Henry Montgomery Lawrence.

Essays, military and political, written in India online

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of such a location as Chunar for European invalids has
not been oftener brought to notice, and that the hottest
rock in India has been permitted to continue to this
day as a station for European invalids.

All that we have mentioned is not only feasible but
easy; and we doubt not that all the expense which
would be incurred by the change of locations and aban-
donment of barracks would be cleared by the several
savings within seven years. We must walk before we
can run ; and we therefore only advocate roads, metalled
roads, to each hill station; but we hope and expect
soon to see railroads established on each line, so that
in twelve hours the corps from Kussowlee, Sobathoo,
and Mussourie could be concentrated at Delhi. Great
as would be the first outlay on such rails, we are well
satisfied that they would pay ; and who can calculate
the benefit of being at once able to keep our Europeans
in a good climate, and, at the rate of twenty or thirty
miles an hour, to bring them to bear upon any point ?
We should then realize Hyder Ally's notion, and really
keep our Europeans in cages ready to let slip on occa-
sions of necessity.

Every inducement should be held out to our Euro-
pean soldiers to conduct themselves as respectable men
and good Christians. Heading-rooms and books in
abundance should be provided : all sorts of harmless
games encouraged; the children of all on the plains
be sent to the Hills, and placed in large training
establishments, where boys and girls might (separately)
be instructed in what would make them useful and


respectable in tlieir sphere of life ; and be taught from
^the beginning to stir themselves like Europeans, and
not with the listlessness (as is usual in the barrracks)^
of Asiatics,.^^.

"We cannot write too emphatically on this most im-
portant branch of our subject. The morality of our
European army in India is a matter which should
engage the anxious attention not only of the military
enquirer, but of every Christian man — every friend of
humanity in the country. It is not simply a question
pf the means of making good soldiers; but of the
means ,of ,^makin g. good men, and therefore good soldiers.
We do not judge the European soldier harshly, when
we say that the average standard of barrack morality is
very low, for we cheerfully admit, at the same time, that
the temptations to excess are great ; the inducements to
good conduct small ; the checks wholly insufficient. It
would be a wonder of wonders, if, neglected as he is,
the European soldier were to occupy a higher place in
the scale of Christian morality, but whatever he may
have to answer for, it is almost beyond denial that the
responsibilities of the officer are far greater than his
own. The soldier's sins of commission are not so
heavy as the officer's sins of omission, from which they
are the direct emanations. The moral character of a
regiment, be it good or bad, fairly reflects the amount
of interest taken by the officers in the well-being of
their men. The soldier wanders out of garrison or
cantonment and commits excesses abroad, because he
has no inducements to remain within the precincts of
the barrack square. He goes abroad in search of
amusement — and he finds not amusement but excite-
ment ; he makes his way to the village toddy-shop, or
to the punch-house ; he seeks other haunts of vice ; and
when both money and credit are gone, perhaps he takes


to the high road. This would not happen, if regi-
mental officers really did their duty to their men.* It
is not merely the duty of an officer to attend parade, to
manoeuvre a company or regiment, to mount guard, to
sanction promotions, to see the pay issued, to sign
monthly returns, and to wear a coat with a standing
collar. The officer has higher duties to perform; a
duty to his sovereign ; a duty to his neighbour ; a duty
to his God, not to be discharged by the simple obser-^
vance of these military formalities. He stands m loco
parentis ; he is the father of his men ; his treatment of
them should be such as to call forth their reverence and
affection \ and incite in them a strong feeling of shame
on being detected by him in the commission of un-
worthy actions. It is his duty to study their cha-
racters ; to interest himself in their pursuits; to
enhance their comforts ; to assist and to encourage,
with counsel and with praise, every good effort ; to
extend his sympathy to them in distress ; to console
them in affliction — to show by every means in his
power, that though exiles from home and aliens from
their kindred, they have yet a friend upon earth, who
will not desert them. These are the duties of the c^-
cer — and duties too which cannot be performed without
an abundant recompense. There are many idle, good-
hearted, do-nothing officers, who find the day too long,
complain of the country and the climate, are devoured
with ennui, and living between excitement and reaction,
perhaps, in time sink into hypochondriasis — ^but who
would, if they were to follow our advice, tendered not
arrogantly but affectionately, find that they had dis-

