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By an Army Chaplain

The British army is the only one in Europe the ranks of which are replenished by voluntary enlistment. In every other country military service is to a certain extent compulsory, and the system of conscription more or less prevalent. It might be inferred from this fact that we are the most warlike of all nations, inasmuch as the military ardour of the people is sufficient to recruit the ranks of the army. This inference, however, would be somewhat premature: few enter the army in this country because they prefer the profession of arms to every other kind of employment. We have conversed with a great many recruits, and we have met with only two or three young enthusiasts who had taken the shilling from the pure love of defending their Queen and country. A variety of motives had induced the others to enlist. The British army is much the same sort of rendezvous at the present day as the cave of Adullam in the old Jewish times; it may be said of the recruiting sergeant as of David, “Every one that is in distress, and every one that is in debt, and every one that is discontented, gather themselves unto him.”

Distress, or, in other words, want ‘of employment, is the most frequent cause of enlistment. There is an old and time-honoured joke, which we introduce merely from the light it reflects on this part of our subject:—“It was not for want that I took the shilling,” is often repeated with a grim smile ; “I had enough and to spare of that before.” During a severe winter, when many are thrown out of employment, the supply of recruits is greater than the demand, and none but the most promising are selected. On the other hand, when the price of labour is high both in town and country, it is difficult to find a sufficient number: and cases of desertion become much more frequent. The supply of recruits for the army is thus affected by all the fluctuations of trade and agriculture. In periods of depression the supply exceeds the demand, and the recruiting sergeant can pick and choose; on the other hand, when the price of labour is high, he must take what he can get. But poverty is not the only cause of enlistment. A drunken husband quarrels with his wife, and, by way of revenge, goes and takes the shilling (concealing, of course, the fact of his marriage); a son grows weary of the restraints of home, and foolishly imagines that he will enjoy a greater amount of liberty in the army. It was only recently that a weeping mother spoke to us about her son who had enlisted:—“You see, sir, we were a little too strict with him. He was fond of going to the theatre, and when we found that he would not give it up by gentle means, we told him the next time he went out at night he would find the door shut on his return. This soon happened; so he enlisted, and we knew nothing about it till it was too late.” They paid 20s. to buy him off—a foolish investment, as he is almost certain to enlist again. Those who are bought off after a few weeks’ service almost invariably do so; it is far better to allow the foolish youths to remain a year or two in the army. In the course of that time they will come to know their own minds, and perhaps be more disposed to submit to the restraints of parental authority. Debt, dishonesty, drunkenness, immorality, and a desire to escape from its consequences, are also frequent causes of enlistment.

There is another cause of a more substantial character which ought not to be overlooked: We mean, disappointment in love. How many a poor lad has thought that he would find a cure for an aching heart in the galvanic power of the sergeant’s shilling, or sought revenge on his inconstant or obdurate sweetheart by donning the soldier’s tunic! We do not believe in broken hearts in the army: the drill-sergeant’s ratan and the intricacies of the goose-step are sufficient to prevent the most sentimental recruit from brooding too much over his disappointment, and after a time he learns to care for none of these things. It is among young soldiers that the tender passion is most prevalent, and sometimes it crops out very unexpectedly. The other day we were visiting the wards of one of our military hospitals, and in going our rounds we observed a young soldier whose expression of face was far more depressed than his slight illness was sufficient to account for. We entered into conversation with him, and found that he was from a part of the North which we knew. If you want to have a firm gripe over a soldier’s heart, talk to him of his native village: the whole nature of the man expands, and the hidden fountains of feeling begin to well over at the thought of home. You may make almost anything of such a man, and he will cleave to you with the loving trustfulness of a child. It was so in this case; we were soon the best of friends. He was a tall, powerful young fellow, and a skilful workman; so we felt a desire to know the cause of his enlistment. We suggested several, but in vain; at last a happy idea occurred to us. “Ah! John,” we said, “you have been quarrelling with your sweetheart.” “Well, sir,” said John, with a blush that made his face redder even than his own intensely auburn hair, “I am thinking it was something of that sort.”

