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debt of Australia being enormous, but they have not spent on armaments or the security of the empire. Much of the money they borrowed went in maintaining an inflated rate of wages, and has vanished with little productive result. And if the increase in British population would show a steeper angle of ascent, were the colonies added in, we cannot as yet, for defensive purposes, count upon
National Debt HIIT Pop alation
· Expenditure on Defence The upper set of figures are for exports, lower for defence expenditure. Rouble converted to sterling at paper rate, except in the curve for National Debt.
Australians or Canadians quite as we can count upon inhabitants of the United Kingdom, and this without any disparagement to the loyalty of Greater Britain.
Many economic facts which have an important bearing on our national position do not appear in these diagrams. We get no hint of the terrific increase in the poor rate, which
well cause apprehension. We see nothing of the relative decline of the rural population, from which we draw our fighting men, as compared with the urban population, a decline which will ultimately react with deadly effect upon the physical vigour of our race, unless we take steps to develop the body as well as the mind. This decline is clearly shown by the following figures from our Census returns :
There have been rearrangements of areas which in some degree invalidate these figures, but there is no doubt as to their general truth. Our rural population has fallen from 36 per cent. of the total population in 1861 to 27 per cent. in 1891. The same tendency is visible abroad, in France, Germany, and in our colonies. But in France and Germany the rural population is very much larger than in England, and therefore can longer stand the strain. In Germany, for instance, it was 26,318,000 in 1886. The duties which most continental countries impose on imported agricultural products and the bounties which they pay to stimulate beet-growing help to keep down, if they cannot wholly check, the immigration to the towns, and are wise from the military point of view. The highly artificial and unnatural situation of England is a source of national weakness at least as alarming as the relative decrease of population in France. But it is almost certain that in the immediate future we shall, for want of money, be compelled to resort to some form of compulsory service. It may be the physical salvation of our race. In any case, such service imparts very valuable qualities to the men who undergo it, and may be nature's remedy for the mischief wrought by city life. The difficulty is that it is not at all suited to our military needs.
The growing expenditure on armaments and the prevalence of militarism in the world at the close of this century are the objects of solicitude and alarm in this country. But provided the State can procure its war material within its own boundaries, the expenditure on cannon and battleships goes almost entirely in wages to the working class, while the subtraction of hundreds of thousands of young men from domestic life for a year or two years discourages premature marriage, develops the body, and implants the spirit of discipline and obedience. These make no show in tables of statistics, but they are surely a return for the vast outlay, and should not be overlooked by any thinker who pretends to dispassionateness. And this is leaving altogether out of sight the value of security which cannot be had for nothing.
H. W. WILSON.
The interesting question whether in character and physique the race is not already showing some signs of degeneration might be raised. There is much to prove that the answer must be given in the affirmative.
THE CAUCASUS AND TIRAH
With the recent experience of British troops in mountain warfare on the North-west Frontier fresh in the public mind, it may be interesting to glance back through the pages of history to a conflict between disciplined troops and mountain tribes as brave, hardy, warlike, and turbulent as are the Afridi clans, and inhabiting a country of a very similar character. The retrospect, moreover, may not be un profitable, for so curiously alike are the conditions of the conflict in both cases that, by the comparison, the measure of success or failure in the Tirah campaign may be realised, and much adverse criticism may be disarmed.
From the time that Peter the Great, the 'Mad Genius' of Russia, welded together that Empire from out of a chaos of conflicting States, and started it on its career of expansion, its flood of conquest has flowed steadily southwards and eastwards, checked only by the vast chains of mountains that bisect Northern Asia from the Black Sea almost to the Pacific, and thus checked, has now turned the flank of that chain, and has poured into Northern China.
The mountain regions of the Caucasus lay on the flank of this expansion, and it is to be supposed that the tide of conquest would have taken naturally the line of least resistance, and would have “refused' this difficult country, if the inhabitants of it had been possible neighbours ; but as a Russian writer—'Golovin,' of Liberal proclivities, and, as he proclaims himself, an enemy to war and a friend to the independence of every nation-admits, the mountain tribes made peace impossible.' In his own words also, 'The plundering habits of the mountaineers cannot be questioned. From time immemorial these tribes have lived through the plundering carried on in the territory of their neighbours of the low country. They made them a sort of storehouse-a means of subsistence.'
For many long years on this frontier a defensive policy—the close border system of the North-west Frontier of India—was tried. Border forts were established and garrisoned by Cossack colonists, who kept watch and ward over the low countries, and during this period these were attacked and frequently destroyed by the moun
taineers, who also at times broke through the chain of posts, and made daring raids into the heart of the Russian provinces. Punitive expeditions were led into the mountains with more or less success, but always sustaining heavy losses, and at last it became evident that the total subjugation of the mountain tribes could alone give peace to the border side.
