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Title: Military History Lectures Delivered at Trinity College, Cambridge
Author: Fortescue, J. W. (John William), Sir
Language: English
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  The Cambridge Manuals of Science and
  Literature


  MILITARY HISTORY



  CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

  C. F. CLAY, MANAGER

  London: FETTER LANE, E.C.

  Edinburgh: 100 PRINCES STREET

  [Illustration: (Publisher's colophon.)]

  Berlin: A. ASHER AND CO.
  Leipzig: F. A. BROCKHAUS
  New York: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
  Bombay and Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.
  Toronto: J. M. DENT AND SONS, LTD.
  Tokyo: THE MARUZEN-KABUSHIKI-KAISHA


  _All rights reserved_



[Illustration:

  MILITARY HISTORY
  LECTURES DELIVERED AT
  TRINITY COLLEGE,
  CAMBRIDGE

  BY

  The Hon. J. W. FORTESCUE

  Cambridge:
  at the University Press
  1914]



  Cambridge:
  PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A.
  AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS



PREFACE


There is little in these lectures, or at any rate in three out of
four of them, which I have not written at greater length in other
volumes. I therefore publish them unwillingly, and in deference
only to the wishes of some of my audience, whose good opinion I
greatly value, and whose kindly sympathy I shall never forget. If
this little volume should set but one student thinking seriously
as to the meaning of military history, its object will be fully
accomplished.

The spelling of Indian names has been, as usual, a stumbling-block.
No doubt I shall be asked why I have used the form _Narbada_ for
the more familiar _Nerbuddha_, and yet written _Hyder Ali_ instead
of _Haidar Ali_. I can only say that when the form _Kalkáta_
(or whatever may be the Hunterian spelling) is substituted for
_Calcutta_, I shall be prepared to plead guilty to inconsistency.

  J. W. F.

  _March 1914._



CONTENTS


  LECT.                                             PAGE

       PREFACE                                         v

    I. MILITARY HISTORY: ITS SCOPE AND DEFINITION      1

   II. BRITISH MILITARY HISTORY                       46

  III. BRITISH COLONIAL CAMPAIGNS                     99

   IV. BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN INDIA                    150

       INDEX                                         201



LECTURE I

MILITARY HISTORY: ITS SCOPE AND DEFINITION


When in the spring of the year 1913 my old College did me the
honour to appoint me its first lecturer in Military History, I
was obliged for the first time to ask myself seriously, What is
military history? I confess that I have found it very difficult
to furnish a satisfactory answer. Some would reply with a light
heart that military history is the history of wars and warring. But
what, in its turn, is war? It has been defined as an instrument of
policy for the imposition of the will of one community upon another
by force of arms. The definition is not a bad one. But _force of
arms_ is a very vague term, and must not be taken necessarily to
imply an _armed force_ in the ordinary acceptation of the words.
You will remember that after the French fleet had been swept by us
from the seas in 1805, Napoleon, unable to attack England by any
other means, decreed the exclusion of British manufactures from the
Continent, and endeavoured to ruin her by shutting her out of her
markets. This he was able to do because his previous conquests had
placed the control of many of the principal ports on the Continent
in his hands. But though he strove thus to inflict his will upon
England by might of arms, the armed men necessary for enforcing
it were nothing more formidable than a small body of Custom-house
officers. No doubt these functionaries, or some of them, carried
weapons and in case of need were prepared to use them; but they
cannot be considered as a military body. None the less as an act of
war the Continental System was a bitter and deadly stroke, which
nearly proved successful.

Is the history of the Continental System, therefore, military
history? So far as concerns the invasion of Spain, Portugal
and Russia to coerce those countries into the acceptance of
it, undoubtedly it is. But as regards England, the power at
which it was really aimed, what are we to say of it? How did we
endeavour to combat it? How does any country invariably combat the
commercial restrictions of any other? First by imposing retaliatory
restrictions of her own, or engaging in a war of blockades or
tariffs, which may be called regular commercial warfare; secondly,
by the practice of smuggling, which may be called irregular
commercial warfare. Is the history of a war of tariffs, then,
military history? If we answer in the affirmative there is no
escape from the logical conclusion that the never-ceasing contest
between smugglers and revenue-officers in all countries is military
history. Moreover, since revenue-officers are only departmental
police, it follows that the external struggle between the breakers
and the upholders of the law at large--between criminals and the
police--is also military history. But this is to say that the
history of social communities generally is military history; and I
cannot think this to have been in the mind of the generous founder
of the lecturership which I have the honour to hold.

But can we then lay down the general proposition that the
breach--the forcible breach--of commercial regulations is not
military history? I do not think we can, if we bear in mind how
Spain, in virtue of a Papal bull, excluded all other nations from
commerce with the new world, and how successive Englishmen for many
generations insisted upon flouting her. Nor can we say that in many
cases the conflict between supporters and breakers of the law is
not military history. It is merely a question of degree. A fight
between three drunken men and the police is a scuffle. A fight
between three hundred men and the police is a riot. A fight between
three hundred thousand and the police is civil war; and we cannot
exclude civil war from military history, for it would mean the
sacrifice, among the English-speaking race alone, of the campaigns
of Cromwell, George Washington and Robert Lee. Altogether I think
that we must abandon the attempt to define military history as the
history of wars and warring. I feel tempted to ask in despair not
"What is military history?" but rather "What is _not_ military
history?" since all history is but the record of the strife of men
for the subsistence of their bodies or the prevalence of their
opinions. But we must be patient for yet a little while, and try
once more.

Let us begin, then, by laying it down provisionally that military
history is the history of the strife of communities. This is not
enough; for communities have been known before now to fight with
anathemas, and such a conflict belongs rather to the domain of
religious than of military history. Shall we say then that it is
the history of the strife of communities for self-preservation or
expansion? This is open to the obvious criticism that communities
have fought and will fight again for many other objects than the
two above-mentioned--for a woman, for a creed, for a principle
moral or political, or even for nothing at all but from sheer force
of habit. So it will be wiser for us to avoid any specification of
the objects of strife, or we may find ourselves in trouble. It may
be true in a sense to say that a tantrum of Madame de Pompadour
cost the French their empire in North America and in India; but it
is not the whole truth, nor nearly the whole truth. Even the best
and greatest of historians are but gropers in a thick darkness,
and epigrams are the most deceitful of will-o'-the-wisps.

Let us now, as we needs must, strengthen our definition a little,
and say that military history is the history of the strife of
communities expressed through the conflict of organised bands
of armed men. I am obliged to say _bands_ of armed men so as to
exclude such a case as a duel between two or more chosen champions
of quarrelling communities; and I add the word _organised_ so as
to indicate that, below a certain stage of civilisation, there
can be no military history. This is a second definition, but
still imperfect; and I am afraid that I cannot yet improve it.
It leaves a vast field for the survey of a lecturer, far vaster
than I have the knowledge to cover; and, if Trinity should endure
for another ten centuries, my successors will never want material
for interesting and instructive lectures. And let no man persuade
you that the subject is trivial or unimportant--that the study of
war is the study of a relic of barbarism to be eschewed by the
serious, the devout and the humane. I am not denying that war is
a terrible--from some points of view even a hideous--thing. Since
its object is to compel a number of people to do what they do not
wish, by making their lives a burden to them, it must sometimes
be a hideous thing. But, after all, the system of forcing people
to observe a certain line of conduct under penalties is that upon
which all human society is founded. We are all subject to it at
this moment, and have been from the beginning of our lives. You
remember the mother in _Punch_--"Go and see what baby is doing, and
tell her she mustn't." "Thou shalt not" is the basis of four-fifths
of the ancient code of law which is most familiar to us, and of
all other codes since. But in every community there are a certain
number of individuals who answer "Thou shalt not" with a resolute
"I will"; and these we ostracise, or imprison, or hang. We call
such people lunatics or criminals, accordingly as we consider them
responsible or not responsive for their actions, and we treat them
as we think that they deserve; but, if by chance their opinions
should later prevail even for a time, we proclaim them apostles
or martyrs. There is, in fact, always the danger that, when we
think ourselves to be merely punishing a criminal, we may really
be torturing a great reformer. Hence a certain proportion of folks
among us shrink from this system of coercion, and would have no
government at all. Others again, looking upon the existence of
private property as the main reason for the existence of the
policeman, would have communities share all things in common. I
mention these facts to show you that the employment of force
receives from some thinkers equal condemnation, whether to impose
the will of a community upon its own citizens, or upon those of
some other community.

But no one on that account has ventured to stigmatize the study of
penal codes, and of the organisation for putting them into force,
as ignoble or unprofitable. The sheriff, for instance, and his
functions are approached with respect, by some historians even with
awe. "Ah," say the despisers of military history, "but the sheriff
is an instrument for compelling obedience to the law, not the
leader of a host whose business it is to slaughter and destroy."
The law! and what is the law but the formulated will which some
section of the community, possibly a majority, but always in former
days and frequently, even at present, a minority, seeks to impose
upon the whole? And if breakers of the law resist the sheriff or
policeman, will he not if necessary slaughter them, and destroy
any shelter in which they may have taken refuge? Of course he
will, and "the law" will uphold him for so doing. "But," reply
the objectors, "you forget that civil law is not always a mere
ordinance of man; it may have the sanction of divine authority."
I speak here with all reverence, but how many are the armies and
the leaders that have claimed that theirs was the cause of God,
and have fared forth to war in His name? I am not speaking now
of modern armies, though they too invariably invoke the help of
the God of Battles, and call him to witness that their cause is
just. Look at the Crusades on one side, look on the other at the
mighty and overwhelming conquests of Islam. Look at the extinction
of Christianity in North Africa; look at the eight centuries of
conflict which banished the Mohammedan faith from Spain. Look at
the religious wars of Christians in Europe; and not least at our
own Puritans. Look finally at the bitter struggles of Hindu and
Mohammedan in India. There was not one of these parties that did
not claim, that did not for the most part heartily believe, that it
was fighting to uphold the Law of God.

No! in its essence there is no difference between the force that
imposes the will of a man upon his neighbour, and that which
imposes his will upon his enemy. In the more primitive days of
England the duties of the sheriff and his _posse comitatus_
extended to foreign enemies on English soil as well as to domestic
law-breakers. Do we not to this day speak of those guilty of acts
of violence as _breakers of the King's Peace_; men, that is, who
seek to bring about a state of war and must be suppressed by the
methods of war--taken prisoners, wounded or unwounded, and in
the last resort killed? What was the origin of our own standing
army? It was formed, as you doubtless know, out of a remnant of
the victorious army of the Parliament which had overthrown the
monarchy, a remnant which was saved from disbandment in order to
overawe the turbulent of London, or in other words to serve as a
body of police. It continued to be the only efficient instrument
for imposing the will of the Government upon the people until 1829,
when the present police-force was established. And the police are a
standing army, neither more or less. The only essential difference
between police and soldiers is that the former are employed mainly
in the coercion of subjects of the State which levies them, while
the function of the latter is to coerce the subjects of foreign
states. It would not be inaccurate to say that police are soldiers
against domestic enemies, and an army police against foreign
enemies.

And now observe that we have found a second definition of military
history. It is the history of the external police of communities
and nations. But external police, you may object, implies the
existence of something which, for want of a better word, we must
call external law. Is there such a thing as external law? There
is a thing called the law of nations or international law, which
is concerned chiefly, though not exclusively, with the relations
between belligerents and neutrals, but which it simply custom, and
should not be called law, because there is no international police
to enforce it. Any nation may defy it, if she thinks it worth
while, and a great many have defied it in the past and will defy it
in the future, not necessarily with any damage to themselves. The
same may be said of the International Tribunal of Arbitration at
the Hague. Its decrees and decisions may be excellent, and nations
may bind themselves beforehand to accept them; but nations are not
remarkable for the observance of inconvenient agreements, where
there is no penalty for violating them. It is a painful fact, but
in its relations to its neighbours every community is a law unto
itself, the nature of that law being principally determined by the
community's powers of enforcement. Police first, law afterwards, is
the rule between nation and nation--a formula which may be rendered
more tersely still by the phrase, Might is Right. In a sense,
therefore, though not in the sense generally attached to the words,
military history is the history of the law of nations, which is the
law of force; or, if you prefer it, of the law of force which is
the law of nations.

A revolting thought, perhaps some of you will say! Have all the
efforts of countless generations of good and holy men to seek
peace and ensue it, resulted in no greater success than this? Let
us have the courage to face facts and answer boldly, Yes; for be
very sure that no piety of aspiration can dignify nor excuse the
moral cowardice that seeks to evade them. You know that late in
the 17th century a company of worthy and excellent men formed the
settlement of Pennsylvania in North America. They were members of
the Society of Friends, who would have nothing to do with war, and
consequently bought their lands from the Indians instead of taking
them by force or fraud. Frugal, thrifty and industrious, they soon
grew wealthy, and extended their borders further and further, until
they came into collision with other tribes of Indians, who one
day fell upon the outlying settlers with fire and sword. In utter
dismay the sufferers appealed to the Government of the province
for protection; but the Colonial Assembly would not do violence
to their tenets and ignored the appeal, leaving their unhappy and
inoffensive frontiersmen to be massacred. At length, goaded to
desperation, the settlers came down to Philadelphia with their
arms in their hands, and threatened violence unless the Assembly
voted money, for supply of ammunition, and other measures of
defence forthwith. Thereupon the Assembly yielded, but still they
would not openly pass a vote for the purchase of gunpowder. To
save their conscience they voted money only for the purchase of
corn or _other grain_, which, as gunpowder is made up of grains,
was sufficient warrant for the acquisition of the necessary but
unspeakable article. To such contemptible subterfuge are men driven
who refuse to face facts. I understand the feelings of those who
deplore that the government of human society should rest ultimately
upon force, but I have no patience with those who pretend that
it does not. It can profit no man to be obliged so to shape the
actions of his life that they may square with a fundamental lie.

Accepting then the fact--for such I believe it to be--that the
law of nations is the law of force, let us waste no time in
lamentations. In the first place they are useless; and in the
second they seem to me highly presumptuous; for what are we, or
what is our knowledge, that we should aspire to correct the course
of this world's governance? Let us rather consider what is meant
by the word _force_, as an element in the conflict of communities.
Force, in the human creature, is of two kinds, moral and physical;
and in war, as Napoleon himself said, the moral is to the physical
as four to one. What is this moral force? It is an indefinable
consciousness of superiority. And whence does it arise? I must
summon a poet to help me with my answer.

      "Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
      These three alone lead life to sovereign power."

Self-reverence, which can be based only upon high aspirations and
high ideals; self-knowledge, which combines the courage to face
facts, the patience to accept them, the constancy to turn them
to good account; self-control, the offspring of self-denial and
self-discipline. We are too much inclined to think of war as a
matter of combats, demanding above all things physical courage. It
is really a matter of fasting and thirsting; of toiling and waking;
of lacking and enduring; which demands above all things moral
courage. Yet let us hasten to add that, without bodily soundness
and strength to resist privation, hardship and fatigue, an army
is naught. And here we strike the peculiarity which makes war
the true touch-stone of nations. It is the supreme test of their
merits and demerits both moral and physical. By a community's art,
literature, science and philosophy you may take the measure of its
intellectual attainments; through its administrative institutions
and laws you may form some judgment of its political intelligence;
from the bodily structure and condition of its citizens you may
form conclusions as to its physical fitness; but of the general
soundness of the body politic, of the capacity of its leaders,
of the devotion of their followers, of the moral force which
inspires all ages and both sexes to endure hardship and sorrow with
cheerfulness, and to meet adversity with confidence unshaken and
with courage undaunted--for all this the trial of all trials is war.

Military history is the history of these trials. Does it seem to
you a small, or ignoble, or unprofitable thing? But, it may be
objected, this is an unfair way of putting the matter. No doubt it
may be profitable to compare the political institutions of some
effete community with those of the young, virile and vigorous
communities which swept it out of existence. But the details of
fire and sword, of massacre and devastation, of the blood of men
and the tears of women, are they profitable? And the elaborate
principles of strategy and tactics--that is to say the bringing of
the armed force up to the field of decision, and the handling of
it to the best advantage when there; with their ancillary sciences
of fortification and poliorketics, that is to say, of setting up
strong places and knocking them down again--are they profitable?
What are the art of war and the science of military organisation
but the art and science of destruction? Can the study of these be
profitable?

Let us clear our minds of cant. What is the economy of this world,
so far as we have eyes to see and intellects to understand it, but
destruction and renewal, destruction and renewal? And it is really
impossible, except by our petty human standards, to distinguish
the one from the other. I have seen--and perhaps some of you may
have seen the like--what we call a desert, of a thousand square
miles of pumice-stone. This pumice-stone is a layer which varies
from six to fifteen feet in depth; and below it lie the trunks
of gigantic trees, all black and charred, which were scathed and
overthrown by the same terrific volcanic explosion which afterwards
buried them in pumice. The soil must have been fertile to raise
such trees; and men lament the destruction which has made so large
an area into a waste. But what they mean by _destruction_ and
_waste_ is simply the change which has rendered it useless, so far
as they can see, for purposes of producing food and exchangeable
commodities immediately to the profit of _men_--that and nothing
more. Whether it be destruction or renewal in the scheme of nature
we cannot tell. But let us pass to the works of man, the great
destroyer. What does a field of corn mean but that the plants which
originally grew there have been ruthlessly destroyed to make way
for those that better suit the purposes of man, and that an unknown
quantity of animal life, dependent upon the plants so destroyed,
has perished with them? What does a herd of cattle in a field
mean but the destruction of all wild cattle, till these became
tame enough to await their turn of destruction for the service of
man? And as with plants and the inferior animals, so does man
deal with man. He endeavours to destroy those that do not suit
his purpose, and to replace them by others. And this he does by
many other methods besides those which we group under the name of
war. Within the memory of living men there were many excellent but
simple gentlemen who thought that what is called Free Trade would
soon be adopted by every civilised country in the world, and that
then wars would cease. The prediction has not been verified, nor
can I see that the world would be very much the better if it had
been. For commerce is not, as is generally supposed, a peaceful
pursuit. What does successful commerce mean? The under-selling
of competitors; which means in turn cheaper production than is
possible to competitors. But cheap production, other things being
equal, depends in these days chiefly upon two things--cheap labour,
which means low wages, and the best of machinery. Who can tell how
many lives have been sacrificed to low wages in the winning of any
commercial competition; or how many men, women and children have
been starved when machinery, either absolutely or practically new,
has driven a mass of bread-winners out of employment? And these are
the casualties only on the victorious side. What have they been
on the beaten side, when whole industries have been ruined? If
we could arrive at a just estimate of the casualty lists filled
by commerce, I doubt greatly if they would be lower than those
filled by war. Improved machinery, in the case of a great many
manufactures, is as truly an engine of destruction as a torpedo or
a heavy gun. It is meant to destroy other competing machinery and
to drive its workmen from it, just as a torpedo is meant to destroy
a ship and send its crew to the bottom. A town deserted and falling
to ruin owing to loss of trade and consequent loss of population,
is as truly destroyed as if it had been battered to pieces by shot
and shell.

This, it may be said, is an unkind way of stating the matter. The
superior machinery supplants and replaces the inferior. Quite so.
There is in a general way renewal as well as destruction; but the
superior machinery does not replace the men who have perished in
assuring its triumph on the one side, or in succumbing to that
triumph on the other. And after all what is the general purport
of war but to replace what is inferior by what is superior? What
are the rise and fall of civilisations, empires, states, nations
and communities, but the process of supplanting the inferior by
the superior, or at any rate the subjection of the inferior to
the superior? Military history is the history of that process,
and it is no more the history of destruction than any other kind
of history. I do not suppose that the most tender-hearted member
of the Society of Friends would take exception to the study of
the legislative enactments whereby, quite apart from warlike
measures, we wrested their former commercial superiority from the
Dutch. He would not call it a history of destruction, and yet it
was so--to the Dutch. In the case of a military war the casualty
lists are published, and everyone says "How shocking." In the case
of a commercial war it is announced that such and such a firm has
closed its works through bankruptcy; and few, unless they chance to
be share-holders, think more about the matter. There may be some
hundreds of people deprived of their livelihood, but few consider
that. Military victors feed their prisoners of war: commercial
victors leave them to starve. And yet commerce is held to be
humane, and war very much the contrary; while captains of industry
are held in honour by men to whom the fame of a captain in war
gives sincere and conscientious affliction.

Thus you see how futile, however well-intended, are peace-societies
and similar institutions, inasmuch as they recognise only one
description--the military--of war. It is terrible to think how
true is the saying of Erasmus, _Homo homini lupus_. We like to be
successful ourselves, and we like our friends to be successful
also, but we seldom reflect that every success is won at the cost
of another's failure. Even here in Cambridge, and among those
merriest of mortals, undergraduates, the stern inexorable law
asserts itself. For one whom a class-list makes happy, how many
does it make miserable? For one to whom it offers the prospect of
food and warmth, to how many does it threaten cold and want? _Homo
homini lupus_, that is individual history. _Gentes gentibus lupi_,
that is universal history.

But to return to a question which I have still left unanswered,
wherein lies the profit for men not of the military profession, of
studying the principles and the history of war, with the terrible
details in which the history abounds so frequently? One chief
profit, as I take it, is to learn the nature of the supreme test
to which a nation may be subjected, so that she may equip herself
morally and physically to pass through the ordeal with success.
Let me repeat to you that war is less a matter of courage than of
endurance. Of really brave men, men who from sheer love of fighting
cannot be kept out of fire, the proportion is about one in a
thousand. Of real cowards, men who literally cannot be induced to
face fire in any circumstances, the proportion is about the same.
The remainder can by training and discipline be brought to do their
duty with more or less bravery, which is sufficient--or at any
rate must be considered sufficient--for the purpose. Such training
and discipline are a purely military matter, to which I shall
presently return. But endurance depends upon moral and physical
attributes which, though a great leader or regimental pride may do
much to enhance them, are principally the concern of the statesman.
Let us deal first with the physical requirements of a soldier.

First and foremost he must be mature, a man and not a boy;
otherwise, no matter how great his pluck, he will never be able
to withstand the hard work of a campaign. There is hardly a
country which has not again and again filled up its muster-rolls
with children, and deceived itself into the belief that it was
enlarging its armies, instead of filling up its military hospitals
and graveyards. Boys can of course do the work of garrisons within
certain limits; but it is (to speak brutally) cheaper to knock them
on the head at once and bury them at home than to send them upon
active service in the field. On the other hand, men must not be too
old, otherwise they succumb to rheumatic complaints in consequence
of exposure to cold and wet. For the rest, the soundness of the
feet, in order that men may be able to march; of the eyes, so that
they may be able to see; and of the teeth, are of the greatest
importance. An enormous proportion of men on active service die of
dysentery or enteric fever, due to bad and ill-cooked food; and
want of teeth to masticate that food aggravates the evil immensely.
Bad sight and bad teeth are very common in the inhabitants of large
towns, as also of course is inferior physique generally. Such
defects weaken a nation for war; and a wise government will not let
them continue without endeavouring to arrest them.

But, apart from this, much may often be done by care and foresight
to abate the hardships of a campaign. It is often inevitable
that the men's clothing should be in rags, and their feet almost
if not quite shoeless for a time; as also that they should be
scantily fed and then not on the best of food; but, if this be
borne in mind, and measures taken to keep abundant supplies of
everything at the seat of war, together with transport to convey
such supplies to the front, privation and suffering may be greatly
lessened, and sickness proportionately decreased. People who have
never studied military history do not realise that a campaign is a
gigantic picnic, and that, unless careful arrangement be made long
beforehand for every detail of food, forage, clothing and carriage,
an army may perish before it can reach its enemy. Such arrangement
involves a nicety of organisation of which the ordinary civilian
never dreams. One great lesson therefore that all may learn from
the study of military history is, that the casualties through lead
and steel are a trifle to those from hardship and the resultant
sickness; and that these last may be very appreciably diminished by
experience, forethought and organisation.

So much for the purely physical side of an army. The question of
inspiring it with moral force could easily lead me into an endless
disquisition upon the merits of different forms of civil government
and different systems of education. I shall not be so foolish as
to attempt anything of the kind; but I shall content myself with
stating that the great secret of an army's moral force is that (in
Cromwell's words) all ranks shall "know what they are fighting
for, and love what they know." The most powerful of all purely
moral forces is undoubtedly religious fanaticism, of which many
instances will at once occur to you; but I question if among all
its countless manifestations there are any quite so thorough as are
found in the hosts of Islam. There are many instances of desperate
courage and devotion among all races and all creeds, but I do
not know where you will find a parallel, except in the annals of
Mohammedan warfare, to the attack of the hordes of the Khalifa at
Omdurman.

Another great moral force is political fanaticism; but as a rule
there underlies all combative fanaticism, either consciously or
unconsciously, that less exalted element of human nature which
is known as greed. Greed of course is of many kinds. It may arise
from honest hunger and poverty; or from the less honourable,
though hardly less cogent, persuasion that those who have are the
legitimate prey of those who have not. But its manifestations are
uniformly the same, though they are often embellished by titles of
honour. People who would not dream of robbing their neighbours,
if the process were described to them in as many words, will take
credit to themselves for spoiling the heathen or the Amalekites.
Primitive tribes and clans, which have outgrown or exhausted the
territory that at one time sufficed for their support, are not
always so squeamish. They see a weak and prosperous neighbour,
fall upon him without more ado, and eat him up. Christian nations
and Mohammedans have frequently extinguished aboriginal tribes
as heretics and unbelievers. We ourselves used to excuse our
predatory excursions against the Spaniards upon the ground that
Popish idolaters deserved nothing better. Turn now to a case
which is generally adduced as an example of an army inspired by
political fanaticism--the levies which burst out from France
against her neighbours on all sides in 1792 and 1793. They came,
as they proclaimed, to carry the gospel of liberty, equality and
fraternity into all lands; their evangel was to be for the healing
of the nations; they menaced war only to the nobleman's castle;
they brought peace to the poor man's cottage. Were they really
inspired by any such exalted sentiments? A few enthusiasts may have
been; but not many. Did their faith in their new creed suffice to
make them die for it cheerfully? Not in the least; for they ran
away like sheep, until habit and discipline inured them to war.
Did they conduct themselves, where successful, according to their
noble professions? Not in the least. They plundered all classes
impartially, and were loathed by all impartially. The truth is that
their real object was not to preach a gospel at all, but to gather
plunder. France had been ruined by the incredible follies of the
Revolution; her resources were exhausted; and there was nothing for
her but to rob her neighbours or perish. Her robberies prospered; a
soldier of fortune rose up to take command of her armies; and under
his leadership the principle of robbery was indefinitely extended.
As Wellington put it with his usual shrewd insight, war to Napoleon
was a financial resource.

Must hope of plunder then be reckoned as a great moral force in
war? The question is extremely difficult to answer. Astonishing
military successes have been achieved under no other stimulating
influence than this--I would instance the sack of Rome by Charles
of Bourbon in 1527--but plunder, speaking generally, demoralises
both the army and the nation that lives by it, for it leads to
jealousy and divisions. You will remember at once, when I recall
it to you, the story in the Old Testament of Saul's preservation
of flocks, herds and prisoners in the face of Samuel's order that
they should be annihilated. I strongly suspect that Samuel's motive
for commanding the destruction of the plunder was apprehension
lest the King, by offering to his followers a reward for their
services, should steal away the hearts of the people and undermine
the authority of the priesthood. On the other hand Saul may perhaps
have been justified in supposing that his men would not fight the
Amalekites without the assurance of a share in the spoil, and had
consequently promised them a share beforehand. At any rate, it is
certain that the incident so far estranged the ecclesiastical from
the civil authorities that the former put forward a rival to oust
Saul from the Kingship. This is a curious instance of an entire
community being driven into civil war by a dispute as to plunder.
Of its demoralising influence on an army the examples are endless,
but I may mention to you the furious combats of the Spaniards and
Germans over the spoil of Rome, which they had combined to capture
and sack; the practical dissolution for a time of Wellington's
troops after the storm of Badajoz, and the insubordination and
disunion of Napoleon's armies in Spain, when nearly every officer
of rank was seeking to enrich himself, and employing his men to
enrich him, instead of using them in the legitimate operations of
war.

Nevertheless men will not go a-fighting continuously unless there
is plunder, or some composition in lieu thereof, to stimulate them
to constant exertion. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the
military profession was very nearly a mercantile affair, pure and
simple. Capitalists formed companies of soldiers for hire, and
sought to indemnify themselves by plunder for their venture, very
much after the fashion of a privateer or private man-of-war. The
"purchase-system" under which, when I was a boy, British officers
still purchased their commissions for a sum of money, was a relic
of the old practice of buying shares in a military company. In many
of our wars there was no individual plunder, but all captures were
lumped together, sold, and divided in due proportion between all
ranks of the army engaged. The army which stormed Seringapatam in
1799 divided £1,300,000 in this way; and beyond all doubt the hope
of large profits was a great incentive to the men to endure many
things and fight hard. Soldiers are almost invariably ill-paid.
Very often their health is permanently impaired by the hardship and
privation which they undergo; and they demand, not unreasonably,
some compensation for all their sufferings and peril. This is a
fact which no statesman can afford to overlook. Even in the middle
of the late South African war it was necessary to give to every
private five pounds, and to every non-commissioned officer and
officer still larger sums, according to their rank, as prize money
in lieu of plunder.