While the ranks of our army are filled up by voluntary enlistment, it would be a mistake to suppose that the recruits come forward of their own accord to enlist. It does, indeed, occasionally happen that a young man, incited by some of those causes to which we have alluded, will go in search of the recruiting sergeant, but, as a general rule, the recruiting sergeant has to go in search of him. Employers of labour may safely take it for granted that, without any direct effort on their part, the supply will always be equal to the demand; but it is not so in the army. It requires a certain amount of rhetoric to persuade a man that it is to his advantage to allow himself to be shot at for a shilling a day. The Government are aware of this fact, and have provided accordingly. The whole of the United Kingdom is divided into recruiting districts, each of which is under the charge of an inspecting field officer, and subdivided into smaller districts, under the superintendence of officers of inferior rank.

Each of these subalterns has parties of non-commisioned officers and men employed under him, over whom he exercises a general control. As all the real work of recruiting is done by the sergeants and the men under them, the commanding officer of a regiment is always very careful in the selection of them. It would be difficult to specify the exact qualities desiderated in such men. There are obvious reasons why they should not be married, and, so far as we know, none but single men are chosen. It is not necessary that they should be good men, and a good man will not accept such a field of labour unless it be forced upon him. It is the most demoralizing species of military duty on which any soldier can be employed. We have heard more than one declare, with bitter regret, that they would have been wiser and better men if they had not been corrupted by being employed in recruiting. We had no reason to question their sincerity: a man cannot touch pitch without being defiled; a soldier cannot beat up the haunts of vice for recruits without becoming to a certain extent vicious him-self. It is not necessary that he should be a good soldier; the commanding officer is always unwilling to scud such men on detached duty. The great desideratum in the case of a soldier sent to recruit is, that he should be a clever, shrewd, good-looking fellow, gifted with that rude and ready eloquence which tells at once on the masses. If practicable, he is usually sent to his native district: he left it an uncouth, unshapely lout; he returns to it a smart, active, handsome soldier, envied by all his former comrades, and admired by all their female acquaintances. He seems to have nothing to do, and an unlimited supply of money. While they are toiling hard, he seems to live only for enjoyment. His bright uniform is to be seen at every country fair and village merrymaking; his voice is law even to those who once despised him. And he, of course, will do nothing to weaken this favourable impression; on the contrary, he will do everything to strengthen it. Though a private, he has usually the stripes and the titular rank of corporal, which he has to lay aside when he rejoins his regiment. As the additional pay of fourpence a day which he receives while recruiting would be insufficient to meet his expenditure, he has an intelligible motive for exertion. He usually puts up at some publichouse, and there is a perfect understanding between him and the landlord. They deal with one another on the principle of reciprocity. The soldier undertakes to bring as much custom as he can to the landlord; and if he causes a reasonable quantity of drink to be consumed on the premises (rarely at his own expense), he usually receives his board and lodging for nothing. There are always numbers of foolish lads who, without any idea of enlisting, think it manly to cultivate the society of the recruiting sergeant, and to treat him to drink. In the long run they usually find their military friend a dangerous acquaintance. He has constantly an eye to business, and has visions of the more likely amongst them inarching along with him to headquarters. He does all that in him lies to make this vision a reality. He will drink with them, sing them his best songs, and tell them his best stories. His glowing imagination paints the life of a soldier in its most seductive colours ; it matters little that the groundwork of truth is altogether wanting. The man who cannot lie without a blush will never do for the recruiting service. In this case the end is held to justify the means, and the recruiting sergeant will tell the most fearful lies without a blush. It is true that he is usually warned by the adjutant or commanding officer not to give too loose reins to his imagination; but, with the prospect of 15s. for every sound recruit he can enlist, what is there he will not say? Ah! if there is an Elysium on earth, it is a barrack-room: the life the most enviable of all others is that of a soldier. There is nothing which the heart of man can desire that is not within his reach. Plenty to eat and drink, a handsome uniform, liberal pay, and the disposal of your own time, who is there that would not prefer such a life to that of the rustic clodhopper?

