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through the prescribed course of study or not, should they be desirous of obtaining “honors" in any particular subjects.
Royal Military Academy. Turning now to the establishments for the education of the junior officers of the Army-the Royal Military Academy and the Royal Military College-we find that in the former institution only very slightand unimportant alterations in the details of studies have been made. As was to be expected, however, the abolition of purchase and the introduction of the open competitive system of examination for first appointments to the other branches of the service has lessened both the number and the quality of the candidates for admission to the Royal Military Academy, the long and expensive course of study there naturally not being so attractive as the immediate commission, with pay, offered to successful candidates for the line. Since, however, as we shall presently see, it is now intended to remodel the College at Sandhurst on a basis similar to the Academy, it may be expected that candidates for the Royal Artillery will be once more forthcoming in as great numbers as before. The total number who have presented themselves at the entrance examinations during the last three years amounts to 1,113_namely, in 1873, 347; in 1874, 454; and in 1875, 312. Of these numbers, again, in 1873, 186 candidates qualified, and 121 were admitted into the Academy. In 1874, 242 qualified, and 102 were admitted; and in 1875, 193 qualified, and 101 were admitted. Of the aggregate number, therefore, 621 qualified and 324 were admitted, the proportion of disqualified candidates being 44.2 per cent.
Royal Military College. In the meantime, the sister establishment of the Academy, the Royal Military College, has passed through a period of continuous change. In December, 1870, the cadet system, which had existed since the foundation of the College, was abolished, and the institution was reorganized to serve as a place for the instruction in certain professional subjects of sub-lieutenants of Cavalry and Infantry after they had, by serving 12 months with their regiments, acquired such a knowledge of drill and soldiering generally as would enable them to benefit fully by the proposed course of more theoretical study. The first division of these sub-lieutenants joined the College from their regiments in January, 1873; the establishment having been utilized during the period which had elapsed since the abolition of the cadet system for the instruction of certain young gentlemen who had passed the examination for direct commissions, but for whom there were not as yet sufficient vacancies upon the general list of sub-lieutenants. The plan of military education, however, thus introduced in January, 1873, did not succeed. Difficulties arose in maintaining the discipline necessary in an educational establishment among a large assemblage of young officers who had already enjoyed the comparative freedom and liberty of regimental life; and the consequence was that, early in 1875, a fresh set of regulations for the government of the College was issued, by which it was provided that the establishment should be in future used for the purpose of affording a special military education to sub-lieutenants before joining their respective regiments, and to other successful candidates in the competitive examination who might be waiting for vacancies. But this system of admitting to the College sub lieutenants, who, although they have not actually joined their corps, are already commissioned officers, has not been found to work much better than the one it superseded, and consequently instructions have now been issued to the effect that after the end of the present year the students at the College shall be young men, whose commissions will be entirely dependent upon their conduct while undergoing instruction there, and upon their reaching a certain standard of professional knowledge. Moreover, not being gazetted as sub-lieutenants, the new class of students will not receive pay, but, on the contrary, will
be required to pay a fixed sum yearly to defray the cost of their subsistence. Thus a return will be made, except as regards the nature and duration of the College course of study and the
age of admission, to the cadet system which was in force up to the end of 1870. The course of study will continue to be limited, as now, to two terms, extending from the 10th of February to the 30th of July, and from the 10th of September to the 15th of December. The course of instruction will be confined, as it is at present, to the following subjects-namely, the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, military law, tactics, field fortification, and the elements of permanent fortification, military topography and reconnoissance, drill, riding, gymnastics. With regard to the numbers who have passed through the College during the last three years, it appears that an aggregate of 320 sub-lieutenants have been
examined during that period-namely, 50 in 1873, 34 in 1874, and 236 in 1875. Of these 320, 36 succeeded in obtaining a first-class certificate, 110 were granted a second, and 57 a third-class certificate; while 17 failed to reach the necessary standard, and have, consequently, now to pass a similar examination within two years of the date of their commissions as sub-lieutenants, failing which they will be removed from the service. Besides these 320, however, 128 other sub-lieutenants have been examined on the Sandhurst course during the last three years. These were officers who were serving the required 12 months with their regiments prior to joining the Royal Military College when the system at that institution was changed. There being no longer any place for them at Sandhurst under the new plan, the task of preparing them for examination devolved upon the garrison instructors. Eight months were allowed for the preparation of each class, and the result of the examinations has been that 48 have obtained a first-class certificate, 43 a second, 19 a third, while 16 failed.