I come next to patriotism as a moral force. We are apt to take it
for granted that it always exists in every country; but this is
not so, as the earlier wars of the French Revolution most plainly
prove. Nor is it sufficient to say that the countries over which
the French armies rode rough-shod were autocratically governed,
while France enjoyed a freer form of government, for a democracy
can, and very frequently does, govern quite as abominably as any
autocrat or oligarchy. If a large proportion of a community be
discontented with its condition it will feel no patriotism, and
will do little or nothing towards defence of its country. It
sees no object in fighting to maintain a state of things which
it disapproves, and will not do so. Then, in case of invasion it
will submit quietly and without an effort to the enemy's will, and
allow him to take peaceful possession of its territory. If, on the
contrary, the war be not defensive but offensive, the malcontents
will lay themselves out to embarrass the ruling authorities as
much as possible, in order to secure political changes which
they conceive to be political advantages. So long as the seat of
operations is at a distance, the behaviour of the malcontents
is always the same, whether they are of the highest or of the
lowest class, whether the government under which they live be
popular or despotic. Thus during the American War of Independence
a considerable section of the English aristocracy threw the whole
weight of its power and influence in favour of the revolting
colonies, and to all intents assured their triumph. Thus also in
the recent war between Russia and Japan a large section of the
educated classes in Russia spared no efforts to stir up internal
trouble, and crippled their country at the very moment when she
bade fair to redeem all past failures and enter upon a successful
campaign. In both cases the disaffected parties claimed to be the
truest patriots, inasmuch as they had acted in the best interests
of their country; though whether such a claim can be justified is
a matter upon which men will differ until the end of time. It may,
however, be doubted whether men can, unless in most exceptional
circumstances, benefit their country by seconding their country's
enemies; and it is probable that, when they profess to do so, they
are animated rather by an intense desire to injure and humiliate
their rulers than by any principle of well-doing towards any one.
If the war were brought home to their own hearths, they would in
all likelihood make a stubborn fight for their defence; either from
dread lest their neighbours should hang them; or, as it is more
reasonable to suppose, from honest jealousy for their country and
indignation against the invader. But because the scene of fighting
is at a distance, they think that they may legitimately play fast
and loose with their country's fortunes.

Now I cannot help thinking that if those who aspire to govern men,
and even to lay claim to the title of statesmen, were to study
military history, they might learn enough about the moral force
of nations and armies to set them thinking very seriously. It is
a force that is very difficult to build up and not very difficult
to destroy; and yet politicians of all parties trifle with it
as though it were an insignificant matter. It is impossible to
devise a form of Government or to collect an administration which
will satisfy all men; but, though everyone recognises the fact in
theory, few make allowances for it in practice. It is sufficient
for politicians of all ways of thinking in these days to say
solemnly that the will of the majority must prevail. But why must
it prevail? Because the majority is more likely to be right than
the minority? Far from it: if we could believe that this were
the rule, the government of the world would be much easier than
it is. No, the will of the majority must prevail because it can
be enforced on the minority, which is only another way of saying
that Might is Right. See how in this world of cant the terrible
maxim, which men think applicable to war only, is daily in force
all round us. Wise men therefore will be always moderate in their
dealing with honest and respectable minorities, whether they differ
from the majority in matters of religious, political or social
faith, provided always that their dissent is not merely a cloak for
evading the obligations of ordinary morality. Yet such moderation,
though of the last importance towards amity and good understanding
in a community and therefore towards its moral force in the event
of war, is little more common to-day than at other periods of human
history. There is really only one political or social principle
which has any permanent worth, and it is expressed in the homely
proverb "Give and take."

What is the civic form of this proverb? It is this, No rights
without duties, no duties without rights. In England I am
afraid--though I may be wrong--that for some time past there has
been too much prating of rights, and too little reflection upon
duties; though the commonwealth depends for its stability upon the
equal recognition of both. What, you may ask, do you owe to the
State? Well, you owe to it gratitude for the fact that you can for
the most part walk about decently clad and purse in pocket without
danger of being knocked on the head; and that you can pursue your
lawful avocation in peace. But how if your clothes are in rags and
you have no purse? Well then, apart from all possible benefits
from the poor law, you at least enjoy immunity from being knocked
on the head as an unprofitable member of the tribe. The great
difference between primitive and civilised societies is that the
civilised recognise misfortune as a palliative to inefficiency,
which the primitive cannot afford to do. We have still a right
to say that a criminal is an inefficient citizen, but no longer
that an inefficient citizen is a criminal; and this, for some of
us, is a considerable gain. Even if the State gave us no more
than this, we are everyone of us debtors for more than we can
repay. But, in the most highly organised states of the present
time, the tendency is that the community at large shall contribute
more and more towards making men physically and mentally into
efficient citizens and towards saving them from the consequences
of misfortune, but in return shall claim from them more exacting
duties. It would perhaps be historically more accurate to say that
in some cases the duties came first and the benefits afterwards;
but the point is that the principle of rights for duties and
duties for rights has been faithfully observed. Thus in Germany the
State has set up machinery for education, for insurance against
misfortune, for provision against old age, claiming in return
from able-bodied citizens two years of military training, with
liability to be recalled to the colours up to a certain age in the
event of war. There are other states in which the same or less is
given or claimed; but there are few of importance in Europe in
which free education is not the right, and military training the
countervailing duty. And this system has been adopted in every
case, not only from bitter experience of disastrous defeat in war,
but because foreign statesmen read military history. The bond of a
common duty, impartially imposed upon all classes from the highest
to the lowest, tends to soften minor differences and discontents,
and constitutes in itself a great moral force.

So much for the moral force that can be instilled into a community
by its statesmen: I come now to that which can be inspired only by
the soldier, the unity, artificial but incomparably strong, which
is bound up with the name of discipline. Military discipline--how
some people loathe and others worship it; and how little the
majority of both have really thought about it! What is its
principle? The organised abnegation of the individual self in
favour of the corporate self. What is its object? That tens of
thousands may act together as one under the guidance of a single
will. What are its methods? Immediate and unquestioning obedience
to superior command. Immediate and unquestioning obedience--that
is what is the stumbling block, the _skandalon_ to so many. There
are of course a certain number of people who can obey no one,
but must always be a law--and an exceedingly erratic law--unto
themselves. The name of the poet Shelley will probably occur to
some of you, but I am not thinking of such as Shelley. I have in my
mind rather those excellent but generally unthinking persons who
shrink with horror from the idea of a man's abdicating his civil
rights. "What," they say, "a man must obey even an unjust command,
under pain it may be of death! It is monstrous!" For purposes of
civil life it might be monstrous, but not for purposes of implicit
obedience, which is the thing that matters in an army. Let there
be justice as far as possible by all means; but, as a general
principle, it is better for an army that an injustice should be
done than that an order should be disobeyed. This, however, is an
argument that cannot appeal to our imaginary objector, because he
has read no military history.

Then there is the unpleasant fact that immediate and unquestioning
obedience is a thing not easily acquired even with the best of
good will. Careful and often tedious training is necessary before
the obedience becomes instinctive and a second nature; and the
process is not always a pleasant one. In the first place tyrannical
teachers are always to be found, who make the lesson as odious as
possible; and in the second there are some natures to which nothing
is so revolting as order and method in the minutest detail. The
temperament that calls itself artistic is particularly impatient
of this description of discipline, and attaches to it the name
of soul-destroying; but I have noticed that persons who claim to
possess that particular temperament discover equal mischief to
their souls in the punctual keeping of their appointments, the
faithful fulfilment of their contracts, and the regular payment
of their debts. In fact a little drill and discipline is the very
thing that they most require. However, the school of implicit
obedience is no doubt a hard one, and sometimes even distressing.
There is much that seems--perhaps even a little that may actually
be--unnecessary and pedantic in the instruction; and in time of
peace the necessity for this is not obvious. It is inexpressibly
galling to some characters to find the question _Why_ answered
unchangeably by the formula "Because orders must be obeyed." They
chafe against the compression of all natures into the same mould;
and the conversion of one, who flatters himself (not always with
reason) that he is an intelligent mortal, into a machine.

I shall deal with the weak side of military discipline presently.
Meanwhile observe that its moral force is founded on one of the
noblest of human, I might say of Christian, virtues. I have styled
it organised self-abnegation--organised self-surrender of the
individual for the sake of the general;--only possible through
arduous training in self-denial, self-restraint and self-control.
Observe that, although many religious orders have taken for their
governance the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, the
most formidable of all was that founded by an old soldier, who
organised it upon a military model and gave its chief the title of
General. The name of the Jesuits does not smell sweet in English
nostrils, and yet its members have perhaps outdone all the world in
self-sacrifice. "Go," the General said from time to time to some
young Jesuit in the 17th century, "Go out to the wilds of North
America; spread the gospel among the Red Indians; search out the
land and take it into possession for the most Christian king."
Without a word the command was obeyed. The missionary went forth,
alone or with a comrade, undaunted by the prospect of being tied up
to roast before a slow fire, or have his fingers bitten off one
by one; he dwelt among savage men, lived their lives, subsisted
on their food, and, without counting the risk of being lost or
starved, found his way down the great rivers from the Upper Lakes
to the Gulf of Florida. You know the great examples of heroism
in our own army. You know the story of the _Birkenhead_; and you
may perhaps realise that it is this story which has inspired all
English men and English women to show courage in a shipwreck. But
I shall add just one story, a very short one, of the wreck of the
_Warren Hastings_, which was carrying four companies of the King's
Royal Rifle Corps and as many of the York and Lancaster Regiment,
on the island of Reunion in 1897. When the ship struck, sentries of
the Rifles were at once posted at various points on the lower deck,
to guard the access to the spirit-room and such like; and there
they remained while the boats were lowered to take the battalion
ashore. The water rose steadily upon them inch by inch, and had
reached their chests, when at last an officer came to summon them
also, last of all, to take their place in the boats. He collected
them all, as he thought, but in the noise and darkness he missed
one man and left him behind. The man saw his comrades disappear
up the ladder, and the officer about to follow them, and not till
then did he ask, _without quitting his post_, "Beg pardon, sir,
may I come too?" If ever you hear any man speak lightly of military
discipline, tell him that story, for that Rifleman is worthy to be
placed alongside the Roman sentry at Pompeii.

Yet it is very necessary that the working of military discipline
should be most carefully studied in military history, in order
that its defects, weaknesses and limitations may be thoroughly
ascertained and realised. There is no greater mistake than to
say that disciplined men are machines. They are nothing of the
kind: they are flesh and blood; and it is most dangerous to treat
them as anything else. Yet nothing is more common than for people
to suppose that anything is good enough for soldiers because
discipline forbids them to complain. Politicians in particular
often appear to think that a soldier, in virtue of his discipline,
can march all day and all night, dispense with food and drink, and
lie out in cold and rain with no particular mischief to himself.
I can assure you that in former days, within the memory of living
men, English soldiers were housed in buildings and sent to sea in
vessels that would have been thought too bad for valuable cattle.
Tradesmen and contractors likewise presume upon the soldiers'
enforced patience, and mobs will insult and pelt them, secure
in the knowledge that the soldiers will not retaliate without
orders. This indeed, albeit infinitely mean and cowardly, is an
unconscious tribute to discipline, but may easily strain it beyond
endurance. The fact is that discipline which rests wholly upon
fear is not the strongest. Inelastic and unsympathetic severity,
even though it may not actually amount to injustice, can produce
only a passive and discontented obedience, which speedily gives
way to sulky insubordination under any unusual trial. It is when
officers are not in touch with their men and do not consider them,
that the hearts of soldiers are stolen away by agitators and
malcontents. And then follows mutiny, which if begun in some choice
corps may spread to a whole army, as in the French Revolution, and
bring a dynasty and the traditions of centuries to the ground.
The ill-treatment of men was common enough in old days, when the
gaps between social classes were wide and the distinction between
them carefully marked, but you will never find an instance of a
successful army in which the officers did not share the hardships
of the men. Hannibal, for one, frequently slept on the ground with
his outposts.

It is when, as in most modern armies, the officers put their men
before anything else in the world, that military discipline shines
at its brightest. This does not mean leniency to irregularity or
towards insubordination--a weak or indulgent officer is neither
loved nor respected--but the treatment of men as men instead
of as children, attention to their wants, consideration for
their feelings, zeal for their well-being, cultivation of their
self-respect, forethought to train them to meet every exigency,
endless endeavour to deserve their confidence. Then there arises in
regiments that mysterious power which is called _esprit de corps_,
when every soul in them from the colonel to the drummer feels that
his own honour is bound up with the honour of the regiment, and
that the honour of the regiment is the greatest thing in the world.
And so you find--for one instance out of many thousand--such a
battalion as that of the Fifty-seventh at Albuera, with two men
in every three struck down, yet conscious of nothing in the dense
smoke but of closing in to the colours and unquestioning resolution
to die where they stood, rather than give way. So too you find a
simple solitary private, in the story that I have already told
you, content to go down alone in a sinking ship for the honour
of the Sixtieth. Without knowledge of military history men are
really unconscious of the existence of that most wonderful of moral
forces, _esprit de corps_; and it is not a thing of which anyone
can afford to be ignorant.

Lastly military history gives us insight into the character and
intellectual powers of some of the most remarkable men who ever
lived. I shall be told perhaps that the career of an Alexander or
of a Caesar is but a paltry study compared with that of a Luther
or a François Xavier. Be it so. Different characters attract
different students, and great leaders of men, whether saints or
soldiers, are always worthy of study. Moreover, it is a most
important thing to realise that military history means the survey
of administrative in at least as great a degree as strategical
and tactical genius. You will all of you recall the happy phrase
that was applied to Carnot--the organiser of victory; and Carnot
was only one of many who have deserved the epithet. No man perhaps
ever merited it better than Moses, if only through his standing
order (which you will find in the book of Deuteronomy xxiii. 12-14)
that when an army was in the field there should be appointed
places for latrines outside the camp, and that all foul matter
should be instantly buried. The regulation is justified by a noble
precept, which in its essence is true for all time. "The Lord thy
God walketh in the midst of thy camp to deliver thee and to give
up thine enemies before thee; therefore _shall thy camp be holy_,
that he see no unclean thing in thee and turn away from thee." Foul
camps mean enteric fever and dysentery, and these diseases mean
the destruction of the host. To this day it may be said that the
sanitary regulations of Moses have never been superseded. How many
Jewish victories may have been due to the observance of them we
can only conjecture; how many hundred millions of lives have been
sacrificed to the neglect of them--for it is only latterly that
their value has been fully recognised--the Omniscient alone can
know.

Turn from Palestine to Greece and look at the military constitution
of Sparta founded by Lycurgus. Make a huge stride over the ages,
and look at Chaka, the man of genius whose military organisation
and training of his people would have made the Zulus masters of
South Africa, had not the boundless resources of the British Empire
dashed his work--though not without difficulty and defeat--at
last to the ground. Look at the great men of modern times, whose
names will be more familiar to you, Frederick the Great, Napoleon,
Wellington, and take note that from the very beginning of history
the greatest generals have almost invariably been in the very first
rank not merely of military but of civil administrators. It may
seem heretical to say so, but I personally am inclined to think
that Napoleon's work as a civil Governor transcends even in its
own kind the greatest of his military achievements. I, even as
many other men, have gone through most of the thirty-six volumes
of his correspondence; and I confess that his reorganisation of
France in the first months of the Consulate--crude and hasty as
in many respects it was, owing to the urgency of the case and the
desperate nature of the circumstances--appears to me the greatest
thing that ever he did. But all three of these men are remarkable
chiefly for the astonishing results which they achieved with small
means. Frederick, in spite of terrible defeats and latterly an
almost total failure of resources, contrived somehow to carry the
Seven Years War to a successful end, and at its close to revive
an exhausted Prussia. Napoleon took over a France demoralised by
ten years of misrule, and sunk financially to a hopeless depth of
bankruptcy, yet by squandering men in lieu of money he carried
his eagles victoriously from end to end of Europe. Wellington had
so few men that he could not squander them, and so little money
that, owing to the general lack of specie, he was obliged to carry
on the Peninsular War upon credit, and incidentally to administer
the government of Portugal as well as direct the operations in the
field, lest that credit should absolutely fail him. Yet by sheer
administrative ability, patience and tenacity, he prevailed.

I have of design left the question of the technical study of
strategy and tactics until the last. Strategy may, I think, be
defined as the art of bringing armies up to the battle-field by
the right way, in the right strength, at the right time; tactics
as the art of handling them on the battle-field to the best
advantage. Of what profit is the study of these two arts to the
citizen at large? Well, in the first place he will learn what may
be termed his strategical geography, and why battles are constantly
fought century after century in or about the same places. He
will understand why, for instance, endless great actions for the
mastery of India have been fought within fifty miles of Delhi; the
significance of Stirling on the map of Scotland, and of Acre on the
coast of Syria. He will perceive why, owing to changes in transport
and armament, places whose names constantly occur in old diplomatic
records have ceased to be of great account and are now seldom
mentioned, whereas others, as I have said, retain their importance
through endless generations. He will realise, further, how far
strategic considerations enter into political arrangements of all
kinds, as for instance that Bismarck the civilian was against the
annexation of Alsace and Lorraine as tending to perpetuate the
hostility of France, but was overruled by Moltke because the new
frontier was worth 100,000 men. In fact it is not too much to
say that knowledge of military history is essential to the right
understanding not only of domestic and foreign politics, but of the
whole story, written and unwritten, of the human race--which is
mainly a story of fighting.

The interest of tactics is chiefly for professional men; but it is
worth while to notice its main principles, which are simple. All
fighting is, and has always been, of two kinds, hand-to-hand or
shock action, at a distance or missile action. Goliath challenged
the Israelites to shock action, and David killed him by missile
action; and I dare say that the Philistines thought it unfair. Now,
whether for shock or for missile action, it is very obvious that
if you can overmatch your enemy in numbers--other things being
equal--you are likely to get the better of him; and that if you are
on higher ground than he is you can see him better than he can see
you to throw things at him, and can charge him with greater impetus
down hill than he can meet you with, uphill. It may be said broadly
that the art of tactics is the art of bringing stronger numbers
to bear at some given point, and taking or acquiring superiority
of position. This is the physical side of tactics. The moral side
(apart from discipline) lies chiefly in those two eternal and
undying resources, known as the ambush and the surprise. Here the
leader tries to upset an enemy's physical advantage of numbers and
position by taking him unawares. There is no finer example of a
surprise in the world than that of Gideon. Think of it--the silent
march of 300 picked men in three companies through the darkness,
each with his trumpet and his torch hidden in a pitcher, the
silent surrounding of the hostile camp just before dawn, when human
vitality is at its lowest; and then the silence broken by the crash
of three hundred pitchers, the sudden flare of the torches, the
braying of three hundred trumpets as if in signal to a host of
thousands unseen in the night; and the simultaneous yell "For the
Lord and for Gideon." There was a wild panic in the Midianite camp,
and no wonder. In the darkness they took to fighting each other,
"every man's sword against his fellow." Of course they did. Exactly
the same result was seen many times over during our last war in
South Africa, and has been seen in every panic from Gideon's age to
our own. Gideon was a man who studied moral force.

Thus we come back to the point from which we began. Military
history is not the history of physical but of moral force, perhaps
almost of the triumph of moral over purely physical force. Let
no man say that such a subject is unworthy of our attention. It
is unfortunately impossible to study deeply any department of
the affairs of men without encountering much that is infinitely
vile and base and sordid; and military history is no exception to
this rule. But it is rich also in noble and heroic deeds, not of
valour only but of patience, self-sacrifice and endurance. I may
be wrong, but I think that I see in it grander and more frequent
examples of devotion to duty than in any other branch of history.
The opportunities, you will say, are greater; and there may be some
truth in this; but I would add that the training to self-abnegation
counts also for very much. It will harm none of us to know well
this story of duty done for duty's sake; and it may be that, as the
example of the _Birkenhead_ has nerved all our race to face with
calmness the utmost perils of the sea, so the remembrance of the
proud history of our soldiers may brace each one of us, no matter
how humble his sphere, to discipline himself in the self-denial and
self-control which triumph over adversity.



LECTURE II

BRITISH MILITARY HISTORY


In my last lecture I attempted to deal with the broad subject of
military history at large. To-day I shall treat of the narrower
subject of British military history. There is nothing arbitrary or
capricious in this; for British military history is, owing to our
insular position, a thing apart.

Foreign nations, indeed, would say that a country which has never
in the whole course of her existence put fifty thousand of her own
children in line upon any battle-field and very rarely so many even
as thirty thousand, can have no military history; but none the
less we have one, which is in many ways remarkable and worthy of
study.

Note in the first place that for five hundred years after
the Conquest England was not a purely insular power. She had
troublesome neighbours in Wales and Scotland, and her kings had
possessions, and consequently troublesome neighbours, in France.
Remember that it was not until 1558 that we lost Calais, and that,
as long as we possessed it, we had so to speak a bridge-head which
enabled us to enter France practically at any moment. This was a
sad temptation towards foolish expeditions and waste of strength;
and it was a great blessing to us really when the capture of Calais
removed it for ever.

Elizabeth, therefore, was our first purely insular sovereign.
What manner of military force did she find at her accession,
and what manner of organisation for creating and maintaining
it? The sovereign was empowered, as he still is, to call out
every able-bodied man for the defence of the country; and upon
the different classes of freemen was imposed by an Act of 1558,
which was based upon an older Act of 1285, the duty of providing
themselves with arms according to their means. Long before 1558
fire-arms had been brought to such efficiency that a compete system
of tactics had been founded for their use by the ablest soldiers
on the Continent; but in England the Statute still professed
contentment with the weapons of three centuries earlier, bows and
bills; and there were remarkably few fire-arms in the country at
all. There were, however, great traditions derived in part from
Saxon times, but strengthened, developed and enlarged by the
victories of Edward the Third, his son Edward, Prince of Wales, and
king Harry the Fifth, in France and in Spain in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries.

I told you in my last lecture that all fighting, from the
earliest times to the present, is in the ultimate resort of two
kinds--hand-to-hand or shock action, at a distance or missile
action. In the hands of the English a very old missile weapon, the
bow, had become, in the form of the long bow, the most deadly and
formidable of its time. Every English boy was trained to the use
of it, and was taught to bring every muscle of his body to bear
upon it, just as in rowing you are taught not to row with your
arms only, but with your legs also and with all the weight of your
body. "My father taught me to lay my body to the bow," says Bishop
Hugh Latimer. The result was that their arrows were discharged
with great rapidity and accuracy, and with such strength that they
were effective in the matter of penetration at an astonishingly
long range. The shock action of mediaeval times, as you know, was
confined chiefly to mounted men-at-arms, clad in armour from head
to foot, and furnished with lances, who moved in dense masses at
very moderate speed, and trampled down everything that stood in
their way. How did the English archers deal with them? They aimed
mainly at their horses, which, maddened by the pain, ran away with
their riders, and carried confusion everywhere; but being accurate
shots, the archers aimed also at the joints of the harness--at the
intervals between gorget and breast-plate, between breast-plate,
or back-plate, and thigh-pieces, which were exposed by the swaying
of the body, and above all the arm-pit when the arm was raised
to strike. But how about the English men-at-arms, you will ask?
Why did not the enemy shoot their horses with arrows, and make
them unmanageable also? Here we come to the English peculiarity.
The English men-at-arms always dismounted to fight, broke off
their lances to a length that could be easily handled and, ranked
together in a dense mass, used them as pikes. So here there was
the tradition of a missile infantry, so to speak, steady and
deadly shots; and of a shock infantry which could not be broken
and, moreover, after winning a victory could mount and pursue on
horseback.

The new tactics of the Continent, which the English had to learn,
had taken much the same direction. The Swiss, in order to keep
mounted men-at-arms at a distance, had bethought them of ranging
their infantry into dense masses, armed with pikes fourteen feet
long, and this they had done with such success that they had
vindicated the position of infantry as the most important element
on the battle-field. Other nations took up the idea, either for
mercenaries or national troops; and, with the improvement of
fire-arms, missile infantry developed into musketeers, or "shot" as
they were called, who fought entirely as skirmishers, while shock
infantry was represented by dense masses of pikemen. Simultaneously
the cavalry became a missile force. Unable to make any impression
against a bristling wall of pikes, they gave up their lances and
provided themselves with pistols, so as to shoot the pikemen down
from a distance. Hence it was customary to cover the pikemen with
heavy armour on breast and thighs, which prevented them from moving
very fast. The fate of the battle, however, was determined by them.
Musketeers and cavaliers worried each other and the pikemen for as
long as they dared, but the ultimate issue was decided when pike
met pike. The chief reason for this was the system adopted for
maintaining a continuous fire. This was to range the musketeers
in ten ranks, and let these ranks fire in succession, the first
rank filing to the rear as soon as its weapons were discharged,
in order to reload, and leaving the second rank to do likewise,
and so on. In theory the system was ingenious; but in practice it
was found that men thought a great deal more about filing to the
rear rapidly, than about firing steadily and accurately. Of course
if heavy artillery could be brought within range of a square of
pikemen, it might blast them off the field; but cannon were too
cumbrous and difficult to move for this to be often possible; and
thus the decision of the day was left, as it still is, to cold
steel. You will see wonderful pictures of combats of pikemen, just
as you see the like representations of fights with the bayonet. I
doubt greatly if they ever occurred. Both sides approached each
other with the pike or bayonet no doubt; but before they closed
one side turned and ran away. All nations boast of their prowess
with the bayonet, our own among others, but few men really enjoy a
hand-to-hand fight with the bayonet, however much they may enjoy a
hand-to-hand pursuit. You remember that the Homeric heroes, after
a certain amount of close combat, invariably threw stones at each
other; and the practice has never died out. English and French both
talk much of the bayonet; but in Egypt in 1801 they threw stones
at each other when their ammunition was exhausted, and one English
sergeant was killed by a stone. At Inkerman again the British threw
stones at the Russians, not without effect; and I am told upon
good authority that the Russians and Japanese, both of whom profess
to love the bayonet, threw stones at each other, rather than close,
even in this twentieth century.

To this stage, then, had the art of war advanced at Elizabeth's
accession, but no effort was made to train the national forces
according to the latest methods. A few foreign mercenaries were
imported from time to time, and a great many English went abroad,
and served either in the armies of Spain--which were the most
efficient of their day--or in those of the revolted Dutch which,
under the Princes of the House of Nassau, were rapidly improving
upon the Spanish methods. Thus some ideas of foreign practice crept
into England, and a great deal of foreign nomenclature, which still
remains with us. Nearly all of our military terms are foreign,
drawn mostly from the French, the Italian or the Spanish. Regiment,
battalion, colonel, sergeant-major, captain, lieutenant, ensign,
cornet, corporal, centinel--all are words borrowed from Latin
sources, and one could multiply the number of instances. Pistol and
howitzer are Bohemian, relics of John Zizka. Forlorn hope (which
has nothing to do with the English word _hope_) is Dutch. Even
Shakespeare speaks twice of recruits by the Spanish name _bisoño_,
corrupted into Bezonian.

Little progress was made in Elizabeth's time, and no more in the
reign of James I; but meanwhile a great military reformer arose
in the person of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, who recognised that
missile action was that which must triumph in the future, and set
himself to improve the firing tactics of infantry. This he did by
reducing the depth of the infantry to three ranks, and forming
the musketeers shoulder to shoulder, the front rank kneeling. He
then distributed the whole of his battalions into sections, or
platoons, of twenty to thirty men each, and introduced the system
of firing by volleys of platoons; the usual method being that the
first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth platoons fired first in
rapid succession, and then the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and
tenth, by which time the odd-numbered platoons had reloaded and
were prepared to begin again. Thus a continuous fire was maintained
without unsteadiness or disorder; and the system was so good that
it lasted until the introduction of breech-loaders. There being
many Scots--even whole regiments--and a good many English in the
Swedish service, the drill and tactics of Gustavus became known to
a number of people in both kingdoms.