Nor is the sergeant the only one who indulges in this peculiar style of eloquence while descanting on the pleasures of a soldier's life. There arc others higher in rank, superior in education, who stoop to practise the same kind of deception. We may insert in proof of this the following unique production, the impudent humour of which might excite a smile, if it were not for the unblushing effrontery of its falsehood. It is stamped with the impress of a higher order of intellect than that of the recruiting sergeant, and is invested with an official character by being surmounted with the arms of England.

“Stop I—-Take notice!

“Fine young single men have now a splendid opportunity of joining the .... They must measure 5 feet 7 inches, and be between 17 and 25 years of age. They will all receive the same liberal Bounty of £5

“On their arrival at ---- they will be taught the art of riding, driving, fencing, gunnery, and mechanics, whereby guns are moved with the same facility as a penny 'whistle; the use and manufacture of gunpowder, sky rockets, and other I beautiful fireworks. They are also lodged in the finest barracks in the world, have light work and good pay ! the best beef and mutton that----can afford; and a comfortable place in the barracks, called ‘the canteen,’ set apart for them to see their friends in, and take a cheerful glass, also an excellent, “Library and Reading Room; “A Park and Pleasure Ground, with a select number of horses kept for their instruction, health, and amusement.

“After their education is completed, an opportunity will be equally and without favour afforded to all to travel in foreign countries, where they may drink their wane at two pence a bottle ! by the new tariff, and return to their friends with money, manners and experience, with a “Liberal Provision for Old Age.

“As the number of men required for this service will soon be completed, young men desirous of availing themselves of these unequalled advantages, are earnestly advised to apply without loss of time to the recruiting party at----.

“God save the Queen.”

It is impossible to read this without a smile, but many a credulous youth may have believed it, and found out his mistake when too late. What a charming picture of a soldier’s life. It recalls to our memory the words of the famous French song,

“All! quel plaisir d’etre soldat! ”

It may be said that this placard is a mere jeu de esprit, which will deceive no one; but we doubt this; it would be difficult to set any bounds to the all but infinite vastness of human credulity.

But to return to our friend the recruiting sergeant. On leaving the regiment, he and his men are usually provided with a book of printed instructions for their guidance, and also a copy of the Mutiny Act, which contains several clauses about the mode of enlistment. As soon as he arrives at his station, he has to report himself to the commanding officer of the troops there, -whom he is bound to obey in all things. If he receives any orders tending to defeat the object he has in view, he is bound to report the case to the regiment, in order that he may obtain redress. He must always appear in uniform, and move about his station in a smart and soldier-like manner. By this he understands that he must walk some ten or twenty miles every day backwards and forwards on the sunny side of the street, flourishing his cane, and critically examining every man or woman who passes. He has to pay all the men who are stationed in country districts, and to inspect their kits once a month. He receives special instructions not to enlist any recruit unless he be straight made, upright, with broad shoulders, raised chest, good legs, not in need, free from all appearance of sore legs, scurvy, rupture, or any other infirmity. A cast in the eye is sufficient to cast the most promising recruit. If any recruit is labouring under any of these infirmities, and wilfully conceals them at the moment of enlistment, he is liable to be tried by court-martial, but this regulation is practically set at nought, as no recruit need confess that he has been guilty of wilful deception. Certain classes, such as sailors, miners, and navigators are deemed ineligible as soldiers, and any recruiting sergeant who wilfully or carelessly enlists a married man, is liable to be recalled and severely punished. The same rule applies also to apprentices. No master, however, can reclaim an apprentice: the only redress he can obtain is the payment of such part of his apprentice’s bounty money as he may not have received.

