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under the cabalistic H.M.S., and he of a government, an army or a navy, it will learn, we think, though not soon, is indispensable. Wherever the wills that the course of office is rather of an individual or of a few are to more tedious than it was three years govern the lives and actions of many,
Still papers must collect dust there routine must have place, for on desks while noble lords enjoy Routine is the handmaid of order. deer-stalking, or ignoble officials read An army, to merit the appellation the Times and consume their fore- " Exercitus," and to be distinguished noon repast. Still they are shuttled from a rabble, must be familiar with forwards and backwards, acquiring established forms of motion, position, a meaningless minute at each tro- dress, habits of living and feeling, pic, and the writer may, at the not to mention accounts, returns, end of ten or twelve weeks, get punishments, rewards, and records. them back, enriched with these Above all, the habit of obedience briefs, and not improved in general must be manifest in every isolated or appearance by travelling ; but he conjoint proceeding at all connected must repeat the process, and make with military duty. Routine is the many trials like this of his patience, sole means by which discipline can before he receives an answer to his exist. It is essential to combined communication.
exertion. It is a study for all in It is not, however, to descant on anthority. It must be respected by the doings in public offices that we all under authority. Mr Carlyle, to have now taken up the pen. Our whom so few existing things are theme is Routine, which we think as satisfactory, is pleased to commend much deserving of investigation as it a 74-gunship in commission. Nay, ever was, notwithstanding that the the learned and implacable censor T'imes has ceased to roar at it, and condescends to be eloquent in admithat we have lately stood three or ration of her, and to discourse as folfour times preprandially on a hearth- lows :rug without hearing the subject men- “It has inarticulate traditions, tioned. Distance, instead of en- ancient methods and habitudes in it, chanting, seems rather to clear the stoicisms, noblenesses, true rules both view, and the present occasion is of sailing and of conduct; enough to more proper for profitably consider- keep it afloat on nature's veridical ing the matter than when every man bosom after all.
If it meet with the word on his lips had pre- with hurricanes, it rides them out; indged the case in his heart. Hence if it meet an enemy's ship, it shivers it is that we are not yet disposed to it to powder; and, in short, it holds let the much-belaboured subject drop, on its way, and to a wonderful exbut would play out the play, having tent does what it means and pretends something to say on behalf of this to do.” Routine.
She deserves this praise. No meNow, although we admit that the chanism can be more exact than her outcry was called for, and that the wondrous parts. She testifies not public dissatisfaction was natural, only of present skill and energy
and we cannot consent to regard offend- system all working together in that ing Routine as an incubus. It is to wooden hive, but of the skill and the body politic or military what the vigour of years long past. She is a blood is to the natural body. It is thing for an Englishman to be proud the means by which vitality is trans- of-but she is the creature of routine. mitted from the centre through to From the day when the axe was laid the extremities of a system, and by to the root of the oak to this hour which parts and extremities har- when she floats an epitome of the moniously respond to the centre. science, power, and enterprise of the Interrupt it, you disable a limb or nation and of the age, Routine has a faculty : annihilate it, and you produced, maintained, and perfected have no longer organisation, With her. out it there can be no economy in a Having said that Routine is necesmanufactory, or workshop, or oven a sary, and that its results are admirable, household , but to the very existence we shall be expected to explain how and why we consider it deserving of indisputable. He is supreme, not the clamour which it not long since only in matters of discipline, manexcited. In doing so we reject the cuvring, and operations of offence solution frequently hinted at “ that and defence, but likewise in finance, it was carried to excess, and so be- stores, rations, clothing, and every came an impediment.” Our opinion local arrangement. No doubt he is, that the more you extend Routine, must give account of his proceedings the more