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Military Correspondence. By the King's regulation, a subaltern must serve three years before he is eligible to become a captain : during this probationary period, every subaltern can learu the whole of the art of war, mathematics, &c. &c. as taught in the schools, or he never can learn it at all. An Ensign might be required to learn a certain portion of the necessary acquirements, and at a given time to be examined ; if, on examination, he should be found to have perfected himself in the studies ordered him, he should be passed as a proper person to hold a lieutenantcy. On the contrary, should he be imperfect, he might be remanded till the next period for examination, and so on, till he should prove himself entitled to be promoted. In the same manner, a lieutenant should not be promoted to a company till he had acquired a thorough knowledge of the several particulars necessary for an officer to know. These studies would not interfere with the military daty of the persons engaged in them; for the time now sacrificed to the theatre, the ball, and the billiard table, would be then much better employed in learning the duties of a profession, into which every person who enters ought to aspire to reach the highest rank, but where he never can ascend, until he has made himself acquainted with it, even in its most minute details; and I think that the certainty of his rising in it, if he became a master of his profession, and the equal certainty of his being obliged to quit it in disgrace if he did not do it, would either be a sufficient stimulus to cause him to press forward, or oblige him to retire from it altogether, at an early period.
A Non-COMMISSONED OFFICER, London, 20th April, 1812.
RECRUITING OF WEST INDIAN REGIMENTS.
AS the recruiting the West India Regiments has been fully desided upon, and measures for carrying it into effect taken place, we here present our readers with a summary of the plan and its consequent benefits, bot only to the public service, but to the cause of humanity.
The whole is under the command and superintendance of Major R. S. Wingfield, of the 8th West India Regiment, who is the projector of it; his head-quarters at Goree. He is assisted by captains, subalterns, and the same staff as a regiment, with a proportion of non-commissioned officers, drummers, and fifers, from the whole of the West India regiments. The latter are native Africans, possessing a knowledge of the language of the country the recruits are proposed to be raised in. Government has libérally provided Major W. with presents, &c. for the African Kings and Chiefs; their friendship and protection is only claimed ; the choice of voluntary enlistment is left wholly to the natives, who will be guided by the apo pearance, comfort, and advantages which those regiments enjoy, and which is precisely similar to all other corps in the service. The impresVOL. IV, No. 19,
sion made by the party must evidently be strong, whu can speak to and explain the true comforts of each corps. The African nation has been long accustomed to hear of thousands and millions of its inhabitants taken away, but never heard of one returning. Each recruit is to receive a bounty of eight guineas, paid in such articles both of fancy and comfort as he may select, and the whole appearance of this establishment is fully intended to excite the admiration of the Africans, by encouragement to voluntary enlistinent. It is hardly to be doubted, but the West India regiments may become of great service, and the continuation of them chosen by such means, will secure a decided preference to those that have been already formed, with the exalted benefit to humanity in the preservation of the lives of some thousands of white soldiers in that climate annually, which, upon a moderate computation, costs Government, by the time they arrive there, one hundred pounds each man.
We could say much more upon this plan, from which so many advantages are likely to result; but, for the present, suffice it to add, that the whole arrangement appears to be judiciously made, and reflects much credit on the abilities and indefatigable exertions of Major Winkfield, who has now the satisfaction to find himself strenuously supported by the African Society, Mr. Wilberforce, and all the advocates for the abolition of the Slave Trade ; which laudable purpose not only the most sanguine hopes are entertained of its finally accomplishing, but that it will likewise have the good effect of materially tending towards the civilization of the heretofore ill-fated nations of Africa.
T. Basset, Esq. late Brevet Lieutenaut-Colonel, and Major of the 5th Foot, and Ensign Juho M'Lean, on the retired list of the 2d Royal West India Battalion, have been appointed Knights of Windsor. It is particularly desirous at this time to announce all appointments of Old Officers to this establishment, the Order having been so much abused, from which it is only now reviving.
SIR-It has always been considered by military men, that in the administration of military jurisprudence a judge advocate attends, as a person so well versed in the forms of civil and military law, that in questions or doubts arising from ignorance of the usual process of civil courts (for military courts, in respect to certain formalities and customs, are supposd to follow the forms of civil courts), he should be appealed to as a guide for the proceeding, and as both counsel for the Crown and prisoner. So far, and no farther was it, I believe, ever known, that a judge advocate, in his official capacity, exceeded those prescribed bounds, till the case I ain about to mention.
At a Court-Martial, held on a Lieutenant-General in 1808, the Judge Advocate-General assumed an authority as novel as unprecedented. In an elaborate speech, at the close of the defence, he addressed the Court, expatiated on the evidence and merits of the defence, and as a judge addresses a jury in the civil courts, so this gentleman gave his opinions and charge to the court. However much in error the Lieutenant-General may have been, yet in this instance he was not fairly dealt by. Many very worthy and honourable members of that Court may have been guided and influenced by what fell from the Judge Advocate, and made up their minds from his observations. This, therefore, was an irregular and an arbitrary proceeding, and might fully warrant the Lieutenant-General in stating, what I am informed is the case, “ That he was a victim to party, and prejudged.”
I aver, Sir, there is no precedent which the Judge Advocate could produce to sanction this infringement, this violation of the forms and customs heretofore observed at general courts-martial, and, if this infringement is continued, it will be productive of the most pernicious consequences.