But the preparation of these sub-lieutenants has not been by any means the only work performed by the garrison instructors during the last three years. Forty-eight sub-lieutenants, who had failed in the several examinations at the Royal Military College, or 'who had been removed therefrom for breaches of discipline, also came to them for further instruction, and all, save nine, succeeded eventually in passing the prescribed examination. Of the nine, six having failed twice, have been required to resign their commissions. During the three years also 614 lieutenants have undergone instruction in the Special Army Examination Course, and 478 have passed the prescribed examination. In addition to the above, 111 officers, generally of superior rank, attended the garrison instructor's classes voluntarily, and, with one exception, obtained from the superintending, officer certificates of qualification, and, finally, 37 sub-lieutenants of West Indian regiments have gone through the instructor's classes, and, with one exception again, were reported qualified. The issue of the General Order of the 1st of November, 1875, has also added largely to the work of garrison instructors. By this order, captains, before they can be considered eligible for promotion to the rank of major, are required to pass such an examination in tactics as shall show that they are acquainted with the standard works relating to the attack and defence of positions, advanced and rear guards and outposts, and that they can read a military map correctly, and dispose thereon a combined force of Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery under given conditions.
Such, then, is a brief summary of the nature and extent of the military education which has been imparted to the officers of the army during the last three years; and, from the review, it is evident that English officers now enjoy opportunities and facilities for
acquiring professional knowledge fully equal to those possessed by officers of Continental Armies, while the result of the sev. eral examinations shows very clearly that they fully appreciate and are minded to largely avail themselves of the advantages offered them for perfecting themselves in the theory as well as in the practice of modern warfare.
The Report of the Royal Commission on Army Promotion, 1876, contains valuable information, and the opinions of prominent officers on the various modifications which have been recently made in the military system of England.
His Royal Highness (Duke of Cambridge), the Field Marshal Commanding-in Chief, says:
The power of filling any vacancy, since the abolition of purchase, belongs to the Secretary of War, or the Commander-in-Chief. The power is not exercised to the extent of doing away with seniority in regimental appointments. Practically, seniority regulates regimental promotion, but with rejection or selection wherever it is found advisable not to promote the regimental senior officer. That is the way at present; but if his Highness were succeeded by anybody who took a different view, it would be quite within his competency to have nothing but selection if he thought fit-so, at least, the witness understood. Regimental seniority, tempered and varied by selection (the expression is Lord Penzanca's), is the best system we can adopt at present, and it is a fair system. The regimental sentiment and feeling are really the backbone of all our Army arrangements. It must most decidedly be seniority in the regiment, and not in the Army. A change to th“ latter mode of reckoning service would simply destroy the regimental system. For exercising the discretion which they have, the military authorities possess the confidential Repo. ts, which now come in very regularly, of every officer; not the old Reports, which were in very general terms, but regular and distinct Reports upon the character and conduct of every officer in every regiment of the service.
Confidential Reports of Commanding Officers. The great difficulty of selection is that each commanding officer looks upon cases from a different point of view. One man is extremely lenient, and another man is extremely the reverse; one man is very susceptible, perbaps, of any little slight, and of course all that comes out in the confidential views which he gives. The difficulty is to steer clear of injustice, and therefore, even when there are Reports against an officer, they would never be taken without making inquiries as to whether they are borne out by instances and circum. stances which could be detailed. There is not the same danger with regard to Reports of merit as in the case of demerit. With demerit, the witness would always be extremely cautious. If he were well satisfied with the general officer's Report, which was in the same sense as the commanding officer's, he should not hesitate to act upon the joint Report; but if it were merely the commanding officer's Report, and the general officer said he could not give a decided opinion, his Highness would certainly, before acting to the detriment of an officer, take some measures to ascertain the facts of the case.
The annual Reports have been kept ever since the abolition of purchase. They are all posted up and kept in volumes in a continuous history. A good many modifications have been made since the system was commenced, and there is one thing now introduced to which, his Highness thinks, the general commanding or the inspecting officer rather objects, but it is essential. It is now ordered that the officer who inspects is to have the answers filled in, or, at all events, explained, in the commanding officer's presence, at the inspection, so that the inspecting officer has an opportunity to judge as far as be can of the ground upon which such statements are made. Some General officers object to that, but it is extremely important, because you have the chance of seeing whether there is any favor or affection in anything that is stated. The system of reports is satisfactory.
