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cessity of him or his appointment? The answer is obvious; and the saving the State would obtain, by his removal, is equally so.
If it is thought that a more rigid adherence to the rules or good of the Service, more care in the custody or disposal of the stores, may be obtained by placing commissioned commissaries in charge, I trust I may be permitted to assert, (without any direct or indirect detraction from the merits of any man,) that more zealous, careful, and real duty-performing subjects no where exist, than those very warrant-officers thus superseded, and applied to the drudgery of magazines!
If greater regularity in the discharge of business is anticipated, I am bold to assert it never was, nor ever will be realised, it being a well-known fact, that magazines, while under the charge of warrantofficers, are characterised by regularity, promptitude, and correctness.
If greater abilities are thought requisite than warrant-officers are supposed to possess, my answer is simply this: The abilities of warrant-officers have ever been found commensurate with the duties consequent on the charge of a magazine; nothing more can, therefore, be required. With one or two solitary exceptions, all the abilities required, both practically and theoretically, are happily blended with every requisite for the good of the department, among the higher, anda mong many of the lower grades of warrant-officers; and, while it must be regretted that, of late years, a few of a very contrary description have crept into the department, which is purely to be attributed to those at whose instigation such admissions were obtained, yet nothing serious need be dreaded from this circumstance, as a sufficient number will ever be found capable of reflecting credit on the fulfilment of those duties consequent on either their rank or charge.
I trust I have fully shown, that no equivalent is had for the vast sum of public money yearly expended by the employment of commissioned commissaries in the Ordnance Department, as also the loss occasioned to the Service by the removal of these officers from the direct line of their regimental duty, a loss which is greatly aggravated when we reflect on the experience and talents possessed by them, and the total absence in the Ordnance Department of opportunities for duly appreciating the worth of such individuals !
It is somewhat odd, that there should exist such a staff-hunting mania among the officers in the Honourable Company's Service. It is not so in his Majesty's; yet the latter are alike subject to exposure, to changes of climate, and the consequences thereof, and should feel as strongly urged to make hay while the sun shines. It is singular, too, how the officers of our Service can forego the honourable distinctions of their profession, to become superintendants of carpenters, sicklegurs, and blacksmiths!
To what a degree of military enthusiasm did that highly distinguished officer, Sir John Horsford, carry his devotion to the
Service! What an example to others! 'It is my boast,' said he,' after all my service, that I never held a staff situation.' In what unqualified terms did he censure the system of accepting paltry staff situations! Besides this, it is a well-known fact that he intended to exert his influence with Government to root out all commissioned commissaries from the Ordnance Department, and to prevent their future employment in that branch of the service, in order to avail himself of their services, when he felt well convinced such services were most e sential and required, reserving an exception in favour of those required at the arsenal, as principal and deputy principal commissaries; and even the appointment to the last situation was, in some measure, objected to by him; for he deemed it more appropriate to the class of warrant-officers, as was the case on a former occasion at Fort St. George.
By this arrangement, Sir John intended the Ordnance Department to be kept open as a field for the advancement of the warrantofficers then in it, and for rewarding his artillery men, or others, whose services or good fortune should bring them to the notice of Government, as worthy of its patronage; and, when the number of highly gifted and respectable men with whom the Honourable Company's Service in general, and the artillery in particular, abound, is duly considered, (and they are taught to look up to the Ordnance Department as the sole reward for either services, talents, or friends' influence,) it will not, I trust, be deemed too much, that an attempt should be made to keep it free from incumbrance such as above stated, as also to apply censure to the ungenerous feeling that would rob such men of the only means of acquiring a respectable rank, and a competency to gild the evening of their declining days, and that, too, after a service of thirty or forty years!
In his Majesty's Service, meritorious characters are rewarded by commissions and appointments, as adjutants and quartermasters; but, in our Service, nothing but the Ordnance Department exists, shackled, as it at present is, by those who have otherwise a wide field of fame, rank, and competency before them. Surely, then, we may with great justice consider these gentlemen as stumbling-blocks to our advancement. *
Another hardship, which appears to us, and which many have considered, as very invidious, is the distinction drawn between warrantofficers in the service of the Honourable Company, and in his Majesty's. In the latter Service, when the appointment of adjutant, or quartermaster, is conferred on a serjeant-major, or other meritorious man, he immediately becomes entitled to all and every the privileges, eeremonies, and distinctions of the other officers of the army, and is admitted into their society; yet he is but a warrant-officer, and may remain so for months, nay, years. What conclusion are we to draw from this? If commissioned officers of one Service rank with those of the other, so should warrant-officers. This appears a
* See page 168.
rallying point, round which much discussion has taken place, to say nothing of the little bickerings it has produced,—all commissioned officers strenuously demanding a salute, as they emphatically term it, from conductors of Ordnance; but for which there exists no one authority, if we except a garrison, which goes no further than the glacis of that garrison, in which it was issued.