Military men, however perfectly they may understand their profession, cannot be supposed mueh conversant with the arguments of law; and a clever subtile man, acting as Judge Advocate, may mislead them. A Court-Martial is a court of honour, not of quibble and perplexity. Then why introduce innovations upon the old, honest, and fair practices of the army, disgusting to officers, and prejudical to the service.
ST. PHILIP. London, Mount-Street, April 2, 1912.
MILITARY EDUCATION AND SCHOOLS.
first lecture to the Gentlemen of the army, you have observed, that, from the want of any general school for military instruction in England, the officers enter the army without any military knowledge whatever; whereas in France they receive a course of military instruction, acquire a stock of knowledge, which, improved by one or two practical campaigns, completes them in the art of war, which I most perfectly agree in, and lament the truth of
your observation. Of late, military schools have been established in this country for the education of gentlemen intended for the army; but the plan of tuition therein practised cannot accomplish what we must suppose to be the object of such establishments,—to render gentlemen well informed, and masters in the art of war. The education they receive is confined to mathematics, fortification, drawing, writing, arithmetic, and geography, Are these points sufficient for an officer to be well versed in? Is not a Military Correspondence.
general information of distinguished military characters,--their different modes of war,-their places of attack, defence and retreat, equally essential? Is not history also a topic they should be fully acquainted with, and topographical knowledge absolutely requisite?
Military Schools, conducted under plans which exclude branches of education and science the most requisite to expand the mind, and render the pupil acquainted with both men and manners, must be considered as highly imperfect. I admit that some benefit is derived from these ; but where are the obstacles which prevent a thorough education from being afforded, and the gentlemen who emerge from these seminaries complete officers ?
Innumerable veterans, and numbers of young British officers, do not possess the advantages of education. The want of it is the principal cause of the idle and dissipated lives many lead in the army. The military profession affords much leisure time to its members; and if an officer has not enjoyed the benefit of education, or had the advantages of reading and literary pursuits impressed on him, he is obliged to dispel the ennui, which almost continually exists in a vacant and ill-informed mind, by those frivolous employments,-those ridiculous attentions to dress,-and the ainusements of debauchery and dissipation.
Most of our distinguished officers have either received or completed their education in foreign military academies. Amongst the most modern I may include Lord Wellington, Lord Hatchinson, and, I believe, General Graham. The consideration is somewhat painful to Englishmen, that, though the country produces most distinguished officers, it has obliged them to seek necessary instruction in foreign climes.
Military public Schools, conducted on systems of essential education are most necessary : they will not only bring into the field able commanders, but, if the admission into them is not guided by interest, &c, will cherish in the breasts of officers who may have sons an additional powerful tie to the profession, and increase the military ardour of the country.
Before I conclude this letter, I cannot avoid stating, that the disapproval which the establishment of regimental libraries receives from some commanding officers, on the plea of the difficulties which would be incurred therefrom in the changing of quarters, are, in my opinion, de serving
expensive set of plate, or a useful regimental library? Every regiment can find conveyance for the former ; few for the latter. .
ST. PHILIP. London, Mount-street,
March 29, 1812.
ARREAR OF REGIMENTAL ACCOUNTS.
SIR,—THE anxieties which regimental agents and their families experience ; also those of officers who have to render public accounts to the military department, urge me to address you on this subject.
Whence, Sir, arises this arrear? It must have been' produced either by a confused mode of examination, a torpor in the former superintendance of that department, or from an insufficiency in the strength or abilities of those under whose particular cognizance they have been placed. Either of the above causes, and none other can I discover, argues an extreme bad policy somewhere, in the defect not being remedied, and in allowing the accounts continually to accumulate.
The establishment allotted for the examination of military accounts is now rendered competent to the final settlement of all current accounts. This conclusion I am warranted in making, from an observation in the tenth report of the committee on the public expenditure, and which is stated to be the opinion of Mr. Foveaux, a superintendant of military accouuts. The observation is, “ That if the current accounts are taken up from the commencement of the present year, 1811, there is a reasonable probability, with the addition of another clerk, that the examination of them may, in future, keep pace with the delivery ; but that there is no prospect of examining any prior accounts with the present establisments of the office.”—No objection can have been made to this addition of one clerk, by which so great an object is to be obtained. The present accounts are thus in a sure progress of early settlement, Let us therefore look back on those whi-h have 'been accumulating for the last twelve years. In the above quoted paragraph it is to be observed, that the present separate establishment of the War-Office cannot successfully undertake the settlement of any part of the arrear, without injuring the examination of current accounts. I am given to understand, that, in the War-Office, a very small department of clerks are occupied in examining some part of the arrear; but if it is considered that, previous to the arrear system of regimental, district, and agents' accounts, the accounts were much more numerous and complicated, and the charges founded upon regulations no longer in forces and which varied every year, little expectation can be entertained of more than a few being finally settled, even in a long period.
At the time the Commissioners of Military Enquiry formed their Sixth Report, they entertained doubts whether the benefits to be derived from up examination of the then arrear of accounts would be proportionate to the labour and expence; and it became a question therefore with them, " whether the amount of the sums which will probably be disallowed in these accounts, the latest of which are of ten years standing (now thirteen years), and the prospect of the recovery of them, can justify the expence