While his Royal Highness thought that the power of rejection base 1 upon the reports is an efficient method of securing promotion to the best man, he considered that the attempts to establish a system which, quite independent of demerit, should give promotion to marked merit would be open to very grave objection. You might, while intending to do the right thing, do injustice to officers who really are just as well worthy of consideration as those you select. There are about 6,000 officers in the Army, and it would be quite impossible for the Commander-in-Chief to investigate the comparative merits of those 6,000. Our service is so varied. Supposing it were like the German Army, where the whole service is at home, you might have much more facilities. With our Army one man may be engaged in beneficial and acceptable service in the ficld 'in India or elsewhere. Another may be serving in a bad climate in the West Indies. Yet the merits of the latter may be as great as those of the man who is serving very agreeably to himself in the field. Now, if you give all the profit and all the advantage to the field service and to favorably circumstanced corps, those unfortunate men who are in other parts of the world and have not the same advantage will be entirely left in the background. His Royal Highness admitted, in answer to question, that active service is a means of disclosing merit; but he went on to say that during the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, there were certain regiments that had not tho advantage of being in either of them, and the career of the officers of those regiments would have been completely destroyed if you only looked at those who were serving in the field. Those who were doing garrison duty, by not having the opportunity of disclosing the merit which they possess in common with others, would
suffer, and you could not maintain the Army on a just footing. Our service is so very varied and so very peculiar, we have so many incidents of service to deal with that even if you could work out such a system in any other Army, he was sure you could not in ours. There will always be cases in our Army where an individual bas shown great merit and is worthy of selection, and by that the Service derives great benefit. But you would cause great injustice if you ma le that the rule. One set of men would by accident get the whole benefit, and others, who perhaps were quite as good men, would not have a chance.' He therefore adhered to seniority in the regiment, though in selecting officers to become captains the senior lieutenants in other regiments bad generally been taken. Seniority is, no doubt, the most popular system in the Army. Of course you
will always have individuals who think that there is something about them that may bring them more prominently forward, and that they would get on quicker by selection, but the great bulk of the officers would prefer seniority.
Rapid Promotion by Special Capacity. Lord Penzance now took his Royal Highness's opinion upon certain suggestions for pushing forward young men desirous of making the Army their profession, who had shown capacity. If they passed the Staff College, or in Indian languages, or if they served as adjutant, &c., might an artificial addition be made to their years of ervice which would give them a practical seniority in their regiment? The Duke of Cambridge thought that would be very objectionable. He was not at all sure that the officers who pass the Staff College were the best to be promoted. He should prefer taking the best regimental officers he could pick out, and would certainly, give the class suggested no special advantages. They get already Staff appointments by going to the Staff College. The junior Staff appointments are always given to officers who have passed the College. As to the rest, it does not follow that because an officer passes in Hindustani, for instance, he is a good officer. Many great bookworms are very moderate officers. The Commander-in-Chief prefers a man who has led his company or his squadron well, and who is known by the testimony of the commanding officer to be a man to be relied upon at the outposts. No doubt, said Lord Penzance, mere literary acquirements form but one qualification for a good officer; and his Royal Highness replied that he did not object to them at all, but still he did not think you ought to rely on them solely. You ought not to give undue preponderance to them over really military requirements. Assenting to a different suggestion from the chairman in reference to the younger officers of a regiment, his Royal Highness said you would always be able to pick out the best man in a regiment from the feeling of a regiment. He would himself infinitely prefer to pick out the best man by regimental intuition than by any test examination. If he were to ask the commanding officers to recommend the best man for the Staff, he would get the best.
Appointment from the Staff College. The principle of appointing from the Staff College has not been carried out hitherto to the full extent in the upper grades, the officer: not having been of the rank to justify it; besides which, His Royal Highness prefers to have the power of putting his own hand on a man who he is satisfied would make a good Staff officer, rather than merely to look to those who have passed the College ( xamination. Returning to promotion by “regimental intuition," his Royal Highnes said that if by selection you promote men in the same regiment, you will destroy the regiment entirely. You can only promote out of the regiment. For instance, there were a great many lieutenants who went to Ashantee, and whenever you can you would give them a pull if they have becn well thought of. You would select them for promotion on occasions when you do not want to give promotion in the regiment. The promotion was for service in the field and not merely for success in examination. His Royal Highness did not think the system could be carried out through the medium of unattached promotion. The difficulty would be to get an officer who was once promoted to unattached rank back into the service, because, of course, when promotion goes in a regiment, all the officers expect to have the benefit, unless there is some default. To take the case of the Crimean War. It was at one time the rule, and it was in the Warrant, that a man who got brevet rank in the field had a right to claim its conversion into substantive rank. That gave him positive rank in the Army; but some majors who then took substantive rank have never been brought back to this day, and, it is feared, never can be. They thought they were doing themselves a good turn in taking substantive rank, but there really has ncver been an opportunity of bringing them back. Good men have been lost and made discontented and unhappy. It would be just the same now, because if you are to have, as a rule, regimental promotion with rejection, very few, indeed, would be brought back from the Unattached List.