Now followed the Civil War, wherein the armies on both sides were
ridiculously inefficient until Cromwell, recognising that the King
had most of the gentlemen--that is to say the more efficient
amateurs--upon his side, decided that he must train professional
soldiers to beat them. So he raised his famous regiment of horse,
and for the first time since the days of Harry the Fifth brought
true military discipline to bear upon English soldiers. In 1645
the Parliament perceived that a whole army trained upon the new
principle would mean the difference between triumph and defeat,
and thereupon organised the famous host called the New Model Army,
consisting of twelve regiments of foot, eleven regiments of horse
and a train of artillery. The effect was immediate. The Royalist
cause was utterly overthrown, whether upheld by English, Scots or
Irish; the irresistible army displaced the Long Parliament and
took from it its usurped authority; and Cromwell during five years
of unrest and uneasiness kept the peace in the three kingdoms by
means of regular troops and an armed constabulary. Never before
or since have we been kept in such order. Scottish Highlanders,
Irish Tories, English colliers--as lawless a people as the other
two--were hammered and cowed into obedience. Some north-country
colliers attempted a strike; "they would neither work themselves
nor suffer others," said the newspapers. The Lord Protector sent
a regiment of horse to the spot, and nothing more was heard of
the strike. Nor was it only within the British Isles that he was
feared, for, in virtue of his army, he was dreaded throughout
Europe. His reign was brief, but he contrived within his five short
years to strike a fatal blow at Dutch commercial supremacy, to
ensure by his regulations as to trade and navigation that it should
pass to England, and to call representatives from an United Kingdom
to a single Assembly at Westminster.

And now pause for a moment to look at the portentous changes that
had come over England in the hundred years between the accession
of Elizabeth in 1558 and the death of Cromwell in 1658. In the
first place England, as I have said, had been finally cut off from
the Continent; in the second she had become mistress in her own
house, for, though Scotland was not administratively joined to her,
the two crowns had been united upon one head and closer union was
only a question of time; while Ireland had been subjected to so
stern a discipline that she still chafes at the remembrance of it.
Insular therefore the British Isles were as never before in their
history; and yet in the earlier half of the seventeenth century
there had been laid by private adventurers under Royal Charter the
foundations of a colonial empire in North America and the West
Indies, that is to say in the temperate and in the torrid zone,
as also of a great agency for foreign trade in India. Moreover
Britain's powerful neighbour, France, had almost simultaneously
formed settlements or trading establishments precisely in the three
same quarters. Almost at the instant therefore when the British
were relieved of the perils and anxieties of a land frontier at
home, they began to acquire such a frontier over seas. Lastly they
had evolved, in what may be called its perfected state, a scheme
of commercial policy which was not likely to make for peace with
their neighbours. Meanwhile, owing to the accidental circumstance
of a civil war and the happy advent of a man of genius, they had
produced quite casually the very thing that was needed for the new
conditions, a regular army subject to proper military discipline.

When Charles II was restored, the intention was to disband the
entire army of the Commonwealth, or to keep at most a regiment
of foot-guards, which had fought against the forces of the
Commonwealth in Flanders, and a regiment of horse-guards, composed
of Royalist gentlemen. But as these showed themselves inefficient
in dealing with the London mob, two of the Parliamentary regiments
were also retained, Monk's of infantry--now the Coldstream
Guards--and a composite body of horse, which we now know as the
Blues. This sufficed for domestic police; but soon there arose the
question of colonial garrisons, for Katharine of Bragança, Queen
of Charles II, had brought to him as a dowry Tangier and Bombay;
and there were other places, notably New York and St Kitts, where
the close neighbourhood of the French made a little protection very
desirable. How were these to be provided? It was a time-honoured
custom in England that all fortified places should have a small
permanent garrison indissolubly attached to them, rather to keep
the buildings in order than to provide for their defence; and this
custom was now extended. A few companies were raised for New York
and St Kitts, and two regiments of foot and one of dragoons for
Tangier; but even so it was necessary to send the Guards abroad
from London to quell a rebellion in Virginia, and to give further
assistance at Tangier. In India the East India Company pursued the
same policy, keeping some companies of white troops at Bombay and
Madras, and forming also companies of natives, the number of which
was constantly increased, for defence of their factories.

James II who succeeded his brother in 1685 was a trained soldier
and sailor who had seen much active service, and an admirable
departmental administrator. He made a pretext of Monmouth's
rebellion to augment the standing army considerably; and, if more
time had been given to him, he would probably have established an
efficient War Office and laid the foundations of a sound military
system. Further, noticing the danger to the American colonies
from their constant divisions and quarrels in the presence of the
smaller but perfectly united and organised French settlements, he
remodelled the governments of many of them, grouping them together
under English Governors, who were also soldiers, so that in time
of danger there might be harmonious action and efficient defence.
These changes, principally, cost him his throne.

During all these years the English had never ceased to chafe at
the continued existence of a standing army. The country gentlemen,
who had made the Revolution of 1642, had the terror of Oliver
Cromwell before their eyes, and dreaded lest the Stuarts might
emulate his summary and efficient methods. They professed, some
of them no doubt conscientiously, solicitude for the liberties of
England, forgetting that their forerunners of the Long Parliament
had abolished the Monarchy and the House of Lords and erected
themselves into a permanent committee of tyrants. They protested
that a standing army was unknown to the Constitution of England,
but they had not awaked to the fact that there was a British Empire
in the making, and that such an Empire requires police. They could
not, or at any rate did not, look one inch before their noses
except at one principal object, namely the supplanting of the
monarchy, in substance if not in fact, by an oligarchy of their
noble selves. They therefore encouraged sedition and discontent
with the new arrangements in the colonies, and invited William
of Orange to come with an armed force and accept the Crown from
them. It suited William's policy exactly to have in his hands the
resources of England for his desperate struggle against France; and
he came, bringing with him the certainty of a great war.

It has been my fate to study the departmental administration of
England at various periods, but I have never found it quite so
corrupt and inefficient as in the early years of King William's
reign. James had improved it amazingly in his three years of power;
but his men were of course displaced in favour of the Whig magnates
and their nominees, naturally with bad results. The administrative
reforms of James in the American colonies were likewise upset
by the Revolution; and this folly brought us within measurable
distance of the loss of North America, besides taking the resources
of England to defend people who ought to have been able to defend
themselves. However there the matter was. It was necessary to raise
a number of regiments and improvise an army for the pacification of
Ireland, which was, I think, the very worst force ever put together
under the English flag. After many disgraceful episodes Ireland was
reconquered; and then the army, which was by this time beginning
to improve, was transported over to Flanders for operations there.
It fought in many severe actions with credit but mostly without
success, for William III was not a great general. However, it
learned a great deal, particularly in the matter of sieges, of
which it had known very little, and being thrown into company with
some good troops and into opposition against others, it was roused
to emulation of the high standard of French and Dutch efficiency.
In 1697 the war came to an end through the exhaustion of both
parties.

Of the solid improvements effected by the incidents of this war,
the first was the passing of the Mutiny Act, in consequence of
the mutiny of a regiment which was faithful to King James. This
Act empowered the king to punish military crimes, for which the
civil law provided no penalty. A standing army being unknown to
the Constitution of England, the Act was passed for twelve months
only, a ridiculous piece of pedantry which is still perpetuated
in the Annual Army Act. The next reform was the adoption of the
bayonet, a recent invention, which united the pike and the musket
into a single weapon, and made an end of the distinction between
shock infantry and missile infantry. A third was the gradual disuse
of the pistol by cavalry; the discarding more and more of its
defensive armour and the reversion to shock action by the charge at
high speed.

Immediately upon the conclusion of the peace there was a howl in
the Commons for the reduction of the Army; and it was carried that
the English establishment should be fixed at no more than seven
thousand men, though the much poorer island of Ireland had been
permanently charged by an earlier act with an establishment of
twelve thousand. I must explain that until 1708 there were three
separate military establishments for England, Scotland and Ireland,
and after 1708 two for Great Britain and Ireland until the Act of
Union in 1800. Moreover, you must remember that even within the
memory of living men the infantry and cavalry were under the War
Office, the artillery and engineers under the Office of Ordnance,
and the commissariat and transport under the Treasury, so that,
while the three kingdoms were disunited, there were nine offices
concerned with the administration of the Army; and the colonels,
who were responsible for the clothing, made a tenth authority.
Hence it was no easy task to get the Army under way for any duty;
while the creation of any new force was a most bewildering labour.
The Commons, however, cared for none of these things. France was
evidently only taking breath for another spring; but that they
ignored, and, as I have said, cut down the Army to the ridiculous
figure of nineteen thousand men. William very nearly abdicated the
throne of England in disgust at their conduct.

Here then we must notice the first flagrant instance of a
besetting sin, which, practically from the very beginning up to
the present time, has afflicted and still afflicts the House of
Commons. No sooner is the country at peace than it raises a cry
for the reduction of the Army. In the eighteenth century this cry
was very much a matter of faction. The Whigs had always bitterly
opposed a standing army under the Stuarts, when they thought it
adverse to their interests; and the Tories naturally conceived
a mortal detestation of it after it had become a weapon in the
hands of the Whigs. Thus both parties were committed to general
discouragement of the force; and any member who desired to pose as
a champion of liberty could do so effectively by denouncing the
evils of a standing army. It has been my hard fate to wade through
a prodigious number of speeches upon this subject, and I have been
absolutely nauseated by their hollowness and cant. It is of course
possible for a man to object sincerely and conscientiously to any
description of army; but I have never met with such a one in the
Parliamentary debates of the eighteenth century. Their abuse of
standing armies, in which was generally mixed some vituperation of
the military profession at large, was simply hypocrisy and cant,
most mischievous and dangerous, inasmuch as it brought the calling
of a soldier into contempt, and kindled the entire civil population
into hostility with the military.

Compelled to reduce the Army to a mere handful of men, William
sought to turn this handful to the best account by keeping the
skeletons of a great many regiments, which might on emergency be
filled out with additional men, rather than a very few complete
regiments ready to take the field at once. He was quite right; and
his example has repeatedly been followed down to our own days; but
the system of skeleton regiments means always unreadiness for war.
In the haste and urgency of the first hostilities all the trained
men are swept into a few battalions, so as to fill up their empty
ranks; those few battalions are sent into action; in six months
they are so much reduced by losses as to be ineffective; and you
are left with nothing but recruits who need two or three years to
convert them into soldiers. This has happened again and again,
and the first instance of it came in 1701. In November 1700 the
acceptance of the throne of Spain for his grandson by Louis XIV
roused all Europe to arms; and Louis to secure his object invaded
Spanish Flanders, surrounded several towns which were occupied,
under the Treaty of 1697, by Dutch troops, and so cut off fifteen
thousand of William's best men. Under a former treaty of alliance
with Holland England was bound to furnish to her ten thousand men,
and both Houses of Parliament prepared faithfully to fulfil the
obligation. Twelve battalions were accordingly ordered to the Low
Countries from Ireland, eked out of course by a great many young
soldiers, but with a fair leaven of old ones; and the country
flattered itself that it would escape with no further burden. But,
as usual, Parliament had forgotten the Empire. Bad news came just
at the same moment from the West Indies, and it was imperative to
send two thousand more men to that quarter. Thus at one fell swoop
the garrison of Ireland was snatched away, and it was necessary to
raise at once ten thousand new recruits and four new battalions.
Before the end of the year Louis XIV recognised the son of James II
as King of England; and Parliament, at last roused to indignation,
agreed to furnish a contingent of forty thousand men--eighteen
thousand British, and the rest foreigners. Thereupon orders were
issued for the raising of fifteen more new regiments, at enormous
expense; for, in consequence of the ill-treatment of the army by
Parliament at the close of the last war, men could not be tempted
to enlist except by large bounties. In 1703 the English share in
the contest extended to the Spanish Peninsula, and eight new
regiments were raised for the purpose. In 1704 the capture of
Gibraltar and other operations demanded the levying of six more
regiments; in 1706 thirteen new regiments were added; and to make a
long story short, before the war ended in 1713 sixty-nine new corps
of horse and foot had been formed to carry on the war.

But we must not leave that war without a sketch of the greatest
of English generals who conducted it. John Churchill was born,
you remember, in 1650, received his first commission in the
Guards in 1667, saw active service against the Moors in Tangier
a year or two later, and serious warfare in 1672 against the
United Provinces under Condé, Turenne and Luxemburg, continuing
to serve them under the colours of Louis XIV, as was not uncommon
at the time, until 1677. In the course of those five years he
learned his work under the great master Turenne, while fighting
another great master, Montecuculi. In 1689 he commanded a small
contingent of British troops against the French once more in
Flanders; besides which, saving a little work in Ireland, he was
employed no more by William until 1698; being suspected, I fear
with justice, of treasonable relations with the exiled King James
II. Finally in 1702 he was appointed to the command of the Allied
Forces in the Low Countries, thus finding himself for the first
time a general-in-chief at the age of fifty-two. In those days
of bad roads there were few districts where armies could keep the
field, owing to the difficulty of feeding them; for a campaign,
as I told you in my first lecture, is a picnic. The delta of the
Rhine and Meuse was a cock-pit because it was in the first place
rich in food, and in the second traversed by navigable rivers and
canals, which made the transport of victuals, of heavy guns, and of
ammunition comparatively easy. But being a cock-pit, its water-ways
were studded with innumerable fortresses, constructed to prevent
ingress into France from the north, and into what we now call
Belgium but which in Marlborough's time was known as the Austrian
Netherlands, from the south. Hence it naturally followed that a war
in that quarter signified a war of sieges; and the French Court
was fond of sieges, because it could attend them in state and take
charge of the operations with much glory and little discomfort or
danger. It must be added that incessant warfare in that unfortunate
country had made every feature in it so familiar, that the ordinary
tactical and strategical movements in it were as well known as the
moves on a chess-board.

It was a mark of Marlborough's originality of mind that on this
familiar ground he contrived always to do something unexpected.
Had he not been hampered by disloyal Dutch Generals and timid
Dutch deputies, who controlled the Dutch contingent of his army
and therefore the Commander-in-Chief also, he would have driven
the French out of Flanders in two campaigns. As it was, these
so-called allies deliberately foiled him again and again; and,
since the French arms had been uniformly successful against the
Imperial troops on the Upper Rhine and Danube, the way to Vienna
was by the year 1704 practically open to the French armies. Then
it was that Marlborough, seeing that the case was desperate,
conceived the magnificent idea of a march of some three hundred
miles from the Low Countries to join the Imperial army on the
Danube. The difficulties were immense. In the first place he had
to gain permission from numbers of petty princes to pass through
their territory; in the second he had to provide magazines of food
and clothing for his army all along the line of march, as well as
money to pay them with; and all this he had to do with secrecy
and circumspection for, in the third place, it was essential that
the French armies should gain no inkling of his intentions, but
should be absolutely deceived by his movements until he was so
far advanced upon his way that he could not be caught. It seems
impossible that such a thing could have been done; but done it was;
and the two victories of the Schellenberg and of Blenheim were
the result. Moreover, this campaign, though the most celebrated
because of its extreme originality and boldness, by no means stands
alone as an example of Marlborough's surpassing skill in the field.
You may go through the whole of the campaigns that he fought in
Flanders, ten in all; and in every one you will find some salient
feature which betrays the master. The forcing of the French lines
on the Geete in 1705; the feint which beguiled Vendôme into a fatal
blunder at Ramillies in 1706; the wonderful march before Oudenarde
in 1708; the investment of Tournay in 1709; the amazing wiles by
which he turned the lines of La Bassée in 1711--any one of these
achievements would suffice to make the fortune of an ordinary
general.

What then were the qualities which made Marlborough so
astonishingly successful in the field--and not in the field
only--for you must remember that he was no less great as a
diplomatist than as a general? First I should say what Wellington
termed his strong cool common-sense. This sounds perhaps a small
matter to you; but what after all is common-sense? It is above
all the faculty of seeing things as they are, and of framing your
action accordingly. The faculty of seeing things as they are,
swift, true and penetrating insight into the heart of things,
undistracted by their outward semblance--this, whether it be the
attribute of statesman, general, poet or painter, is genius. And
to frame your actions, as a man of action, upon real insight,
what does that mean? It means transcendent moral courage, the
courage of faith in one's own judgement, the courage to depart
from beaten tracks, the courage to brave the disapprobation of
those who cannot do without such tracks, the courage, in a good
sense, to take liberties. It is the union of courage with insight
which makes a man original. And there was another form of genius
which Marlborough possessed in a supreme degree, the faculty
of taking infinite pains. When his army started for the Danube
not a man knew whither he was bound; yet at every stage food
was ready for all, and at certain points shoes to replace those
worn out on the march, and money to provide the troops with pay.
For, as Marlborough well knew, soldiers who have not what they
need will help themselves, and plunder means indiscipline, and
indiscipline turns an army into a rabble. Any officer can flog
and shoot and punish, and say that he enforces discipline; but
a good officer prefers to enforce it by removing all temptation
to indiscipline. Next, Marlborough possessed in a transcendent
degree the divine gift of patience--patience which conquers all
things. His temper was almost miraculously placid and calm. Time
after time the Dutch deputies thwarted his shrewdest strokes and
most brilliant combinations; and time after time he endured their
maddening mischief without a murmur, without even a semblance of
displeasure, waiting for better times, and preferring to bear
almost any mortification rather than endanger the common cause.
There are few things greater in Marlborough than this. "I would
not have that man's temper for the world," he is reported to have
remarked when watching a groom who was fighting his horse in the
saddle. So strongly marked was this characteristic that when
once, in order to deceive his enemy, he grew from day to day more
cantankerous and pretended at last to lose all self-control, his
army declared sorrowfully that Corporal John had lost his wits.
And this epithet--Corporal John--brings me to the last great gift
of Marlborough, his extraordinary personal charm. It nowhere
appears that he laid himself out particularly to attract his
fellow-creatures; but not one of them could resist him. His men
adored him. It was not only that he enjoyed their confidence as
a successful leader; but that he commanded their affection. And
others shared this feeling as strongly as the soldiers. In 1705 he
narrowly escaped capture by a marauding party of French. On his
arrival at the Hague after the incident the whole population,
high and low, turned out to welcome him, the poor crowding round
him with tears of joy and kissing even his horse and his boots.
Of course there is a dark side to his character, and much has
been made of his avarice and his treachery. But I have noticed
that men who begin with nothing and rise to great estate, as did
Marlborough, are apt to be careful of sixpences to the very end;
and I do not know that it is to their discredit. It is certain
too that he declined even to look at an enormous bribe offered
by Louis XIV to obtain an advantageous peace. Moreover, you will
find that at all times and in all countries while the issue of a
struggle between two dynasties is still doubtful, men tend to keep
upon friendly terms with both. I do not say that this trait is a
beautiful or an honourable one; but that it is the rule and not the
exception is beyond doubt; and we must take poor human nature as we
find it. Fortunate are we when we find this weakness redeemed by
such great qualities as were possessed by Marlborough.

The Peace of Utrecht which brought the war to an end was, as you
remember, the work of the Tories, who had succeeded in ousting
the Whigs and disgracing Marlborough. Before the Treaty had been
signed, they had reduced the British establishment to twenty-two
thousand men; and, when the Whigs returned to power upon the
accession of George I in 1714, they continued the evil work which
the Tories had begun. By 1719 the establishment had been reduced
to twelve thousand men, making with the same number in Ireland a
nominal total of twenty-four thousand. Yet the Treaty had added to
the Empire Gibraltar, Minorca, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, all of
which required garrisons; there was no police in the British Isles;
the organisation of the Militia was so antiquated that the force
was absolutely useless; and there was always danger, as the country
experienced in 1715, of a Jacobite rising in Scotland. Moreover,
the original system of defence in the West Indies was rapidly
becoming obsolete; and it was pretty evident that the burden must
shortly be transferred to the Imperial forces. No consideration
could move the British Parliament to accept the Army as a necessary
institution. Walpole in 1722 at last insisted that the British
Establishment should be raised permanently to eighteen thousand
men; but even so it would have been impossible to collect ten
thousand for any emergency without leaving the royal palaces and
strong places unguarded. Yet Parliament, not content with keeping
an inadequate army, insisted also that it should be inefficient.
In Ireland, from want of billeting accommodation, barracks had
been built for the troops; but nothing could persuade Parliament
to extend the same system to England. No! the regiments must be
broken up and scattered among ale-houses, "in order that the
people might feel the burden that lay upon them." Moreover, hon.
members conceived that ale-houses grew as abundantly at Gibraltar,
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland as in England; and could hardly be
brought to house the garrisons of these places adequately. Scores
of men died in all these spots from exposure--and why? Because
the nation had laid itself in bondage to a canting phrase. This
ill-treatment of the soldiers, joined to perpetual reviling of
the military profession, of course made the Army unpopular. Men
were unwilling to enlist and very ready to desert, which led in
turn to high bounties to tempt recruits; and this again led to
fraudulent enlistment and hideous waste of money. Of all the cant
that ever was canted in this canting world none is so cantful as
the assertion that neglect of military precaution is economy. Yet
the British people after two centuries' experience of its falsehood
still hugs the notion passionately to its bosom.

The peace was broken in 1739 by a sudden outburst of national
cupidity for the wealth of Spain; but from this point, where the
struggle for Empire becomes acute, I shall in this lecture confine
myself to our wars in Europe only, leaving those in the Colonies
and in India for two future lectures. Before the quarrel with
Spain was fairly ended, we found ourselves entangled in the War
of the Austrian Succession, with an obligation to furnish sixteen
thousand men to uphold the cause of Maria Theresa. British and
French, by a curious fiction, were engaged at the outset only as
auxiliaries upon either side; and they actually fought the battle
of Dettingen before war had been formally declared between them.
From the spring of 1744, however, they met as principals and,
since the French had been triumphantly driven from Germany at the
end of 1743, on the familiar ground of the Austrian Netherlands.
The British contingent was increased from sixteen thousand men in
1743 to twenty-five thousand in 1745, the balance of the force
being composed of Dutch and Austrians; but this strength in the
field, trifling though it was, was only attained by reducing the
garrisons of Great Britain to fifteen thousand men, mostly raw
recruits. The Duke of Cumberland on the 11th of May, 1745, fought
and lost a murderous battle at Fontenoy; and in July there came the
astounding news that Prince Charles Edward had landed in Scotland
and was gathering the Highland clans about him. In the whole of
North Britain there were only three thousand untrained men who
wore the red coat; and bold action combined with good fortune on
the part of Prince Charles soon filled these with the spirit of
panic. Within little more than two months he was at Edinburgh and,
but for the garrisons of the Castle of Stirling and one or two
lesser strongholds, master of the country. Urgent messengers were
sent to Cumberland in Flanders for reinforcements; and not English
troops only, but Dutch and Hessians, were hurried across the German
Ocean to save the throne of the Guelphs. There was every reason to
dread lest the remnant of the army in Flanders, reduced to utter
weakness by the loss of these detachments, should be overwhelmed by
the French; but fortunately the enemy took no advantage of their
opportunity. Meanwhile Charles by skilful manœuvring evaded the
troops opposed to him and reached Derby; and there now seemed to
be nothing to prevent him from entering London. Fearing, however,
the closing in of the British forces in his rear, and hearing
that French troops had landed at Montrose to join him, he retired
once more to Scotland; nor was it until he had won two or three
further small actions, that he was finally and hopelessly defeated
at Culloden. By that time, though he had landed originally with
but seven companions and had never commanded more than seven or
eight thousand mostly undisciplined men, he had kept the bulk of
the British Army employed for over nine months, and had beaten
several detachments of it handsomely. The episode is generally
treated as a romantic adventure; but it is really one of the most
discreditable to be found in our history; and it was due entirely
to the fanatics, both Whig and Tory, who were always clamouring
against a standing army.

After the defeat of the insurgents the war was continued in the
Low Countries, where the Allies sustained two more defeats, until
in 1748, owing to the exhaustion of all parties, it was closed
by the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, leaving the French and English
at the end very much as they had been at the beginning. In a way
it might seem that the British had been dragged into the contest
mainly on account of the Kingdom of Hanover, but, as we shall see
in a future lecture, the war resolved itself into a continuation of
the struggle with France for the possession of the new world. That
struggle in fact never ceased over the seas, both east and west,
and early in 1756 it came to an issue in open war. As usual England
was unready. German troops were actually imported for the defence
of the realm; Minorca was taken by the French; everything went
wrong in America; and the state of affairs seemed to be desperate.
At last a competent Minister, William Pitt the elder, was raised to
power and from that moment things began to improve. The foreign
troops were sent back to Germany; their place was taken by Militia;
and an immense levy of recruits was begun for the increase of the
regular Army. In the year 1756 France, Austria, Russia and Sweden
leagued themselves together to crush Frederick the Great; and Pitt,
perceiving that America might be conquered in Germany, decided to
send a contingent of British troops, together with Hanoverians
and Hessians, to Frederick's assistance. Moreover, as we had no
competent general of our own, he asked Frederick to provide one;
and thus for the first time British troops were placed under the
command of a foreign general for service on the Continent. Few
people know anything of the campaigns of Ferdinand of Brunswick,
though they are distinguished by two of the finest performances of
the British soldier: of the infantry at Minden, and of the cavalry
at Warburg. And the reason of this is that, as I have said, the
expedition, so far as England was concerned, was a diversion to
help her to the conquest of the Empire. That conquest proceeded
apace during the years 1759 to 1762, and by the end of the latter
year we had expelled the French from Canada, India and the West
Indies, besides depriving the Spaniards of Havana and Manila. The
process demanded a great number of troops, for seventy-five per
cent. of the men in the West Indies died or were incapacitated for
further service, and it is here that we strike the weak point of
Pitt's military administration.

The great Minister saw the importance of reorganising the Militia,
though as a matter of fact he never enforced his own scheme
of passing all able-bodied men through the ranks--or in other
words of instituting national service. But he never matured nor
even considered (so far as we can discover) any sound scheme
for maintaining the voluntary army that was serving abroad. His
only plan was to name a certain sum for bounty, and scatter
broadcast commissions to any individuals who would undertake to
raise independent companies or regiments. In this way the nominal
strength of the Army was brought up to one hundred and fifty
battalions of infantry and thirty-two of cavalry, the numbered
regiments of infantry being as many as one hundred and twenty-four.
Comparatively few of these new regiments survived, because they
had been formed simply and solely to be broken up immediately and
drafted into other battalions. But what did this mean? It meant in
the first place that hundreds of officers went about the country
trying to make money out of the recruiting business by obtaining
recruits for less than the prescribed bounty, and pocketing the
difference. It meant secondly that crimps arose by the score who
contracted to supply recruits to these officers, of course at a
considerable profit to themselves, and that thus there were so
to speak two middlemen to be paid out of the bounty as well as
the recruit. The inevitable result was that the country paid vast
sums to obtain worn-out old men, half-witted lads and weedy boys,
who were absolutely useless in the field, and served only to fill
graves and hospitals. Moreover, it was saddled with the obligation
of giving half-pay to field-officers, captains and even subalterns,
who had gained their rank by the simple process of a bargain with
the crimps. Meanwhile the recruits, being enlisted not for some old
corps with a regimental history and a regimental pride of its own,
but for some ephemeral battalion which was dispersed as soon as
formed, felt no sentiment of honour in their calling and deserted
right and left. One consequence of this exceedingly wasteful
system was that the resources of England both in money and men
were exhausted before peace was made, and that the war could not
have been carried on for another twelve months even if it had been
necessary. But yet more fatal than this was the misfortune that
the system, owing to its supposed success, received consecration
from the great name of Pitt. In the bitter struggle with France
which began in 1793 and ended at Waterloo I have said that France
squandered men to save money, and that England squandered money to
save men. The elder Pitt squandered both money and men.

The conclusion of peace in 1763 found England in possession of
Gibraltar and Minorca in Europe; Bermuda, the Bahamas, several
West Indian Islands and practically the entire continent of North
America east of the Rocky Mountains from the mouth of the St
Lawrence in the north to the Lower Mississippi in the south. I omit
the name of India, for that is a subject to be treated separately.
The military establishment of England and Ireland for the defence
of this vast Empire was fixed at about forty-five thousand men,
two-thirds of them roughly speaking at home, and one-third abroad.
This was neither more nor less than madness; yet nevertheless many
were found, so great a man as Burke among them, to condemn the
"huge increase" as they called it of the Army. But this was not the
worst. Prices generally had risen and the pay of the soldier was
too small for his subsistence; wherefore recruits could hardly be
obtained by any shift, and the ranks of regiments were miserably
empty. Reeling under the burden of the debts bequeathed by the
late war, England proposed to the Colonies that they should share
that burden with her. The North American provinces admitted the
justice of the claim but made no effort to meet it; whereupon the
British Government, after exhausting all expedients for obtaining
a contribution from them, fell back upon the only possible solution
of the problem--impartial taxation of all the Colonies by Act of
the Imperial Parliament, with a special provision that every penny
of the money so raised should be spent in the Colonies themselves.
A faction in the Colonies raised a loud outcry over this; and the
question, owing to mismanagement in England and to the provocative
violence of the American agitators, finally issued in war between
Mother-country and Colonies.