Something strange appears in the wording of this very order. Apothecaries, stewards, and riding-masters are exempted, as if it were only necessary to inflict so summary a mode of punishment on poor conductors; and yet the former ranks are all warrantofficers. Another reason to prove that the order in question, restricted as it even is to the garrison of Fort William, never should have had an existence,—that it must have been penned when the intellectual faculties slumbered, and that it was sanctioned at a moment when the placid disposition of the illustrious personage whose authority it required, rendered him an easy prey to the designing,-is the liability of a warrant-officer in the Honourable Company's Service, saluting one of that description in his Majesty's; it being no novel matter that one of the latter should be quartered with the regiment stationed in Fort William and this certainly was a degradation the illustrious person already mentioned never would have contemplated; and but a little reflection, undisturbed by sinister influence, would have induced him to spurn the request that was made for his sanction to an act intended to lessen the respect of as reputable and useful a class of individuals as exists.
Having pointed out successfully, I hope, the inutility of continuing commissioned commissaries in the Ordnance Department, I shall now endeavour to show how the department may be rendered, not only by far more efficient, but also conduce to emulation among the individuals connected with it, and who really do require some benefit; as also to create a saving to the State of 4,925 rupees monthly, together with the opportunity afforded for the return of the commissioned commissaries to their own branch of the Service.. I have deviated in the allowances, as well as number of Ordnance officers required for the duties of the department; and for this very obvious reason, that, wherever I have been, I have found from observation that the number laid down by me is fully sufficient for the most complete discharge of the various duties required by each magazine. I have pointed out reductions for the higher grades, simply because they proportionally receive too much, while the lower grades receive far too little, and also from a conviction that Government would not feel disposed to adopt measures that aimed at a greater expenditure than at present exists.
Besides this, I have partly framed a plan, which, if sanctioned by Government, would induce the higher grades to retire from the Service immediately on completing their twenty-seven years' service in India. The accomplishment of such a desideratum would prove an infallible remedy against the present highly objectionable disposition of deputy-commissaries, holding on to the latest period of their
existence, to the prejudice of the Service, and detriment of more active, and consequently more deserving, men.
No system can be more fundamentally ruinous to the State, than that which admits of men holding appointments, whose mental and physical abilities have from age deteriorated, and whose snow-clad temples proclaim the necessity of their retiring to the calm abodes of domestic solitude, there to direct their thoughts towards that country from whose bourn no traveller returns; and not to be mixing at their advanced years in the busy scenes of life, superintending arsenal and magazine affairs, (or trying to do so rather,) whereby their tempers become ruffled, their dispositions soured, and themselves unfitted to consider with calm dignity their approaching latter end!!
1 I 1
To conclude the system at present in existence, of employing commissioned commissaries, is fraught with injury to the Service, even to a greater extent than here exemplified; and, sooner or later, it will evince itself in strong and impressive colours. It retards emulation among the warrant-officers, who are alone the life and energy of the department; for it debars them from any direct or indirect communication with Government; no opportunity occurs to prove how zealous they are in the cause of their Honourable masters; and consequently all their feelings for the good of their department become deadened. They see others reaping the reward of their labour and exertions; and, as a matter of course, they will ere long relax in their ardour to that Service which it is at present their greatest ambition to see exalted, and their humble and unceasing endeavour to serve and promote !+
Deduct right hand
8 Dep.Commiss. 250
940 26 Sub ditto. 9,900
Total to each.
* Exclusive of the Principal and Deputy Principal Commissaries.
2,960 90 290 2,030 90 210 1,470 90 170 6,800
60 120 3,180
* This designation to be applied to our present principal commissary, and the term Commissariat-General to the officer holding the designation of Commissary-General. 1
+ To add to the depressed state of the conductors, they have been lately, by a most grievous and ungenerous act, excluded from that salutary benefit which formerly existed, of obtaining admission for their children into what is termed the Upper Orphan School; which has entailed further privations, by, in a great measure, depriving them of the only chance they had of getting a respectable education for their offspring, a circumstance that, in a country like this, is sufficient to corrode the feelings of any parent at all desirous of witnessing the advancement of his children in literary perfections, as education is so excessively high, and consequently out of the reach of all those whose allowances are circumscribed!