With regard to Staff appointments his Royal Highness thought the five years' rule ought to be maintained, but the military authorities ought to have very large powers to reappoint men who have shown themselves very capable of Staff appointments. They have, in fact, at present unlimited power. In the higher grades, the appointments are all made now by the selection of his Royal Highness in conjunction with his Staff, but he holds himself responsible. As a rule, he would not reappoint, but on emergencies he would look for men who had been on the Staff, and he would select them at once, without any hesitation, whether they had had a Staff appointment lately or not. On the contrary, he should prefer them, and the feeling of the Army would be in favor of such a course. In ordinary, times of peace a Staff appointment of five years is a good rule, and one which is to the advantage of the juniors; but he should never allow it to prevent him from reappointing a man who really showed very great merit in preference even to a man who had not been on tho Staff. In the event of pressure he would take the man who would be most likely to prove himself an efficient Staff officer.
Brevet Promotion. Officers now often imagine, when going on foreign service, that they are sure to get brevet. It is a great mistake. Unless they get some brevet promotion, they think they are discredited. Brevet should be the exception and not the rule; whereas the feeling appears to be now that brevet should be the rule, and non-brevet the exception. Brevet should, in general, be confined to distinguished personal service.
He wished he could say brevet promotion was not essential, but he did not see how we are to get out of it. Some have thought, and he himself thought, that in many cases, if you had a larger power of giving good service rewards, that would take the place of brevet in some respects, say 2100 a year additional pay, or £50 additional pay to a captain, and so on, that would, to a certain extent take the place of brevet; but that would not give the man the pull that he has in Army rank, because, of course, the advantage in Army rank is very great. Take the case of an officer who had recently distinguished himself very much. He had very good luck, and he knew how to avail hinself of it, but he was only a substantive major when he was promoted to general officer, and if ho liad not bad his Army rank by brevet he would not have been where he was now. If you do away with brevet a good many men could never come to the front at all. It is much less objectionable than the selection of men for a higher substantive rank, which would be hurtful to many officers This injures no one, and yet puts a man forward. A good service pension would not give the advantage gained in that way. The reason why unattached promotion would not be so good lies in the difficulty of getting the man back to full pay. A man who receives brevet rank remains on full pay.
Entrance by Competitive Examination. The system of entrance into the Army through a competitive examination has not as yet produced much change. If there is any at all
, perhaps it is that it has excluded some men whom otherwise we should be glad to see in the Army; but it is very early to give any decided opinion. Competitive examination is, however, most objectionable. The only good system is a qualifying examination. You may put the qualitying examination as high as you like; you may make it higher than the competitive even if you like; but by competitive examination you lose some of the very best officers you could possibly have in the Army. It is quite a mistake to suppose that because you are to have a qualifying examination it is not to be a high one. It rests with the authorities to decide bow high it should be. But the
moment you make it competitive, you exclude a large number of men who have not had the same instruction as some of their neighbors. You give a commission to the highest intellectual acquirements, and no other considerations are taken into account. These acquirements are by no means the only quality wanted in an officer. “I am all for examination,” his Royal Highness continued, “but I am for a quali fying examination, which, according to the circumstances of the day, you can put as high or as low as you like." The moment you make it competitive you are obliged rigidly to adhere to the results of that system. A certain amount of acquired knowledge should be a sine qua non, but a competitive examination gives you a great many men whose actual scientific acquirements are higher than you would get if it was only a qualifying examination, while it is very doubtful if you would get as good officers. Some of the men with the highest qualifications in respect of acquirements, the most skilful in languages, have indeed had other qualities combined, and they are just the men you would like to have; but you would not lose those men if you had a high qualifying examination, whereas, when you come down to menof rather lower acquiri ments, you may find a very fine fellow who has not the same ability for study, and although the man who studied with him may be a very inferior man in physique, yet he gets the preference. The two conditions, mental and physical, might be combined.