The task of bringing America to submission by force of arms was a
military operation beyond the strength of any nation in the world
at that time, and very far beyond that of England as she was in
1775. No effort was made to augment the Army until hostilities
had actually broken out, and consequently there were no troops
at hand. Recruiting, moreover, was so difficult, owing to the
insufficiency of the pay, that the country resorted to the hiring
of German mercenaries and to the transfer of Hanoverian battalions
to Gibraltar and Minorca, so as to release four British battalions
from thence. Faction violently obstructed all military measures
until a great disaster to our arms in 1777 made it practically
certain that France would declare war; but then, in spite of all
the ravings of the King's enemies at home, patriotic feeling
prevailed, and fifteen thousand men in new regiments were raised
by private subscription alone. Troubles multiplied now on all
sides; troubles in India, in Ireland, in Great Britain, everywhere.
France declared war in 1778, Spain in 1779; Holland became an open
enemy in 1780; and the Northern Powers formed an Armed Neutrality
to curb our pretensions at sea. What with regular troops and
embodied militia we had more than one hundred and eighty thousand
British soldiers afoot, besides some twenty thousand Germans; but
this was not enough. Our preparations, thanks to Parliament's
eternal jealousy of the Army, were made too late. Our military
policy was wrong, for we dispersed our forces so as to endeavour to
hold every point; and thus we were everywhere overmatched. The war
ended with the loss of America and very nearly of India also; of
Minorca in Europe, of Senegal and Goree in West Africa, and of St
Lucia and Tobago in the West Indies.

It might be supposed that England, after such a disastrous lesson,
would have set her military house in order. Nothing was further
from the thoughts of the Ministry which governed her after the
conclusion of peace. They--Lord North and Mr Fox--were in such a
hurry to get rid of the Army that they discharged every man that
they could, and allowed the garrison of England to sink below
seven thousand men. By this time India demanded a garrison of
over six thousand men, and the Colonies still left to us, together
with Gibraltar, twelve thousand more. Besides these, the estimates
allowed for thirty-two thousand men in Great Britain and Ireland;
but not above half of them were forthcoming because recruits would
not enlist; and the reason why they did not enlist was because
their pay was insufficient to keep them from starving. William Pitt
the younger took over the administration in 1784, and did admirable
service in setting the national finance upon a sound footing, but
would do nothing for the Army. A dangerous war in India compelled
him to allow some new regiments to be raised at the expense of
the East India Company; but though thrice in seven years the
country was on the verge of an European war, he did nothing for
the British soldier until 1792 when he grudgingly doled out to him
a small pittance. He suffered the militia to decay in number and
efficiency; and he almost destroyed the discipline of the regular
troops by failing to provide them with a military head. In 1789 the
French Revolution broke out, and the course of events in France was
in itself enough to demand some increase of our military resources;
but even so late as at the close of 1792 he actually reduced the
British establishment. Within a very few months he found himself
dragged into a war which to all intents did not end until 1815.

Pitt's idea was to compel France to submission by taking all her
Colonies and ruining all her commerce; but it was necessary to send
troops at short notice to Holland in order to hearten the Dutch to
resistance; and, as there were no others to send, he despatched
the Guards. The remainder of the Army, most excellent men but very
few in number, he hurried off to the West Indies. This done, he
set to work to make the Army, which should have been ready made,
according to his father's methods by large bounties and giving
commissions to any who would raise companies and regiments. Endless
corps of weakly men were thus created, and endless bad officers
admitted to the service. The old soldiers in the West Indies did
their work admirably, but perished almost to a man, as I shall
explain to you in another lecture. In the Low Countries also, where
the British were not fairly used by the Allies under whose command
they were working, the old soldiers were soon used up; and we were
left without any Army. Even at home, where there was some peril
of invasion, Pitt did not pass the nation through the ranks of
the Militia, as he should have done, but either enlisted soldiers
voluntarily for home service only, or permitted the citizens
to enrol themselves in innumerable little useless bodies of
Volunteers. The operations in the Low Countries ended disastrously.
In the West Indies practically the whole of the captured islands
were recaptured by the French; and at the close of three years of
war Pitt had expended many millions of money, and had nothing to
show for it whatever.

By great exertions and appalling sacrifice of life the lost ground
in the West Indies was recovered by a rabble of young soldiers,
who died like flies as soon as the campaign was over; and once
again we were left without an army. The climax came in 1797 when
the Navy mutinied, owing to the small pay and ill-treatment meted
out to it; and it was thought safer, when matters were set right,
to raise the pay of the Army also. Now at last there appeared a
man who began to set things in order. The Duke of York, second
son of King George III, took the post of Commander-in-Chief at
the Horse Guards; reorganised, or rather created, a competent
staff at head-quarters, set his face steadily against Pitt's vile
methods of raising recruits, and restored the discipline of the
Army. In 1799 the declining fortunes of France and the successes
of a new coalition against her stimulated Pitt to find some new
method of recruiting the Army. He resolved to turn to the Militia
as a training ground for the regular troops; and the Duke of
York insisted that the soldiers so raised should be formed into
second battalions for existing regiments instead of being framed
into new corps. Thirty-six thousand of them were hurried off to
Holland without clothing, supplies or transport, and after three
or four barren victories and one serious reverse, were thankful
to return again under a capitulation. They had been required to
do impossibilities and had failed. In the following year the same
men, much improved in discipline, were kept idle when they ought
to have been fighting as allies with the Austrians in Italy; and
thus Napoleon was enabled to win the victory of Marengo, which made
his fortune as First Consul, and allowed him to trouble Europe for
another fifteen years. However in 1801 England at last restored
her reputation a little by a brilliant campaign in Egypt and the
capture of the French army in that country. To all intents this was
our one solid success in nine years of fighting. Never was there
more gross mismanagement of a war by any Minister.

After a short truce, war broke out again in 1803, Pitt was not
then in power, but was the patron and more or less the adviser of
Addington's weak administration. That was the period when Napoleon
made great and serious preparations for an invasion of England; and
it was necessary to take unprecedented measures for home defence.
Instead of thinking out some plan for training the entire manhood
of the nation to arms, expanding the Militia and compelling every
man to serve in it, Addington and his colleagues devised a system
which was one long tissue of absurdities. They began by instituting
a ballot for fifty thousand Militia, but permitted the ballotted
men to provide substitutes instead of serving in person. The price
of substitutes soon rose to £30, ten times the amount of the
bounty offered to recruits for the Regular Army; and as a natural
consequence all the men who should have enlisted in the Army were
drawn into the Militia, while the men who should have served in
the Militia did not serve at all. Having failed to raise fifty
thousand Militia, Ministers asked for twenty-five thousand more on
the same terms, which raised the price of substitutes still higher.
They then asked for corps of Volunteers upon very favourable
conditions, and then ordained that fifty thousand more men should
be raised by ballot, once again with substitution permitted, and
should be formed into second battalions to the Regular Army. They
next passed an Act compelling all able-bodied men to undergo
compulsory training, unless a certain proportion came forward
as Volunteers upon less favourable terms than those offered to
the first Volunteers. Thus there were three different kinds of
ballotted men and two different kinds of Volunteers. The result
was that recruiting for the Regular Army was killed, at great
expense, while the whole of the levies were failures; and the only
reason was that the Government had not the courage to insist upon
the country's undoubted right to the service of every able-bodied
citizen for her defence.

Addington was swept out of office; and Pitt came in again. He
brought in a bill to form a new army of Reserve, which was an utter
failure; and he then fell back on the old expedient of offering
a bounty to Militiamen to enlist in the Regulars. In this way,
which was faithfully followed until the close of the war in 1814,
he raised some semblance of an Army; but he did not know how to
use it, and he died in January, 1806, thinking the cause of Europe
hopeless. A Ministry which included most of the ablest men in
England was formed upon his death; and they introduced an Act for
national training to arms, excellent in principle but not properly
worked out in detail, and abolished the Volunteers. This was a step
in the right direction, but was taken too late. The Ministry of All
the Talents, as it was called, resigned early in 1807; and then at
last the War Office passed into the hands of a capable man, Lord
Castlereagh. He began by taking forty thousand men from the Militia
into the Regular Army, and raising as many--by extremely drastic
methods--to refill the empty ranks of the Militia. He then devised
a scheme which unfortunately was not enforced, for making national
training a reality; and finally he established a new Militia called
the Local Militia of two hundred thousand men for home defence,
keeping the old Militia to furnish recruits for the Regular Army.

Thus for the first time in our history there was a Regular Army
of from forty to fifty thousand men, fit to go anywhere and do
anything, together with the means of refilling their ranks as fast
as they were depleted by active service.

The number was small but, properly employed, it could be of great
use. In 1807 Napoleon had shamelessly and treacherously invaded
Spain and Portugal. In 1808 the people of both countries rose
against the invaders, and England's one army was sent to support
them. I told you in my first lecture that a campaign was like a
picnic; but our European campaigns of any importance had hitherto
been confined to the cockpits, where food was abundant and wars
so frequent that contractors could always be found to look to
the food-supply. The Peninsula is a very different country,
comprehending a few fertile districts only together with a vast
deal of barren mountain--a country, according to a well-known
saying, where small armies were beaten and large armies were
starved. The French armies in Spain were large armies, amounting
to three hundred thousand men, and the Spanish troops, badly led
and badly organised, could make no stand against them. How could
the British hope with forty thousand men or less to combat three
hundred thousand? In this way. The population of the Peninsula was
so bitterly hostile to the invaders that the French could not be
said to have any hold of the country, except of such part of it as
was actually occupied by their soldiers. It was therefore to the
interest of the French, in order to feed their troops as well as to
hold down the Spaniards, that their armies should be scattered as
much as possible. The very wise and sagacious soldier, Sir Arthur
Wellesley, who was charged with the command of our army, reasoned
as follows. We have a port of entry and a base of operations at
Lisbon, to which we can send by sea everything that we want. Being
also masters at sea we can prevent the French from making any use
of it; and they must bring into Spain by land everything that
they want. The roads are very bad, so that this in itself will
be a heavy task; and there are so many dangerous defiles to be
passed that the Spaniards may always lie in wait to capture French
convoys. There is one great advantage for us.

Now as long as we have forty thousand men at Lisbon, the French
must always keep rather more in a compact body to watch us, which
means that they must collect fifty or sixty thousand men together
instead of leaving them dispersed to hold the country down; which
means in its turn that so long as I remain in their front, there
must be Spaniards unsubdued and ready to do mischief to their
outlying posts and scattered detachments in their rear. Very well.
But what if the French assemble a very large force, and try to
overwhelm me once for all? They cannot take a very large force by
any one route, because they live on the country and the country
will not support them; but if they bring sixty thousand against
my forty thousand, I can stop them. Twenty-five miles north of
Lisbon is ground that can be made so strong that even Portuguese
Militia could hold it, under good leadership, especially with my
army to back them. Moreover the Portuguese have an ancient law
that provides for the desertion of all villages, the driving off
of all cattle, and the removal of all grain--in fact the laying
waste of their country--before an invader. If then the French
advance against me in Portugal, I shall retire before them to my
fortified lines, leaving the country a waste behind me. If they
attack me, all the better. I shall beat them. If they sit down in
front of me, I have no objection. I shall have all the resources
of the world behind me at Lisbon, while they will only have a
devastated wilderness behind them. They may wait for a time, but
they will have to send their troops further and further afield to
scrape together food, and the peasants will cut the throats of all
stragglers. Sickness will increase among their soldiers for want
of proper nourishment; their numbers will fall lower and lower and
lower; and at last sheer starvation will compel them to retreat.

And now, mark how I shall get the better of them. I shall provide
my army with the means of carrying victuals with it. The task
will be extraordinarily difficult, for the country is rough and
the roads so infamous that we cannot use wheeled vehicles; but I
shall organise a vast train of twelve to fifteen thousand mules to
carry everything that we want on their backs. The French, a body
of starving men, will have to hurry their retreat, for they have
to pass through a devastated country. We, with our bellies full,
shall be able to follow them up and cut off thousands of weakly
dispirited men. In time they will reach the fortresses which they
hold on the Spanish frontier, and there we must stop, while they
go back still further to some fertile district where they will
find provisions. But their army will be absolutely ruined for the
time, weakened by its losses and demoralised by its sufferings.
As I advance I shall establish magazines along the route so that
I may keep my army fed, and threaten their fortresses. They will
be obliged to revictual these fortresses from time to time, and to
do so in presence of my army they will have to collect once more
fifty or sixty thousand men, and leave the country behind them to
the mercy of the Spanish guerilla bands. If I can stop them by
fighting a general action in a strong position with good hope of
success, I shall do so. If I cannot, I shall fall back once more,
burning or emptying my magazines, to play the same game again.
But the oftener I lead them over the same country, the more it
will be exhausted. Their system of living on the country is very
wasteful. The brutality of their starving soldiers to the peasantry
is driving more and more land out of cultivation; and the time will
come when they will be unable to assemble their troops except at
harvest, but will be obliged to keep them dispersed all through
the winter in order to keep them alive. It will take them three or
four weeks to collect, with enormous difficulty, food and transport
enough for even a fortnight's campaign, and I shall use those
three or four weeks to make a swift and sudden attack upon their
fortresses; for having the means of feeding my troops, I can do so.
They will be obliged to look on helplessly until I have taken the
strong places; and, when at last they advance, they will be unable
to retake them, until they have driven me back; and I shall only
retire until they have exhausted their provisions, and shall then
advance again.

From these fortresses I shall penetrate into Spain to threaten
other fortresses, rousing the whole country more than ever against
the French; until at last I compel them to loose their hold upon
the south of Spain, and concentrate a really gigantic force
against me. I shall then retreat as before to Portugal. They will
be unable to keep their gigantic force for long together from
want of food; and I shall begin the whole game all over again;
while their men waste away by tens of thousands from fatigue and
hardship and incessant petty attacks of the Spanish guerillas. It
is only a question of time before Napoleon is distracted by serious
operations outside Spain; when once he begins to reduce his army in
the Peninsula, we shall gradually drive it into France; and then
we shall see how long Frenchmen will allow it to live on their own
country as it has lived on Spain. I for my part shall follow it
up, paying punctually for everything that I take, and allowing no
plunder; and we shall see which army gets on the better.

There in a nutshell is the history of the Peninsular War. Does it
not sound simple after the event? But think of the sagacity and
insight of the man who perceived all these possibilities before
the event; and of the courage and force of character which enabled
him to carry his policy into effect. Patience, the great attribute
of Marlborough, was the quality which shone above all others in
Wellington. And remember that he had to subdue not only himself to
patience, but his army, and the British nation, and the Spanish
nation and the Portuguese nation. Following his difficulties
through his correspondence one marvels how ever he overcame them.
The British Government, let people say what they will, supported
him well in the face of great obstacles and in the teeth of bitter
resistance from an unscrupulous Opposition; but they gained greatly
from Wellington's moral support. Spain and Portugal had practically
no government, and such authority as existed was to a great extent
distributed among fools and knaves. In truth Wellington really
administered the government of Portugal for four years, besides
commanding the British and Portuguese armies in the field. Never
allow yourselves to be abridged of your pride in Wellington by
petty detractors, British or foreign. German and French writers,
for some strange reason, unite to decry him as a commander. Do
not listen to them. Not one of them knows anything of any of his
campaigns except that of Waterloo. He was a very great commander in
every way, and beyond all doubt (at least such is my opinion) the
very greatest of his time upon the actual field of battle. He was
not a genial character. He had none of Marlborough's irresistible
charm, which made even the privates call him Corporal John. He
was never loved by man nor woman, nor by any but children not his
own. By self-imposed discipline--as I believe--rather than by
nature he was cold, hard, unsympathetic, and inclined to account
the individual man as nothing in comparison with the sanctity of a
principle. Hence he broke the heart of more than one good officer
who had served him well. But he was incapable of anything common
or mean; he was as hard to himself as to the humblest of his
subordinates; and his conception of duty to Sovereign and Country
was so high, and at the same time so spontaneous and natural, that
his must always remain the standard by which our public men will
be measured. No! if any one ever presumes to hint to you that
Wellington was not a great man, you may ask him if a small man
could constrain three nations for four years to patience, and raise
the standard of public duty for ever in his own country. This is
the centenary of his greatest campaign and most brilliant military
achievement; but long after they an forgotten men will repeat his
saying "The King's Government must be carried on."

After the twenty-three years of fighting concluded at Waterloo
people imagined that wars would cease. There was much social and
commercial distress in England; and as usual the British mind
fastened itself upon the reduction of the Army as the remedy
for all evils. There arose also a political sect which preached
the inimitably absurd doctrine that Free Trade would bring about
universal peace. The military and naval establishments were cut
down to a dangerously low figure; and all the organisation, which
Wellington had created for the feeding of an army, was allowed to
decay. At last in 1854 came the war in the Crimea; and there was a
repetition of all that had happened in 1792. A small number of very
fine regiments was with difficulty scraped together, and sent to
the East with no very definite idea as to what they should do, and
therefore necessarily without preparation of any kind. Eventually
the troops were landed in the Crimea and marched upon Sevastopol.
They fought a few magnificent actions, and perished of cold, want
and exposure within ten miles of the sea, of which we had absolute
command. It was therefore necessary to improvise a new army by the
old expedients of bounties, hiring foreign mercenaries, and so
forth. Hundreds of boys were sent out to die after the old fashion;
and the Militia were employed, with their own consent, to take over
part of the Mediterranean garrisons, and to release the regular
troops there for active service. By dint of extravagant expenditure
an efficient army was formed within the space of two years, just in
time to witness the conclusion of peace.

That was our last European war. It woke us up a little; and we
were still further roused by the triumph of the Germans over the
French in 1870. We took our army more or less in hand, improved
the organisation by substituting regiments of two battalions for
regiments of one battalion, and introduced a system of enlisting
men not for twenty-one years with the colours, but for seven
with the colours and five in the Reserve. The system worked
badly at first, when we had to provide troops for small colonial
expeditions; but the faults were gradually amended; and the
organisation stood the test fairly well in 1899 and 1900 in South
Africa. We can now send 150,000 men abroad perfectly equipped,
which is more than we could ever do before; but other nations count
their armies by millions, and in reality we are as far behindhand
as ever we were. We have no means of replacing those 150,000 within
six months, which would be necessary in case of a great war; much
less have we means of expanding their numbers to twice 150,000 and
keeping their ranks filled; and we have no efficient force of any
strength, not even the old Militia, for home defence, while our
150,000 are abroad. Do not think that I am "talking politics." I
am only stating plain facts. I cannot discuss, nor even propound,
the questions which these facts suggest; but I cannot avoid the
assertion of the facts themselves, for they are essential to our
understanding of our subject--they are indeed the pith of British
military history.



LECTURE III

BRITISH COLONIAL CAMPAIGNS


I propose in my present lecture to deal with our colonial campaigns
at large. You will recognise at once that a colonial campaign
differs from other campaigns in one essential point. One does not
attempt to form colonies in any but an empty or comparatively
empty country, first because in any other there is no room for
colonists, and secondly because a numerous native population may be
subdued but cannot be displaced. It is therefore imperative that
the indigenous inhabitants of a country, whither settlers propose
to emigrate, shall be few; and it is practically as imperative
that, unless their numbers are so scanty as to be negligible, they
shall be of inferior civilisation, so that they may not be able
to fight the settlers on equal terms. Now what do inferiority of
civilisation and paucity of numbers mean, militarily speaking, to
the civilised invader? They mean, first of all, no roads or at
the very best rough tracks, and no bridges over rivers; they mean
further rude cultivation and very small stores, if any, of cereal
food. This signifies in its turn that the great problem of the
campaign will be how to feed your force in the field, or as we now
call it the problem of transport (for the campaign will be more
than ever a picnic) and of supply. In the matter of actual combat
the uncivilised enemy will have the advantage certainly of perfect
adaptation to the climate, intimate knowledge of the country, and
generally of stronger physical endurance, greater rapidity of
movement, and decided superiority in eyesight and hearing. His
disadvantages will be inferior organisation, inferior armament, and
inexperience of the need for providing a great multitude with food
at a distance from its provision-grounds. Speaking generally the
sound principle of savage warfare is this--to equip yourself with
a good service for transport and supply, march up to your enemy,
sit down and fortify yourself in a strong position. Your enemy must
then do one of three things: attack you, in which case he is sure
to be defeated; move on; or starve. He is not likely to attempt
attack after a lesson or two, and therefore as a rule he will move
on. You then move after him and sit down again, destroying or
appropriating his provision-grounds and capturing his cattle, as
you find opportunity. By this method you must infallibly bring him
to submission. It was thus that George Monk subdued the Highlands.

It is not, however, by any means always possible to pursue this
policy. Your adversaries may be dwellers in forests, such as the
Red Indian; or in wooded mountains, such as the Kaffir and the
Carib; or defended in part by an arid wilderness, as are the
Soudanis. Moreover they may be a people of military instincts and
organisation, with their own skilful system of tactics, and a sense
of honour which prefers death to disgrace. Such were that most
gallant race, the Zulus. Or they may be of a magnificent strength
and stature with a fanatical contempt for death, as the Dervishes.
Or they may combine something of the Zulu with their own very
elaborate system of fortification, as the Maoris. Each race and
country presents its own peculiar features and problems, which
need to be considered and solved upon their merits. But speaking
generally the difference between the civilised and uncivilised
fighter is this, that the one takes care to carry his food with
him, whereas the other does not.

Now what is true of a savage country at the outset usually remains
true for some time, indeed for a very long time, after civilised
settlement has begun. The supplies of food are small, for a small
population cannot grow much produce, and has no occasion to lay
in a great store; roads and means of communication are few and
bad; and there is hardly a bridge to be found. If all the miles
of macadamised road existent in the whole of the British Empire
at this moment were added together, I doubt if they would equal,
or even nearly equal, those of the British Isles alone. Bearing
these things in mind, and remembering that two centuries ago there
were very few paved roads in Europe, and not a single macadamised
road until less than a century ago, let us look for a time at our
colonial Military History.

Our earliest settlements were made in North America and the West
Indies; the latter slightly earlier than the former but to all
intent contemporaneously; and the Dutch and French were there
very nearly as early as we ourselves, at the beginning of the
seventeenth century. In North America the settlers naturally
established themselves first on the coast, using the great rivers
as water-ways to penetrate into the back country. The Dutch in
the first instance chose one of the most important of those
rivers, building the town of New Amsterdam at the mouth of the
Hudson. The French took perhaps the most important of all, the St
Lawrence, founding Quebec near its mouth and Montreal a little
higher up. Lastly the Spaniards held the south and the mouth of the
Mississippi, so far away that they were of small concern either to
the French or the English. South of the St Lawrence the English
colonists scattered themselves in the course of the seventeenth
century along more than a thousand miles of coast from the Kennebec
to the Savannah. Quebec itself was captured in 1627 from the French
but, in spite of the protests of far-seeing men, was given back
under a treaty of peace in 1632. New Amsterdam was taken from the
Dutch in 1664, and retained as New York. In their early days most
of these settlements came into hostile collision with the Indians
at one time or another, but were able to hold their own, for they
had brought with them over the ocean the old English principle that
all able-bodied men were liable to service for domestic defence.
New York, however, did even better; for that Colony specially
cultivated the friendship of the Five Nations--the most formidable
of the Indians--for the sake not only of the fur-trade, but of
protection against other Indians and dangerous neighbours on the
north.

Those dangerous neighbours were of course the French. Their
colonies on the St Lawrence were strictly military, the settlers
being mostly old soldiers who received their grants of land in
reward for past and in consideration of future service; while
the government was despotic and centred in a military officer of
experience and ability. The younger French settlers were always
attracted by the free life of the Indians in the forest; hence
every man was a skilful woodman, a good marksman and a trained
canoe-man, in fact a better sportsman and warrior than colonist.
Moreover they and the Jesuits, who both ministered to their
spiritual needs and laboured to convert and rule the Indians, were
enterprising and intrepid explorers. They soon wandered through
the whole chain of lakes, found the rivers Illinois and Wisconsin
running out of Lake Michigan, and followed them down the whole
course of the Mississippi to New Orleans, taking possession of the
entire country in the name of Louis XIV. This they accomplished
in 1680, five years before the death of King Charles II; and we
ought always to salute the gallant French nation in honour of
the brave men who essayed and accomplished this great feat of
exploration. From that moment the French conceived the notion of
getting behind us along the entire length of the continent, and
confining us to the coast, with the power always of coming down
upon our settlements from the rear at any convenient opportunity,
and driving us into the sea. It is a very general system with the
French, which they have attempted in our own time in West Africa.
They always explore and they always make maps, being a practical
people, and the result is that they always get the better of us in
disputes over boundaries. Their strong points in America in the
seventeenth century were their unity and enterprise. Their weak
points were their numbers (for they did not exceed twelve thousand)
and the fact that they raised no great quantity of food.

The English settlers on the other hand were agriculturalists, and
each community was distinct, jealous and self-centred. In New York
there was a large trade with the Indians; and the pious Quakers
of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island used to finance pirates who at
one time nearly swept our East Indian trade off the seas. But
for the most part they quietly tilled the soil, or in the north
went fishing; nor could any power induce even a few of them to
unite their forces against the French. They would invade each
other, for they were a most cantankerous people, but would never
make a combined effort against the common enemy. New York and New
England, being nearest to the French, made endeavours from time
to time to drive them out, but always failed owing to provincial
jealousies, want of discipline, want of organisation, want of
efficient leaders. There are two waterways, broken in places by
rapids, which, as you know, lead from New York to the St Lawrence;
the one by the Mohawk and Lake Ontario, the other by the Hudson and
Lakes George and Champlain; and these waterways were the scene of
all the fighting for the mastery of Canada. In 1690 and 1691 New
York and New England made a desperate but inefficient attempt to
take Quebec. They failed miserably, though New England alone could
pit ninety thousand settlers against the French twelve thousand.
The French, united and well commanded, took the offensive, broke
down the power of the Five Indian Nations--the principal defensive
barrier of the English settlements--and the Colonies were reduced
to shrieking to England for help.

Queen Anne sent an expedition to the St Lawrence in 1711, which
failed owing to the incompetence of the commander; but none the
less at the Peace of Utrecht France ceded to us Nova Scotia.
Thereupon the French proceeded to fortify all the commanding
points on the lakes (remember that the waterways were the only
ways by which an army could be supplied), and established a naval
station on Cape Breton to harass British shipping in future wars.
This was the celebrated fortress of Louisburg; and the building
of it was a very costly mistake. Why? Because it was situated in
a barren territory which could raise nothing and support nothing,
wherefore Louisburg could only be provisioned from without and
from the sea. Without superiority at sea therefore Louisburg must
starve; with superiority at sea it was a superfluity. The rival
settlers and their Indians continued to raid each other perpetually
along their frontiers until the War of the Austrian Succession
brought about overt hostilities; and then in 1745 the forces of
New England, commanded by a lawyer and with the help of a British
squadron, besieged and took Louisburg. This was a brilliant feat
for amateurs, though of course the most difficult part of the
work was done by British sailors; but upon the peace of 1748 the
British Government very wisely restored Louisburg, preferring to
keep Madras in the East Indies in its place. On the other hand
the British established a military settlement of old soldiers at
Halifax.

The French now began seriously to pursue their policy of
establishing themselves in rear of the British colonies, by
forcibly occupying two British settlements on the Ohio, and
building a chain of forts to maintain the communications between
these, Lake Erie and Montreal. The Governor of Virginia sent a
young officer of Militia, named George Washington, to tell them
to go, but was answered that the French had no intention of
moving. The Colonies with the greatest difficulty were brought to
vote a small sum of money for a force to drive the French out;
and Washington advanced again to Ohio, only to be surrounded by
superior numbers and forced to surrender. This might, one would
have thought, have roused the Colonies; but with the exception
of New England, which was burning to capture Canada, one and all
showed the completest apathy. The Americans had, and still have,
all the modern English indifference to national duty and military
preparations. To the enduring shame of the Colonies, therefore,
application was made to England for help; and two regiments were
sent out under General Braddock, a capable but narrow-minded
officer, who had no idea of military operations except as carried
out in a European cock-pit. His difficulties were great, for his
march lay for one hundred miles through dense forests, which
provided neither forage for animals nor food for men; and, when
animals have to carry their own food, they have little strength
to carry more. The only chance was to move lightly and rapidly;
whereas on the contrary Braddock encumbered himself with waggons
which necessitated an advanced party of three hundred axe-men to
clear away trees and obstacles. Nor did he make any effort to
train his troops to bush-fighting; and hence when caught at a
disadvantage by the enemy on the march, they were seized with panic
and cut to pieces. An advance of the local forces of New England
towards the St Lawrence was also a failure, owing to the usual
indiscipline of the Colonial levies, and the entire campaign ended
in disaster.