* The wives of the officers have merely in word, but in deed.— To all

also a duty to perform ; and the would we say " Go and do likewise!'

moral influence which they might It is possible that in a future article

exercise is great. Some ladies are we may enlarge upon this subject.
willing to acknowledge this, not


covered a new pleasure ; that a glory had sprung up in
a shady place ; that the day was never too long, the
climate never too oppressive ; that at their up-rising
and their down-sitting serenity and cheerfulness were
ever present — that in short they had hegun a new life,
as different from that out of which they had emerged,
as the sunshine on the hill-top from the gloom in the
abyss. Some may smile — some may sneer — some may
acknowledge the truth dimly and forget it. To all we
have one answer to give, couched in two very short
words — Try it.

"We need scarcely enter into minute details to show
the manner in which this is to be done. Every officer
knows, if he will know, lioio it is to be done. The
youth of a month's standing in the army, endowed
with ordinary powers of observation, must perceive
that there are fifty ways open to his seniors, by which
they may advance the well-being and happiness of the
inmates of the barracks. Let them see, think, and act,
as men endowed with faculties and understandings ;
and we shall hear no more of that intense longing after
transportation to a penal settlement, which has of late
possessed many of our soldiers and urged them to the
commission of capital offences. Does not this one fact
declare trumpet-tongued the misery of a barrack life in
India — does it not pronounce the strongest condemna-
tion on those, who make no effort to shed a cheering
light upon the gloomy path of the exiled soldier ?

But we must do something more than alleviate the
sufferings of the present — we must render him hopeful
of the future ; we must brighten up his prospects ;
animate him with a new-born courage; fill him with
heart and hope that he may " still bear up and steer
right on," until better days shall dawn upon him ; and
the wretchedness and humilitation of the past shall have


a subduing influence in the retrospect, and shall lift up
his soul with devout feelings of gratitude and love.

The commissioned ranks of the army should not be
whoHy closed against the deserving soldier in the Com-
pany's service, more than in the Queen's. There are no
English regiments, which contain so many young men
of family and education, as the few European corps and
battalions in the army of the East India Company ; and
we should be truly glad to see the present great paucity
of officers in the Native Army, in some degree, remedied
by the appointment to each regiment of Cavalry and
Infantry, and battalion or brigade of Artillery, and to
the corps of Engineers, an ensign or second-lieutenant
from the Non-Commissioned ranks ; and that henceforth
a fourth or fiftli of the patronage of the army should bjs
appropriated to the ranks.

For such promotion, we should select in some such
fashion as the following. Let examination committees
be held at Calcutta, Cawnpore, and two of the Hill
stations twice a year; let any European soldier that
wished appear before it ; and having passed some such
examination as is required at Addiscombe, substituting
a course of history and geography, and what by late
orders is required in Hindustani before officers can hold
Companies, for some of the Addiscombe requisites ; let
such men be held eligible for commissions in the En-
gineers and Artillery, and those passing in Hindustani
and in a more limited course of raathematics for the Ca-
valry and Infantry ; but before any man received a com-
mission, he should have served one year as a Sergeant
Major, Quarter-Master Serjeant or Colour Sergeant, or
as a Sub -Conductor, and produce a character for sobriety
and good conduct and general smartness as a soldier.

With such a stimulus what might not our European
soldiery become? The educated and unfortunate,


instead of being our worst characters, would be inspired
with hope, while many would wipe away the stain of
early misconduct, and, by recovering their characters and
position, bring peace to their bereaved families. By the
infusion, too, of a different class into our covenanted ser-
vice, we should all be more put on our metal ; and in fact

^ not only would the whole tone and position of the Gora-
log be elevated, but their rise would in a certain degree

' raise the European character throughout the country.