The average height is 5 feet 4 inches for regiments of the line, and 5 feet 8 or 9 inches for the foot guards. The tall gigantic life-guardsmen are all picked men : the enlistment of one of these is often a serious affair. Men are rarely to be found possessing all the physical and moral qualities requisite in this branch of the service; when one is discovered, every effort is made to induce him to enlist. We have known cases where the adjutant of one of these regiments has laid aside his dignity so far as to travel several hundred miles to try the effect of his eloquence on some young giant of whom he has heard a favourable report. As a general rule, however, all the work is done by the recruiting sergeant, who is better fitted for it than his superior officers. There is an old rule of the service, that no recruit is to be accepted unless he be provided with a certificate of moral character from the clergyman of his parish, or some load magistrate or other notable; but the recruiting sergeant, who can tell human nature at a glance, has now learned to dispense with this obsolete rule. The truth is, the test of morality must not be too strictly applied, or the ranks of our army would soon be thinned. It was otherwise in former days, when it was esteemed an honour to be admitted into the army, and officers received their commissions, not for a certain sum of money, but for the number of picked men they brought with them from their paternal estates. We have heard the son of a Highland chief, whose forefather, about a century ago, joined the Pretender with 500 men, say that, with all his influence, he could only induce one of his clansmen to enlist, and he was the greatest blackguard in the parish; so entire is the change that has been effected of late years in the relations between landlord and tenant in the north: the old feudal feeling thus disappeared, and the tic that exists between them is the same as in any other commercial transaction. We question whether the beautiful Duchess of Gordon, who raised the 92nd Highlanders for her son, the Marquis of Huntly, and gained many a likely recruit by placing a sovereign between her coral lips, and inviting him to take it in the approved fashion, would be able, if she were now alive, to raise twenty men by the adoption of a recruiting trick which was then found to be irresistible. Landlords in the north have higher rent-rolls and more extensive deer-parks, but where arc the men ? True wealth docs not always consist in the abundance of that which a man hath. Human flesh may not be such a marketable article as venison, but perhaps it is more precious in the long run. Deer will not defend our shores, or fight as the brave Highlanders fought when they followed their chiefs to the field.

As a general rule, regiments have recruiting parties in the counties where they were originally raised. In most eases, however, they are not able thus to obtain a sufficient number of men to keep up their strength, and arc obliged to have recourse to the large manufacturing towns to supply the deficit. It is not unusual for the Highland regiments to recruit in London, and Englishmen show no particular aversion to the kilt or trews. A fair sprinkling of Scotchmen is also to be found in the English regiments: they find more rapid promotion there than in regiments composed chiefly of their own countrymen, and, therefore, as highly educated as themselves. We have heard several assign this as the cause of their preference. Irishmen are to be found in abundance in every branch of the service except the Foot Guards, for which natives of England and Scotland only are to be enlisted, unless special permission is given to the contrary. Such permission, so far as we are aware, never has been given, and yet, notwithstanding this formal intimation that “No Irish need apply,” the brogue is occasionally to be heard in the ranks of the Foot Guards as elsewhere. Some regiments have only an accidental connection with the places by which they are known. The Coldstream Guards, for example, are not and never were a Scotch regiment; their only connection with the small village of Coldstream, in Berwickshire, is that they marched from it under Monk to assist in the restoration of Charles II. It is somewhat singular, however, that they have always recruited a little there, and that there are some five or six men in the regiment to justify the name by which it is honourably known.

Agricultural labourers are always the most promising recruits, and invariably make the best soldiers. They are soon licked into shape, and have usually more strength and stamina than those who have been bred in large towns. They are also superior to the latter in every soldierly virtue, and are less saturated with vice. Most of the non-commissioned officers in the army have been selected from this class. We have under our eye at this moment a list of forty-four sergeants belonging to one of the most distinguished regiments in the service, and we find that forty of them were brought up in the country and engaged in agricultural labour before their enlistment. The reader, therefore, will be prepared to learn that the recruiting sergeant will never offer the shilling to a town-bred lad if he can find a country one. There is less chance also of the latter being rejected; but of this more anon. The popular belief is, that the acceptance of a shilling from the hand of a recruiting sarjent constitutes enlistment; but it is not so. In terms of the Mutiny Act, he is bound to obtain from the recruit satisfactory answers to the following questions :—“Are you an apprentice?" “Are you married?” “Do you belong to the Militia or to the Naval Coast Volunteers, or to any portion of her Majesty’s land or sea forces?” “Did you ever serve in the army or navy before?” “Are you marked with the letter D?” “ Have you ever been rejected as unfit for her Majesty’s service on any previous enlistment?” While the recruit is answering all these questions in the negative, the sergeant is supposed to be holding the shilling neatly suspended between his finger and thumb, ready to drop it into his palm as soon as the last “No” has issued from his lips, and to say, “Then I enlist you for Her Majesty’s----Regiment of the Line.” The sergeant, we say, is supposed to do all this, but old MacWhirter, who has enlisted more recruits than any other man in the service, tells us, with a knowing wink of his wicked old eye, that he has enlisted six or eight men in one night without asking a single question or parting with a single shilling. "But how was that?” we ask, incredulously. “Why, sir,” says Mac, without even the semblance of a blush on his old wrinkled face, “I made them all dead drunk over-night, and swore next morning that they had all taken the shilling. They couldn’t prove that they had not taken it, so they had no help for it but to pay the smart-money, or to be attested.” Such proceedings were winked at formerly, and perhaps even secretly encouraged ; but any sergeant guilty of such deception now would, if detected, be recalled, and reduced to the ranks.