A few more troops were sent from England in the following year,
1756, together with a new general; but he could accomplish little,
having inadequate forces and being unable to persuade the Colonists
to provide more. The conduct of campaigns by New England lawyers
was in fact most wasteful and inefficient. In 1757, as we have
seen, Pitt came to the head of affairs; but he had not time to make
provision for a more effective management of the war in America;
and all the successes of the year were on the side of the French.
At last in 1758 a new commander-in-chief, General Jeffery Amherst,
was appointed; the regular soldiers were increased to the number
of twenty-six thousand; and Pitt undertook to clothe, equip, feed
and arm twenty-five thousand Colonial troops, leaving to the
Colonies only the expense of paying them. Louisburg was besieged
and taken by Amherst, and the French were driven from the Ohio;
but an advance of sixteen thousand men towards the St Lawrence was
checked by a disgraceful reverse, owing to the incapacity of the
British commander. Amherst took personal command on this side in
the following year, leaving Wolfe to attack Quebec; and in 1760 the
resistance of the French entirely collapsed. It needed only careful
organisation and endless pains in the troublesome work of bringing
forward food for the troops to render success certain; and yet the
Americans could not do it. Beyond all question there were brains in
America fully equal to the business of divining exactly what would
be wanted; indeed Benjamin Franklin had to do with the organisation
of Braddock's expedition; but there were no disciplined men who
could be trusted to do exactly what they were told. The British
soldiers were no doubt, to the Colonial mind, helpless and unhandy
beyond expression; but they knew how to obey. If told to do a
thing to-day at ten o'clock, they did not wait till to-morrow at
three--which is the Colonial way--and it is only by punctuality
that a campaign can be even begun. Selfishness, jealousy and
indiscipline were the causes why the Americans, notwithstanding
their huge superiority in number of population, were unable to
conquer the French in Canada without a British army to help them.
Had the position of the two nations been reversed, the French would
have driven us from Canada in twelve months.

The result of our exertions in behalf of the Colonies is well
known. Having delivered them from a dangerous neighbour, we
asked them to share with us the burden of Imperial defence. They
admitted the justice of the claim, but declined to satisfy it.
When we endeavoured to solve the problem by means of the Imperial
Parliament, they resented it with furious violence. English
politicians, too many of them from factious spite, but a few from
higher motives, supported and encouraged them. The question of
Imperial defence was lost sight of. There was mismanagement on
our side, gross provocation on the side of the Colonists; and the
quarrel finally issued in war. The Americans took the offensive
and made a dash upon Canada, whence they were with some difficulty
repulsed. We recaptured New York; and then, by extraordinary
blundering at home, General Burgoyne was ordered to advance south
from Canada upon the supposition that General Howe would advance
northward to meet him from New York; instead of which Howe sailed
to the Delaware and captured Philadelphia. Burgoyne meanwhile
endeavoured to do as he was bidden; but from want of land-transport
found that continued progress through the forest was impossible.
His only chance was, if he could, to capture one of the enemy's
magazines by surprise; and it was the miscarriage of an attempt to
do this which first entangled him in serious danger. He plunged
deeper and deeper into a circle of enemies, and was surrounded and
compelled to surrender; but his campaign was in reality wrecked
by the difficulty of transport and supply in a wild country. In
one space of twenty miles, for instance, he was obliged to fell
trees and build forty bridges over rivers and creeks, with the
result that he took precisely twenty days to traverse the distance.
Invasion on such terms, when the whole population of a country is
hostile, is almost impossible of success. Yet strangely enough the
whole object of the movement from north and south along the line
of the Hudson was to secure the line of the river, and cut off the
colonies to the east from the colonies on the west of it. For the
cereal supplies of the American army were on the west bank, and
the meat supplies on the east; and to deprive them of either would
force them to fight or to disband themselves. Thus, you see, the
question of subsistence was at the root of the whole matter.

The disaster at Saratoga brought the French as allies to the
Americans; and it was the supremacy of the French fleet on the
coast at a critical moment which decided the issue of the war.
There was fighting, and hard fighting, in the southern colonies;
but the Americans would never have beaten us without the help of
the French. Had they been really in earnest they could have driven
us from the country in twelve months, but they were not in earnest.
They wanted other people to do their fighting for them, whether
they were contending against France in 1757 or England in 1780; and
by great good fortune they found such other people ready to their
hand. A few noble and patriotic men did indeed their utmost duty
to their country; but they were very few. The rest were unwilling
to make the sacrifice demanded of them by service in the field and
submission to discipline. Hence their Government was driven to
cruelty and double-dealing of every kind to force their British
prisoners to enter the American ranks, so as to save selfish
citizens from risking their worthless skins. In fact when one
compares the resistance of the three million Americans in 1776-1781
with that of the few hundred thousand Boers in 1899-1902, it is
impossible to regard the American rebellion with any great respect.

In 1812 we were again embroiled with America chiefly owing to
the intrigues of Napoleon, but in great measure also through the
hostility of two of the Presidents. As usual, these two officials
and their supporters counted upon Napoleon to fight their battles
for them, and made no preparations for war, thinking that they
would be able to take Canada with ease from us, who had the great
Emperor and all his forces upon our hands. They were egregiously
undeceived. Their naval officers and sailors acquitted themselves
admirably, though their ships were too few to make head against us
in the open sea. Their troops were for long beneath contempt, owing
to want of training and discipline. We had so much upon our hands
that we could spare few soldiers to meet them; but the Americans
never succeeded, in spite of greatly superior numbers, in taking
Canada; and at last they were glad to make peace without gaining
any of the objects for which they had fought, being absolutely
exhausted and ruined by our naval blockade. But it is to be noticed
that, as usual, transport and supply were the great difficulties
on both sides and that, setting aside some raids on our part which
were not always successful, the main fighting took place on the
waterway of the great lakes, simply because that was the only
quarter in which either side could feed even a small army. In fact
it was impossible, for want of decent roads, to bring forward
supplies except by water; and success or failure to either party
depended wholly upon naval supremacy on the lakes. When we held it
we beat the Americans, when the Americans held it they beat us; so
that practically this was a naval war albeit fought inland.

Let us pass next to the West Indies. Where islands are concerned,
of course naval superiority is essential to every successful
campaign, otherwise you cannot bring either troops or stores to the
scene of action. The Antilles are for the most part of volcanic
formation, mountainous, if a height of three to four thousand feet
may be said to make a mountain, rugged, and in the majority of
cases covered with forest, cultivation generally being confined to
the lower hills and valleys. Situated between the 10th and 23rd
degrees of North latitude, they lie well within the Tropic of
Cancer; and the climate is consequently such that white men cannot
breed and thrive there. Roads in the great majority of the islands
are few, and such as there are frequently traverse ground so steep
that they are paved and not macadamised, lest the surface should be
washed away by the heavy tropical rains. By far the greater number
of such roads (I except the island of Barbados) are mere tracks,
narrow, rough and unfit for vehicles. Bridges are even fewer than
roads, though the islands with which we are chiefly concerned are
furrowed by torrents, which have cut deep ravines and valleys in
their rush from the mountains down to the sea. Hence what with
forests, streams, hills and valleys as steep as those of the
Highlands, it is not easy to move about most of the islands. All
labour was formerly done by negro slaves imported from West Africa,
whose descendants--now for three generations free--still form the
mass of the population. These negroes to a certain extent cultivate
provision-grounds for themselves; but the islands are none of them
self-supporting in the matter of food; and for full two centuries
they have been supplied with flour, maize, salt fish and salt
pork from America. Strategically they fall into two groups: the
Windward, comprising the chain of islets which runs for some six
hundred miles north and westward from Trinidad to St Thomas; and
the Leeward, consisting of the far larger islands of Porto Rico,
St Domingo, Jamaica and Cuba, which run nearly due west from St
Thomas. Everything in the West Indies is windward or leeward, that
is to say is considered in respect of its situation towards the
south-easterly trade-wind, which in the days of sailing ships was
a very important matter. Say, for instance, that the General in
Jamaica asked for reinforcements from the General at Barbados,
the most leewardly from the most windwardly of our possessions;
the General in Barbados had to think twice before sending them
because, though they would probably reach Jamaica in a week, they
could not be sure of beating back in three months. In fact no
captain in old days would have attempted such a thing, for it would
have been quite as speedy and far Less exhausting to sail back to
England by a circuitous course and make a fresh start for Barbados
from thence. So too between any two islands the same question of
windward and Leeward was equally cogent. Martinique, the French
head-quarters in the Windward group, is little over one hundred
miles from Barbados, the English head-quarters; but while you may
sail from Barbados to Martinique in twelve hours, you will not beat
back in less than three or four days.

The Spaniards, as you know, were the first in the West Indies,
but they troubled themselves little about the Windward islets,
occupying by preference the great islands of Porto Rico, St
Domingo, Cuba and Jamaica. We and the French, however, began at
much the same time to occupy the islets to windward, which are
all of about the size of the Isle of Wight, and we did a good
deal of petty squabbling over them. These little places very soon
became enormously rich. Sugar, indigo and spices, produced by
servile labour, brought in enormous profits; while incidentally
the contract for providing the Spanish islands with slaves--known
as the Assiento--which we held for a great many years, was highly
lucrative. Even in the reign of Charles II a Jamaican planter with
an income of £12,000 a year--worth say £50,000 in these days--was
not considered extraordinarily wealthy; and for nearly two
centuries the West Indian was the most powerful mercantile interest
in the British islands.

With aboriginal inhabitants, or Caribs, we never had any very
serious trouble, for they were few in the islands which we
occupied; and in fact though, when incited by our European enemies,
they gave occasional annoyance, they were never the subject of any
serious military expedition until 1772, when a hybrid race, bred
of yellow Carib and African negro, both brave and vigorous, became
rebellious in St Vincent. There were only fifteen hundred of them,
men, women, and children; but it took three thousand soldiers and
marines, backed by two or three ships of war, five entire months
to force them to submission, so formidable were the difficulties
of feeding the troops in the thick forest and deep ravines of the
interior. Few horses and mules were bred in the Windward islands,
so that all the supplies were carried on the heads of negroes. Had
the Caribs, therefore, been a really formidable fighting race, it
would have taken us long to conquer the West Indies. As things
were, we imported the negroes, who bred fast and soon outnumbered
the aborigines; and thus we either compelled the Caribs to move,
or agreed to let them have some patch of territory for their own.
Of course the slaves were not quite an element of safety, and the
whole of the West Indies lived in constant dread of a servile war.
Hence a little garrison was generally kept by every nation in every
island; and at least one fort was erected, as a rule, for defence
of the capital and its harbour against both foreign and domestic
enemies, while smaller works covered less important towns.

An expedition to the West Indies therefore meant almost certainly
something in the nature of a siege until the fort and town were
captured; and, when that was accomplished, the conquest, so far
as white men were concerned, was complete. For in a small island
it was inevitable that the capital should be situated by the best
harbour; and, when this harbour was in an invader's hands, he could
land as many troops as he wished with ease, while he was also
master of all supplies of food, which naturally were stored in the
town. The operations, however, though short were sure to be arduous
owing to the heat of the climate and the ruggedness of the ground;
and therefore it was important that they should be undertaken in
the cool season, that is to say between November and May, in which
latter month the heat and the rains begin to increase and the
climate becomes, or at any rate became, unhealthy. The confinement
of operations to this season is the more imperative, since between
May and October there is always the danger of hurricanes, and the
harbours in which a ship can lie with safety during a hurricane in
the West Indies are not many. You must remember that a hurricane
is not a mere storm--it is a devouring devastation before which
no tree and none but the stoutest houses, carefully equipped for
resistance, can hope to stand.

Our first serious state-directed expedition to the West Indies was
that despatched by Cromwell to St Domingo in 1654. We were not
at war with Spain at the time, and the enterprise was simply a
piece of piracy; but it was equipped on a great scale, the fleet
numbering sixty-five sail and the troops six thousand men. It was
intended that the West Indian and American colonies should furnish
contingents of soldiers; and, when St Domingo had been taken, to
use it as a base of attack against all the Spanish possessions
in the South Atlantic. The expedition, from want of experience,
was ill-equipped; the men, hastily raised levies, were of poor
quality; and the armament did not sail until the end of December,
two months too late. The descent upon St Domingo was a disgraceful
and disastrous failure; fleet and army quarrelled violently; and
the only result of the enterprise was the bloodless capture of
Jamaica, after which fleet and army returned home, leaving a
garrison behind them. Yellow fever broke out immediately and the
garrison was almost annihilated. In October, 1655, reinforcement
arrived, and began at once to die at the rate of twenty men a
day. Fresh reinforcements followed in 1656, and in a few months
two-thirds of these were dead. At last the sickness abated. An
attempt of the Spaniards to recapture the island in 1658 was beaten
off, and Jamaica has remained under the English flag ever since.

Here was a warning for all time as to the conduct of expeditions
to the West Indies. Care must be taken for good understanding
between army and navy; and the fleet must sail from England at
latest in October. We shall see how far this warning has been
observed. The next important expedition to the West Indies was sent
by King William in 1695 to root out the French who had established
themselves at the western end of St Domingo, now called Haiti, and
who were threatening Jamaica from thence. This armament did not
sail till January, three months too late, and consequently did not
begin operations till May. In four months over a thousand out of
the thirteen hundred soldiers had died; while the quarrels between
the naval and military commanders banished all hope of solid
success.

The next great tropical expedition undertaken was that of 1740-1
against Carthagena on the Spanish main, but little outside the
beat of our West Indian squadrons. The enterprise was prompted
by sheer greed of gain; the troops were young and raw recruits
(for of course we had no old soldiers) and numbered six thousand;
American levies to the number of four thousand were sent from
Jamaica to join them; the whole were shamefully ill-equipped; and
finally the armament sailed four months too late. It was exactly
the story of St Domingo over again. The military commander died
on the voyage, and his successor, a feeble creature, was treated
with the greatest contempt by the naval officers. However, the
force reached Carthagena, and the troops were landed; but the
General, mistrusting himself and his men, was so slow and dilatory
in his movements that he delayed the decisive attack until late in
April, and was then repulsed. Sickness, lead and steel had already
reduced his force from nine thousand to little over six thousand
effectives, and on the night of the defeat the yellow fever fell
upon the unhappy army in earnest. In three days--think of this
appalling visitation--in three days the effective men had sunk from
sixty-six hundred to thirty-two hundred; and in ten days more only
a thousand were fit to be landed against an enemy. Reduced to a
mere shadow, the expedition returned to Jamaica, but the yellow
fever went with it; and, within twelve months of the arrival of
the original armament in the tropics, its numbers had shrunk from
nine thousand to fewer than three hundred fit for duty. At the
beginning of 1742 these were joined by a reinforcement of three
thousand men. Within a month a thousand of these were sick or
dead. A thousand more died before October, and at last the force
practically disappeared. Of the four thousand Americans only three
hundred lived to return home; of the nine thousand British a bare
one in ten survived. This on the whole is the most terrible story
that I know in British military history; but perhaps I am led to
think so by Smollett's vivid picture of its horrors in _Roderick
Random_. I remember that I read that book for the first time when
I was an undergraduate at Trinity, little thinking that I should
live to proclaim the fact to a Trinity audience. Every one of you
ought to read it if you have not already done so, to learn at first
hand what was meant by naval and military service in the eighteenth
century.

Here was another warning to strengthen the first. But meanwhile the
West Indies grew and grew in wealth, and were more and more coveted
by all nations. Hence the great William Pitt himself was eager to
appropriate as many islands as possible, setting thus a very evil
example to his son. At the end of 1758 six battalions were sent
out to capture Guadeloupe, which they duly did, being handled with
great skill by General Barrington, before the hurricane season
began. Three of the six battalions were left there as a garrison,
and, before the year was out, about half of them had died. In 1762
Pitt's successor, acting upon his designs, sent eight thousand
men to capture the remaining French islands; and, this being
accomplished, not without heavy loss from sickness, the remnant of
the force joined a detachment of troops under Lord Albemarle in the
siege of Havana. Twelve thousand men were employed in this siege,
which lasted two months, and was one of the most deadly in which
British soldiers were ever engaged. Before its close one brigade
of four battalions was reduced to twenty men fit for duty. Over
five thousand men were buried in Cuba alone in four months, while
hundreds more perished both there and in North America, whither
they had been transported in the hope of saving their lives.

Several French islands passed into our possession at the Peace
of Paris, all of course demanding garrisons which required to be
totally renewed every two years; but Guadeloupe, Martinique and St
Lucia were left to the French; and it was in order to gain a safe
harbour in St Lucia, commanding the French naval base at Martinique
close by, that a descent was made upon it in 1778 by five thousand
British troops from America. The operations were conducted in
a masterly fashion both by sea and land; and the capture of the
island atoned in some measure for that of sundry British islands
by the French. But the virulence of yellow fever was everywhere
terrible; and the usual mortality was heightened in 1780 by a
hurricane of peculiar violence. In Barbados four thousand human
beings, nine thousand cattle and horses, and smaller stock without
number were destroyed in a few hours. Still, by laying the forest
flat and thus destroying the harbour for mosquitoes, the hurricane
abated the sickness in St Lucia.

And now we come to the war of the French Revolution, when Pitt
thought to compel France to submission by taking all her colonies
and depriving her of all colonial produce, whether as a luxury or
as a source of revenue. France had but three islands to windward,
Martinique, Guadeloupe and St Lucia and to leeward the western end
of St Domingo, called Haiti; but all were flourishing settlements;
and Haiti was considered the richest possession in the world, its
produce being valued at four millions annually. All three had been
shaken, and Haiti half-ruined, by the doctrines of the National
Assembly, which had not only abolished slavery, but preached the
doctrine of equality among all men to such effect that the negroes
had risen and either massacred or driven out two-thirds of the
whites. In the hope of restoring order and regaining their wealth
the remainder of the whites invited the General at Jamaica to
occupy their territory, an offer at which that officer grasped
eagerly, knowing by reputation the wealth of the place. Shortly
afterwards at the end of 1793, but two months too late, Pitt sent
seven thousand troops under General Grey and a fleet under Sir John
Jervis, better known as Lord St Vincent, to capture the French
Windward islands. The two commanders were excellent men in their
professions, and on affectionate terms with each other. Their
operations prospered. The three islands were taken after two months
hard work; and then with the coming of the unhealthy season the
men began to die. Emissaries, one of them a West Indian mulatto
of great energy and ability, arrived from France with arms and
reinforcements, proclaimed the equality of all men, and stirred
up the negroes to root the English out. The negroes responded;
and not in the French islands only, but in all that had ever been
French, they rose in insurrection against the whites. Meanwhile
Pitt had sent the British regiments no reinforcements, no stores,
no clothing; and they had now a most formidable task before them.
It was no longer a case of meeting white men of like weakness and
disabilities with themselves, but of contending with black men
to whom the climate was favourable and who knew every inch of the
country.

By the end of the year 1794 five out of seven thousand of Grey's
men had died, and Guadeloupe had been recaptured by the French.
By the summer of 1795 St Lucia had also been recaptured; and
the British even in their own islands of St Vincent and Grenada
had been dispossessed of all but the two forts and capitals.
Scattered regiments of boys sent out by Pitt sufficed only to fill
the graveyards, for they could not stand the active work of the
campaign; and at last Pitt was obliged to despatch a fresh army of
seventeen thousand men to recover the lost ground. The expedition,
owing to the usual blundering, started too late, and the troops
were of the worst quality, young, untrained and of poor physique.
However, thanks to their commander, Sir Ralph Abercromby, they
managed to recapture the lost islands, which by that time had been
reduced to desolation by the insurgent negroes; and then of course
they died like flies. Meanwhile ever since 1793 Haiti had swallowed
up more and more troops, the black insurgents opposing the British
most gallantly but proving far less deadly than the yellow fever.
Year after year reinforcements arrived to complete the work of
conquest, and year after year the army was reduced to a shadow
before it could accomplish its task. But Pitt, still insatiable,
sent Abercromby out a second time in 1797 to capture Trinidad and
Porto Rico, which latter island by great good fortune was too
strong for him. It was not until 1798 that the bickering over these
miserable islands ceased, and even then by no fault of Pitt's. It
was a military officer who decided on his own responsibility to
evacuate Haiti, against the wishes of the Government, but none too
soon. By that time Pitt's military policy, so called, had cost us
100,000 men, but had not contributed in the slightest degree to
check the aggression of Revolutionary France.

After this awful lesson the Government began to train black
soldiers to take the place of white in future West Indian
expeditions; while the white garrisons were largely composed of
foreigners and battalions of convicts. But while struggling to
create an army at home by the mistaken methods which I have already
described to you, Addington opened the second part of the war by
capturing St Lucia, Tobago and Dutch Guiana, thus multiplying
unhealthy stations which ate steadily into our own strength without
diminishing that of the enemy. Ultimately a series of expeditions,
exceedingly well managed, swept the whole of the West Indies,
excepting the Spanish, into our net, and put an end to all warfare
in that quarter for the remainder of the war. By the peace of
1814 Martinique and Guadeloupe were restored to France, but were
recaptured by us in 1815 during the Hundred Days, and then finally
given back to be captured no more. The sequel is melancholy enough.
For about a quarter of a century after Waterloo our miserable
pittance of an army was hidden away in great measure in the
Islands; and then suddenly the British nation in one of those fits
of conscientiousness to which it is occasionally subject, decided
practically to destroy these possessions by abolishing slavery and
repealing the duties which protected their produce. The abolition
of slavery was no doubt a good thing, but as it extended at first
to the English islands only, its immediate effect was to give a
tremendous impulse to the slave trade, with all its horrors, in the
French, Dutch and Spanish islands. To all intent it penalised our
own islands to the advantage of the Spanish islands, and favoured
our few negroes to the prejudice of ten times their number of
others. This evil after some years passed away, as the abolition
of slavery was accepted by other countries; but the West Indies
have never recovered from the shock of the double blow. Moreover,
apart from these two legislative enactments, Pitts policy of
ruining France by taking her colonies has resulted in the ruin of
the colonies for the benefit of France. For, being deprived of
all colonial produce, French men of science sought out the means
of growing some of that produce in France itself; and hence arose
the manufacture of sugar from the root of the beet, and an immense
industry not in France only but all over Europe, which drives the
best West Indian sugar out of the market. So little can even great
men foresee the consequences of their actions.

Thus the West Indies have fallen for ever from their high estate;
and it is only by an actual visit to them that we can divine what
they once were. Ruined forts, ruined barracks, ruined store-houses,
old guns slowly mouldering away, pyramids of round shot so welded
together by rust that they cannot be moved--these are the more
visible tokens of past greatness. But a searching enquirer will
turn his steps to the desolate graveyards, and tearing his way
through rank herbage and tropical scrub will approach the crumbling
head-stones, and there he may read--or at least I could read thirty
years ago--what a visitation of yellow fever meant in the old
days. Field-officers, captains, lieutenants, ensigns, sergeants,
corporals, drummers, rank and file of battalion after battalion
lie there in row upon row, as if on parade, while the land-crabs
hurry from grave to grave, and deadly snakes lie coiled upon the
heaps of crumbling stones which once were monuments. I know no more
melancholy sight than this. How many British soldiers and sailors
lie in these and other unknown graves in the Caribbean Islands?
I know not; but the lowest figure that I should suggest would be
three hundred thousand, and the highest perhaps half a million.
And the pity of it is that the value of the islands disappeared
just when the means of economising life began to be perfected.
The formation of negro regiments, though bitterly opposed by the
planters, who dreaded the slightest emergence of the black race
from the status of servitude, was a great and courageous act
of statesmanship--courageous because formerly the West Indian
interest could muster a solid phalanx of eighty votes in the House
of Commons, and was thus able to overset a Government. Now too
in these later days yellow fever has yielded up its secrets to
science, and can be disarmed of its terrors. But it is too late.
No one cares for the West Indies nowadays. No one remembers that
at one time Cuba was deemed more valuable than Madras. The whole
of the Antilles are now entrusted to the protection of one white
battalion, one black battalion, and two companies of artillery;
and the great bulk of these men are kept there not for the sake of
the once wealthy sugar islands, but to ensure the safety of the
naval station of Bermuda. One could contemplate such a change with
equanimity but for the recollection of perhaps half a million lives
sacrificed to no purpose.

I turn now to the seat of the most difficult of all of our colonial
wars, South Africa; the most difficult because it is of vast
extent, inhabited by warlike natives for the most part, and without
waterways. Our first attack upon it in 1795, when we were opposed
by Dutch troops and Boers only, is remarkable as an example of a
campaign conducted by three thousand white soldiers without any
transport whatever, and without even gun-teams. The distance from
the base, Simonstown, to the objective, Capetown, was only twelve
miles, nearly all through deep sand; but the enemy were as strong
as the invaders; and, when everything has to be dragged by white
men's arms or carried upon white men's backs, the difficulties of
movement are so great--especially if the march be opposed at every
step--as to be almost insuperable. However, a large proportion of
the force was turned into beasts of burden, and their numbers were
supplemented by bluejackets and marines; the general having wisely
decided that both Services should share alike in the drudgery
of transport and in the more congenial work of fighting. Thus
Capetown, by a tremendous effort, was taken for the first time.
When we attacked it again in 1806 we disembarked at a different
point; and the enemy's general was obliging enough to come out
to meet us at once, and to be beaten. Thus our force, about six
thousand strong, was enabled to victual itself from the fleet at
the end of the first day's advance, and to march into Capetown at
the end of the second.

Since then we have fought many wars in South Africa against both
natives and Dutch colonists; and in all of them the main difficulty
has been that of feeding the troops. There is of course the
country-transport which is familiar to us--the huge tilted waggons
with their eight yoke of oxen, each in the charge of two skilled
natives--of which we heard so much twelve years ago. Of its kind
it is good. But such large vehicles and teams are very unwieldy;
they must be left in charge of natives who cannot be trusted
(and small blame to them) not to run away in moments of danger;
and lastly the ox, though patient, plucky and persevering to an
uncommon degree, has his defects as a draft animal. He is very slow
and he must not be hurried; he needs time to chew the cud after
feeding; and he cannot work with the full power of the sun beating
upon his back. In fact he has his times and seasons which must be
carefully observed, or he will die; and he is sensitive not only
to sun, but also to cold and wet. The enemy, being fully aware of
his limitations, can foresee their effect upon the movements of the
force opposed to them, and can lay their plans accordingly. Another
disadvantage to European troops in South Africa is that European
horses do not naturally take to South African pasture, and that
there are poisonous plants to be found in it which native horses
have learned to avoid, but which European horses will innocently
devour. Hence forage becomes a great difficulty also; and on the
veldt there is the further drawback that no wood for fuel exists.
As in most new lands, the roads are mere tracks, and all the
innumerable rivers must be crossed by fords, for there are few
bridges; while the extent of the territory that may be covered by
military operations in so vast a continent is appalling.

In one of our earliest Kaffir wars--that of 1835--Sir Harry Smith
described himself as having only twelve hundred men, eight hundred
horses and four guns, with which to act in a theatre of war of four
thousand square miles; and he added, "It takes just two hours for
a commissariat train to arrive, from the moving off of the first
waggon to the arrival of the last, when the road is good. When the
column is stretched out along the road it looks as if each soldier
had a waggon to himself at least." Yet on one occasion with a small
force he marched eighty-four miles in three days; and he covered
nearly two hundred and twenty miles in a rugged and mountainous
country, much broken by deep rivers, in seven days and a half.
In the more serious war of 1850-53 the hostile tribes could not
put into the field more than three thousand fighting men; but by
betaking themselves to their fastnesses of mountain and forest
they prolonged their resistance for nearly three years. The British
soldier was at every disadvantage in bush-fighting, and the Kaffirs
were far too cunning to encounter him in the open; yet by dint of
hard work and perseverance this brave and wary enemy was at last
worn down. He might have been subdued much earlier but for the
constant and insane reductions of the Army ever since Waterloo. It
is actually a fact that at this time the military power of England
was strained almost to breaking point by three thousand naked
savages.

The next war--that of 1877--came at a time when our Army, owing
to the recent introduction of short service, was in a state of
transition, and taught us a very severe lesson. We were engaged
in war with the Zulus, a very formidable tribe, which had been
organised into a great military power by a chief who, in his own
way, was a genius. One of his armies came upon a British force
of something over a thousand troops at a disadvantage, and after
a desperate fight destroyed them almost to a man. But for the
determined resistance of a small post of eighty or ninety men at
a ford of the Tugela, the Zulus would probably have overrun Natal
to the sea, and extinguished the white inhabitants of that Colony.
There was great agitation in England, and several battalions were
hurried out to the Cape with no special regard to their condition
or quality. It had been forgotten that the old long-service-soldier
had become extinct; and that the old single-battalion-regiments
were also in course of extinction, to give place to regiments of
two battalions, whereof one was always to be at home and the other
abroad. The Army and the nation had not taken kindly to the change;
and the immediate result was that the battalions at home had
become merely assemblies of boys who, as soon as they approached
manhood, were drafted off to feed the battalions abroad. Some of
these groups of boys, raw and half-trained, were shipped out to
South Africa in the expectation that they would be as strong and
as steady as the old battalions composed of men who counted ten
to twenty years' service. Of course they were not. They were very
sickly, very ill-disciplined, and very far from well-conducted.
However, the war was ended, and the power of the Zulus was broken
without further serious mishap; and we learned by this experience
the lesson that a force of seasoned soldiers must at all times be
held ready for what is called the police-work of the Empire.

