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resignation and strength, of patience and perseverance, that have never in any other quarter been displayed. In the history of the evolution of religion and race Judaism and the Jews must always occupy an honoured place, and no writer on the subject but must pay tribute to the virility that has enabled a creed and a people, both instinct of the East, to have endured, through stress and strife, until the twentieth century, and even then be so powerful and have a following so extensive. The end is not yet, but in this country at least it cannot be indefinitely postponed.
LEWIS S. BENJAMIN.
ARMY SERVICE AND THE RECRUITING
ALTHOUGH men of all classes are frequently compelled to follow uncongenial occupations in order to earn a living, few will hesitate to discard professions or trades that are distasteful to them, if it is in their power to embrace others that seem likely to suit them better. The British Army fortunately includes very many soldiers by inclination, men whose families have been worthily represented, generation after generation, in the same regiments, who enlist almost as a matter of course, and who, unless caught by the iniquitous 'ten per cent. rule,' serve on for as long as health and strength will permit, until eventually discharged with well-earned pensions. But there are also large numbers of “unemployed,' or 'unemployables,' who enlist for no other reason than that they prefer doing so to enduring any longer the pangs of hunger. As raw material such men are seldom attractive, and indeed, judging by the feeble-looking specimens of immature, ill-nurtured humanity daily congregated about the London Recruiting Depot, one has good reason to marvel that so many of this class actually become really admirable soldiers. Truly the Army is a good school, in which both moral and physical regeneration is very frequently achieved ; yet only too many of the recruits taken off the streets are destined to return whence they came, and to be vagrants for the rest of their useless and unhappy lives. It is not the object of the present article to suggest making the Army more pleasant, or a more effective reformatory, for undesirables; but upon the contrary to show how the ranks might be so well filled with really good men that no others would any longer be able to gain admittance.
There is no doubt whatever that next after the uncertainty as to being permitted to make of the Army a permanent career, enforced association with hooligans and other ‘wasters' does more than anything else to prevent better men from enlisting. Meanwhile, however, the so-called 'Advantages of the Army' failing to attract a sufficiency of recruits of the right stamp, the recruiting net continues to be spread in the gutter, pending the time when the responsible authorities shall have come to their senses. It should be patent to any person of ordinary intelligence that the necessity to accept bad as well as good recruits can be removed only by increasing the attractions to the good, so that the latter will come forward in adequate numbers to fill all the vacancies as they occur. This then is the problem requiring to be solved : How shall Army service be rendered so popular that the supply of desirable recruits shall exceed the demand for them?
The solution depends upon the satisfaction of three conditions only, and these are :
(1) The Army must offer a career leading to definite advantages after discharge.
(2) Life in the Army must be rendered as pleasant to the soldier as the achievement of the highest efficiency will permit.
(3) Respectable lads must be fully assured that in the Army none but such as themselves will be permitted to serve.
If conditions 1 and 2 be satisfied, condition 3 will automatically be met, because there would then be many more candidates than vacancies, and really strict selection would become possible, the characters' of applicants being in all cases carefully verified, and also required to contain more complete testimony a's to general worthiness. We need not further discuss condition 3; but with the other two it will be necessary to deal at considerable length.
The Army must offer a career leading to definite advantages after discharge.