The period of enlistment is ten years for the Infantry and twelve for the Cavalry or Artillery or other Ordnance Corps, if the person enlisted is of the age of eighteen years or upwards ; but if under that age, then the difference between his age and eighteen is to be added to such ten or twelve years, as the case may be. At the close of ten or twelve years’ service, the soldier is at liberty to take his discharge, unless he should be stationed abroad, and the commanding officer require his service, in which case he is bound to serve for a further period not exceeding two years. He may take his discharge, but he is not entitled to any pension unless he serves for a period of twenty-one years. By a recent regulation, a soldier who takes his discharge after ten years’ service, is allowed a breathing time of six months : if he decides to give up soldiering, he becomes an unpensioned civilian, but if he reenlists before the six months have expired, his ten years’ service count in his favour, and he may retire with a pension after eleven years. If he foolishly allows the six months to glide away before he has finally decided to re-elist, he loses the benefit of his previous service, and enters the army on the same footing as any other recruit.

We are not to suppose that the whole ceremony of enlistment is over when the magic shilling has dropped into the extended hand of the recruit. The sergeant produces from his pocket-book the following notice, and proceeds leisurely to fill it

“John Brown,

“Take notice, that you enlisted with me at 10 o’clock, P.M., on the 1st of April, 1863, for the 999th Regiment, and if you do not come to Takcm Inn at the hour here fixed, for the purpose of being taken before a justice, either to be attested or to release yourself from your engagement by repaying the enlisting shilling, and any pay you may have received as a recruit, and by paying twenty shillings as smart-money, you will be liable to be punished as a rogue and vagabond. You are hereby also warned that you will be liable to the same punishment if you make any wilfully false representation at the time of attestation.

“J. Kite, Sergt. 999th Regt.”

