decisively on the subject. I give you my honour I have for these two days endeavoured to argue myself into a compliance with your wishes, but the more I do so I find the ground hollow under me, and feeling as I do upon it, you are the last man to wish me to lend myself to an arrangement which I am perfectly convinced has not one public ground to support it, and must of course bring discredit and just animadversion on the person immediately the object of it. It would be gross affectation and adverse to the truth were I to state to you that in the present state of the Dependencies of the British Empire to have been the Colonial Minister of this country was not the object of my predilections in every view I could take of it; but I can at the same time assure you with the most perfect sincerity that there is no hour of my life in which I have felt more pride and satisfaction than when an opportunity offered of sacrificing that and every other sentiment of ambition to the accomplishment of an arrangement which you think of great national importance. I should be most insatiable indeed if I was capable of entertaining any other sentiment, for in the accidents of life it has so happened to me that in a ten years' administration of India and a three years' administration at home the general run of occurrences have been such as to leave me without reproach and even to enable me to flatter myself that the world does me more than justice in the various departments in which I have had occasion to act, and God knows there never was a period more eventful or more critical in the moment than many which occurred during the period to which I refer. The idea of a War Minister as a separate department, you must on recollection be sensible cannot exist in this country. The operations of war are canvassed and adjusted in the Cabinet and become the joint act of his Majesty's confidential servants, and the Secretary of State who holds the pen does no more than transmit their sentiments. I do not mean to say that there is not at all times in his Majesty's Councils some particular person who has and ought to have a leading and even an overruling ascendancy in the conduct of public affairs : and that ascendancy extends to war as it does to every other subject. Such you are at present, as the Minister of the King ; such your father was as Secretary of State ; such you would be if you were Secretary of State ; and such Mr. Fox would be if he was Secretary of State and the Duke of Bedford First Lord of the Treasury. In short, it depends, and ever must depend, on other circumstances than the particular name by which a person is called, and if you were to have a Secretary of State for the War Department to-morrow not a person living would ever look upon him or any other person but yourself as the War Minister. All modern wars are a contention of purse, and unless some very peculiar circumstance occurs to direct the lead into another channel, the Minister of Finance must be the Minister of War. Your father for obvious reasons was an exception from this rule. "It is impossible for any person to controvert the position I now state, and therefore when you talk of a War Minister you must mean a person to superintend the detail of the execution of the operations which are determined upon. But do you think it possible to persuade the public that such a separate department can be necessary ? Yourself, so far as a general superintendence is necessary, must take that into your own hands. If it was in the hands of any other it would lead to a constant wrangling between him and the various executive boards which could only end in an appeal to yourself, and the decisions upon that appeal would give you just as much trouble as the original superintendence and direction. Besides, you will recollect that the Master-General of the Ordnance, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Com. mander-in-Chief, and now the Secretary at War are all of the Cabinet. I enter not into the question whether this is a good or a bad system in the present frame of our Government, but so in fact it is, and to maintain with any chance of success in the opinion of the public that another department was necessary for the conduct of the executive measures of war would, you may depend upon it,

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be a fruitless attempt. The public would put another construction upon it very disgraceful to the puppet who held the department. The very reverse will be the feeling of the public with regard to a person who, after having at the desire of his friend and for the accommodation of the public, held a great and laborious situation for three years, has, upon the same principle of public accommodation, returned exactly to the situation from which he was taken. If more was necessary to be said I could prove to you that your idea is impracticable in its execution. With regard to all the Colonies, where the mode of correspondence is already established, I am positive to create any distinction in the channel of cortespondence (according as the object of the correspondence was peace or war) would creato inexplicable confusion. I, however, avoid enlarging upon topics of that nature, because I am satisfied that upon a fair consideration of the subject you must be convinced that the idea was prematurely formed, and that the grounds upon which I have formed my decision are of a nature not to be refuted. I shall most sincerely regret if I have failed in that object, as it will be the first time we ever had the misfortune not to be able to convince one another; and I am sure of all moments in the world this is the last in which I would wish there should exist an exception. At any rate your candour' and impartiality for me will induce you to feel that it is a point in which my own judgment is entitled to be the guide.

I remain at all times with the truest regard and affection,

Ever yours,



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The decision of a Premier on such a momentous question of war must naturally be influenced by the reports of his Army and Navy Ministers. As a further assistance to his counsels a Defence Committee' now exists. As the duty of the body thus created must take an empirical form, it would not be out of place to designate it by a new title which could speak for itself.

Now that the question of the formation of an Imperial General Staff is upon the table, it may offer the opportunity of creating an

Imperial War Council,' where proposals on matters of defence would be hidden beneath plans which breathe a larger spirit of offensive, and on which Council both Ministers and ex-Ministers of Army and Navy should serve, in order not only to guarantee its deliberations from the weakening effects of the strife of party politics, but to ensure continuity of policy.