efficient you are likely to in these respects, but a great and make the department which receives able man will not shrink froin reit. We must look deeper for a reason sponsibility. He cannot, of course, why that which was ordained unto bear the blame of withholding suplife we have found to be unto death. plies at home, or of indifference there We believe that Routine has been to the wants of his force. But everymade odious by ignorance, imbecility, thing on the spot is absolutely under and corruption. No able statesman, the control of the commander-in-chief; general, or admiral, ever waged war and if all is not used to the best adwith Routine. They understand vantage, he, and not Routine, is to be both the use and the abuse of it. blamed. We used to hear of stoves They can distinguish between the being remorselessly retained in store means and the end, and will not suffer while soldiers starved with cold and the former to take the place of the hunger; of hay-bales floating in latter. The great Duke and glorious Balaklava harbour while emaciated Nelson were friends of Routine. Their horses were abandoned by their achievements could not have been owners; and of a multitude of similar without it. That old Spanish Infantry enormities. Surely such disorders with which the Marshal could “have might have been rectified without an gone anywhere and done anything”. Act of Parliament or a national ferthat fleet wherein England expected, mentation ! Certain are
we that and not vainly, that every man would under the Duke of Wellington in the do his duty-were the perfection of Peninsula they would not have enRoutine; and their commanders knew dured two days. If the commander it. It is only when incapable, infirm, cannot, in cases of great emergency, or dishonest men are put in situa- where there is no time for reference tions of responsibility that it appears to himself and his immediate subordisadvantageously: One who can- dinates, delegate to colonels of reginot do, must find excuse for his in- ments the power of drawing from activity. He dares not say "I am store what is necessary for their solincompetent,” but he can find old diers, especially their sick, he may at orders and regulations, never meant least appoint as many officers as are for such cases, which conveniently required to execute that service, atforbid him to move, or to see, or to de- taching them to regiments, or even cide when he is indisposed or unable to troops and companies. Nullum to do these things. Routine might numen abest si sit prudentia. But have saved the Danish fleet at Co- where a feeble will arises out of a conpenhagen, or ruined the French army scious inability to oversee and to act, on the plateau of Rivoli; it might everything connected with the service have justified the loitering in Hamo- must appear to disadvantage. Proaze of the Pallas while a French bably our military grievances, which frigate flaunted at the Mewstone, or were attributed to Routine, may be have prevented the passage of the reduced, or nearly so, to one great Douro. But Nelson and Napoleon, defect the advanced age of the Cochrane and Wellington, were supe- superior officers. It is fair to suprior to Routine.* It was their ser- pose that if this were corrected, many vant, not their master.
others, which have been singly asThe authority of the general com- sailed, and their remedies attempted, manding in the field is absolute and would at once disappear. Take for
* But for the illustrious names in the text we had not forborne to mention the royal palace of Liliput, which must bave become a cinder had not the soul of Lemuel Gulliver risen above Routine !
instance the alleged incompetency assist in the achievement. What of the Staff
. It is pretty clear matters it to a man who hopes how this is caused. Elderly generals to transmit a coronet to his eldest hare sons and nephews arrived at son, and an honoured name to all manhood, for whom they desire well- who follow him, whether or not his paid appointments. They think more hopeful's pay be at the present moof placing those relatives in situations ment increased by ten shillings a-day, which are likely to supply plausible or whether a partial despatch gain AXTERs for their promotion, than the lad a brevet - majority ? Away ther do of surrounding themselves with such miserable considerations. with an able and efficient staff. In- “There is goodly work toward
rad, therefore, of seeking through which shall make his name and race the army for the most accomplished illustrious; he sees in the distance and energetic aids, they appoint those the great' reward, and can wait in whom they feel an interest, whether awhile for it.