The enlistment is not legal, unless the recruit has been served with this notice along with the shilling on some lawful day. From twelve o'clock on Saturday night to twelve o’clock on Sunday night, Sergeant Kite’s occupation is gone: he must rest on his oars during that interval, however strong the temptation may be to distribute an occasional shilling. He is reduced to the same compulsory idleness on Christmas-day and Good Friday; no recruits are enlisted for the army on either of these two days. Many a rascally recruit decamps on receiving the shilling, taking what is called French leave, and nothing more is heard of him, unless he be seized as a deserter. But wre shall suppose that John Brown appears at the time and place indicated by Sergeant Kite. There he has to be examined as to his physical fitness by an army medical officer, when there is one quartered at or near the place of enlistment, or failing that, by some local medical practitioner. This examination is technically known as “the Primary Inspection;” the object of it is to guard against the approval of ineligible recruits. The external characteristics of a sound constitution and efficient limbs, arc summarily stated for the guidance of the examiner—viz., a due proportion between the trunk and the members of the body, a countenance expressive, of health, with a lively eye, skin firm and elastic, lips red, teeth sound, voice strong, chest capacious and well formed, belly lank, limbs muscular, feet arched and of a moderate length, hands large rather than small. A Tom Thumb or a Goliath would be equally excluded from the British army: there is one towering form Well know’n in Rotten Row’, and not unknown in the literary world, the owner of which has been condemned to civil life on account of his gigantic stature. We had recently an opportunity of witnessing one of these primary inspections. We had called on the chief medical officer at a certain station, and were directed to his office, where we had to wait in a small ante-chamber where we could sec all that was passing. Suddenly tw o young men in a state of perfect nudity, entered the room, and began walking backward and forward at a pace which Deerfoot might have envied. Our friend then made them halt and stand in the position of a soldier under arms, when he examined them thoroughly from head to foot. He then made them extend their arms at right angles with the trunks of their bodies, touch their shoulders with their fingers, and place the backs of their hands above their heads. While in this defenceless position, he suddenly struck one of them a stunning blow in the chest, which sent him reeling against the wall; then rushing up to him he applied his ear to his chest, and listened for a minute or so with rapt attention. He gave a nod of satisfaction, but the ordeal was not yet over; he made him hop on one leg round and round the room till he could scarcely retain his gravity. He was pronounced eligible, and dismissed. The other recruit did not fare so well. Our friend looked him sternly in the face till he quailed beneath his eye. “You scoundrel,” he said, “you enlisted six months ago in the----Hussars, and I rejected you as blind of the right eye.” The fellow attempted at first to deny this, but soon admitted his guilt, and was given into custody. He was one of a numerous class, known in the army as "bounty lifters,” who live by defrauding recruiting parties. Occasionally they deceive the doctors, and receive the bounty-money, with which they make off, and enlist somewhere else. We know of one case of a man who, by his own confession, had received forty-five bounties, and had never done a single day’s duty in the army. Bounty lifting is as much a profession as pocket-picking, and there are more than a thousand men in this country who have no other means of subsistence. As the civil medical practitioner receives only a fee of 2s. 6d., his examination is seldom very strict, and thus there is an ample door for deception. But we shall suppose that John Brown is not a bounty lifter, but an honest young fellow, willing to serve his country. We shall suppose, further, that he has passed the ordeal of the primary inspection, and that it is twenty-four hours since Kite dropped the shilling into his hand. During that interval he has made no effort to raise a sovereign of smart-money, so he is brought into the presence of a magistrate (who must not be an officer in the army), before whom he swears that he will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to her Majesty, her heirs and successors ; and that he will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend her Majesty, her heirs and successors, in person, crown, and dignity, against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of her Majesty, her heirs and successors, and of the generals and officers set over him. When Brown has thus been attested, Kite begins to smile upon him and to have golden visions of 15s. dropping into his own pocket. From that day the young recruit begins to draw his pay, which is 15s for the line, and 4d. a day for lodging money. In certain cases he receives 2s. 6d. as the earnest of his bounty money, but Kite being of a supicious temperament, this is not always done. In former days recruits were billeted on private individuals in the town where they were enlisted. Old soldiers still speak with a sigh of regret of those days ; an ingenious and unscrupulous recruit, acting in concert with Kite, could always get himself bought off for something handsome, and then report to the billet master that there was some contagious disease in the house. This he continued to do till he found a landlord who would pay nothing, in which case he took up his abode in his house, and made himself generally disagreeable. All this has been done away with now, and the recruit must rest content with his limited allowance of lodging money, or with such limited accommodation as the recruiting sergeant can provide for him till he joins his regiment. It is not unusual for some twenty or thirty recruits to be huddled together in one room, and the man of superior education is obliged to associate with tramps, thieves, and other outcasts, who have been deemed worthy of serving her Majesty.

