Page images

what unruly command of Pathans in wonderful order, though his methods would perhaps be considered drastic in the present day. Only on one occasion did I go near his company, which was at the time broken up into squads for preliminary drills, and I saw enough to convince me that only two courses were open to me-viz., putting him under arrest, or complete noninterference. As I stood there talking to the old man on some point of drill, he saw that one of the men was paying no attention to his instructor. He rushed up to him, and, after pouring forth a flood of what I took to be abuse (for I knew no Pushtu), seized the man by the nose and shook him as a terrier shakes a rat. A little while later something else went wrong, and, springing on the man who was at fault, he gave him a box on the ear which would have pretty well knocked him down had not an equally severe cuff on the other side of the head put him straight again. The remainder of the men were struggling hard to keep serious faces, for apparently the old gentleman had, in addition to a heavy hand, a pretty wit, and not even the victims resented his summary discipline, though, had I laid a finger on any one of them, I might likely have got a knife or a bayonet into me. After the above incidents, I thought it best to find occupation at other parts of the parade-ground. Whatever may have been one's opinion of his methods, they


had the great merit of success, for in about a week his company were drilling with a smartness and precision they had been strangers to since the days when, in the first squad of recruits, they had received their final polish from the Adjutant before being passed into the ranks. At the same time, in spite of their success, Ido not recommend his methods for imitation, but merely chroniele them as one of the old gentleman's little peculiarities. If, however, his ways on parade were summary, his discipline in the lines was no less drastio. Always before orderly. room he used to hold a small Durbar of his own, and inquire into any little peccadilloes which had been committed by his men. He would hear everything that was to be said on either side, and if he did not consider the case a serious one, would deal with it himself, as often as not slipping off his shoe and beating the culprit across the mouth or over the head with it. If he thought the case was a serious one he would reserve it for the C.O., and nothing annoyed him more than the man's being let off, or receiving a light award. One day he brought three or four men before me in this manner, to the best of my recollection for some not very serious acts of insubordination. Now there was always a difficulty at that time in dealing with reservists, for, as the men were up for so short a period, one was loth to put them in cells because of the loss of time, whilst long periods of confinement to the

2 Y

lines seemed a scarcely suitable punishment, more especially towards the end of the training, as a man would be going back to his home before his punishment was completed. On this particular occasion, there being barely ten days of the training left to run, I gave the men the rough edge of my tongue for five minutes or so, and, after warning them if they were brought up again I would try them by summary courtmartial, let them go. Sher Ali Khan remained behind, when every one else had departed, and then, with the utmost respect, proceeded to tell me off, explaining to me that, no doubt, I was accustomed to dealing with Sikhs, but that the Pathan required sterner discipline. He then gave me to understand, still in the most respectful way, that when he brought any one before me, it was because the man deserved

punishment, and that he was quite capable of dealing with minor or trivial offences himself.

The whole thing was done very firmly, but at the same time so respectfully and politely that it was quite impossible to resent the old man's remarks, though he made me feel rather as if I were a schoolboy prefect again, and being reproved by my house-master for some want of tact or error of judgment.

I was quite sorry to say good-bye to the old man at the end of the training, and the more so as his regiment was shortly afterwards moved to another station, so that I never came across him again. I heard, however, that he took his well-earned pension a year or two later, and hope sincerely he may still be in enjoyment of it. A better native officer I have never had under my command. E. F. K.


BRITISH statesmen always talk of the people of Ireland as if their psychology were the same as their own.

The difference in mentality and temperament has never been really understood by many of those who venture to take on themselves the burden of legislation for the future.

The word freedom is always on the Irish tongue. It may be safely said that no white race had ever less idea of what freedom means than the ordinary Irish.

Freedom elsewhere means liberty to go your own way, to conduct your own affairs as you desire, in so far as your doing so will not conflict with the general weal. Freedom in Ireland means liberty to trample on your neighbour's rights and privileges.

A man who attempts to use his property as he pleases, and not as directed by the ruling local camarilla, must be compelled to conform. If he will not give up his lands when ordered to do so, his cattle will be driven again and again, and his family so terrorised that at last he will be obliged to surrender.

These methods were employed while there was a pretence of law and order; at present, when the executive and the police can hardly do more than protect their own lives, the will of the local

authority is enforced by open murder.

An example has recently occurred of the Irish idea of the liberty of the Press.

In a deliberately planned attempt to murder the Viceroy, one of the attacking party was shot by the escort. The popular organ of the Republican party described this man as "the would-be assassin." A few nights after the office of this newspaper, situate in the heart of the capital, was taken possession of by an armed band. Damage was then done to the machinery to the extent of between twenty and thirty thousand pounds. A writing was handed was handed to the Editor pointing out to him the error of which he had been guilty, and in respect of which retribution had been exacted.