Meantime let the the officers 'so selected are qualified youths jog along as they can; better or not. The opportunity is too tempt- days are in store ; but, that the hope ing to be missed. The general him- be made as sure as possible, let the self may not last long, and this is aid be sought of all those best qualiperhaps his only chance of putting fied to secure its fulfilment. This is his beloved kinsmen in the way of the rational view of the case. A promotion. True, one is wild and Wellington or a Napoleon would not thoughtless, almost a child ; another, barter the mighty space of his large though older, understands dogs and honours ” for paltry or present conhorses, and very little else. He siderations. would deliver an order of ten words Again, let the leaders be men in in exceptionable English-never has the prime of life, and not only will used a pencil save to book his bets, they be likely to select a creditable and, in knowledge of the art of war, statt, but they will scarcely tolerate would probably bow to Mr Widdi- senility or incapacity in any suborcombe. Nevertheless it would be dinate situation. The tu quoque once unnatural were they to be set aside silenced, they would speedily use the on these grounds. They will do as power belonging to their office to rewell, no doubt, as others similarly move all who should be unable to situated. The general has learned in execute fairly the duties required of his long service to take care of Num- them. Commanders able and deterber One, if he has learned little be- mined to do, must very soon be folsides : he has but small private for- lowed by a host of their own charactune to leave them, and must, if he ter. They communicate life to the can and while he can, push their for- whole machine. Secure but these tune in the service; therefore, bon gré at the head, and we feel certain the mal gré, the youths are laced up, and effect would be as remarkable and as placed in the responsible positions of encouraging as when, in the tale, staff-officers-positions which ought after a series of contradictions and to be filled by the élite of the army.* crosses, the fire began to burn the
Now, this is not so likely to occur stick, the stick began to beat the dog, if generals, instead of being old, are the dog began to do his devoir, and middle-aged men. In the first place, in short, a Routine of the most satisthey being younger, are less likely to factory nature was established. have grown-up sons and nephews; It is needless to enlarge upon the and, in the second place, if they have increased probability of checking these, they have probably a soldier's peculation, skulking, or imposture, ambition swelling high in their by a commander not yet past his brousts, which will induce them not work. Ca va sans dire. In fact, we only to dare great things, but to avail firmly believe that, but for one deeply themselves of all accessories that may rooted evil, of which we shall shortly
Let it be remembered that we are commenting on a practice-not attacking Individuals. All honour to our brave staff-officers who did their work, and they were many. But the system does not tend to the selection of such.
say more, the appointment of able to spend our youth and manhood in bodied and intelligent commanders inferior and unprofitable grades, let would put an end to the misdirection us, now that we are eligible, enjoy of which the country has so justly the well-paid appointments. Give complained, and restore Routine to us commands-give us governments.” its proper place and estimation. And commands and governments
Now comes the question, “How they receive. But is it possible that are younger commanders to be ob- a practice, which was found to be so tained ?"
fatal in war, can be other than an It is a known fact that, after pass- evil in time of peace ? Are age and ing the age of sixty-five, men in helplessness ever desirable in a comgeneral are not capable of enduring mander or a governor ? An attempt much strain on either mind or body. is just now made to mitigate the exIt is equally well known that some tent of the evil by pushing forward men presume to live fifteen, twenty, officers who have distinguished themor even thirty years after they have selves in war. But only a few thus taken leave of their vigour. exceptional individuals are in this Soldiers and sailors in this predica- way obtained.
The old men still ment must either continue to be em- remain somewhere on the active list ployed, notwithstanding their grow- --colonels if not generals. Moreing disqualifications, or they must over, the principle of promoting be, for the rest of their days, a burden generally by selection can never on the country. It will be seen, by obtain. It is open to immense abuse, reference to army statistics, that for and, with such rulers as we have, is many years past the age of sixty-five, certain to be abused ; independently which we set down as the most ad- of which consideration, long and vanced which is compatible with the faithful service must in some way be due performance of military duties, rewarded-if not out of the profesis that at which many officers have sion, then by advancement in it. As attained their rank as Major-Generals, it is not desirable to use old officers, and that few officers of sixty-five still less is it possible to cast them have attained great seniority in that off as useless burdens. No; the rank. Many of them will never country would find its account in again be employed; but when we do addressing them on this wise : “My need a general, it is from among good and true old servants, I am these withered elders that he must proud to confess that you have for be selected. At an age when men of many a long year devoted to me your other professions are seeking an hon- minds and your bodies; that in all nourable retirement, he is to encase climes, and in all ranks of the service, his shrunk shanks in war-boots, and you have cheerfully faced danger pipe through palsied throat the ghost and difficulty, and liberally shed your of his ancient battle-cry.
blood. Far be it from me to deny Arma diu Senior desueta trementibus or forget a tittle of what I owe you.