Our last experience of war in South Africa is too recent for me
to presume to say much about it, except that in many respects it
bore a singular resemblance to the American War of Independence.
The operations of the latter war embraced at least eleven hundred
miles of coast-line, as the crow flies, and in places penetrated
inland as far as a hundred and fifty miles from the sea. Only
facilities of water-carriage enabled armies to be moved at all over
this vast tract; and it was rare for bodies even of ten thousand
men to remain for long united. The theatre of war in South Africa
was quite as vast. Our two principal bases of operations were
nearly a thousand miles apart--as far, say, as Antwerp is from
Lisbon, with the enemy's capital situated at Warsaw. But for the
existence of a few railways the conquest of this enormous tract
might have taken thirty years, for there are no waterways and the
country produces little wheat. As things were, it was accomplished
more or less in three; and a force of three to four hundred
thousand men was fed with a regularity highly creditable to the
officers responsible for that duty. But the expense was terrific;
and although it was possible by great exertions to bring up food
for the men, there were moments when it was impossible to provide
sufficient forage for the animals. Hence the waste of horses in the
cavalry and artillery was enormous, for they could not live on the
African pasture as did the horses of the enemy. In fact a community
with a more or less empty continent at its back can, with good
management, prolong resistance for an almost indefinite time; for
the chances are that the invader will be more quickly exhausted
than the invaded, while the former is always subject to troubles
and diversions at home which may weaken him at a critical moment.
That is the secret of the power of Russia and of the United States.
It is impossible to hurt them seriously, for the further you
penetrate into their country the weaker you are. Little countries,
such as our own, may be pierced to the heart at the first thrust.
Space in fact means time where war is concerned; and time is the
most powerful of all allies. The Americans themselves discovered
that when they invaded Canada in 1812.

There is another description of colonial war of which we have had
experience, and which from the extreme peculiarity of the country
and people deserves special notice. I speak of New Zealand. Roughly
speaking the two main islands of New Zealand exactly correspond to
Italy in our own hemisphere; and if you suppose the sea to close
round the northern frontier of the Alps and to cut the peninsula in
two by washing a channel through it somewhere about Rome, you will
find the actual shape of New Zealand very closely reproduced. Both
countries consist of a backbone of volcanic mountains, with a broad
margin to east and a narrow margin to west; and in each there is a
wide fertile plain made up of débris washed down from the mountains
and furrowed by rivers flowing from the glaciers. This great
plain, however, is in the south island of New Zealand; and all of
our wars were in the north island, corresponding in the southern
hemisphere to the southern portion of Italy. The north island,
which contains several active volcanoes, is for the most part
mountainous and was to a vast extent covered with dense forest,
with a strong undergrowth of vines--known as supple-jacks--and of
fern, very like our own bracken, which grows higher than a man's
head. The inhabitants were themselves invaders from the North
Pacific, or possibly from some part of the American continent, and,
according to their own traditions, must have occupied the country
at about the time of our own Norman Conquest. They were called, as
of course you know, by the name of Maoris, and were split up into
a number of tribes which passed their time in continual warfare
with each other, and hence possessed some degree of military
organisation. Their weapons and tools were made of stone, the best
of them of jade. With such tools they had skill to build canoes and
art to ornament both prow and paddle with not unbeautiful carving.
They were cannibals, for the simple reason that they could get no
other meat; for until the white man came there were no four-footed
creatures in the two islands--nothing but birds. They caught and
dried fish, however, and had little provision-grounds of potatoes.
But their chief business, as I have said, was fighting; and they
were a fine athletic and high-spirited race. For the rest they
had a natural gift of fortification. They needed no great talent
to select good positions in so hilly a country where natural
strongholds abound; but they showed great skill in throwing up
tiers of earth-works and erecting stockades of trees a foot in
diameter, tightly bound together with supple-jacks.

The first white men came to them in the form of whaling skippers,
who initiated them into the use of fire-arms, and sold such weapons
as they could spare to one or two chiefs. The remaining tribes soon
discovered that, if they were to escape extermination, they must
obtain fire-arms also; and thus there grew up a large trade in arms
and ammunition for which the Maoris paid in native flax--_phormium
tenax_--laboriously scraped with shells till only the tough fibre
was left, and of supreme excellence from this careful method of
curing. Two-barrelled fowling pieces--_tuparas_ as they called
them--were the favourite weapon, and the Maoris soon became expert
in their use; adding thereupon rifle-pits and covered trenches
to their fortifications to meet attack with the new weapon.
Incidentally this natural craze for fire-arms materially injured
the race, for, in order to scrape flax enough to pay for them, the
whole tribe was obliged to come down from the hill-tops and live
by the swamps where the _phormium tenax_ grows and abounds.

How we came into collision with the Maoris, who had frequently
received white men--deserting sailors and such like--into their
tribes with much friendliness, is not a pretty story; being only
one of the many variations on the old theme of the white man's
greed for the black man's property. Of course it was necessary to
send troops out; and our commanders, hearing of the fortifications
or _pas_ erected by the Maoris, thought that such works could not
have been thrown up except to defend something, and that it would
be desirable to capture them. They therefore brought up a gun or
two with infinite labour, and after firing a certain number of
rounds, let loose their assaulting columns to the attack. Now as a
matter of fact the Maoris built their _pas_ upon no such principle;
and the loss of a _pa_ was nothing to them so long as no life was
lost with it. They therefore continued to build _pas_ in the hope
that the white men would ram their heads against them; and they
did so with considerate cunning, erecting their first _pa_ close
to the edge of the forest, retiring from that to a second further
within the woods, so as to lure the English deeper and deeper into
disadvantageous ground, and from that in turn to a third. By the
time the third was reached the English were unable to bring their
food any further, and, having lost heavily in their assaults, were
fain to retire and await reinforcements.

The chief difficulty, as in all savage campaigns, lay of course
in transport and supply. There were no roads or bridges, and
few animals, whether horses, mules or cattle; but as all the
settlements were on the sea, the Maoris had built their _pas_
in the vicinity, so as to be ready to attack the whites at any
moment. Still, even when the difficulty of transport and supply
was overcome, our commanders were greatly puzzled how to injure
the Maoris. So powerfully were the tree-trunks of a stockade laced
together, that even when broken by a shot they did not fall, but
remained suspended, a nasty if not impossible obstacle, by the
binders of supple-jack. Thus assaults were always costly, and
somehow the Maori garrison always contrived to escape. Again and
again a _pa_ was surrounded, but there was always a ravine or a
watercourse by which the Maoris slipped away; and when the British
column, maddened by heavy losses, broke into the earth-works, it
was to find no one there. Once two British columns stormed a _pa_,
enduring heavy fire until they reached the summit, when the Maoris
dived down into their subterranean galleries. The British soldiers,
rushing in from opposite sides, met at the top, and poured a
staggering volley into each other, whereupon up came the Maoris
from underground, and sent the assailants flying down again in
panic. Altogether the problem of the _pa_ seemed to be insoluble,
for the galleries and rifle-pits of the Maoris were so cunningly
constructed that a bombardment inflicted only trifling damage on
them. Critics at a distance wrote that every success (for such the
capture of a _pa_ was deemed to be) should be followed by a rapid
advance into the forest. But deep ravines and gullies covered
either with a network of supple-jacks, or with fallen logs and
trees hidden in bracken six or seven feet high, is not ground over
which men can advance rapidly. I know it because I have tried it;
and the unhappy soldiers, who had also tried it, waxed furious over
the ignorant presumption of those who talked such nonsense.

At last it occurred to a British officer that the Maoris wished
their _pas_ to be assaulted, and that they considered it a victory
when several scores of British fell in an attack upon a worthless
stronghold, while the defenders quietly retired with at most two or
three casualties. And this was the fact. Having grasped this truth
the officer determined not to attack them; but marched up to the
vicinity of a _pa_, sat down in front of it, and entrenched himself
and his guns before it. This did not suit the Maoris at all. They
saw that they would be obliged to go back sooner or later, without
the satisfaction of killing fifty or sixty of the enemy, and they
did not see where the process might end. In desperation they
attempted several attacks against the English earth-works, but were
repulsed with heavy loss, and were fain to draw back to another
_pa_ further within the forest. The British followed, and went
through the same performance again, with the same result. In a few
weeks these particular Maoris gave in, for they saw no prospect of
emerging from the forest again; and though they might have kept
themselves alive on fern-root, they knew that their warriors would
soon lose all physical strength upon such a diet. The Maori wars
lasted in one way or another for nearly twenty years in a desultory
fashion, partly owing to mismanagement, partly, I fear, because so
many contractors in the colonial towns made money out of them that
people were unwilling to let them come to an end. When the Imperial
troops and money were withdrawn, and the colonists were left to
finish the job for themselves, the trouble with the Maoris soon
ceased.

Lastly we come to those expeditions which even in these days
tend to be most dangerous and costly, I mean those to such
fever-stricken coasts as the Gold Coast and the Delta of the
Congo, where all supplies and stores must be carried on the heads
of men and women, and where even the strictest care may fail to
avert deadly sickness. Twice within forty years has a British
force marched to Coomassie; but the wise tendency nowadays is to
entrust such work almost exclusively to native troops who do not
suffer from the climate. The number of these troops has increased
enormously of late years with the extension of our rule in Africa;
and we are accustomed to treat the fact as a matter of course,
without a thought for the man who has made these foreign levies
what they are, and without whom they are nothing--the British
officer.

I have sketched for you very briefly the rise of the Empire,
and now at the close of this third lecture I am going to say a
word for the man who has had the chief share in winning it--the
British regimental officer. It is the fashion in some circles to
belittle him; and the press, in the plenitude of its ignorance,
took occasion during the South African War to cover him with
vulgar abuse, reproaching him for his ignorance of his profession
and various other shortcomings. As a matter of fact he was the
one man in South Africa who understood his business, and it was
he who brought the war to a successful conclusion. In these days
of democracy, so-called, it is common to vituperate, concurrently
with the officer, the English public schools where he obtained his
education. Neither officers nor public schools make any reply to
such criticisms; and they are quite right, for the British Empire
is a sufficient reply to the critics, who are fonder of framing
theories than of studying hard facts. I am not saying that our
public schools are perfect, for in many respects they seem to me
very faulty; nor shall I contend that the men who spring from them
are, in the ordinary sense of the term, educated, for they are not.
The German _gymnasium_ and French Lycée undoubtedly produce men who
are better schooled to the study of books, and more amply filled
with a certain description of facts. But at any rate the pupils
from our public schools become men who, after a certain amount of
military training, do not shrink from command, and are willing
to take responsibility. In brief, they are formed in character
if not cultivated in intellect; they are not ignorant of men,
whatever they may be of books; and they are willing to undertake
the government of men, not from mere lust of power, but from
instinctive delight in the task.

It is curious how often people complain of the ignorance and
narrowness of young officers, saying that they can think of nothing
outside their regiments, unless it be polo or some other game in
which the regiment is interested. No doubt it is better for men
of any profession to know something, and the more the better,
of subjects outside that profession; and yet what could more
profitably occupy an officer's thoughts than the men and horses
under his charge? Military routine can have no doubt a somewhat
straitening and deadening effect upon officers, even as academic
routine may injuriously affect the minds of school masters and
professors; and no doubt there are officers who chafe under it.
But the majority find more than sufficient interest in the study
of their men, in the selection of the promising for promotion,
the encouragement of the good, the improvement, suppression and
elimination of the bad, the bringing on of the backward, and above
all in honest endeavour to enter into the _thoughts_ of their
men--a task so difficult that not one in ten thousand succeeds in
mastering it. For they know that it is their business to lead men
and not drive them to discipline, and to inspire such confidence
between commanded and commander that even in the most desperate
situation he may be able to say, _I can depend upon my men_.

But even those who tire of military routine in time of peace
change their opinion when they go upon active service. In England
they cannot see why all kinds of tiresome details should not
be left to the sergeants, but in the field they soon discover
that the men will listen to and trust no one but an officer. The
non-commissioned officer does not suffice for them. He may be
a veteran of eighteen years' service; but the men will follow
a commissioned boy of eighteen fresh from Eton infinitely more
readily than they will the non-commissioned veteran. It is a
very remarkable fact, and to those who hold that all men are
equal it is extremely unpalatable; but a fact beyond question it
is, and not difficult of explanation. Men who by the fortune of
their birth are exempted from the bitterness of the struggle for
existence, trust their fellows because they have no reason to dread
their competition; men who have been brought up in the thick of
the fight with none but themselves to help them, see a possible
competitor--it may be even a dangerous enemy--in every neighbour,
and trust no one.

Yet active service is by no means necessary to cure the officer
who is bored with military service at home. Send him away to
some outlandish corner of the Empire, and entrust him with the
training and command of a few hundred black soldiers, and he will
find exile, hardship and discomfort more congenial to him in
such company than the softest of lives at home. He realises that
everything, so far as those few hundred men are concerned, depends
upon himself; and he delights in the sensation. There are hundreds
of such officers in remote places quietly doing what some consider
the dirty work, but what they themselves know to be the most
honourable work, of the Empire. The officers of the Indian Army are
in precisely the same case. Few of us realise how much we owe to
them, and to how great an extent the Empire is dependent upon them.
Operatives in our huge over-grown towns, who exhaust themselves in
condemnation of everything military, never reflect that, but for
this handful of officers, their comrades of the Indian Army, and
the disciplined men, Indian too, but above all British, who serve
under them, millions of themselves who subsist upon our trade with
India would be in a state of starvation. Happily the officers, and
therefore the men who serve under them, do their duty patiently
and quietly without regarding the volumes of chatter which flow
unceasingly from the north country; for they know that empires are
won and governed not by talk but by action.

This, I think, is a thing that we should all do well to remember
from time to time. Exaggerated esteem for our Parliamentary
institutions has led us to attach too much importance to speeches.
Their original purpose was to persuade men to a common course of
action; but they have never been very efficacious, and in this
country have long been superseded by political organisation or,
in plain English, wire-pulling. People have a strange notion
that, without much chatter, there can be no liberty. But liberty
(whatever liberty may be) is a small thing to a nation compared
with discipline; and in fact liberty of any kind is impossible
without discipline. If I am to judge of a nation it is useless to
tell me of its political institutions, for the best of them will
work badly and the worst of them well according to the honesty of
the men whose business it is to apply them. Let me know what is
the state of its discipline, parental, social, national, and with
what spirit that discipline is borne. Let me know what are its
military institutions, and how far they are supported or ignored;
whether the citizens come forward with cheerfulness to fulfil
a national duty, or whether they are reckless, self-indulgent
shirkers who try to impose on a few the service that is common to
all, and take refuge in cant to disguise their cowardice. Then I
will tell you without reading a single speech whether the nation
is sound at heart or rotten. If the text of all the speeches ever
delivered in Parliament were destroyed to-morrow, the world would
lose remarkably little. Great men are best studied in their letters
and their actions, whether they were great speakers or not; and by
no means the worst way of appreciating the actions of very many of
them, both civilians and soldiers, is to read military history.



LECTURE IV

BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN INDIA


To-day I propose to speak to you upon a very great and most
intractable subject--British Military History in India. It is
difficult to do so without saying something of the history of India
itself; yet the subject is so immense that I must compress the
whole of that vast story into one or two sentences.

Let me begin then by reminding you that what we call India is
divided into a northern portion, which extends from the Himalayas
southward to the Narbada river and the Vindhya Mountains and is
called Hindostan; and a southern portion called the Dekhan which
stretches from those boundaries southward to Cape Comorin. This
division is less arbitrary than a glance at the map would lead
you to suppose; for between these two huge territories there lies
a belt of barren and mountainous country, through which, before
the days of railways, there was practically but one passage,
famous in Indian military history as the Ajanta Pass. The earliest
invaders of whom we have any knowledge came by sea, and landing
in the extreme south worked their way from thence to the northern
boundary of the Dekhan. The people of the Dekhan still speak the
language of these invaders, which is unknown in Hindostan. The
next invaders, the Aryans, came through the passes of Afghanistan
from the north-west, bringing with them the religious and social
institutions which are known to us as Hinduism, Brahminism and
caste, and which still govern the lives of most of the millions
who now inhabit Hindostan. They penetrated, however, only into one
corner of the Dekhan--the north-west--where the Aryan language,
Marathi, betrays their presence.

I pass over the innumerable tides of invasion which swept over
Hindostan from the north-west, until we come to the first
formidable inroad of Mohammedan Arabs in 999 A.D. The great
champions of Hinduism against Islam were the Rajputs, whose nobles
still represent the highest aristocracy and the bluest blood in
India. For a long time they combated desperately and with success;
but in 1193 the Mohammedans captured Delhi, and within another
twenty years they definitely overthrew the Rajputs and established
themselves as potential masters of India. For Delhi, though the
maps do not show it, is a great strategical position, marking
the centre of a kind of pass, where the access to India from the
north-west is narrowed to a tract, not above one hundred miles
broad, between the mountains on the north and a desert on the
south. Hence all the decisive battles of India against invaders
from the north-west have been fought within fifty miles of Delhi.

In the fifteenth century a new set of Mohammedan invaders--the
Turkis or Tartars--came down upon the Arabs, and after more than
a hundred years of raiding, invaded Hindostan in good earnest
under a great leader, Baber. In 1526 they became masters of
Delhi. Then for two hundred years strong man succeeded strong
man, and there was consolidated what is called the Mogul Empire.
Akbar, one of the great men of all time, reigned from 1556 until
1605--almost exactly the period of our own Elizabeth--and gathered
all India north of the Narbada, from Kandahar to the Bay of Bengal,
into a single Empire. His successors strove hard, though with
indifferent results, to subjugate the Dekhan; but by the middle
of the seventeenth century signs of decay were evident among the
Moguls. The Hindus, whether warriors as the Rajputs, or meek and
submissive, as the Bengalis, have an amazing power of silently
and gradually absorbing all alien races into themselves. At this
moment a sharp line divides Mohammedans from Hindus; and yet the
Mohammedans have already caught the system of caste from the
Hindus, and as centuries roll on will doubtless be more and more
drawn into the likeness of the Hindus, until the two races are
indistinguishable. Intermarriage contributes greatly to this; and
it was intermarriage with Hindu women, and the consequent dilution
of the stern Tartar blood, which weakened and ruined the Mogul
Emperors.

The last eminent man of the line, Aurungzib, perhaps inspired
by the deterioration of his countrymen, was a rabid Mohammedan
fanatic, so relentless in his persecutions that he raised up a
host of enemies and brought about the ruin of the Mogul Empire.
The Rajputs reappeared as the champions of Hinduism, but there
also came forward two new defenders. The first may be described as
a Puritan sect, the Sikhs. They were at the outset only martyrs,
but later, when a man of genius was born among them, they became
in the nineteenth century a great military power. The second and
more important were the Marathas, the followers of Sivaji Bonsla, a
petty chief from the hills above Bombay, who being a fine military
leader, wore out the armies of Aurungzib by what we call guerilla
tactics. What the Marathas were no one can say. They were not a
caste, nor a sect, nor a nation; but they were a homogeneous body,
and they would, but for us English, have become the masters of
India.

Our own start in India was humble; but the East India Company
began in the early years of the seventeenth century to establish
factories, or trading depots, at various points on the coast,
including one at Madras in 1640 and on the Hugli in 1651. Bombay,
which was part of the dowry of Katharine of Bragança, was leased
to the Company in 1661, and Calcutta was founded in 1690. But
all the factories suffered much during the incessant fighting
between Sivaji and Aurungzib; and the Company in 1686 declared its
intention of making reprisals. It had already formed the nuclei
of European armies in Madras in 1644 and in Bombay in 1668; and
had begun to enlist native troops in 1683. But meanwhile another
European power, the French, had established factories in Madras at
Pondicherry and in Bengal at Chandernagore in the year 1674; and
the progress of events was such as to offer great temptation to
foreign adventurers. Aurungzib died in 1707, and with the passing
of the last strong man the realm of the Moguls crumbled rapidly
away. The viceroy of the Dekhan set himself up as an independent
sovereign at Haiderabad; a Hindu dynasty was founded at Tanjore;
another imperial official seized Oude; one adventurer laid hold
of Bengal; another of Rohilkhand; countless soldiers of fortune
planted themselves as petty chieftains in hill-fortresses; a
Persian invader sacked Delhi; and an Afghan chieftain conquered
the whole of the western Punjab. India had never been in a more
appalling welter of confusion and chaos than in the midst of the
eighteenth century.

Just at this period the English and French for the first time
came to blows in the Peninsula, the pretext being the war of the
Austrian Succession. The French, represented at Pondicherry by a
very able agent, Dupleix, had initiated a policy of diplomatic
interference in the affairs of the neighbouring states, having an
army of seven thousand Sepoys to back them. The British on the
other hand stuck to their trading, and, as usual, were unprepared
for any attack. The French therefore besieged and took Madras in
1746; but, being reinforced in time, the British in turn besieged
but did not take Pondicherry. The Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle
followed, which put an end to hostilities; and Madras was restored
to us in exchange for Louisburg. The most significant incident of
the war, however, was that the Nawab of the Carnatic, the nominal
suzerain of both the English and the French on the Coromandel
coast, had attempted to keep the peace between them; and that his
raw levies, to the number of ten thousand, had been swept off the
field in five minutes by two hundred and fifty French soldiers and
thrice that number of trained Sepoys. This showed that a handful of
disciplined European soldiers could suffice to rout any primitive
Oriental host. Another important matter was that the operations
against the French had revealed a remarkable leader in the British
ranks, namely Major Stringer Lawrence, a simple man who could
hardly write his name, but a fine soldier and a judge of men. For
he selected from the counting-house of the Company a young clerk
named Robert Clive, took his military education in hand, and to all
intents adopted him as his son.

Meanwhile the death of the Nawab of the Carnatic and of the Viceroy
of the Dekhan almost simultaneously gave Dupleix an opportunity,
which he did not neglect, of making French influence paramount
at both Courts. The succession, as almost invariably happens in
the East, was disputed; and Dupleix, by supporting in each case
one candidate, saw his way to making him a puppet and himself
the actual ruler. The English of course supported the rival
candidates; and thus, though France and England were at peace, the
representatives of both nations in India were at war as auxiliaries
of native princes. Stringer Lawrence being at home on leave,
English military affairs went sadly wrong; and at one moment the
situation was so desperate that it was only saved by a diversion
against Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, by the young but not
uninstructed volunteer Clive. However in 1752 Lawrence returned,
and in that and the following year he gained victory after victory
over the French. The centre of the fighting, by a singular chain
of accidents, was the city of Trichinopoly; and in the plain
before it Lawrence, with forces ranging from eight hundred to
three thousand regular troops, two-thirds of them Sepoys, against
superior numbers of French, fought a series of beautiful little
actions, out-manœuvring his enemy on the open ground by what would
now be called parade movements, but which were then the finest
achievements of training and discipline. In 1754 Dupleix was
recalled to France to answer for misconduct, and the struggle was
closed by a suspension of arms. The interest of these few years,
1748 to 1754, is that, France and England being at peace, their
fleets could not intervene in the contest; otherwise the power
which enjoyed supremacy at sea was bound to win, being always able
to bring out her own reinforcements and exclude those of the enemy.
When the fight was resumed, the influence of superiority at sea
was very clearly seen; but meanwhile the year 1753 had witnessed a
new departure in British policy in India, namely the arrival of a
king's regiment, the 39th Dorsetshire, which still bears the motto
_Primus in Indis_. Henceforward the rivalry in the great peninsula
was not to be between trading companies but between nations.

And now you will ask what manner of campaigns were these? I must
answer that generally speaking they were extremely comfortable.
The theatre of war, which extended along about two hundred miles
of the east coast from Madras to the River Cavery, and about
fifty miles inland, is mostly easy country, cultivated and full
of supplies, with abundance of old fortified places to serve for
depots and magazines. Thus the sea could be used for the conveyance
of troops and heavy stores along the coast (though the ports are
unsafe during the monsoon); while inland there was abundance of
native carts and of bullocks, which, though small and weakly, could
travel at the rate of two miles an hour. The army was, as always
in India, accompanied by a vast number of followers--in those days
about ten followers to one fighting man, though the proportion has
now been greatly reduced. In fact an army on the march had much
the appearance of a moving city, every kind of trade, profession
and calling being represented, with speculators, in particular, in
great strength. On the march the officers were for the most part
carried in palanquins, and they were of course attended by the full
strength of their native households, with every appliance for their
comfort. The men marched, the British, so far as one can gather,
in full European costume and with no special protection from the
sun; though it is difficult to be certain about the matter, for
it is quite likely that they were equipped very much according to
the notions of their officers. They too had plenty of followers to
look after them. The Sepoys, so far as uniform went, were dressed
in a short red jacket, a curious semi-oriental, semi-European
black headdress, very short little white drawers barely reaching
mid-thigh, and native shoes. The Madrassi is not a fighting
man--indeed Lord Roberts went so far as to disband most of the
true Madras infantry--and it is almost certain that the sepoys who
fought with Lawrence, Clive, Coote, and Wellesley were adventurers
from all parts of India, including many from the fighting races
of the north. The British in column of route marched two abreast,
the Sepoys three abreast, for though well disciplined their drill
was primitive; and, so far as I can gather, they knew few words of
command (apart from the manual and firing exercise) except "Right
turn" and "Left turn," which sufficed to bring them from line into
column and from column into line, the British in two ranks, the
Sepoys in three. It must be added that the Company's troops, being
accustomed to march from place to place to relieve each other in
various garrisons, always kept a respectable amount of transport
with them, and hence could enter upon a campaign ready mobilised.
But at all times the number of the followers was, and still is, a
great encumbrance, and, when supplies and forage were scanty, an
appalling difficulty.

So much for Madras; but Madras was only one of three presidencies,
which were practically as far from each other as England is from
Portugal. From Calcutta to Madras is a good eight hundred miles
by sea; and by land the journey was almost impracticable owing
to the number of great rivers that cross the line of march. From
Bombay to the British settlements on the Malabar coast is another
eight hundred miles by sea, and to Madras itself, going round
Ceylon, over two thousand miles. From Calcutta to Bombay overland
is a thousand miles as the crow flies, though part of the distance
could be travelled by river, and by sea at least two thousand five
hundred miles. Moreover there was until 1773 no Governor-General;
but the three presidencies of Bombay, Bengal and Madras were
co-equal, and divided moreover by jealousies and self-importance.

The opening of the Seven Years' War in 1756 brought about a
renewal of hostilities: but it began with an unexpected disaster
in the capture of Calcutta, through a sudden hit of jealousy, by
Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal. Upon this disaster followed
the tragedy of the Black Hole. It was necessary to send troops
up from Madras under Clive to recover the city with all haste,
for French reinforcements were expected at Pondicherry, and there
was no fleet to stop them. Having but a handful of men, Clive
contrived to detach one of the Nawab's principal officers from him,
and by the man's treacherous assistance defeated Siraj-ud-Daula
at Plassey. This done, he installed Mir Jaffier, the officer
aforesaid, in the Nawab's place, and left a young clerk named
Warren Hastings to keep him in order.

Meanwhile a very able French officer, one de Bussy, had contrived
by consummate skill and daring to restore French influence with the
Viceroy of the Dekhan, but, having little military force at his
command, was unable to effect much, while the British themselves
were too weak greatly to harm their enemies. In the spring of
1758 the French reinforcements arrived, and the commander, Count
Lally Tollendal, was able to take the field with twenty-five
hundred Europeans--an enormous force in those days--and half as
many Sepoys. He captured several minor places in the first few
months, but, finding himself short of money, turned southward to
take some from the rich Rajah of Mysore. Persecuting and bullying
wherever he went, he soon turned all the natives against him. All
cattle were driven off, all food was hidden away; and, when Tanjore
was reached, he found himself opposed not only by natives but by
part of the British garrison of Trichinopoly, which the British
commandant had sent to their assistance. After heavy loss and much
suffering he returned to Pondicherry, where he learned that after a
sharp action the French fleet had been driven from the coast by a
British fleet of inferior numbers; and, what with one trouble and
another, it was December before he could lay siege to Madras. He
stayed before the city for two months, when the appearance of the
British fleet, which had been refitted after the recent engagement,
compelled him to retreat. Meanwhile Clive in Bengal had detached a
small force, as a diversion, by sea against the French settlements
in the Northern Sirkars, about two hundred miles north of Madras;
where the commander, Colonel Forde of the Thirty-ninth, fought a
brilliant campaign against superior numbers, and by his success not
only extinguished the French power in that quarter but banished
French influence in favour of English at the court of the Viceroy
of the Dekhan. The tide now turned. Fresh reinforcements arrived
from England together with a new commander, Colonel Eyre Coote, to
take the place of Lawrence whose health had given way. The Dutch in
Batavia, always jealous of the British, fitted out an expedition to
attack their rivals in Bengal while the bulk of British troops were
in Madras; but it was useless. Clive detached Forde with orders to
fight them immediately. Forde did so, overthrowing their superior
numbers in half an hour, and capturing their army almost to a man.
Three months later Coote met Lally at Wandewash upon equal terms
and completely defeated him, thus destroying for ever the French
competition for the mastery of India.

