the gratui. tous assistance of many of the most able accomptants in London, amongst whom I have to mention William Morgan, Esq. His reputation as an Actuary cannot be increased by any tribute of applause from me; but his most liberal, kind, able, and ready support, has indelibly established his character in my mind, as a gentleman of the most benevolent and generous disposition; and I beg thus publicly to return him my sincere acknowledgments of gratitude and thanks.

Having, by the aid of my friend, Mr. Phillippart, completed wy plan, I had the honour, in obedience to the advice of his Royal Higbuess the Commander-in-Chief, to submit it to several general officers, and I hari laid it before his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, who condescended to make himself perfectly informed of every particular respecting it, and inost graciously offeçed, that should his royal brother Military Correspondence.

be disposed to refer the consideration of it to a committee of officers, and should cousider him a fit person to preside at it, be would be ready to give the closest attendance to the business until it should be brought to a termination. I had also the honour to submit the plan to his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, who graciously was pleased to express the same anxiety as his royal brother bad done for its establishment and success.

The approbation is universally received from general officers, and from some Colonels of militia regimeuts, who expressed a wish that the militia officers should be included, generously hivting, that much benefit might result from that measure. Many private gentlemen joined in the approval of my plan, ayd innumerable have been the letters I have received from my brother officers to the like effect, and expressive of their anxiety to become subscribers.

Finding myself thus highly encouraged and supported, I at length bad the honour to submit my plan for the inspection of his Royal Highness the Commander-inChief, together with the opinions of many generals, and other officers and colonels of militia. In the course of a few days, I was honoured with an answer, which informed me,

“That bis Royal Highness, having now had all the papers on the subjeçt under his deliberation, did not feel, upon a fall view of the subject, that be could be justified in giving his sanction to a measure of so extensive a nature,

without the consent and approval of his Majesty's Government." I immediately · forwarded my plan, with the calculations, opinions, and other papers connected

with the undertaking, to Mr. Perceval; and, after a long period, I received the honour of his sentiments, which, 1 lament to add, were bostile to my undertaking. My anxiety to have establislied a plan so ità portant to officers, urged me to endea. vour, by repeated explanations, to counteract the impression which this Minister . had received of my plan. I informed him, that a benefit fund existed at Madras, and one at Bengal, buth requiring subscriptions six times the amount of mine; that a plan existed in the navy on a minor scale; that the estalvlishment would be an individual and voluntary concern; and that, it being confined to officers alone, would admit of higher pensions than could be obtained by any other disposal of their money, and which arose from the casualties in the army; that I did not desire the plan should appear to the army as a measure of Government, or recommended by them to the officers, but that his approbation was thought necessary by the Conmander-in-Chief, previous to his Royal Highness sanctiouiag the same as an individual and voluntary undertaking. My efforts were, however, unsuccessful, and his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief could not depart from the opinion before mentioned.

I felt, with the most poignant reluctance, I was obliged to once more withdraw from the pursuit of what I had so ardently expected would have terminated advantageously to the interest of the officers of the army; and, in this sanguine expectation, I was confirmed by the upinions already mentioned ; and particularly by those of Mr. Morgan, who, from his profound knowledge in subjects of this nature, was most competent to judge of its effects, and who has most decidedly propounced my plan equal to fulfil its object.

In concluding this letter, gentlemen, I must observe, that I have made every exertion in my power, not only to complete the plan, but to carry it into practice, distipct from any personal motive of self.interest, as expressed in a letter I had the bonour to address to Lieut.-Col. Torrens, in July last. . I should have felt ample gratification in being hourly witness to the happiness it would have diffused to my brotber officers, their widows and children; and, I continue to believe, that had the plan been sanctioned, the pecuniary difficulties which are now, and ever must be felt by vet trans, who have exhausted their health, strength, and spirits, in the cause of their country, and the still more affiicting distresses of the relatives of

Alilitary Correspondence.

those brave men who have fallen in the service, would vanish. And, geutlemen, I must ever lament, that the policy of the respectable gentleman at the head of the Goverument should have obstructed a plan replete with much general good; but I still look forward to a future period, when I may have the pleasure of carrying it into execution.

I have the honour to be, &c.