'-~k^ ^ecretary-at-War, our present Grovernor-Greneral *
did much for the British soldier ; he thoroughly under-
stands their wants, and by his acts he has proved that
he does not consider that they should be shut out
from hope. We beseech his good offices on behalf of
the European soldiers of India — the majority of them
exiles for life ; and when we consider the effect of cha-
racter everywhere, the moral influence of one honest, of
one good and zealous man, who would lightly discard
any means of raising the tone of our Europeans ? Too
lamentable is the effect of their present misconduct, of
their drunkenness, their violence, their brutality, for us
to deny that the present system does not answer, and
that it calls loudly for change. Every individual Eu-
ropean, be he officer or private soldier, we look on as in
his sphere a missionary for good or for evil. We have
hinted that one indifferent commanding officer may ruin
a whole corps. The experience of many will famish an
example. Erom violence, injustice, meanness, or indif-
ference — from seeds of different sorts the equally baneful
fruit is produced, discipline is undermined, discontent
engendered, and misbehaviour and its train ensues.

On the other hand, what may not one Christian soldier
do ? However lowly his position, how much has he not
within his power ? The man who, a Christian at heart,

* The lato Lord Hardinge.


devotes himself to his duties, and, vexing neither him-
self nor those under him with harassing frivolities, per-
severingly acts up to what he believes his duty — not
with mere eye or lip service, but as evincing his love
to Grod by performing his duty to man— such a man will
not be the one to quail in the hour of danger ; his
shoulder is ever at the wheel, whether it be in the dull
duties of cantonment, the trying times of sickness and
famine, or the exhilarating days of success ; all will find
him cheerful, all will find him at his post.

We fear there is still a very common under-estimate
of military character and military duty. The philo-
sophical moralist who calls the soldier a mere licensed
murderer ; the Epicurean who only wonders at the mad-
ness of men who consent to stand and be shot at, when
they could get their bread in some pleasanter way ; the
narrow-minded Christian, who thinks of soldiers and
their possible salvation in the same dubious tone as Cor-
poral Trim, when he asked "a negro has a soul, an
please your honour?" and the comitry gentleman who
pronounces on the blockhead or blackguard among his
sons, that " the fellow is fit for nothing but the church
or the army," all, all, are equally wide of the mark. A
soldier — it is a trite commonplace, we know, but, like
many trite commonplaces, often forgotten — is not neces-
sarily a man who delights in blood, any more than a
physician is one who delights in sickness. Both pro-
fessions will cease with human crime and misery. The
prophecies that hold out to us a prospect of the days,
when " nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more," tell us likewise
of that period, when '' none shall say I am sick."

We may refresh our spirits by the contemplation of
these promises, and pray for the coming of that king-
dom ; but our own personal duty lies under a different


order of things. War is probably the sorest scourge
with which our race is visited ; but constituted as the
world is, a good army is essential to the preservation of
peace. MiHtary discipline at large comes not within
the province of individual soldiers ; but if every man who
enlists took care that there was one good soldier in the
army, our commanders would have easy work.

No man attains to excellence in any design without
setting before him a lofty standard, and Christianity,
where it is more than a name, incites us always to take
the highest. It is no easy slipshod system of shuf-
fling about the world ; but " up and be doing,'' is the
Christian's motto. Cecil's opinion w^as that " a shoe-
black, if he were a Christian, would try to be the best
shoe-black in the whole town."

There is some grave defect in our religious instruction,
which almost every one feels, when he awakens to the
importance of the world to come. Somehow, the duties
of time and the duties of eternity, instead of being in-
separably blended, present themselves to the mind, as
Dr. Johnson expresses it, " as set upon the right hand
and upon the left, so that we cannot approach the one
without receding from the other ; " and the consequence
is, that while some take one side, to the neglect of the
other, the majoiitypass quietly between the two, on the
broad road of self-pleasing. The great problem to be
solved is, how we may put the soul of high principle
and imperishable aim, into the body of our daily acts,
small as well as great, as the quaint but delightful old
poet George Herbert tells us —

" The man who looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye ;
Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heavens espy."

