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of affairs, he admits; but why is two months the first stage, why not three on the one side, or one on the other? Then Mr. Haldane jumps boldly over four intervening months to six months, and the prospect then presented to the would-be invaders is something too terrible for any invader to contemplate aggressively—' a well-trained force' and the equivalent of seven Army Corps.'
I will only say that I do not believe that there is one soldier who has studied war in the past and is observant of the views, ideas, and practical training of all armies in the present, who, with any regard for his professional reputation, would treat as anything but wild imaginings a peaceful period of six months allowed to us in this island by our would-be invaders, to enable us to replace for home defence our Regular Army by a well-trained force equivalent to seven Army Corps.' No, the unanimous opinion of all soldiers of to-day, irrespective of nationality, is that if a nation desires to dwell in safety it must have, prepared and ready to hand at any moment, those who are to be entrusted with its security; and further, that the mere fact of its being known by its neighbours to be ready is one of the most powerful deterrents to attempts against it.
And I hope that if these lines come to the notice of Mr. Haldane he will not consider me discourteous in saying that his remarks on our Home Defence are sometimes slightly puzzling, and, as in the present instance, somewhat disconcerting. Mr. Haldane during his tenure of office has devised for that defence a Territorial Army, an achievement of a very high order. It is only by a Territorial Army (not, I may remark, merely by the equivalent of seven Army Corps ') that that defence can be provided, and yet now he tells us tható only time and experience will sift out the problem whether a Territorial Army is sufficient guarantee for home defence.' This is a false issue altogether; te real issue is not the question of a Territorial Army, such being accer (ed by all soldiers as a necessity, but the probable value or valuelessness of Mr. Haldane's Territorial Army, owing to the want of sound and proper training-a training that can be secured only by the substitution of universal liability to service for home defence and its resulting effective training, in lieu of the present childish playing at soldiers by young fellows out on a healthy holiday with their 'pals,' an employment of time strongly advocated by personages no less highly placed than the Duke of Fife and Viscount Esher. Neither time nor experience is needed to ' sift out this problem.'
And now back to Stoffel and some teaching from France's own sad experience of the results of her method of raising a Territorial Army before the great war of 1870-71.
On the 1st of February 1868 was inaugurated in France, under the inspiration of the late Marshal Niel, a Territorial Army auxiliary to the Regular Army, and to be available in repelling invasion. Its training was a degree or two more unsatisfactory than that of
Mr. Haldane's Army, for whilst the fifteen days' training of the latter may be continuous in camp, the French yearly training was fifteen days on Sundays. The troops composing this army were denominated ‘Garde Nationale Mobile and as a sort of annex to them were added a few weeks later companies of voluntary Francs-tireurs ; but there was no real training for either. A passage from Stoffel seems to the point:
But, say some, the Garde Nationale Mobile may be drilled during war ; to which it is only requisite to say, How, if the war be of short duration, if France is smitten with sudden disaster at the outset, and finds herself suddenly invaded, how can you then give these young men assembled in haste that cohesion, discipline, and instruction which is so requisite ?
Stoffel, with the German soldiers always before his eyes, cannot restrain himself from treating as simply ridiculous any comparison of the French Territorial with his probable opponent, and his estimate, as events showed, was correct ; for when on the 16th of July 1870, more than two years later, the bolt fell, France's Territorial Army was, so far as it had come into existence, a mere crowd of untrained and only nominal soldiers.
And now I turn to the war itself to see these Territorials in the field, and I sadly contrast what was with what might have been, if only France had employed to effective purpose those two years in energetic preparation of her Territorial Army for the immediate morrow. Do not let my readers be afraid that I am about to inflict on them a lecture on military history, still less that I intend, in referring to the war, to drive the one-horse military history shay'-that is to say, select from the history the facts that support, and carefully withhold the facts that tell against my own views as to what a Territorial Army ought to be. I will take as a starting point the 19th of September, two months after the outbreak of war, and just seven weeks after the first engagement between the hostile armies. On that day the investment of Paris was completed by the Third and fourth German Armies ; round Metz were the First and Second German Armies ; at Strasburg,
; besieging that fortress, was also a large German force; and out of the whole of France, which may roughly be taken as a square of between four to five hundred miles the side, the Germans occupied only a small isosceles triangle, the base of 100 miles being on the Rhine, the apex just beyond Paris and 240 miles from the base. Germany had no men with which to undertake operations in the field, and outside the triangle France was free to act as she chose as regards preparation. The French resources in troops were remnants of her Regular Army combined with the Territorial Army, and eventually increased by Gambetta's levée en masse to, by a curious coincidence, seven or eight Army Corps, just like Mr. Haldane's promised force. The portion of the war of 1870–71 after the investment of Paris is generally known as the 'second period of the war' or 'the people's war,' and in the six
or seven different sets of operations and in the big battles that were carried on during this period we invariably find troops of this Territorial Army forming a very large percentage of the French forces. I have known a high authority on the art of war turn aside with contempt from the study of this period as a 'Mobile' business. But this contempt was due to his not studying it. He had not, like myself, visited the scenes of nearly all the marches and the battles of this same Territorial Army, these despised Mobiles.