The heads of the Imperial General Staff of both Army and Navy would, of course, form members of this Council, and the Council should have power to call upon other brain power in the State to assist in its decisions. Not the smallest of the duties of this Council would be the drafting of a law for the regulation of the Press during

A period of peace is the time to debate a war Press law, and its enforcement should secretly precede proposed instructions for mobilisation. Few civilians quite comprehend the vital necessity of a Press control in war in these days of news competition and the facilities which wireless, airline, and other telegraphy offer, not to count that afforded by the airship of the future. It is not the correspondent in the field that is the difficulty. He now quite understands his place, and can be trusted. It is the unconscious traitor in the home camp who is the danger. As an instance of how strategy in the field can be disclosed and a nation's life imperilled thereby, one cannot forget the case of the pursuit of MacMahon after the defeat of Worth in 1870. For eleven days the German army were endeavouring to find his line of retreat. The vital information of the route and its direction was furnished by a London newspaper ! A nation ignorant of war and its ways, as ours is, will hardly realise what secret service means in war, or in war preparation. In illustration it may be interesting to relate that before the commencement of our late war a secret service agent of the Boers bought up all the Pro-Boer literature that he could collect, with a view of stimulating the hearts of his country. men and countrywomen to a prolonged resistance. He replenished his stock as the war proceeded, and these writers may console them. selves with the fact that hundreds of lives were lost and millions of pounds were expended by the nation owing to the mischief that was made. Tons of these magazines and writings were found in the farms and towns, and when peace envoys were sent out to expostulate against further resistance as being hopeless, they were met with the latest printed effusion from England urging the Boers to hold on and not to yield. Undoubtedly the circulation of these magazines was thus increased, much to the benefit of the purse of the proprietors; but are not such proprietors very much in the same category as merchants who sell arms or military stores to the enemy of their country? It would be a difficult matter to train the individual subject, man or woman, to be guarded in his or her correspondence with friends present with an army or navy on service. The model set by the Japanese must serve a useful lesson. The name even of a regiment, or its number, discloses a secret. A case of such thoughtlessness in correspondence happened in our late war which had very far-reaching results. A big drive' was in course of organisation to hem in a large force of Boers against a line of block houses. It took some weeks to prepare and organise, and columns were brought from great distances to partake in it and ensure a large capture. The drive ended in a blank.' It appeared that a few days before the operation was to take place a mail bag had fallen into the hands of the Boers. The bag contained a letter from an officer in the Regular Army to his grandmother detailing all the players in the forthcoming operation and their positions, including his own prospects of assisting from his post on the railway line. If the Regular officer is so ill-taught, what may we expect from the civilian ? These are but simple and childish examples of the importance of the study of secrecy in war.


The struggle to control the Press in war, which is an acknowledged necessity, must not be left to the eve of war. The sooner it is calmly and philosophically reasoned out and passed into law, the sooner shall we remove from our system a weapon that may eat into the very vitals of the nation and disorganise our armour. Such law will be the first step towards the cultivation of national discipline.

Social machinery will undoubtedly suffer by the introduction of any system of universal service; but if the possibility of invasion is recognised, the problem for the country to solve is simple.

Are we to regulate our social machinery ourselves, or face the risk of another nation doing it for us ?

Nothing is impossible in war. To close both eyes to an accepted possibility is to bow to the inevitable. To invite a nation to allow these closed eyes to rest in slumber is a crime. London alone, stirred by a drama, has turned in its sleep to ruminate whether the narcotic is not a bit too stiff to continue to use if life is to be preserved. War surrenders its dignity if one belligerent is deprived of sight. Is our war horizon never to extend beyond the perspective of the fool's paradise which we have so long enjoyed ?

W. G. Knox.


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In December last, in this Review, I was permitted to put, with respect to our Home Defence, the question, Watchman, what of the Night?' Did I put the same question to-day, six months later, the only possible answer would be, 'Dark as ever, no improvement.' About the end of January and during the following month there was a brief period of very loud talking and much hysterical screaming, due, on the one hand, to the supposed sudden discovery of the speed at which Germany is increasing her Navy, and the wonderful resources and appliances at her disposal for the purpose ; on the other hand, to the mere chance of an amateur playwright having tickled the fancies of playgoing London in a ludicrous species of burlesque. Like all excitement arising from the emotions, everything has quieted down again, and, in military parlance, it is a case of ' as you were.' No doubt for d considerable time there will be no place for the minor question of Home Defence in an arena of interest, excitement, and curiosity already overcrowded by Budget controversies, Free Trade and Tariff Reform, Women's Suffrage, the chances of His Majesty's horses in the classic races, the results of the Australian cricket test matches, and the Daylight Bill. Nevertheless, as just a few of the readers, both men and women, of this Review may possibly find a little time, a few minutes even, to give to this same minor question, I gladly avail myself of the permission given me to put before them some further remarks on this dreadfully dull and horribly dry subject.

There are three areas of action for an enemy bent on breaking through or down our Home Defence—the first, at present under preparatory but fast developing trial only, the air, with its aerial warfare ; next, the sea ; lastly, our own land. As regards the first, we outsiders to official secrets and action feel sometimes very uncomfortable and dissatisfied when in the Press we read of the progress that Germany is making towards effective hostilities in the air, of the enthusiasm with which those efforts are regarded by the Germans, and of the substantial voluntary financial aid Germans are giving to that progress ; whilst in our own newspapers all we find as regards ourselves

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