All Irishmen, both those of the North and those of the South, are believed, not without good reason, to possess physical courage in a high degree. During the late war, when deeds of heroism were done perhaps surpassing any. thing recorded, the very highest standard was sometimes reached, notably in the advance of the Ulster Division at Thiepval on 1st July 1916. The Southern Irish Regiments on several oooasions showed themselves by no means inferior.

But there is a difference.

The Southern Irish, except he is easily led to believe that in voting for the violent party he is voting against England, the chief and permanent object of his hatred.

the gentry and more educated classes, are deplorably destitute of moral courage. Why this is so we need not stop to inquire, but that it is so is a demonstrated fact. A man who has won the Victoria Cross trembles at the whisper of a boycott, and grovels before those whom he hates and despises. People who have seen their own relations murdered in their presence often refuse to give evidence, and will actually try to win the favours of those they know to be guilty of the crime. In Ulster moral courage is more abundant, and one could no more imagine a boycott put into operation there than in Scotland or England. Mainly in consequence of this failing in the rest of Ireland we behold the extraordinary spectacle of an armed minority coercing the majority by terror.

This may be disputed by those who point out the results of the contested elections.

There has been, no doubt, remarkable abstention, but the vast majority of the votes reoorded were in favour of the party of violence. When a man approaches the ballot-box, it is said, surely he is free from the control of the local clique, Is he? Most certainly not. He believes that the secret society has some means of discovering how he has voted, and he will vote not as he wishes, but to please the formidable ruling power. Moreover, in the excitement of an election

One occasionally hears it proposed that the decent orderly folk in the Southern and Western counties should organise themselves and form Vigilance Committees for the protection of their houses and families. These efforts would require qualities they have not got and never will acquire. A dezen young adventurers can keep a whole countryside in abject terror.

The chief object of the prevailing cult is to hold the South and West in continual unrest and panic.

Where there is any symptom of a relapse into peace and order, directions are given from headquarters for raids on private houses and concentrated attacks by large and specially armed bodies on police barracks. The intellectual Republicans sit at ease in Dublin, and supply stimulating literature and funds in abundance.

To expect the quiet folk to organise themselves for protection is very much like expeoting a rabbit - warren to organise itself against stoats and weasels,

The only protection in rural districts is the indomitable Royal Irish Constabulary assisted by the military.

The numbers of the force are wholly insufficient for the present crisis. The Constabulary complement was 15,000

men in times less dangerous British and American world -now it does not exceed have decided that an experi10,000 men. ment must be made. What is called self-determination is to be applied to Ireland, and six counties in Ulster are to enjoy self-determination of their own.

The Police are obliged to concentrate for self-protection in the larger barracks, and the ordinary barracks are being abandoned. This has a most depressing effect on the people. They feel like the peaceful provincials when they saw the legions of Honorius in retreat before the advance of the barbarians.

It is shooking to contemplate the criminal folly of those who ory, "Take away the Army and all will be well." If the Army were withdrawn the thin dark line of the Constabulary would be immediately broken and submerged. The Dublin Metropolitan Police, an equally valiant force, are confronted in the capital by a partly armed and disciplined body of ten times their number, and without military aid they would be powerless even to protect themselves.

What, then, is to be done? Is this to go on for ever? there is



Rule Bill. It has passed its second reading with an enormous majority, and appears certain to become law. It

is received with sullen acquiescence on the part of Ulster. It is received by the extreme Nationalists with yells of derision as an insult to the nation. It is the result of long and anxious thought, and is drafted with a precision and skill unprecedented in the case of Irish Bills. It is moulded on the only possible lines. The

[blocks in formation]

There is every reason for believing that the "Ulster Parliament" will be a brilliant success.


In Sir Edward Carson she has a leader whose instinct in the most difficult and dangerous times has never gone wrong. No doubt in the perilous crisis of 1913 he decided 8 desperate course of action-armed resistance to the authority of Parliament. It must not be forgotten that in the opinion of many great lawyers the Government, in conspiring to destroy the House of Lords, one of the estates of the realm, was guilty of "treason in point of law-it was therefore lawful to resist a measure that was made operative by treason. In the oase of the ordinary Ulster man these constitutional and legal considerations had little weight.

[ocr errors]

The situation presented itself to his mind in this way.

"We are deserted by the British democracy."

"Our lives and our liberties

« PreviousContinue »