Here the process of corruption begins, and as a period of six weeks often elapses before the recruit joins his regiment, if untainted before, he is soon initiated into vice, and has often to suffer its consequences in hospital. In some regiments he receives the half of his bounty money after being attested; this sum is no real boon to him, as it is usually spent in debauchery. The bounty money varies in amount according to the demand for men. In former days it rarely covered the expense of the kit, and the young soldier often found himself in debt. This cannot occur now, as he is always provided with a free kit, and a certain sum which is entirely at his own disposal. During the Crimean war, it rose as high as 57. or 61., a larger sum than most of the recruits had ever possessed before. At Croydon, where some 500 recruits for the Foot Guards were assembled, the possession of such a large sum of money led to fearful scenes of debauchery and riot, and many deserted, again to take the shilling, and to repeat the same scenes elsewhere. At present the bounty money for the Guards is 17. and a free kit; after joining his regiment, the recruit usually receives this sum at the rate of 67. a-day. This is far better than paying him the whole sum at once, and it were desirable that the same arrangement -were adopted in every branch of the service. The recruiting-sergeant receives 155. for every recruit who passes the final examination ; if two have taken part in his enlistment, the money is divided between them. The recruit, if he be of an enterprising character, may make a little money by inducing some comrade to enlist; he receives 75. 6d. as the reward of his enterprise. Sometimes a whole batch of men are enlisted, though it is well known that some of them arc unfit for the service; the sergeant allows the smaller fry to escape through the meshes of his net, and brings the others safely to land. He takes care never to lose sight of them till he has brought them to the head-quarters of the regiment, where, after passing a second medical examination and being approved of by the colonel, they are handed over to the pay or colour-sergeant of the company they arc posted to. Every recruit must bring with him to head-quarters one shirt and one pair of socks or stockings, clean and ready to be put on when he gets into barracks. For the modest sum of 85. he is provided with a uniform which has belonged to some other man ; the tunic costs 55., the trousers 35. After a few days the regimental tailor hands over to him his own uniform, for which he pays nothing, and his kit is served out to him. It consists of the knapsack and straps, two straps for binding his greatcoat to the knapsack, three shirts, three pairs of socks, two towels, two pairs of boots, one pair of leather leggings, one pair of winter trousers and one pair of summer trousers, a tunic, a shell jacket, one pair of braces, two shoe brushes, a clothes-brush, a box of blacking, a razor and case, a comb, a shaving-brush, a knife, a fork, and a spoon. This is a handsome outfit for men most of whom may be safely placed in the category of the great unwashed, and the Government takes care that if any of these articles are lost, or destroyed, or made away with, they shall be replaced at the expense of the soldier. We may now leave the recruit in the hands of the drill-sergeant, comforting him with the assurance that, if he does not carry the baton of a field-marshal in his knapsack, as every French soldier is presumed to do, he may, by good conduct and soldierly smartness, attain the rank of sergeant, and retire from the service with a pension of 2s. a-day.

There are four recruiting districts in England, the head-quarters of which are at London, Bristol, Liverpool, and York; two in Scotland, headquarters Glasgow and Edinburgh; and three in Ireland, head-quarters Belfast, Dublin, and Cork. In 1860, there were 27,853 recruits examined at head-quarters, and more than one-fourth of these were rejected as unfit for military service. As a proof of the negligence with which recruits are passed by medical practitioners who have no connection with the service, it may be mentioned that the proportion rejected on secondary inspection of those approved by civilians, was exactly double that of those who had been examined in the first instance by army surgeons. A heavy loss was thus entailed upon the country, as these recruits were supported at the public expense during the interval between their enlistment and final rejection. It is somewhat singular that in France, where the conscription comprehends all classes and the army represents the whole community, the number of rejections in 1859 was almost exactly the same as at our primary inspections in 1860, being at the rate of 317 per 1000. The largest number of recruits were rejected at Glasgow and Belfast; London comes next, and Bristol stands highest in the list. The proportion of rejections in Scotland is greater than elsewhere ; this is owing to the fact that the great majority of Scottish recruits belong to the large manufacturing towns. Of every 1000 men inspected. England and Wales contributed 566, Scotland 107, Ireland 321, the colonies and foreign countries six. One-half of the recruits are returned as being between eighteen and twenty-one years of age, but there is reason to believe that many of them antedated their births, as service under eighteen years of age is not allowed to count for pension.