Applying these general remarks to military duties ;
we desire to see every soldier set before himself a lofty


standard ; remembering that if high equalities and high
principles are requisite in the man who would lead and
influence his countrymen, they must be more so in the
European wlio would gain the affections of a race differ-
ing from him in colour, language, and religion. Mind-
ful of their own religious observances, the Hindoo and
Mahommedan soldier, far from despising their Christian
officer, will respect him the more, on seeing that he has
a religion ; and the rudest of them wdll appreciate the
man, who, first in the fight — first in the offices of peace
• — is staunch to the duty he owes to his Grod.

The Apostle Paul, of whom Paley, no bad judge, says,
that " next to his piety he is remarkable for his good
sense,'' when he speaks figuratively of the Christian
warfare, gives some of the best maxims for the literal
warrior; he lays down, "holding fast a good con-
science" as indispensable to " warring a good warfare,'*
and tells us that '' a good soldier" must "endure hard-
ness." That religion unfits a man to be a soldier, is a
maxim that may be placed in the same category as that
marriage spoils one. Both assertions arise from mis-
apprehension of what a soldier, a Christian, and a
married man, ought to be. We have quoted an Apostle,
let us now refer to a Poet — •

" W^ho is the happy warrior 1 who is he *
That every man in arms should wish to be ?
* * * Who, doomed to go in company with pain
And fear and bloodshed, miserable train ;
Turns his necessity to glorious gain ;
In face of these doth exercise a power
Which is our human nature's highest dower;
Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves
Of their bad influence and their good receives :
Bj/ objects which might force the soul to abate
Her feelings, rendered more compassionate;
Is placable — because occasions rise
So often that demand such sacrifice ;
More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure.
As tempted more ; more able to endure,

* Wordsworth's Happy Warrior.


As more exposed to suffering and distress ;
Thence also more alive to tenderness.
— 'Tis he whose law is reason ; who depends
Upon that law as on the best of friends ;
Whence in a state where men are tempted still
To evil for a guard against worse ill,
And what in quality or act is best
Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
He fixes good on good alone and owes
To virtue every triumph that he knows :
Who if he rise to station of command,
Rises by open means ; and there will stand
On honourable terms or else retire ;
And in himself possess his own desire ;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim ;
And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait
For wealth and honours, or for worldly state ;
Whom they must follow, on whose head must fall
Like showers of manna if they come at all :
Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
A constant influence, a peculiar grace ;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined
Great issues good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a Lover, and attired
With sudden brightness, like a man inspired ;
And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law
In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw ;
Or if an unexpected call succeed,
Come when it will, is equal to the need.
He who, though thus endued as with a sense
And faculty for storm and turbulence,
Is yet a soul whose master bias leans
To home felt pleasures and to gentle scenes ;
. Sweet images 1 which, wheresoe'er he be,

Are at his heart ; and such fidelity
It is his darling passion to approve,
More brave for this, that he hath much to love.

* * * * *
Whom neither shape of danger can dismay.

Nor thought of tender happiness betray —

* * * * *
This is the happy warrior, this is he

Whom every man in arms should wish to be."

We would willingly quote the whole of this noble
Poem, but as space forbids, we can but recommend
every soldier to read it in the volume from which it is
taken. We wish the same hand that drew the warrior
had given us a picture of a fitting wife for him.


That neither piety nor domestic affection* spoil
a soldier, we see in both classes and individuals. The
Puritans and Covenanters fought and suffered as
bravely as if they had owned their be-all and their
end-all here, and the history of America testifiesf to
the fact that the Winthrops, the Williamses, and
others, while most loveable in all the relations of
life, were as brave, and daring as were the ruffian
bands of Cortes and Pizarro. And where does His-
tory show such bright examples of genuine heroism,
as in the persons of the royalists of La Vendee — -in
Lescure ; in Henri Larochjacqueline ; in their brave
and devoted associates, who, with hearts full of love
towards God and the tenderest domestic affections,
rushed from the village church, or started from their
knees on the greensward, to stem with their rude
phalanxes the disciplined battalions of the National
Guard, and met death on the field with the serenity
and constancy of Christian martyrs ?