A young man who is 'honest, sober and respectable,' and who has been brought up to a trade which he is in a position to pursue, can scarcely be expected to quit that trade in order to join the Army, unless he can see clearly that by so doing he will not, unless through his own fault, seriously impair his prospects in life. There are, of course, a certain number of 'born soldiers,' who are determined to soldier, regardless of consequences, but it is quite certain that in a vast majority of cases the men who are really worth having think about the future more than about the present, and realise that serving for seven years with the colours, without thereby earning from the State any guarantee of subsequent employment, involves for them very grave risks indeed. A young man who abandons his trade at the age of eighteen or twenty, in order to enlist in the Army, is lucky if he can afterwards return at all to that trade; and even if he should be thus far fortunate has in the meantime been left far behind on the road to advancement by those who were his contemporaries. But it may be asked : 'Why do not such men stick to the Army itself, prolonging their service to twelve years with the colours, and eventually re-engaging to complete twenty-one years for pension?' The answer is simple; re-engagements having been limited by Lord Haldane to ten per
cent. of the establishment, no man can tell whether he will be permitted to re-engage, no matter how good a soldier be may be nor how anxious his own officers may be to retain him. Already this limitation is having effects that must very seriously impair the efficiency of the Army. The men worth keeping decline to face the risks, and are passing wholesale to the Reserve. In a word, by an act of criminally improvident economy,
the Army is being rapidly deprived of the backbone' without which mobilised units will be found of little fighting value. It is notorious that the British Army, as at present organised, is obliged to absorb on mobilisation a proportion of Reservists far exceeding that which any other Great Power considers safely admissible. Hitherto this grave disadvantage has been largely counterbalanced by the constant presence with the colours of very many veteran non-commissioned officers and men. In order to ensure that our ' Expeditionary Force’ shall consist of mere mobs of armed men, foredoomed to incur disgraceful disasters in war, it is only necessary to eradicate the reliable nucleus of fighting efficiency that is already being wasted away. Meanwhile faith has been grossly broken with thousands of keen soldiers who enlisted before the new rule had been enacted, and who had chosen military service for their permanent vocation.
In these modern days when thinking bayonets' are much more than ever necessary, it is clear enough that the Army has need of men who are not only of good physique but also morally and intellectually superior; yet we prescribe conditions of service calculated to repel effectually the very men we want! Lord Midleton, when as Mr. St. John Brodrick he was Secretary of State for War, raised considerably the soldier's emoluments, by the concession of messing allowance' and by the grant of * Service pay,' but as the present writer ventured to point out to him in the course of a conversation on the subject, while the matter was still under consideration, no increase of present pay, not even to double the amount actually sanctioned, could possibly have any effect whatever, except perhaps to attract a slightly larger number of' wasters.' Men of the class we require to obtain can be influenced not at all by whether their pay shall be one shilling, or two shillings a day, during three or seven years with the colours, but very much indeed by the certainty or uncertainty of being able to earn a living afterwards. It comes to this, in plain English, that any man of the right stamp who now enlists in the British Regular Army proves himself ipso facto to be either an enthusiast or a fool; that is to say, he acts either regardless of consequences which he fully understands, or yields thoughtlessly to some sudden impulse which as a general rule he has afterwards good reason to repent,
The remedy for this very unsatisfactory state of affairs has been suggested times without number, but although it is perfectly obvious, and quite easy to apply, nothing has yet been done in respect to its practical application. The State annually engages very large numbers of boys and men, some as sailors or soldiers, and others as civil servants. Why not require one and all of these employés to assent to serving in the Navy or Army, during a specified period of their total service to the State? Why not also compel the local authorities to give preference, in all cases, to suitable candidates who have already served in the Forces of the Crown, or are willing to qualify themselves by performing such service for the prescribed period ?
There is no reason whatever why boys and youths should not first be taught the work they desire to undertake in civil life, then pass into the Navy or Army, and finally return to the vocation for which they were originally trained. Legislation to this effect would do more than anything else to popularise the Army among the superior classes of the populace whom it is so desirable to attract. A young man who is morally and physically fit to be, for example, a policeman, is obviously fit for the Army, and after three or seven years as a soldier would return to the Police a far better policeman than if he had not enjoyed the advantage of thorough military training. There are at the present time large numbers of ex-Guardsmen in the Metropolitan and in the City Police, but excellent constables as these men are, it is clear that they could far more quickly have attained their full efficiency had they served first as Police recruits before their enlistment in the Guards.
Instead of doing its duty generally to the State, or helping the recruitment of the Fighting Services, the British Government appears to prefer the role of a promoter of wasterdom. It would be interesting to learn how many telegraph boys, and boy clerks in the Civil . Service, annually pass into the ranks of the unemployed or unemployable classes, on discharge from official employment. For the clerks there is, of course, some hope, but for the telegraph boys, as a general rule, none at all; the latter have learned no trade, and very poor are their chances of subsequently finding an opportunity to learn one. All such boys should as soon as the age limit has been reached be transferred from the telegraph service to some other-say as junior clerks, assistant postmen, or 'learners' in the sorting department of the Post Office-and on attaining the age of eighteen years be passed on into the Army, to serve therein until, on the completion of their colour service, they are reverted to the civil department whence they came. It does not seem needful to offer any further examples; the desired conclusion having already been sufficiently