You have given me all, and I am not Circumdat nequicquam humeris, et ungrateful. But let us be reasonable. inutile ferrum
I cannot, in justice to you, in justice Cingitur
to myself, or to the present generaSo, at his country's call, he drags his tion, give you colonies to torment crazed limbs to encounter toil and for the amusement of your declining danger, and essays, with numbed years. Though sport to you it would brain and chilled arteries, a task be death to them. Neither can I which will tax the vigour of the suffer you to disorganise, in your hardiest !
latter age, that army which, in your But suppose we remain at peace. prime, you contributed to make ilThen numbers of the old generals are sustrious. Yet, let not this refusal clamorous for employment. “Do destroy the feeling that has ever not,” they say, “reproach us with existed between us. If I cannot our age. We would have attained give exactly what you ask, I have our rank younger if you had per- other things to bestow more befitting mitted us. But after compelling us your wants. I will no longer tax
your strength or intellects, already It is essential to the well-working well worn in my service ; but I will of the plan which we propose, that give you a provision for your de- the retirement be without exception. clining years worthy of you and Let there be no evidence received worthy of me-a fit offering from save the parish register. You can the richest country in the world to afford to give up any man of sixtyher tried and devoted servants.” five, however strong for his years.
In such an address is contained, The highest as well as the lower in our humble opinion, an expression grades, including field-marshals, comof the true policy of Great Britain. manders-in-chief, and what not, should Hitherto she has endeavoured to de- cease from all manner of active serrive from that strength which is but vice on attaining that age. Let labour and sorrow, an equivalent them by all means retain their rank for the allowance which she feels and the honour due to it; give them bound to make to her veterans. She increased rank, if you please ; but has unquestionably paid a thousand suffer none to evade the rule. Once per cent on every sum attempted to be allow an exception, and you initiate so economised. The old men can no a state of things in which only the longer be profitable servants. You poor and unfriended will be made submust make a merit of that which ject to the regulation. you cannot prevent. Pay them well In writing the above remarks, we for doing nothing, and pay others for have not been unmindful of the doing well that which has hitherto great argument with which it will been done so badly, that it had better be endeavoured to crush our project. have been left undone. Make retire- We are aware that the announcement after the age of sixty-five com- ment of it will incense to madness pulsory, but make the pensions so the broken phalanx of the econogenerous that the necessity shall be mists, and well-nigh cause their deno grievance. Depend on it, no old parted leader to burst his cerements. man desires work for work's sake. We are prepared to hear from even It is the inability to keep himself moderate and clear-sighted men a and his family decently on his present remonstrance on the score of exretiring, income, and that alone, pense. We anticipate the objection which drives him to solicit employ- that,“ wealthy as we are, we cannot ment. He had rather take his rest, afford, after paying for our immense if you will give him the means of amount of active requirements, to doing so.*
But he cannot endure to keep up constantly a well-paid list sink below the rank to which he has of men who no longer yield a return been accustomed – to retire to a for their salaries." It has been alstation where he will be separated ready said, in reply to this argument, from all that he has become habitu- that the advantage of having the ated to in active life. You give, to different services performed by capaan unemployed general officer, £450 ble men would compensate for the a-year; to a clerk who retires from outlay, great as it is, and possibly the War Office you give £1500 effect a pecuniary saving equal to a a-year-i. e., to the man who has large portion of the new expense. passed his life between his desk at We know not what we now pay for Whitehall and his house in the senile blundering and indecision ! suburbs, who never was required to But, independently of the above arendure a privation or incur a wetting gument, we would remind our counon your account, you give the large trymen, that a few months ago, and liberal allowance; but to the when there was a prevalent desire broken soldier, worn with war and to abolish promotion by purchase, climate, whose wounds should ope they entertained, without faltertheir dumb mouths and plead foring, the proposal to indemnify the him, you can only afford the miser- holders of purchased commissions at able pittance !
an expense of two millions sterling
We heartily wish this were universally true ; but our experience rather inclines us to believe that aged officials cling to their accustomed occupations as their only refuge from total extinction.