Only during the last few months I have been, in the light of revelations recently given by the French General Staff, very closely studying the records of the military events in the part of France running southwest from Strasburg down to Besançon, Dijon, and Autun, where, in September, the Garde Nationale Mobile and the Francs-tireurs first began to make their existence felt by the invaders, and I have followed the operations closely up to the French failure on the Lisaine on the 15th to 17th of January 1871. But it matters not where one turns, the Loire, Le Mans, Northern France, or South-Eastern France-the story is sadly monotonous and unvarying, the moral clear as daylight. Here all over France was splendid human material, varying in its military qualities, as all Territorially raised forces must vary, according to the localities from which it was drawn; within it a worthless element, it is true, as in all armies, but for the most part animated by a keen love of country, ready to do, dare, and die for her sake, though as tools in the hands of the commanders, tools raw, badly fashioned, unfinished, as all such tools must be that are not prepared in peace
for their immediate use in war. If only the French Government had listened to Stoffel's warnings and taken heed to them ; had the Government started on the 1st of February 1868 a real training, not a sham one like our own; had the French Chambers, instead of refusing the cost of national insurance by financially starving their new Territorial Army, voted the funds necessary for a real training; then, even after the fall of Sedan and the investment of Paris, France might have been able with her Second Line Army to alter to her own enormous advantage the whole course of the second period of the war. Possibly, even, Germany, knowing the military value of the reserve forces of France, might have deemed it wiser to alter her own policy altogether. There were many
contributory causes to the overthrow, but pre-eminent among them was this national want of concern, like that professed by Mr. Haldane, about “the bolt from the blue,' and involving the non-existence of a thoroughly trained Second Line Army when from the blue 'the bolt 'fell.
So, my fellow countrymen and country women, do not let this vital matter of securing without delay a reliable Second Line Army on land for Home Defence drop into the background. Do not let our Government gamble with our safety by working on hypotheses of two months' or six months' time for preparation. The whole matter would be
clearly one of plain common-sense could we but disentangle it from political and party issues. Let us insist on being made safe at once.
In conclusion, let me paraphrase a remark made by a Prussian General to Stoffel. He said, If you adopt in France the principle of compulsory service you will once again dictate to all Europe.'
My paraphrase is ‘ If you adopt in Great Britain the principle of Compulsory Service for Home Defence, you have nothing to fear from all Europe.'
MR. BIRRELL'S IRISH LAND BILL
In the King's Speech at the opening of the present Session of Parliament, the first place in the legislative programme was given to Irish land; and already, in two morning sittings, Mr. Birrell's Bill has been rushed through its Second Reading in the House of Commons. I wish to call the attention of those concerned for the welfare of Ireland, especially members of both Houses of Parliament, to certain aspects of this measure which, in its impetuous passage, are likely to be overlooked. The Bill, although following the main lines of a policy agreed to by all parties, contains an innovation which does not necessarily affect the terms of purchase or the general finance of the Bill, and is likely to be neglected in debate. This consideration moves me to discuss here Part III. of the Bill, which deals with the Congested Districts problem.
As this part of the Government scheme is based upon the Report of a Royal Commission, I wish to make clear at the outset the extent to which I and those in Ireland with whom I work are in agreement with the Government. We think, as they do, that land purchase must go on; that it must be twofold in its nature, not only abolishing dual ownership, but also giving additional land to those occupiers who have not enough to support a decent existence. We agree with them that for this last purpose loans do not suffice, that money must be granted, and that the purpose justifies the grant. We realise, more acutely perhaps than the Government themselves, that the history of Ireland, and especially of the measures which first caused the overcrowding of the poorest parts of the country, supplies ample reason why the English Government should in justice employ special means for the improvement of those parts. But, in our view, a sound land purchase policy should have three objects, and its success must be judged by the extent to which it attains them. Will it produce peace in Ireland ? Will it improve the farming of Ireland ? Will it remove the extreme poverty of certain districts ?
Now, the objection which I have to make to Mr. Birrell's Bill is that the part which deals with the Congested Districts sacrifices two of these objects to the third, and fails to attain that. It will, I believe, if carried into law, produce and reproduce turmoil, and will delay social and economic progress throughout Ireland, especially in the districts it proposes to benefit. This is my deliberate judgment based upon the