While the British power was thus growing, that of the Marathas
had increased likewise; and they had organised themselves into a
confederacy of five co-equal parts under five principal chiefs.
In 1758 their success ran so high that they laid hold upon Delhi
itself; but this was too much for the Mohammedan Afghans. They
came down in their wrath; and in 1761 a great battle was fought
at Panipat in which the Marathas were utterly defeated. Had the
Afghans followed up their success, the Marathas would have taken
long to recover from the blow; but the victors were obliged to
look to their own western frontier which was threatened by the
Persians; and the only result of the fight was to exhaust two of
the possible masters of northern India and leave the country in
greater confusion than ever. Most unfortunately, too, Clive, the
representative of the third possible master, went home on leave at
this time; and the supreme power in Bengal passed into the hands
of the Company's clerks. Having no high standard before their
eyes and being miserably paid, these clerks saw the chance of
enriching themselves by selling the use of the Company's troops
to any potentate or adventurer who might offer to buy; and, by
setting up and throwing down the Nawabs of Bengal as best suited
their pockets, they involved the Company in most perilous and
soon disastrous wars. From the worst of their difficulties they
were extricated by the military genius of Major Thomas Adams, who
though deficient alike in men, arms and supplies, contrived by
three victories at Katwa, Suti and Undwa Nala in July, August and
September, 1763, to maintain the terror of the British arms. But
the titular Emperor of Delhi of the Mogul dynasty also entered the
fray, and strove with the help of the Nawab of Oudh to re-establish
his former sovereignty over Bengal; and to make matters worse at
this critical moment there was a mutiny among the Sepoys of the
Bengal Presidency. The mutiny, however, was sternly repressed by
Major Hector Munro, who then led his army against the Emperor
and utterly defeated him at Buxar on the 23rd of February, 1764.
This victory opened the way to Oudh, and the British captured in
succession the great cities of Allahabad and Lucknow; when at this
moment Clive returned and stopped further annexation. He had no
wish to have for neighbours the adventurers who had sprung up at
Delhi, Agra, Bhurtpore and in Rohilkhand. He therefore restored
Oudh to its Nawab, so as to keep it a buffer-state between Bengal
and the rest of Hindostan.

In Madras likewise the British officials had lost their heads.
They were threatened by two dangerous enemies, the Marathas, and
Hyder Ali, a Mohammedan soldier who by sheer military genius
had acquired the sovereignty of Mysore, and from that base was
threatening the territory alike of the Marathas, the Nizam, and
the British in southern India. The British might have played off
their rivals against each other, but they contrived instead to
make enemies of both; and Hyder Ali was a formidable opponent.
Happily there was a British officer, Colonel Joseph Smith, who
was more than his equal, and before whom Hyder trembled in the
field. But the Council of Madras displaced Smith to make room for a
creature of their own; and the consequence was that in 1769 Hyder
Ali advanced to within five miles of Madras itself, and forced the
Council to an humiliating peace. Even so, however, though they
obtained the mercy, they did not obtain the forgiveness of the
ruler of Mysore.

In 1773 the British Parliament passed an Act which, among other
reforms, made the Governor of Bengal the Governor-General of all
three provinces, but most foolishly omitted to make him supreme in
his own Council, leaving him instead at the mercy of the majority.
Warren Hastings was the first Governor-General, and well for us
it is that he was so; for no smaller man would have sufficed to
preserve our dominion in India against the folly and malignity
of the adverse faction in his Council. He made of his own will
but one war, against the predatory Rohillas, whom he compelled
to pay due obedience to their suzerain the Nawab of Oudh. This
action was afterwards distorted by the malignity of his enemies
into a crime. But the Government of Bombay, like those of Madras
and Bengal, had through greed of territory entangled itself in a
war with the Marathas; and Hastings, while utterly disapproving
its policy, found it imperative to send assistance. Moreover, he
had the courage to order the reinforcements to march overland
from the frontier of Oudh to Bombay, a thing which hitherto had
never been dreamed of; and indeed the passage of six battalions
of Sepoys across Hindostan over a vast extent of territory which
no Englishman knew and where no one could say whether they would
be welcomed or fired upon, is a sufficiently striking episode.
Unfortunately the commander allowed himself to be tempted to do
a little fighting for some petty potentates on the way; and this
delay caused Hastings's heroic determination to be in great measure
fruitless. The Bombay Government too managed its military affairs
so ill that no operations of their designing could prosper; and
finally it was necessary to patch up a hasty and discreditable
peace with the Marathas in the north-west in view of a far more
formidable danger elsewhere.

For in 1778, as will be remembered, the French declared war upon
us in consequence of our disasters in America; and in 1780 Hyder
Ali, the southern Marathas and the Nizam formed a confederacy to
expel the British from India. In June of that year Hyder descended
from Mysore upon Madras with ninety thousand men, including
four hundred French, and fifteen thousand Sepoys trained and
disciplined after the European manner. The wretched Council of
Madras had nothing ready, neither men, nor stores, nor supplies;
and unfortunately Hector Munro of Buxar, who held the command of
such troops as there were, managed his affairs badly and divided
his force. One detachment of three thousand men was cut to pieces;
and matters were so serious that Hastings sent Sir Eyre Coote down
to take command in the Carnatic, with every soldier that could be
spared from Bengal. A superior French fleet was on the coast, and
Hyder conceived the bold notion of capturing or destroying all
supplies that Coote might use ashore, while the French cut off
all that might arrive by sea. Happily the French admiral left the
coast in the nick of time to save Coote, who averted all immediate
danger by the victory of Porto Novo; but in the campaign that
followed the British general was so much hampered by Hyder's light
troops that he could hardly keep the field from want of transport
and supplies. Another mishap then occurred; and a detachment of
a thousand British troops was surprised and cut to pieces; while
a succession of naval actions left the French fleet practically
supreme on the coast. Hyder Ali died early in 1782, and Eyre Coote
soon followed him, but Hyder's son Tippoo was an abler man than
Coote's successor. In 1783 the crisis came. A detachment of a
thousand men from Bombay, which had been sent to make a diversion
on the west side of Mysore, was cut off and captured by Tippoo;
and a month later a formidable French force landed at Cuddalore
(Gadalur) on the east coast, and fought a severe though indecisive
action against the British under General Stuart. Three days later
the French squadron on the coast under Admiral Suffren drove off
the British ships and landed yet more reinforcements, which gave
them a decided superiority over the British. The fate of British
supremacy in India hung in the balance for seven anxious days, when
in the nick of time news came that peace had been concluded between
France and England in Europe. So nearly were all the victories
of Lawrence, Clive and Eyre Coote neutralised by incompetent
administration at Bombay and Madras. The one able man among Indian
officials, Warren Hastings, went home to be shamefully persecuted
under the form of a judicial trial by a clique of vindictive
politicians. They succeeded in ruining him financially by sheer
blackguardly cunning; but they could not damage his great name,
which will never be forgotten in India while British rule endures.

Parliament now amended the government of India by giving the
Governor-General absolute and supreme power, and making the chief
officials responsible to Parliament instead of to the Company.
These were good and useful reforms; but extreme anxiety to check
the levying of war for purposes of gain led English statesmen to
enact further that the Governor-General should not make war at
all except for defence, thus leaving to his enemies practically
the undisputed power of taking the initiative in hostilities.
Lord Cornwallis, a good soldier, was the first Governor-General
under the new system; and Tippoo Sahib at once took advantage of
it to make a raid into the Carnatic. Cornwallis accordingly took
the field against him in 1791, and invaded Mysore from the east,
while a detachment from Bombay invaded it from the west. The
enterprise was most difficult, for it was certain that, as soon as
the British arrived on the table-land of Mysore, Tippoo would draw
a ring of devastation about them, destroying all food and forage.
With enormous difficulty Cornwallis reached Seringapatam, Tippoo's
capital city, and laid siege to it; but, strive as he would, he
could not provide transport for more than twenty days' supplies,
and he could only bring forward his ammunition by paying the women
and boys among the followers to carry each a cannon-shot or two.
Before he reached the city nearly all of his animals were dead, and
not only his guns but all the public conveyances of the army were
dragged by the troops. Ultimately he was obliged to destroy the
whole of his siege-train and retreat, his camp being poisoned by
the bodies of starved followers and cattle, and his troops weakened
by want of food. He must not be blamed. It is not easy to take an
army, even without a mass of followers, for a hundred miles through
a country where there is neither food nor forage.

In the next year, 1792, Cornwallis decided to try again, having
meanwhile captured several strong forts which would serve him as
advanced bases and magazines. The whole force from Bengal and
Bombay exceeded thirty thousand men; and, as he advanced, Tippoo
as usual burned the whole country on his line of march. But the
previous year's operations had given Cornwallis secure bases within
little more than fifty miles of Seringapatam; and four marches
sufficed to bring his force before the walls. Even so, if Tippoo
had left a garrison in the capital and used the rest of his force
to harass the British communications from end to end, Cornwallis
would have had much ado to keep his army in sufficient strength
before the walls; but Tippoo was proud of his disciplined infantry
and of his fortifications, and preferred to meet the British
with their weapons instead of with his own. The result was that
Cornwallis stormed Seringapatam out of hand within forty-eight
hours, and compelled Tippoo to sign a treaty which deprived him of
half of his territory and resources.

Now came the war of the French Revolution, a war above all of
French intrigues with every people, nation and language that
might bear England a grudge. During the ten years which followed
the peace of 1783 there had been little peril to the British in
Hindostan owing to the gathering strength of the Sikhs, who in
1785 had mastered the whole of the eastern Punjab from the Jhelum
to the Sutlej, where they formed at once a barrier against any
invasion from the passes on the north-west, and a dam against the
rising flood of the Marathas from the south. The Marathas had by
this time thrown off the authority of the Peshwa, and broken up
into five practically independent states; and the most powerful of
their chiefs, Scindia of Gwalior, had reoccupied Delhi and Agra and
had actually called upon the East India Company to pay tribute for
Bengal to him, as the holder of the old Mogul capital. A contest
between British and Marathas for the mastery of India was therefore
certain, sooner or later; but meanwhile the various members of
the late confederacy fought indiscriminately against each other.
The whole country was overrun with mercenary bands, eager to sell
themselves to the highest bidder; and adventurers of all nations
were to be found among them, not the least remarkable of such
being an Irish sailor, who became for a time a reigning prince
with an army of ten thousand men. Luckily for us these adventurers
prevailed upon many of the chiefs to train their armies after the
European model, which was a fatal error for them; for, choosing
to fight the British with their own weapons, they were bound to
deliver themselves into their enemies' hands.

Cornwallis left India in 1793, and was succeeded by Sir John Shore.
This well-meaning but feeble gentleman allowed both the Marathas
and Tippoo to increase their strength at the expense of the Nizam,
the ally of the British, and by his weakness encouraged Tippoo
to cultivate relations with the French. In 1798 he was succeeded
by a very different kind of man, Lord Mornington, better known
as Marquess Wellesley, who speedily made up his mind that the
anarchy outside the British dominions must cease, and that to
this end British authority must become paramount in India. Tippoo
Sahib, being the open ally of the French, was the first enemy to
be attacked; and the command of the expedition was entrusted to
General Harris with Colonel Arthur Wellesley, Mornington's younger
brother, for one of his brigadiers. Harris, knowing Tippoo's
trick of devastating his country before an invading army, had to
think out some method of neutralising it, for his difficulties of
transport and supply were frightful. In all he had 120,000 bullocks
to draw supplies and stores for his army, and those bullocks must
be fed, or the campaign would go for nothing. To protect them he
was obliged to advance in a hollow square, two miles broad and
seven miles deep, an extremely cumbersome formation; and yet his
only resource was to make feints of an advance in one direction so
that Tippoo should destroy the country in that quarter, and then
swerve away to a district which Tippoo had spared. This device was
successful. By much zig-zagging Harris reached Seringapatam in
thirty-two days without mishap, and after a month's siege stormed
the city for the last time. Tippoo was killed; Tanjore and the
Carnatic were annexed to the British dominions; and Mysore was
restored to the Hindu dynasty which had formerly ruled it. Arthur
Wellesley was meanwhile left in civil and military command of the
province, and during the next two years did excellent service in
restoring order in southern India. In particular he took note of
the superiority, for purpose of transport, of the Mysore bullocks,
which can trot six miles an hour.

Mornington's next step was to endeavour to restore the authority
of the Peshwa, so as to keep the Maratha chiefs from fighting
with their neighbours; but two of those chiefs, Scindia and
Holkar, evaded all British overtures; and accordingly an army
under General Gerard Lake was sent against Scindia's dominions
in the north, and another under General Arthur Wellesley against
those in the south. Scindia had a vast number of guns cast under
European direction, and twenty thousand infantry trained by
European officers; but Wellesley had thought out the means of
beating him whether he should adopt European tactics or the old
guerilla warfare--always worrying and never fighting--which was
traditional with the Marathas. He would make his campaign in the
rainy season, and always attack the enemy when on the march and not
when in position, for the Maratha chiefs had the gift of choosing
very strong positions. This he could ensure by organising his
transport, his supply-service and his pontoon-train to perfection.
The rivers being in flood he could always cross them with his
pontoons, whereas the Marathas would be stopped by them, so that
he could catch his enemy wherever he liked. Moreover, since the
Marathas lived on the country, whereas he carried his food with
him, he could always wait until hunger drove them from any position
they might have occupied, and then follow them up. This plan seems
very simple when you know it, but it needs a great general to think
out the details of a campaign in this way. Matters did not turn
out exactly as Wellesley had arranged; but he beat the Marathas
in a first desperate action at Assaye, where only his own skill
and coolness in the presence of tremendous odds saved the day; and
in a second action at Argaum, which victory being crowned by the
storm of the almost inaccessible fortress of Gawilghur crushed the
Maratha power in the south. In the north Lake likewise stormed
Aligarh, captured Agra, won one victory at Delhi, and then by a
second most desperate action at Laswari broke the might of Scindia
in the north. With Holkar however, who pursued guerilla tactics,
Lake was less successful. Holkar almost annihilated one of his
detachments under Colonel Monson, though this same Monson shortly
afterwards beat him handsomely at Deig. Lake himself stormed Deig a
little later, but failed with heavy loss in four several assaults
upon Bhurtpore, and was obliged to abandon the attempt and take up
the chase of Holkar, whom he hunted almost to the Indus before he
brought him to terms after three years of hard warfare. Peace left
the British in possession of Delhi and Agra with the contiguous
tracts on both sides of the Jumna, the whole of the country between
the Jumna and the Ganges, and the province of Cuttack, or in other
words with a continuous length of territory from Bengal north and
westward to the Upper Jumna, and southward to the Presidency of
Madras. Mornington further instituted the principle that native
states under British influence should keep no regular troops but
those hired from the Anglo-Indian Government, should refer all
disputes with their neighbours to British arbitration, and should
enter into no negotiations with foreign powers.

Hereby Mornington made himself the re-founder, if the phrase may
be used, of our British Empire in the East; but his wars had been
costly, and his temper was too imperious to commend itself either
to the Directors of the East India Company or to the Board of
Control which represented the Imperial Governments authority in
India. He was therefore recalled, and was succeeded first by Lord
Cornwallis--who died almost immediately--and then for a time by Sir
George Barlow, the senior member of the Council.

Meanwhile there suddenly burst upon British India an unsuspected
and appalling danger. Owing to injudicious interference by officers
of the King's service who held high command in the Madras Army,
regulations were introduced which ignored the caste marks of the
Sepoys. Silently but effectually correspondence was established
between the Company's battalions all over the Presidency; and
a general insurrection was concerted for the autumn of 1806.
Favourable circumstances caused the garrison at Vellore to rise
prematurely; when eighteen hundred Sepoys made a general attack
upon all the Europeans in the fort, murdered several, and were
within an ace of complete success. The situation was saved by
Colonel Gillespie of the Nineteenth Light Dragoons, who galloped
to the spot with his regiment and two guns, forced an entrance
into the fort, rallied the Europeans and destroyed the mutineers
almost to a man. They had already succeeded in killing and
wounding over two hundred British soldiers, so no mercy was shown
to them. The service rendered by Gillespie upon this occasion
was beyond estimation great; and it was a matter of extreme good
fortune that such a man--ready, energetic and of almost incredible
courage--should have been within reach at such a crisis. But for
his bravery and promptitude the entire native army of Madras might
have mutinied, and the evil might have spread until it threatened
the actual existence of the British in India. With her resources
strained to the utmost by the struggle with Napoleon England would
have found reconquest a difficult matter; and in short, but for
Gillespie, the mutiny of Vellore might have altered the whole
course of European as well as Indian history.

Hardly was this peril passed away, when a trouble, almost
incredibly strange and formidable, followed upon it. As the
Directors had complained of extravagance and expensive wars, Sir
George Barlow thought fit, in a true English spirit, to cut down
above all things military expenditure; and this he did mainly by
reducing certain allowances to the officers of the Company's army.
Now the discipline of the British officers of that army was in
a very bad state. For the King's army the King himself was the
fountain of honour, and rewards for good service took the form of
the Royal approbation publicly signified, of titles of honour,
or of the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. The Company's
army (except in rare instances) received only the thanks of the
Directors--a parcel of merchants in Leadenhall Street--which were
naturally little valued; except so far as they were supplemented
by grants of money, of which the officers, condemned to long exile
in an unhealthy climate, were very justly tenacious. Hence they
had instituted the practice of passing votes of appreciation and
approbation of each other, which was most pernicious to discipline.
This might rightly have been put down with a strong hand; but
the reduction of pecuniary allowances was a real grievance; and
the officers met it with a number of absurd and insubordinate
resolutions. Barlow was a strong and determined man, but he hated
soldiers; and, instead of appealing to the better feelings of the
officers and using tact as well as firmness, he sent spies among
them, suspended them arbitrarily right and left without trial, and
employed emissaries to wean the devotion of the Sepoys from their
regimental officers--this last an inconceivably dangerous measure.
To be brief, in 1809 he succeeded in driving the officers into open
mutiny, which was not suppressed without bloodshed; and in fact the
trouble was only ended by the advent of his successor, Lord Minto;
the officers yielding readily to him but declining altogether to
submit to Sir George Barlow. The ill-feeling bred by this mutiny
lasted for thirty years, and was not without its effect upon the
greater Mutiny of 1857.

To return to more general matters, the policy of the Directors in
holding aloof from affairs outside their own territory produced the
worst consequences.

Lord Minto, equally with Barlow, shrank from any imitation of Lord
Wellesley's masterful keeping of the peace. The result was that
Central India became the resort of large bands of free-booters,
who ultimately rallied themselves, thirty thousand strong, under
the name of Pindaris, with a single leader Amir Khan, and bade
fair to destroy the Rajputs, who were our friends, altogether.
The danger was the greater, inasmuch as the beaten Maratha
leaders were chafing under their defeat, and were likely to use
the Pindaris as allies. Central India in fact was in a most
deplorable condition, when Minto was succeeded in 1814 by Lord
Moira, better known as Marquess Hastings, a very able soldier and
a resolute man, who realised at once that anarchy must be stopped
in Hindostan, otherwise something worse than anarchy might result
from it. His first trouble was with the Nepalis or Gurkhas, who
were encroaching upon British lands in Bengal and in 1814 actually
seized two districts. Hastings at once resolved upon war, and sent
an army to penetrate the passes into the mountains. The expedition
is noteworthy, for it was the first of our many invasions into the
great hill ranges which surround the north of India. The operations
were not easy; and it was necessary to invade the frontier in four
different columns, varying in strength from four to eight thousand
men. One of these was thrice repulsed in attacks upon a hill-fort;
and Gillespie, its commander, was killed. There were slight
reverses in other parts also, for some of the British officers
showed anything but ability; but all was redeemed by the brilliant
conduct of General David Ochterlony, commanding the most westerly
of the four divisions, who broke through the whole of the Gurkha
defences before him, and forced them in the summer of 1815 to sue
for peace. Hostilities were renewed, however, the next year, when
Ochterlony, now in supreme command, by further operations drove
the Gurkhas to submission. They ceded to us a long tract of the
Lower Himalayas, and thus our frontier was brought up to that of
the Chinese Empire. Since then there has been unbroken friendship
between England and Nepal; and there are no more loyal, efficient
and gallant troops in the Imperial service than the Gurkhas.

Meanwhile the situation in Central India had grown worse and
worse; and the Pindaris, secretly abetted by the Maratha chiefs,
made inroads upon British territory within Bengal and Madras. The
Rajputs implored the help of Hastings, who in 1817 set over one
hundred thousand men in motion, more than forty thousand from
the Dekhan, and more, than sixty thousand from Hindostan. The
occasion was worthy of so large a force, for three of the Maratha
chiefs, Peshwa, Holkar and Bonsla, had thrown in their lot with
the Pindaris. The Marathas were speedily weakened by three defeats
at Kirki, Sitabaldi and Mahidpur; and part of the armies were then
turned upon the Pindaris in converging columns, so as to break them
up completely. Defeat after defeat of these free-booters followed,
for every man's hand was against them. For years, owing to the
timidity of Minto, they had ridden roughshod over the unhappy
villagers with murder, torture and rapine, but now their time was
come. This campaign is the second instance of the employment of the
British cavalry in marches of astonishing length and swiftness to
exterminate bands of brigands. Arthur Wellesley had set the example
in 1800, and it was worthily followed now. Very soon but one
formidable band of Pindaris was left under a leader named Chitu,
who was hunted for days and weeks until he was driven at last into
the jungle and killed by a tiger. The remnant of the Peshwa's
Marathas was again defeated at Korigaon; his strongholds fell one
after another; and at length in March, 1819, the war was brought
to an end. The boundaries of the Maratha states were carefully
defined; their predatory system was utterly abolished; and their
territories were made subject to Wellesley's principle with regard
to troops, disputes with neighbours and relations with foreign
powers. Then for the first time for nearly two centuries there was
peace in Central India.

There were now but two points of disturbance on the British
frontier: in the north-west, where the genius of Ranjit Singh had
united the Sikhs into a single powerful and essentially military
nation by conquest; and in the north-east, where the Burmese
armies had carried aggression so far as to invade border-states
under British protection. The ill-deeds of these last caused Lord
Amherst, the Governor-General, to send in 1824 a formidable force
of eleven thousand men against them. Few expeditions have been
undertaken with more fatuous contempt of information and enquiry
than this one. The army was sent by sea to Rangoon with orders
to ascend the Irrawadi by water, capturing all the principal
cities which lie upon its banks, and so penetrating to Ava. As the
province of Pegu, in which Rangoon stands, was a comparatively
recent conquest of the Burmese, it was assumed that the inhabitants
would be friendly and native supplies plentiful. On the contrary
the troops found Rangoon deserted, no boats, no native pilots,
no supplies, and were obliged to remain in and about the city,
eating such salted and preserved provisions as they had brought
with them, until a fresh supply could be brought from India. This
accordingly they did, only making occasional sorties to prevent the
Burmese from hemming them in altogether. These were costly little
operations, for the Burmese threw up stockades with astonishing
skill and swiftness, and these required to be stormed. On several
occasions attacks upon them were repulsed with loss. Having arrived
at the beginning of the rainy season in order to have plenty of
water to ascend the river, the British had to endure all the misery
and unhealthiness of the rains, aggravated by bad food, with the
result that sickness made havoc of the troops and reduced their
effective numbers at one moment to three thousand men. The Burmese
closed in upon them in force; but in December, 1824, were driven
back by a general attack upon their whole line.

When the news of the situation reached Calcutta the Government
sent out two additional expeditions to invade the province of Ava
overland, one from Manipur, the other from Chittagong. The first
route was found impracticable, owing to the density of the forest;
the second force, eleven thousand strong, advanced upon Aracan
and captured it, but failed, from neglect of sound geographical
information, to find a way to the army on the Irrawadi, which it
had been intended to join, and remained helpless and stationary.
One fourth of the men died during the rainy season of 1825, and
half of the survivors were in hospital. The main army meanwhile
advanced up the Irrawadi into the interior, captured Prome, and
after several smart actions arrived within sixty miles of Ava, when
the Burmese at the beginning of 1826 met them and made submission.
Assam, Aracan and Tennasserim were ceded to the British, and thus
some compensation was gained for a very costly and destructive
campaign. The casual fashion in which war had been begun in a
region of continuous marsh and forest at the beginning of the rainy
season, when the whole country was inundated, was thoroughly
English and most condemnable. Thousands of lives were sacrificed
which might have been saved, and it was fortunate that matters
fell out no worse than they did. Meanwhile the eternal assault of
stockades was very trying to the troops, and gave opportunities,
which were abundantly taken, for brilliant displays of valour.

While this was going on, the throne of Bhurtpore became vacant
through the death of the Rajah, and was usurped by a pretender.
This was a direct menace to the peace of India; and Sir David
Ochterlony, who was the Resident at Delhi, at once assembled
a force to drive out the usurper. So little, however, did the
Governor-General know his duty, that he countermanded the project
and publicly censured Ochterlony in terms of extravagant harshness.
The veteran General resigned, but was so much affected by Amherst's
foolish policy and by the slight put upon himself that he died soon
afterwards. Then of course Amherst was obliged to do at last what
he should have done at first, and Sir Stapleton Cotton was sent
with twenty thousand men to besiege the famous fortress which had
foiled the eager impetuosity of Lake. Its strength may be imagined
by the statistics that its circuit is five miles in extent, that
the ditch of the citadel was fifty yards wide and fifty feet deep,
and that the ramparts generally, besides being of great height and
thickness, were built of clay which refused to crumble away under
the battering of round shot. A bastion was therefore undermined and
blown up, and the place was stormed out of hand.

Lord Amherst was succeeded in 1828 by Lord William Bentinck,
a man who, having had Macaulay to write his epitaph, enjoys a
reputation far above his deserts. He was mediocre alike as soldier
and statesman, and had an extraordinary knack of doing foolish
things. While Governor-General his only idea was to save money
for the Directors--he even tried to sell the Taj Mahal, the gem
of Mohammedan architecture in India;--but he neglected to keep
the peace; he reduced the allowances of the European officers,
in direct breach of agreement; and finally, to curry favour with
the humanitarians, he, in the face of all advice from British and
native soldiers, abolished the punishment of the lash in the native
regiments. The mischief which he thus did was incalculable; for he
lowered the officers in the eyes of the natives, and so ruined the
discipline of the Sepoys that beyond doubt he was the greatest of
all contributors to the Mutiny of 1857. The Duke of Wellington, and
all who knew India, were furious with him; but being a sentimental
Whig, which is synonymous with a man of good intentions and bad
judgement, he found and still finds many admirers at home. Let
me beg you not to be carried away by their admiration. Bentinck
certainly did some good work, but an Indian administrator who ruins
the discipline of the army--and Bentinck undoubtedly did so--is not
only no statesman, but a foolish and mischievous person.

Bentinck was succeeded by Lord Auckland, whose name, unfortunately
for him, is bound up with the greatest of our military disasters
in India. Since the fall of Napoleon Russia had steadily pursued
her advance eastwards, and by 1828 had not only appropriated
some of the western territory of Persia but had gained paramount
influence in that country. Thus we found ourselves confronted
with the probability that we should presently have an European
Power of colossal strength for our neighbour; and the question was
how she should be kept at arm's length. The Government resolved
that a barrier must be formed in Afghanistan. That country had
lately passed out of the line of the creator of the Afghan kingdom
into the hands of a strong and competent usurper. Since Persia
threatened to indemnify herself for the territory lost to Russia
by encroachment upon Afghanistan, this usurper, Dost Mohammed, was
anxious for the English alliance. Lord Auckland on the contrary
preferred to support the legitimate sovereign, Shah Shuja, who was
an exile in the Punjab, and decided to replace him on the throne
by an armed force, on the assumption that such an ally would be
surer than Dost Mohammed. The operation was one of extreme danger,
for the British and Afghan boundaries were hundreds of miles apart.
Our base of operations was Scinde, a foreign state under rulers
unfriendly to us; and full upon our flank, able at any moment to
cut us off from India, lay the Sikhs, equally a foreign state,
nominally amicable but really very jealous, and in possession of a
powerful army.

