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Foreign Office at the time was to some extent reflected in Pall Mall. So much was this the case, indeed, that it is difficult to believe that, had a Commander-in-Chief then been at the head of the military departments of the War Office, so high an authority would not have made it his business, whether he was invited to do so or not, to make the Government aware that the whole question of getting

tion of the Nile Delta. But in the peculiar position in which this country stands in relation to Egypt, it was imperative that no serious outbreak should It was not a question of nipping a revolt in the bud, or of putting down disorder which had actually occurred,it was a case of ensuring that no disturbance should take place. The situation was one where prevention was called for rather than cure, because riot and bloodshed in Cairo reinforcements to Alexandria or in Alexandria might have furnished an excuse for other Powers to raise diplomatic difficulties, even supposing that no foreign subject had suffered injury in the broil; and to any one conversant with the situation, and acquainted with Eastern peoples, it was obvious that Lord Cromer's request for the immediate despatch of suitable reinforcements was one to be complied with without a moment's delay.

Popular forms of government possess many virtues, but when a crisis happens to occur inviting immediate action, they are seldom seen quite at their best. Nor can a body of civilians be expected to appreciate certain factors entering into the problem of moving troops, of which even a good many soldiers are not fully cognisant. When ciroumstances arise which point to the possible need of military operations, the Government naturally keeps the War Office informed of the course of events. The War Office was fully alive to the state of affairs in Egypt in the spring of 1906, and whatever anxiety prevailed in the VOL. CLXXXVIL- -NO. MOXXXIII.

in a hurry hinged on the military authorities at Headquarters getting definite instructions, enabling them to call upon the Admiralty to provide transports. Shipping can neither be hired nor especially fitted up for troopcarrying purposes without the expenditure of money, and the Naval Transport Department cannot be expected to commit themselves to disbursements for such a purpose without the requisite authority from the War Office.

But the need of a military head was not made apparent at this time only in the matter of instructing the Government with reference to such points as this. Even when the War Office was empowered to set to work, that distribution of responsibility which is the basis of the Army Council system appreciably retarded definite action, although the emergency was not one which in reality presented any difficulty whatever. It was merely a question of transferring to Alexandria as speedily as possible two or three battalions from Malta,

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and a cavalry regiment and a battery of horse artillery from home. Moreover, inasmuch as the mounted troops from the United Kingdom were bound to take time in any case, the shipment of infantry from Malta to the danger point became especially urgent, and happened to be, as a transport operation, peculiarly simple. A Commander-in-Chief, fortified with authority from the Government, would have straightway assembled his heads of departments (or their representatives, if he could not have got hold of the heads), and in a few minutes an officer of the Quartermaster-General's Staff would have walked across from Pall Mall to Whitehall with a paper showing exactly what troops had got to be moved and from where, and formally requesting that the needful vessels should be taken up forthwith. The delay which actually occurred within the War Office itself—it was not a delay of weeks, of course, but it was more than a delay of hours-was certainly not the fault of individuals, for everybody was doing his best, even if nothing happened: it was the fault of the system, and was due in the main to the lack of a military head of some sort. It is true that at this date the Army Council had only been in existence for two years, and that the organisation had not perhaps got fully into working order; but, on the other hand, the emergency which had to be dealt with was not one calling for elaborate military measures, nor one involving any problem

that justified prolonged discussion.

It will probably be held in certain quarters that the writer is committing an indiscretion in referring to what occurred within the War Office on this particular occasion. But it must be remembered, in the first place, that no actual harm was done by such avoidable delay as attended the getting the reinforcements afloat; and it must be remembered, in the second place, that delay of this same kind might on another occasion and under more critical circumstances gravely imperil the safety of the State. As it turned out, no serious outbreak occurred in Egypt. The spectacle of the infantry arriving from Malta had a most soothing effect, and the appearance of the cavalry and the artillery at a later date completed what the arrival of the reinforcements first on the spot had so well begun. The troops, in fact, reached their destination in time, and that was all that was wanted; but had it been otherwise, had the smouldering embers of disaffection burst out into flame during that period which elapsed between the date of reinforcements being cabled for and the date of their landing in the country, the Public assuredly would have assumed an inquisitive mood. There might have been a Royal Commission of investigation-there generally is. It would have been ascertained that, in this instance at least, the Army Council machinery had not proved an easy one to set in motion, and it would have be

come apparent that something else besides co-ordination and decentralisation and the fixing of responsibility may prove necessary in times of emergency to get things done.

Reference has been made above to a Commander-inChief. But, as an alternative, it might be possible to so far enlarge the responsibilities of the First Military Member of the Army Council, and by doing this to so far raise his position as compared to that of his colleagues, as to give him a pre-eminence less only than that enjoyed by an actual Commander-in-Chief, as the powers of the high office were understood when it was filled by Lord Wolseley and Lord Roberts. At the time when the Esher Committee were formulating their plans for the distribution of duties under the members of the Army Counoil, hopes were expressed by many of the subordinate officers then serving in the War Office that mobilisation, peace organisation, and the movement of troops would be placed under the Chief of the General Staff. That this arrangement was not carried into effect can probably be attributed to the fear that such a distribution of duties would have involved the General Staff in a certain amount of administrative work of a detailed character in time of peace, and that this would have meant a contravention of one of the principles on which the Committee laid especial stress. The plan would undoubtedly have been open to objections: it would have sadIdled the Chief of the General

Staff with a heavy load of responsibilities, and would have made his department at Headquarters a very large one indeed; but it would have made the First Military Member unquestionably primus inter pares on the military side of the War Office, and it would have placed him in a position to act at moments when action, and not discussion, is called for.