The proportion of men above 5 ft. 8 in. is considerably greater in the Scotch recruiting districts than in the English or Irish, while the proportion of men under 5 ft. 5 in. is nearly one-fourth higher in Ireland than in Great Britain. There is thus no foundation for the fallacious belief that Irishmen are taller than the Scots or English the truth lies in the opposite direction. The reader may perhaps wish to know something of the occupations of our recruits, and the amount of education they had received before entering the army. We find that 9420 were labourers, husbandmen, and servants, 2783 manufacturing artisans, 4863 mechanics, 2051 shopmen and clerks, 108 professional men or students, and 142 boys enlisted as drummers. Thus it appears that one-half of the recruits are obtained from the class of labourers, husbandmen, and servants, and one-fourth of them from the mechanical trades. Ireland furnishes much above the average proportion of labourers; Scotland, of manufacturing artisans and mechanics; and England, of shopmen and clerks. The highest proportion of rejections took place among the mechanics employed in occupations favourable to physical development, while the lowest was among students and professional men, and next to these among shopmen and clerks. As regards education, we find that of every 1000 English recruits, 247 were unable to read or write, 51 could read only, and 702 could both read and write. Of every 1000 Scotch recruits, 163 could neither read nor write, 156 could read only, and 681 could both read and write. Of every 1000 Irish recruits, 321 could neither read nor write, 145 could read only, and 534 could both read and write. The reader will thus perceive that the proportion of recruits wholly without education was highest in Ireland, and lowest in Scotland, but the proportion of those who could write was higher in England than in Scotland, —a result scarcely to be anticipated among the natives of a land where John Knox established a school in every parish.

We know that we are treading on delicate ground, but we cannot close this article without expressing our conviction that our whole system of recruiting is radically wrong. Apart from all other demoralizing influences, we may find in it alone the cause of much of the debauchery that prevails among our soldiers. It tends alike to corrupt the recruiters and the recruited, by familiarising both with vice. We know that it is far easier to point out an evil than to suggest a remedy. The continental system will never do in this country; the nation which has abolished the press-gang will not readily adopt the conscription. A higher class of men should be employed in the recruiting service; the 15s. per man, which is practically an inducement to enlist the worst men, because the worst men are always readiest to enlist, should be abolished: and the promise of a commission given to every recruiting sergeant who shall raise a certain fixed number of good men. Let their goodness be tested by their after-conduct. The sergeant would thus have no inducement to frequent the haunts of vice, or to initiate the recruit into the mysteries of low debauchery. Again, why should the recruit be six weeks before he joins his regiment? Why should he be condemned to frequent low public-houses. to associate with outcasts, to occupy the same room, perhaps to sleep in the same bed, with filthy tramps and other unsavoury vagabonds? Why should he be subjected to this degrading ordeal, which must strip him of all self-respect, and reduce him to the same moral degradation as the outcasts around him? It is a false economy which detains him in such haunts till the sergeant has completed his batch of recruits ; how false may be learned from the statistics of our military hospitals. And when he joins his regiment, why should he receive his bounty money all at once? There are old scoundrels of soldiers watching and waiting for the moment he touches it, ready to share in the foul orgies to which they line him on : why should it not be paid to him at a small fixed daily allowance, as in the case already mentioned; or better still, why should we not adopt the French system? The French conscript is credited, on joining his regiment, with forty francs of bounty money, known as “is masse individuclle," but he never touches it so long as he remains in the service; it is kept as a reserve fund : if he sells or makes away with his kit, it serves to supply him with a fresh one, and his pay of two sous a-day is stopped till “la masse” is raised to the original amount. He receives the whole of this sum on quitting the service, so that he is never altogether destitute; it gives the authorities a hold over him, and tends to repress two crimes, the two perhaps most prevalent in our army: desertion and selling kits. The adoption of this principle would, we are convinced, be a benefit to the soldier and the country at large : it has, in fact, been partially recognised in the following regulations, which have been made known in garrison orders at Woolwich, and which, we hope, will soon be extended to every branch of the service,—viz. : That the practice of conferring a sum of money on enlistment by way of Royal Bounty shall be abolished: that the recruits shall be provided with thorough outfit as heretofore, and shall be entered as of the first class on joining the reserves. If at the termination of the first period of three years they are returned as “of good behaviour,” they will be rewarded with a badge entitling them to an addition of Id. per day above the ordinary pay; and as a further inducement, at the expiration of each succeeding three years, the same rewards will be conferred, so that during a service of twenty-one years a well-behaved man will be entitled to seven badges and a pay of 2s 2d. per day.

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