Washington's life is better than a hundred homilies ;
it may offer an useful lesson to the martinet. How
clearly it shows what integrity, good sense, and one-
ness of purpose may effect. The simple land-surveyor
by his energy and honesty keeping together the ragged
and unwilling militia of the States, training and accus-
toming them to victory, and, having performed his
work, retiring to private life, is an example that even
Britons may set before themselves; but we want not
good and great soldiers of our own land, — who more

* Was Hector or was Paris the Poetiy to History, what character of
better soldier? There is no finer il- antiqiiity, drawn in the breathing
lustration — though unintentional — pictures of Plutarch, is more admir-
of the difference between the mili- able than that of Agesilaus ?
tary husband and the military ba- t See Bancroft's History of the
chelor than in the pages of the Iliad. United States, passim : a most in-
The hero of the Odyssey, too, is teresting and instructive work, pub-
drawn as one eminent in all the lished at Boston,
domestiq relations. Turning from


SO tlian Hampden, Colonel Gardiner, Admiral Colling-
wood, and a host of others ?

But a soldier, though always ready for the fight,
is not always fighting ; and the beauty of right prin-
ciples, and exalted aims, is, that they need not the
stimulus of a concussion to arouse them, but are
operative in the daily and hourly details of life. It
is here that a Christian soldier shines, as much as
in the conflict ; and it would be diflicult to over-
estimate the influence and utility of a good (using the
word in its widest sense) commanding oflicer in the
barracks and the field. Devoting himself to his pro-
fession, he will have an interest in every man under
him; his example will check the dissolute, encourage
the good, and confirm the wavering. A king among
his subjects, a father among his family, a master
among his pupils, a physician among his patients —
the officer's position partakes of the power, the re-
sponsibility and the interest of all these positions.
A living homily himself, he aids by his example and
influence the labours of those appointed to teach and
preach; having cultivated his own mind, he tries to
bestow the blessings of intellect on those under him;
having studied the feelings and circumstances of his
men, he can estimate their temptations, and determine
the best means of helping them out of vice, and into
virtuous habits. Above all, he works not for self-
gratification, or outward applause. He has before
him a rule of right, a hope of reward, independent of
present success ; and therefore is he able to persevere
against obloquy and failure, to go straight forward,
*' doing with all his might whatever his hand findeth
to do."

But we must return to our military details. We
had purposed to have offered some remarks on the


different branches of the Staff: but our limits are
already nearly exhausted. What we have said re-
garding the Engineers applies even more strongly
to the Quarter-Master- Greneral's Department; at best
but the shadow of an Intelligence Corps, consisting
as it does of eight or ten officers, and they not selected
for peculiar quahfications, as linguists and surveyors,
and not having any permanent establishment of non-
commissioned officers or privates under them. In fact,
it may be said that with more need for an Intelligence
Department than any army in the world, we are worse
supplied than any other. A handful of officers, how-
ever w^ell qualified, does not form an establishment or
department; and it is a cruelty to impose on officers
important duties, involving often the safety of armies,
without placing efficient means at their disposal.

When the Army of the Indus assembled at Feroze-
poor in 1838, we are credibly informed that Major
Garden, the deputy quarter-master-general, about to
proceed in charge of his department with the expedi-
tion, had not a single European at his disposal; and
not a dozen clashies. Three officers were then ap-
pointed, without any experience as intelligencers, and
altogether it may be said that the army marched, as
if it did not require information ; as if the commander
had perfect maps of the country, and had some special

Online LibraryHenry Montgomery LawrenceEssays, military and political, written in India → online text (page 4 of 39)