A treaty was made with the Amirs of Scinde whereby we obtained the
right to use the navigation of the Indus. With enormous difficulty
transport and supplies were brought up to feed the armies during
the march through the barren passes of Afghanistan; and, after
frightful losses of animals and no small peril of starvation,
some fifteen thousand men and twenty thousand followers marched
by the Bolan and Khojak passes to Kandahar, opened the way from
thence to the capital by the storm of Ghazni; and in August, 1839,
escorted Shah Shuja into Kabul. Then the difficulties began. It
was very soon evident that, without a British force, Shah Shuja's
reign would be short; so one division of infantry and a little
cavalry and artillery were left to occupy the country, and the
rest of the army marched for India. Honours were lavished on the
commanders, and everyone flattered himself that the work was
done. Signs of insurrection, however, soon showed themselves;
and the British troops scattered about between Kabul, Ghazni,
Kandahar and Jelalabad were incessantly employed in putting down
tribal risings. By the autumn of 1840 the commander of the army of
occupation was crying out for reinforcements. The winter of 1840-1
passed away fairly quietly, and not until the following November
did the final insurrection at Kabul occur. The general in command
there was weak and incompetent; and the whole of his division was
cut to pieces. Ghazni and various small forts were captured; and,
though Jelalabad and Kandahar were stoutly held, all communication
with India was hopelessly cut off. It was necessary to send
practically a fresh army to relieve the beleaguered garrisons; but
the Indian Government was at first so panic-stricken as to lose
all thought of anything but the immediate withdrawal of the army
of occupation. The Governor-General, Lord Ellenborough, who had
succeeded Auckland, later bethought him that such a timid retreat
would endanger our whole Empire in India, but had not courage to
order a new advance upon Kabul. Happily the generals took the
responsibility which their superiors feared to incur. They did not
withdraw their armies until they had forced their way triumphantly,
the one by the Khyber Pass and Jelalabad, the other from Kandahar,
to Kabul. Then and not till then did they evacuate Afghanistan,
having shown that the British were still unconquerable. Even so the
principle upon which the operations were conducted was open to much
criticism, though everything was redeemed by the gallant behaviour
of the troops.

While withdrawing from Afghanistan, however, Lord Ellenborough
was anxious to retain our hold upon the lower Indus with the fort
of Karachi, which had been occupied temporarily as our base for
the late operations. Sir Charles Napier was therefore sent out to
Scinde with a small force to press upon the Amirs a treaty to that
effect. The Amirs very naturally resented the demand; whereupon
Napier instantly struck the first blow. His campaign is one which
every Englishman should know, and which none has any excuse for not
knowing; for its history was written by William Napier. Charles
Napier began by making a raid with five hundred and fifty men
mounted on camels across many miles of desert to a stronghold of
the Amirs, and blowing up the fort with gunpowder. On this march
he carried not only provisions but water for the whole force,
animals and men. Then returning to the Indus he marched south upon
Hyderabad with twenty-eight hundred men; and on the 17th of March,
1843, attacked between twenty and thirty thousand of the enemy at
Miani, in a strong position above the bed of a dry river. There
followed one of the greatest and most marvellous battles ever
fought by the British; and at the close of three hours the enemy
was hopelessly routed with a loss of five thousand men. Again the
Baluchis managed to collect twenty thousand men; and Napier, having
been reinforced to a strength of five thousand men, defeated them
in a second action of much the same kind at Dubba; after which he
with little more trouble completed the subjection of the Amirs.
Scinde was then annexed; and Napier as its first Governor showed
himself not less capable as an administrator than as a general.

By this time trouble had arisen in the dominions of Scindia
owing to the death of the Maharaja without issue; and an armed
insurrection broke out against the authority of the Regent accepted
by the British Government. The matter was one which at ordinary
times might have been adjusted by patience; but the attitude of
the Sikhs, which I shall describe immediately, was such that there
could be no trifling. The Maratha armies had been assembled, some
thirty thousand strong, including between them twenty-two thousand
men trained by European officers; and, with a disputed succession
in train, it was impossible to say what mischief their leaders
might work. Ellenborough therefore ordered a strong force to enter
Scindia's dominions in two columns, and the war was ended in one
day--29th of Dec. 1843--by the simultaneous victories of Sir Hugh
Gough at Maharajpore, and of General Grey at Punniar. These were
the last of our battles with the Marathas. They have never to this
day forgiven us for depriving them of the mastery of India; and in
1843, in consequence of our defeats in Afghanistan, they had been
stirring up hostility against us in every court of the East. The
double defeat therefore gave them a salutary lesson.

Lord Ellenborough was now recalled; and Sir Henry Hardinge, one
of Wellington's veterans and a highly accomplished soldier, came
out as Governor-General in his stead. The condition of the Punjab
was most critical. Ranjit Singh, the great leader and ruler of the
Sikhs, had died in 1839, leaving no strong man to succeed him.
The succession was of course disputed; and a course of risings,
mutinies and assassinations showed that the great Sikh state
was sinking into anarchy. All power had passed into the hands
of committees of regimental officers, who were in turn partly
controlled by the passions of their men. The nominal ruler could
think of no better resource than to turn the unruly host across
the Sutlej to fight the English, for which some recent frontier
disputes furnished sufficient pretext. Lord Hardinge, who had seen
what was coming, was ready for them, and some twelve thousand
men under Sir Hugh Gough advanced to meet them. Sir Hugh was a
very brave man but a very bad commander, who could not see a wall
without dashing his head against it. In the first action, Moodkee,
he hurried his troops into the fight with every disadvantage, and
though victorious lost nine hundred men. In the second action
three days later at Ferozeshah, he launched about sixteen thousand
British and Sepoys against fifty thousand Sikhs in a very strong
position, and was practically beaten at the close of the first
day's fighting, though he recovered himself on the second. In this
affair he threw away twenty-five hundred men; and on the night
after the first engagement the British Empire in India rocked for
some hours on the verge of ruin. A month later a far more telling
and scientific victory was won by Sir Harry Smith with a detachment
of the army at Aliwal; and then Gough made a final blundering
attack upon the Sikhs in a strongly entrenched position at Sobraon,
where, though the valour of his troops and the devotion of his
divisional generals won a decisive victory, it was at a cost once
more of nearly twenty-five hundred men.

Sobraon brought the war for the moment to a close; but the
government temporarily established by us in the Punjab was weak
and inefficient; and early in 1848 a general insurrection brought
about a reassembling of the Sikh army to try conclusions with
the British once more. Lord Dalhousie, the new Governor-General,
at once took up the challenge; and Gough again was in command of
the army. He began as usual by knocking his head against a very
strong position of the Sikhs at Ramnuggar, and was repulsed. He
did precisely the same thing a few weeks later at Chillianwalla,
once more lost nearly twenty-five hundred men, and fought at best
a drawn battle. Finally a month later he fought a third action
at Gujerat on the 21st of February, 1849, showed for once (he or
his officers for him) some tactical skill, and won a great and
decisive victory with comparatively small loss. The Punjab was then
annexed to the British dominions by Dalhousie, and the frontier
thus carried to the foot of the mountains of Afghanistan. But the
struggle had been very severe, for the Sikhs were most valiant men,
very skilful gunners, and masters of the art of choosing strong
positions, whereas Gough was a hot-headed Irishman, of splendid
bravery, but wholly unfit to command anything larger than a
battalion in action.

But still there was no rest for the British Army. Doubtless under
the spell of our disasters in Afghanistan, the Burmese Government
had been bullying and maltreating British merchants at Rangoon
in violation of the treaty of 1826; and its only response to
Dalhousie's protests was contemptuous insult to his envoys. An
expedition was therefore despatched to Rangoon in 1852, which first
and last numbered some twenty thousand men; but on this occasion
the campaign was properly thought out. A few towns only, which
commanded the mouth of the Irrawadi, were captured so as to cut off
all external trade, and within eighteen months the Court of Ava was
obliged to sue for peace. The fighting was of slight importance,
indeed the sharpest was against dacoits or patriot banditti, some
of whom were very formidable. However, the Government at Calcutta
took care to provide land-transport, in case an inland advance
should be necessary, elephants in particular being employed in very
large numbers. The province of Pegu was annexed to the British
dominions, and thereupon followed a brief period of peace, during
which Dalhousie annexed also three Maratha states, in default of
direct heirs, and the Kingdom of Oudh.

It was this period of peace, signifying practically the
pacification of all India, that brought about the mutiny of the
Sepoys of the Bengal Army. There were various contributory causes,
most notably the steady decay of its discipline, partly through the
employment of the best officers in political work, and the making
of political services the best channel to advancement, partly owing
to the steady discouragement of the officers in favour of the men
which had marked the mistaken policy of Bentinck. The Sepoys were
so continually flattered that they imagined themselves to have
conquered India, whereas without European battalions an Indian
army is like a spear without a point. They therefore broke out
into mutiny, and for a time extinguished British rule in certain
districts. Thereupon reappeared all the old animosities of past
centuries, Mohammedan and Hindu fighting each other more fiercely
than the English; while adventurers joyfully gathered bands of
their own kind around them for the gay business of free-booting.
Great part of the country settled down to a hearty enjoyment of
anarchy; and nearly two years were needed to restore order. Two
regiments indeed, the Central India Horse, were raised on purpose
to hunt down banditti in Central India, and are still always the
first troops to be sent into the field wherever there is serious
police-duty to be done.

In 1858 the East India Company was swept out of existence, and
the Crown took over all its forces and the entire business of
administration in India. With a frontier conterminous with the
highlands from which warlike tribes have from time immemorial
descended to raid the plains, we have since been obliged to make
endless expeditions to punish the raiders, all very difficult
operations and some of them very costly. Umbeyla, Bhotan,
Beluchistan, Tirah, Chitral, Tibet are names which recall some of
these campaigns; and in 1878 the exclusion of a British mission
from Afghanistan while a Russian mission was received at Kabul
brought on a second and serious Afghan War. As in 1838, Kabul
was reached with little difficulty; and the battle only began,
after peace had been made, with an insurrection in the capital.
There was no such disaster as in 1841, for we captured Kabul and
Kandahar at once; yet we were absolutely powerless to subdue and
pacify the whole country. We suffered one serious reverse; and
our difficulties would have been endless had there not been at
hand a strong man whom we installed as ruler of the country, and
under whose iron hand the most refractory tribesmen trembled and
were still. Lastly in 1885 the Burmese having again insulted us,
an expedition was sent which made its way without difficulty to
Mandalay. Upper Burma was annexed to the British dominions, and
there followed two weary years spent in suppressing marauding
bands and free-booters. The operations of these two years have
been called the subalterns' war, for they were conducted mainly by
very small parties under the leadership of subalterns, who made
their way with indomitable perseverance through the jungle by
native paths, and, being generally at the head of the column, were
lamentably often picked off by the shot of an unseen enemy.

Altogether the exploits of the British in the conquest of India
form a very remarkable story, though it is by no means unchequered
by follies, failures and misconduct. We very early learned that we
must never retreat before Orientals, but must always attack, no
matter what the odds against us; and by following this rule we have
under able commanders achieved most astonishing feats of war. In
particular is the record of the British regiments remarkable. The
East Indian European Army was enlisted for short service, though it
contained many old soldiers in its ranks; but the British soldier
of the King's regiments was enlisted for at least twenty-one years,
if not for life, and his prowess is amazing. You know of course
that it is rare for a battalion of any army to be fit for much,
after suffering severe loss in action, until its ranks have been
refilled. But the British battalions, led by Lake, Wellesley and
Gough, though they rarely took the field more than six hundred
strong, would lose one hundred and fifty men in a fight on Monday,
two hundred more in another fight on Thursday, and over one hundred
more in a third fight on Thursday fortnight. Nothing seemed to
have power to stop them, at any rate in India. Time after time in
the assault of hill-fortresses in the south the Sepoys failed,
and a few companies of British were brought forward to show them
how to do the work. No losses seemed to daunt them. Individual men
served in storming party after storming party, and would not wait
to be healed of wounds received in a first assault before they
volunteered to risk almost certain death in a second.

Still, as I have said, there are records of many failures and we
are too fond of passing over our weak points and dwelling on the
strong. In the case of the Mutiny we recall with pride the deeds
of Nicholson and Havelock, and are never weary of the old stories
of the siege of Delhi and the relief of Lucknow. All honour to
those who quitted themselves like men; but I am afraid there are
many episodes of the Mutiny which are little creditable to the
British, whether civilians or soldiers. A great many individuate
were found unequal to the occasion; and this is true of every war
and probably of the majority of actions. There was certainly one
instance of misbehaviour at Trafalgar, one ship did not respond to
Nelson's famous signal; and Collingwood spoke his mind about it at
the time, though few people know it. We must therefore never be
satisfied with the fame of our fore-runners, and suppose that it
suffices for us. Let us by all means be kindled by their example to
the utmost fulfilment of our duty; but let us know also when and
where and why they failed. Let us study their defeats as well as
their victories; let us ask ourselves whether some of the failings
which brought about those defeats may not still be present among
us. If we can truly and conscientiously say that they are not, then
we may--but always with caution--presume to criticise and even to
censure; always remembering that it is not enough for us to emulate
the deeds of our ancestors. If we are not to fall below them, we
must endeavour to surpass them, for there is no such thing as a
stationary Empire.



INDEX


  Abercromby, Sir Ralph, in the W. Indies, 126-7

  Acre, mentioned, 43

  Adams, Major Thos., in India, 164

  Addington, Henry, mentioned, 86-8, 127

  Afghanistan, mentioned, 163;
    campaigns in, 187-90, 197

  Africa, South, early wars in, 131-5;
    Zulus in, 41;
    last war, 27, 45, 98, 112

  Africa, West, fighting in, 143-4

  Agra, capture of, 175

  Aix-la-Chapelle, Peace of, 76, 155

  Akbar, the Emperor, 152

  Albemarle, Lord, in the W. Indies, 123

  Albuera, battle of, 39

  Alexander the Great, mentioned, 40

  Aligarh, capture of, 175

  Aliwal, battle of, 193

  Allahabad, capture of, 164

  Alsace, mentioned, 43

  America, War of Independence, 28, 80-2, 110-12, 135;
    the British in N., 55, 59, 76, 80, 102-5;
    character of settlers, 104-5, 107, 109-12;
    war of 1812, 113;
    and see under Canada

  Amherst, Gen. Jeffery, in Canada, 109

  Amherst, Lord, in India, 183, 185

  Amir Khan, mentioned, 179

  Anne, Queen, mentioned, 109

  Aracan, capture of, 184

  Arcot, 156

  Argaum, battle of, 175

  Army, the British, foreign nomenclature in, 52;
    reductions in, 58, 61-2, 72, 96, 134;
    under Ch. II, 56-7;
    under Will. III, 59-63;
    under Anne, 65;
    under Geo. I, 72;
    under Geo. II, 74-9;
    under Geo. III, 80, 82-3;
    in the 19th cent., 97-8;
    confused organisation of, 61;
    ill-treatment of, 73, 83;
    introduction of short service, 134-5;
    weapons of, 48-50, 60;
    appreciation of officers, 144-9;
    early organisation of, 47-9, 54;
    the New Model, 54

  Assam, capture of, 184

  Assaye, battle of, 175

  Assiento, Treaty, 117

  Auckland, Lord, in India, 187

  Aurungzib, the Emperor, 153-4

  Austrian Succession, War of, 74, 106, 155

  Ava, British at, 183-4


  Badajoz, capture of, 25

  Bahama Is., 80

  Barbados, 116, 124

  Barlow, Sir George, in India, 176, 178-9

  Barrington, General, in W. Indies, 123

  Bentinck, Lord Wm., in India, 186-7

  Bermuda, 80, 130

  Bhurtpore, assaults on, 175, 185

  _Birkenhead_, the, mentioned, 36, 46

  Bismarck, 43

  Blenheim, battle of, 68

  Blues, Regt. of, their origin, 56

  Bombay, mentioned, 56, 153, 166, 168

  Bonsla, mentioned, 181

  Braddock, General, in N. America, 107-9

  Burgoyne, General, in N. America, 110-11

  Burke, Edmund, 80

  Burma, campaigns in, 182-5, 194-5, 197;
    annexed, 197

  Bussy, de, in India, 161

  Buxar, battle of, 164


  Caesar, Julius, 40

  Calais, 47

  Calcutta, 154, 160

  Canada, French in, 102;
    fighting in, 104-5, 109;
    American invasion of, 110, 113, 137;
    and see America

  Capetown, capture of, 131

  Caribs, the, fighting with, 117-8

  Carnot, mentioned, 40

  Carthagena, expedition to, 121-2

  Castlereagh, Lord, at the War Office, 88

  Chaka, king of Zulus, 41

  Chandernagore, 154

  Charles II, mentioned, 56, 117

  Charles of Bourbon, 24

  Charles Ed. Stuart, in Scotland, 74-6

  Chillianwalla, action at, 194

  Chitu, 182

  Clive, Robert, in India, 156, 159, 160-4

  Coldstream Guards, origin of, 56

  Colonies, character of campaigns in, 99-102

  Commerce, in war, 1-3;
    its cruelty, 16-18

  Condé, Prince of, 65

  Continental System, the, 2

  Coomassie, British at, 143

  Coote, Sir Eyre, in India, 159, 162, 167-8

  Cornwallis, Lord, in India, 169-172, 176

  Cotton, Sir Stapleton, in India, 185

  Crimea, war of, 97

  Cromwell, O., mentioned, 3, 22, 58;
    reforms of, 53-4;
    expedition to the W. Indies, 119-20

  Cuba, mentioned, 115-6, 123, 130

  Cuddalore, action at, 168

  Culloden, battle of, 75


  Dalhousie, Lord, in India, 194-5

  Danube R., campaign on, 67

  David, king of Israel, 44

  Deig, battle of, 175

  Delhi, mentioned, 43, 151-2, 171, 175, 199

  Dettingen, battle of, 74

  Dost Mohammed, 187-8

  Dubba, action at, 191

  Dupleix, Joseph, in India, 155-7


  East India Co., its troops, 57, 83, 154, 178, 186, 198;
    mentioned, 153, 171, 176, 196

  Edward III, 48

  Egypt, mentioned, 51, 86

  Elizabeth, Queen, mentioned, 47, 52

  Ellenborough, Lord, in India, 189-92

  England, military backwardness, 48;
    growth of empire, 55-6, 58, 77;
    position in 1660, 55;
    projected invasion of, 86


  Ferdinand of Brunswick, 77

  Ferozeshah, battle of, 193

  Flanders, wars in, 60, 63, 65, 75;
    and see Netherlands

  Fontenoy, battle of, 74

  Forde, Col., 162

  France, the Revolutionary War, 23-4, 27, 38, 41-2, 83-4;
    her colonies, 56, 58, 76-7, 102-4, 107, 123-4, 128;
    French in India, 154-62;
    our connection with, 47, 55;
    as ally of America, 112-3;
    aids the Stuarts, 75

  Franklin, Benjamin, 109

  Frederick the Great, mentioned, 41-2, 77

  Frederick, Duke of York, 85


  Gawilghur, capture of, 175

  Geete R., 68

  George I, 72

  Germany, mercenaries in British pay, 75-7, 81-2;
    mentioned, 25, 32, 74, 77

  Ghurkha war, 180

  Ghazni, 188-9

  Gibraltar, mentioned, 65, 72-3, 80-1

  Gideon, his tactics, 44-5

  Gillespie, Col. Rollo, in India, 177, 180

  Goliath, 44

  Goree, 82

  Gough, Sir Hugh, in India 192-4, 198

  Grenada, 126

  Grey, General W., in the W. Indies, 125-6;
    General H., in India, 192

  Guadeloupe, mentioned, 123, 126, 128

  Guiana, Dutch, capture of, 127

  Gujerat, action at, 194

  Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, his military reforms, 53


  Haiti, mentioned, 120, 124, 126

  Halifax, British at, 107

  Hannibal, 38

  Hardinge, Sir Henry, in India, 192-3

  Harris, General, in India, 173

  Hastings, Warren, in India, 161, 165-9

  Hastings, Marquis of, in India, 180-1

  Havana, siege of, 123; mentioned, 77

  Henry V, mentioned, 48, 54

  History, Military, definition of, 1-14, 45;
    use of, 19-22, 29, 39, 43

  Holkar, mentioned, 174-5, 181

  Holland, soldiers of, 52, 60;
    commerce of, 18, 55;
    wars in, 64, 67, 84, 86;
    colonies of, 102-3, 162

  Howe, General, 111

  Hyder Ali, mentioned, 164-5, 167-8


  India, mentioned, 43, 57, 77;
    military history of, 150-200;
    adventurers in, 154, 171, 179, 196;
    campaigning in, 157-8;
    the presidencies, 160;
    administrative reforms in, 165, 169, 176, 196;
    the Mutiny, 195-6, 199

  Indies, the West, British in, 55, 72, 77, 80, 84-5;
    character of country, 114-6, 118;
    ruin of, 128-9;
    Cromwell's expedition to, 119-20;
    later expeditions, 120-2, 124-8;
    the French in, 116, 123, 128

  Inkermann, 51

  Ireland, mentioned, 54, 59, 61, 64-5, 72

  Italy, the French in, 86


  Jamaica, mentioned, 115-6;
    capture of, 120

  James II, mentioned, 57-59, 64-5

  Japan, mentioned, 28, 52

  Jelalabad, mentioned, 189

  Jesuits, the, as colonists, 35, 103


  Kabul, British at, 188-9, 197

  Kaffir wars, 133-4

  Kandahar, British at, 188-9, 197

  Karachi, 190

  Katharine of Bragança, mentioned, 56, 154

  Katwa, battle of, 164

  Kirkee, battle of, 181

  Korigaon, battle of, 182


  La Bassée, 68

  Lake, General Gerard, in India, 174-5, 185, 198

  Lally Tollendal, count, in India, 161-2

  Laswari, battle of, 175

  Latimer, Hugh, 48

  Lawrence, Major Stringer, in India, 155-6, 162

  Lee, Robert, 4

  Lisbon, Wellesley at, 90-1

  Lorraine, mentioned, 43

  Louis XIV, mentioned, 63-5, 71, 104

  Louisburg, French at, 106-7;
    capture of, 109, 155

  Lucknow, 164, 199

  Luther, Martin, 40

  Luxemburg, Francis Henry, Duke of, 65

  Lycurgus, 41


  Madras, French at, 155;
    mutiny in, 176-8;
    bad administration, 164-5, 167-8;
    mentioned, 107, 130, 153

  Maharajpore, battle of, 192

  Mahidpur, battle of, 181

  Mandalay, British at, 197

  Manila, 77

  Maoris, the, wars with, 101, 138-43

  Marathas, the, their origin, 153;
    their growth, 163, 171;
    British wars with, 166, 174-5, 181, 191-2;
    mentioned, 195

  Marengo, battle of, 86

  Maria Theresa, the Empress, 74

  Marlborough, John, Duke of, appreciation of, 65-71;
    mentioned, 94-5

  Martinique, mentioned, 116, 123-5, 128

  Miani, battle of, 190-1

  Militia, the, Pitt's Bill, 78;
    as recruiting-ground, 85, 88;
    under Addington, 87;
    the Local, 89;
    mentioned, 72, 83, 85, 89

  Minden, battle of, 77

  Minorca, mentioned, 72, 76, 80-2

  Minto, Gilbert, 1st Earl of, in India, 178-81

  Mir Jaffier, 160-1

  Mogul Empire, 152-4

  Moltke, General, 43

  Monk, George, 56, 100

  Monmouth, James, Duke of, 57

  Monson, Colonel, in India, 175

  Montecuculi, Raimondo, Conte de, 65

  Moodkee, battle of, 193

  Mornington, Lord, see under Wellesley, Marquis of

  Moses, mentioned, 40

  Munro, Major Hector, in India, 164, 167

  Mutiny Act, 60

  Mysore, fighting in, 165, 167, 169, 173


  Napier, Sir Charles, in Scinde, 190-1

  Napoleon, mentioned, 1, 12, 24, 41-2, 86, 89, 94, 187

  Navy, the British, mutiny in, 85;
    in war of 1812, 113-4

  Nepal, fighting in, 180-1

  Netherlands, the Austrian, fighting in, 66, 74

  Newfoundland, 72-3

  New York, settlers of, 104-5;
    mentioned, 57, 102-3, 110

  New Zealand, war in, 137-43

  Nizam, the, mentioned, 165, 167, 172

  Nova Scotia, mentioned, 72-3, 106


  Ochterlony, Sir David, in India, 180-1, 185

  Omdurman, battle of, 22

  Oudenarde, battle of, 68

  Oudh, annexation of, 195


  Panipat, battle of, 163

  Pegu, annexation of, 195

  Peninsular War, the, mentioned, 42;
    summary of, 89-95

  Pennsylvania, Quakers in, 11-12

  Persia, 187

  Peshwa, 181-2

  Philadelphia, capture of, 111

  Pindaris, the, fighting with, 179-82

  Pitt, Earl of Chatham, William, war policy, 76-80;
    mentioned, 108, 122

  Pitt, William, military policy, 83-8;
    W. Indian policy, 125-8

  Plassey, battle of, 160

  Police, the, connection with Army, 9, 54, 56, 72

  Pompadour, Mme de, 4

  Pondicherry, French at, 154-5, 160-1

  Porto Novo, battle of, 167

  Porto Rico, mentioned, 115-6, 127

  Portugal, British in, 90-1;
    mentioned, 42

  Prome, capture of, 184

  Punjab, the, annexation of, 194

  Punniar, battle of, 192


  Quebec, mentioned, 102, 105, 109


  Ramillies, battle of, 68

  Ramnuggar, action at, 194

  Rangoon, British at, 183, 195

  Ranjit Singh, mentioned, 182, 192

  Reunion, Is. of, 36

  Roberts, F.M., Earl, mentioned, 159

  Rohilla War, 166

  Rome, sack of, 24-5

  Russia, mentioned, 28, 51-2, 187


  St Domingo, mentioned, 115-6;
    expedition to, 119-20

  St Kitts, 57

  St Lawrence R., French colonies on, 102-3;
    expedition to, 106

  St Lucia, mentioned, 82, 123, 126-7

  St Thomas, 115

  St Vincent, fighting in, 117, 126

  St Vincent, John Jervis, Earl, in the W. Indies, 125

  Saratoga, defeat at, 112

  Saul, King of Israel, 25

  Schellenberg, battle of the, 68

  Scinde, operations in, 188, 190-1

  Scindia, mentioned, 171, 174-5, 191

  Scotland, rebellion in, 72, 74-6

  Senegal, 82

  Seringapatam, sieges of, 26, 169-71, 173

  Shah Shuja, 187-8

  Shakespeare, William, 52

  Shelley, P. B., mentioned, 33

  Shore, Sir John, in India, 172

  Sikhs, the, their growth, 171, 182, 188;
    war with, 191-4

  Simonstown, 131

  Siraj-ud-Daula, 160

  Sitabaldi, battle of, 181

  Sivaji Bonsla, mentioned, 153-4

  Smith, Sir Harry, in S. Africa, 133;
    in India, 193

  Smith, Col. Joseph, in India, 165

  Smollett, Tobias, 122

  Sobraon, battle of, 193

  Spain, her wars, 8, 23, 25, 52, 82;
    colonies, 116, 120;
    mentioned, 63, 73, 89, 102

  Spanish Succession, War of the, 64-8

  Sparta, 41

  Stirling, mentioned, 43, 75

  Strategy, definition of, 42-3

  Stuart, General James, 168

  Suffren, Admiral, 168

  Suti, battle of, 164

  Swiss, the, as soldiers, 50


  Tactics, definition of, 43-4;
    changes in, 47-50, 60

  Talents, Ministry of All the, 88

  Tangier, mentioned, 56-7, 65

  Tennasserim, capture of, 184

  Tippoo Sahib, mentioned, 168-73

  Tobago, mentioned, 82, 127

  Tournay, fighting at, 68

  Trafalgar, 199

  Trichinopoly, fighting at, 156, 161

  Trinidad, 115, 127

  Tugela R., fighting on the, 134


  Undwa Nala, battle of, 164

  Utrecht, Peace of, 71, 106


  Vellore, mutiny at, 176-7

  Vendôme, Louis Joseph, Duke of, mentioned, 68

  Vienna, mentioned, 67

  Virginia, 57

  Volunteers, the, under Addington, 87-8


  Walpole, Sir Robert, 72

  Wandewash, battle of, 162

  Warburg, battle of, 77

  _Warren Hastings_, the troop-ship, 36-7

  Washington, George, 4, 107

  Waterloo, battle of, 79, 95

  Wellesley, Richard, Marquis, in India, 172, 174, 176, 179

  Wellington, Arthur, Duke of, character of, 95-6;
    in India, 173-5;
    his scheme for the Peninsular War, 90-5;
    mentioned, 25, 41-2, 68, 159, 182, 186, 198

  William III, the army under, 59;
    W. Indian expedition, 120

  William, Duke of Cumberland, mentioned, 74-5

  Wolfe, General James, mentioned, 109


  Xavier, François, mentioned, 40


  York, Frederick, Duke of, 85


  Zizka, John, mentioned, 52

  Zulus, the, wars with, 134-5



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