D. ROBERTS, Major, 51st Regiment. London, Feb. 25, 1812.

ON MILITARY KNOWLEDGE. - SIR,

-Having read the letter signed H. K. in the Military Chronicle of the present month, and considered it attentively, I find myself obliged to differ in some respects from the writer; and now send you

the following observations upon it: and, as in offering them, I have in common with H. K. but one object in view (the good of the Army), I trust you will favoar my remarks with a place in your miscellany.

I conceived that the plan, as proposed by H. K. cannot possibly be carried into effect ; for allowing, that, out of 3000 persons who are now soliciting commissions, the number of those who have received a military education amounts to 375, or one-eighth part of the whole (the proportion supposed by him, but which I think is estimated far too highly), permit me to ask, what description of persons are to fill up the vacancies which may occur, after these 375 candidates have been appointed ? for sapposing a few such battles as that of Albuera to be fought, those persons will very soon be supplied with commissions, and then, according to H. K.'s calculation, the number of candidates, who may in the mean time have perfected themselves in a regular education, and applied for commissions, will be but an eighth-part of 375 (that is after the same rate which the qualified candidates now hold to the whole mass), to fill up the commissions which may afterwards become vacant; so that recourse must then be had to candidates who have not been educated in a scientific manner.

But the principal objection which appears to me to exist to the proposed plan is, that it for ever closes to the militia officer, and more especially to non-commissioned officers of the regulars, the door to promo, tion in the regular army; than which I fear nothing can be more prejudieial to the service. On the part of the militia oslicers I shall not attempt to say any thing, as they must be more competent to the task than I am: but with respect to the non-commissioned officers, I will take upou myself to assert, that it is the hope of receiving a commission which induces many non-cominissioned officers to exert themselves in a particular manner. Where would a non-commissioned officer he found to volunteer to lead a forlorn hope, if he knew he should be but in the same situation (provided he survived the attack) which he was then in ? Besides, Sir, what other inducement would a young man of commou education have to enter the army :-Not the bounty? for that is never of any service to a recruit, on account of its being served out to him by piecemeal ; nor the pay! For any man who can work at all, can earn muen On Military Knowledge.

more; and the persons of whom I ain more particularly speaking can earn upwards of three times the sum, or they would not, I am sure, be fit for the situation of non-cominissioned officers. If, then, it is neither the bounty nor the pay, what (except the hope of preferment) can it be? for I know not, and remain to be informed.

The French army is, I believe, allowed to contain as good officers, taking them en masse, as any in Europe ; and surely, Sir, your correspondent must have forgotten, that Hoche, who was once a member of this body, was at the period of the revolution only a serjeant; yet the circumstance of his having been in so lowly a situation, did not prevent bis afterwards becoming a master in the science of war; and I think that I need not call to the recollection of H. K. the names of Murat, Massena, Ney, and Junot, who were at the same period, or shortly previous to it, all private soldiers in the same army; nor need I remind him, that all vacancies which occur in it, are at present supplied by nou-commissioned officers.---The generals whom I have named are considered -as having been profoundly skilled in the art ; and if such a plan, as the one now proposed, had existed iu France at the period when they were in a situation similar to that in which those persons are placed, whom H. K. would now exlude from all hope of preferment, the Ruler of France would not have had to boast of their exploits, nor of the distinguished parts which they took in the subjugation of the Continent, wherein they have unfortunately been so eminently successful.

If the French non-commissioned officers can be converted into good generals, why may not the British ? for I dare not think that my countryinen, who so conspicnously out-shine all their rivals, in bringing to the utmost perfection every domestic and beneficial art, are at all behind their neighbours and ancient enemies with respect to their military abilities, or their application to the study of the seience of war. That such is the opinion of Lord Wellington is evident, from the number of commissions which he has procured for non-coni missioned officers; and I imagine that every one will allow that there are few, if any, officers in the British service, better qualified to judge of the description of persons likely to make good soldiers than that celebrated General.

There are, moreover, instances of many young men, possessing ardent minds, who, having left civil employments, and obtained commissions in the army at a mature age, have become ornaments to their profession : Major André is a proof of what may be expected from sạch persons.

. But although I do not agree in the entire plan proposed by your correspondent, yet I think with him, that no one person ought to be appointed to a situation in the arıny beyond that of Eusign, without his proving, to the satisfaction of persons appointed to examine him, that he possesses the necessary qualifications. Yet in this case there should be a scale or qualifications adapted to the several gradations of 'rank, so that an ensign should not be required to know so much as a field-officer.

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