For the purposes of this retrospect it will be sufficient to bring before the reader a small portion only of the operations which covered a period of many years.
The northern faces of the great mountain range of Andi, which fall away in densely wooded slopes towards the low country, comprising the district of Itchkeria and the valley of the Koi-su river on the south of that range in the province of Daghestan, seem to have been the favourite stronghold and the centre of resistance of the Caucasian clans. It was here that their famous chief Schamyl made his home, and it was the theatre of all the fiercest fighting that these mountains have witnessed. The whole tract is only forty miles square, but the mountain ranges are lofty and the valleys narrow and difficult.
In 1839 General Grabbe, commanding the Russian army of the frontier, moved a force to attack Akulgo—at that time Schamyl's main stronghold—situated in the valley of the Koi-su. Advancing in the month of June from the frontier station of Gersel, through the dense beech forests of Itchkeria, he defeated the mountaineers with heavy loss, and forced the pass over the Andi range. Descending into the Koi-su valley on the 12th of June, Akulgo, by nature almost an impregnable position, and which had been further fortified under the direction of a Polish refugee engineer, was invested.
For five weeks the Russians lay before the position, unwilling to assault, and trusting to famine to achieve their purpose. Finding that the defenders were not to be starved out, Grabbe assaulted the position on the 16th of July, but the storming parties came back leaving half their numbers behind. The investment was patiently resumed until near the end of August, when active operations were recommenced, and the Russians succeeded in gaining possession of the outworks of the position. For four days a murderous conflict raged in and about the place, and it was finally captured, but Schamyl effected his escape, leaving 1,500 dead in the Russian hands.
The very stubborn defence of Akulgo against a disciplined army provided with artillery is proof sufficient of the fighting qualities of the Caucasian tribes, and bears eloquent testimony also to the solid qualities of the Russian soldiers who overcame their desperate resistance, and would imply that the cause of the subsequent Russian disasters in this warfare must be sought elsewhere than in the conduct of the troops, and that those disasters were probably due rather to bad leading
This success, although dearly bought, was indecisive. Schamyl transferred his stronghold to Dargo—a position in the midst of the forest region of Itchkeria-collecting all the wild spirits of the mountains about him, and the depredations in the low countries, and the attacks on the Russian frontier posts, became more daring and pertinacious than before.
In 1842, the situation becoming intolerable, Grabbe led an expedition of 10,000 men from Gersel direct upon Dargo, through Itchkeria, a distance of about thirty miles. During the first day's march not a shot was fired, and nothing was seen of the mountaineers except occasionally when one might be seen watching from a height, as if from curiosity, the long columns of troops below. The next day's march was also unmolested, but in the night volleys were fired into the bivouac fires. At daybreak the march was resumed until the noon of the same day, when the flanks of the Russian columns were attacked as they struggled through the dense forest. Not half the distance to Dargo was accomplished, and the difficulties increased with every step. The numbers of the enemy multiplied as the news of war reached the clans. They fought with more furious courage, and the column was soon fatally encumbered with wounded. At last Grabbe, despairing of his enterprise, gave the order to retreat. This was, as usual, a signal to the mountaineers to close. When they saw the advance guard wheel about to retire, they threw themselves sword in hand on the rear companies, and swept through them on to the main column. The retreat became almost a rout, although six guns that fell into the hands of the tribesmen were recaptured, showing that demoralisation had not yet set in. The column was pursued down into the open country, and Grabbe re-entered Gersel, leaving 2,000 men and thirty-six officers dead in the woods.
In 1845 Count Woronsoff was appointed to the command of the frontier
army, with orders to achieve the object in which Grabbe had failed.
In order to avoid the forests of Itchkeria, in which his predecessor had lost his reputation, Woronsoff, with a force of ten or twelve battalions of infantry and some guns, in all about 10,000 men, marched eastwards from the town of Gersel round the flank of the Andi range, with the intention of crossing that range from the south, and thus attacking Dargo from the same quarter.
The route lay through and up the valley of the Koi-su, and by a mountain road through the districts of Solatau and Ghumbet in Daghestan, a distance of about eighty miles from Gersel.
It appears to have been Woronsoff's expectation that with the destruction of Schamyl's capital all resistance would cease, and that he would secure a return to the frontier through Itchkeria unmolested by the enemy.
Leaving Gersel on the 1st of July the Russians moved on for several