Had such an organisation existed at the time of the Tabah incident, the whole question of the despatch of the urgently required reinforcements would have been dealt with in the one department; and it is safe to say that no hitch would have occurred.

Certain important developments have taken place in the organisation of the nation's military forces under the guidance ance of the Army Council since its inception; and, even if the system has not on all occasions worked within the War Office War Office as smoothly as might be wished, and if, under it, a new Army problem has arisen in the shape of a shortage of candidates for commissions, the arrangement has perhaps upon the whole turned out to be a fairly satisfactory one in times of peace. But the Army Council system is not one which even in theory is well adapted for carrying on a war; nor would its warmest admirers, if aware of the facts, be prepared to affirm that on the one occasion when it has been face to face with an

emergency it proved itself an unqualified success.




IT is not until a man has slunk down the streets of this great city, with the eyes of every policeman on point appraising him for comparison with the criminal photograph album, that he is able to realise the hopelessness of the honest unemployed. There is only one way by which it is possible to arrive at the truth in this fearful problem of unemployment in our cities. The man who would learn must go amongst the submerged 50,000 as one of themselves. If he trusts to Board of Trade returns, the reports of charitable organisations, or statements by clergy and parish workers, he will only arrive at the existing picture in outline.

LONDON, February 1910. poverty even though starvation be emaciating wife and children. In the effort to preserve their self-respect the men will tramp hundreds of miles per month seeking employment, and will sustain life on a few slices of bread per day. The casual labourer is the class that one hears most about, because, owing to natural as well as mechanical causes, it is more rapidly increasing. The reason for this is not obscure. For the sake of domestic economy the labouring classes send their children out to work at the earliest moment that the State will allow. There are, unfortunately, employers enough in London seeking to enlist immature labour The unemployed in London on account of its cheapness. are of four classes: genuine As soon as this labour matures, workers thrown out of employ- however, they turn it adrift to ment because of depression, or replace it with child labour. man-reducing improvements, in Thus year by year the semitheir particular trade; unem- educated and tradeless worker ployed who have not sufficient is thrown upon a market of education to follow a trade, and only a limited demand. While who depend upon the casual the scope of the market inlabour market; unemployed creases but slowly, the number who prefer eking out a pave- of casual labourers increases in ment living by doing stray and the same ratio as the male odd jobs to facing the routine population of the labouring hours of regular work; and the classes. The next class—the unemployed who are unem- unemployed who prefer eking ployable. Beyond this division out a pavement livelihood to any classification of the want accepting settled employment in a great city becomes impos--are the hardest to analyse. sible. The first class men- They are a product of our tioned will not own to their modern civilisation, with its

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attendant concentration in the a ship's steward lies in the fact In part they are the that his origin may be anyproduce of the preceding class, thing from Peer to Platelayer. while, to a large extent, the cold, miserable money - making channels making channels of winter morning. The pavemodern sport are also respon- ment squelched underfoot, and sible for their existence. Crime a fog-mist slowly wetted me to likewise has brought its in- the skin. I had read in the fluence to swell their ranks. paper that there was as much They are, of course, the class unemployment in Hackney as which deserves nothing of the in any other part of London. country beyond measures de- So to Hackney I determined to signed for their reformation. go. It not being necessary The last class the unem- that I should play the part ployable are composed of entirely, and walk the whole such as, through sickness or distance from my residence to mental or physical disability, the Stoke Newington High are unable to earn a living. Street, I took the underground How far the community should train to Islington. It was in be held responsible for their the train that I first became maintenance is a matter that conscious of the great gulf will have to be settled in between the classes. the near future by national legislation. As all three of the preceding classes contribute to the last class far more directly than does any other portion of society, it is obvious that some form of legislation must be devised to increase the demand for labour, and thus save the middle classes from the devastating wall of poor rates that is building up against them. Employment must be found, since the only rational alternative would seem to be the lethal chamber.

It was in this mind that I put my pride in my pocket and plunged headlong into the seething masses of North-East London. A week's growth of beard, the attention of a skilled hairdresser, and 15s. expended in a slop shop, is all that is necessary to turn an ordinary clubman into "a ship's steward on the beach." The beauty of The beauty of

Simulating a bearing in keeping with my miserable disguise, I found that my appearance produced no expression of sympathy on the faces of my fellow-passengers, and in several cases I read annoyance in the fact that this cosmopolitan mode of travelling necessitated their sitting beside one so shabbily attired. Though on my part it was but an experiment, yet something of the hopelessness that fills the heart of the man that has fallen seemed to possess me early in my quest. My experience in the train had made me so self-conscious that I positively winced when in front of the Angel, Islington, I came under the cold scrutiny of the massive policeman on point.

Even when I had passed him I felt that he was following me with his

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