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support to the proposition of the Government to take possession of church property. The measure to be introduced this session if the Ministry remain in office long enough, is, I believe, about the eighth, and is not more likely to be carried than the seven previous ones.
That the Italian Minister of Finance, whoever he may be, will not be able to make the reductions in the army, which might be made without materially diminishing the numerical force, is almost certain. As a specimen of one way in which the public money might be saved, take the case of the bersaglieri, or riflernen. There are forty battalions of these, each comprising five hundred men. In France each similar corps is one thousand strong, and by assimilating the Italian corps to the French in this matter, one half of the superior officers might be dispensed with, and the colonels and lieutenant-colonels who services were retained, might have the command of one thousand men instead of five hundred.
It is well for the British Army that no such unpleasant work falls to its lot as falls to that of the Italian army. At Potenza, the military tribunal has given not less than a thousand decisions in a little over two years, affecting upwards of three thousand five hundred prisoners. The labours of these tribunals seem now drawing to a close; the determination of the Papal Government and the Italian not to allow an invasion of the Papal States froin Neopolitan territory under cover of the invaders being brigands has very nearly led to brigandage being stamped out in reality. An energetic commander with such a force as could have easily been placed at his disposal, honestly desirous of hunting out the brutal wretches who haunted certain districts, could have destroyed organized brigandage long ago.
The census of the population of Rome shows an increase of thirty thousand since 1860. It now contains 207,338 souls. Among this number is included 2,368 eccleciasties; 2,736 monks of different orders, and 2,117 nuns, making a total of 7,221.
It would be rather unfortunate than otherwise if it should prove to be true that Prim is completely extinguished. With such a blister at home, Spain would bave been more placable abroad, and there would have been a better chance of inducing an arrangement with Chili and Peru. The capture of the Covadonga by the Esmeralda is likely to be a costly affair to both sides, inasmuch as it enrages the Spaniards and elates their antagonists far beyond reasonable bounds. It is quite certain that it will be long before they will regard the matter with the contempt or indifference with which other States look upon it. The sympathy which had begun to be felt in belialf of Chili must have received a rude blow in England by the account of the mal-treament of Englishmen by the authorities of that country.
All sorts of rumours are current in Madrid relative to Prim's outbreak; collusion with the court, with O'Donnell and so forth. The truth may never be known, and it does not much signify; the principal matter for congratulation is that the affair has ended with very little bloodshed, though it would have been far otherwise if a rising had been attempted in either of the large cities ; for example, at Barcelona a crowd of people who had assembled in the streets out of mere curiosity to see what was going on, was fired on without any other provocation than the cries of some mischievous boys, one poor litile fellow was shot dead on the spot. Another innocent victim was a man in evening dress and white kid gloves, showing that he was not there for the purpose of creating or assisting in any disturbance. He had just turned the corner of a street when he found himself in front of a body of gendarmes. Uncertain whether to turn round and run away or to go forward, he stretched out his hands in an imploring manner towards them; the next instant his face was riddled by bullets, and he had just time to raise his hands to his wounds before he fell backwards to the ground dead. The place was cleared in a minute or two, and an hour or so afterwards The only persons visible there were a couple of English sailors singing a convivial song with all the strength of their lungs. The police and authorities call this vigour, but they would show that quality to better purpose if they selected guilty persons for punishment instead of shooting at people indiscriminately on such slight provocation. So completely was all trust in the troops shaken, that in Madrid the whole of them, with the exception of the artillery and engineers were confined to their barracks, and the curious spectacle was seen of a general walking up and down in front of the gates mounting guard over his own men.
At the present moment, some details relative to the Spanish Army will be read with more than usual interest. Not including the King, the Duke de Montpensier, and I believe also the Prince of the Asturias, there are five captain-generals or marshals. These are Espartero, Duke of Vittoria ; Narvaez, Duke of Valencia ; Concha, Marquis del Duero; O'Donnell, Duke of Tetuan; Serrano, Duke de la Torre. Of lieutenant-generals of whom Prim, Count de Reuss and Marquis de los Castillijos was one, there are about sixty. The mariscales de campo y brigadieros come next, and of these there are altogether about four hundred. The staff of the army is composed of four brigadiers, nine colonels, twelve lieutenant-colonels, twenty-five majors, sixty captains, and forty lieutenants. Then there are two companies of one hundred and twenty men, each resembling our yeomen of the guard. The Infantry comprises forty regiments, of two battalions each, consisting of six companies, one of grenadiers, one of riflemen and four fusileers. There are also eighty provincial battalions of recent formation. Every regiment has a special denomination, as in our army. In addition to these there are twenty battalions of chasseurs of eight companies cach, and a corps resembling the French Zouaves. The artillery consists of thirteen regiments altogether, five of foot, the rest mounted. They are commanded by a general, a lieutenant-general, five major.generals, six brigadiers, forty-five colonels, fifty-two lieutenant-colonels, forty majors, one hundred and fifty-five captains, and three hundred and twenty-five lieutenants. The engineers are commanded by a general and includes ten officers superior to colonels, eighteen of the latter, twenty-one lieutenant-colonels, eighteen majors, sixty-one captains, and ninety lieutenants. With such a number of officers one would suppose that the engineers are a very numerous body, but this is not the case; there are only two regiments, and these regiments are represented by two depôt companies.
The cavalry consists of eighteen regiments of four squadrons each, namely: four regiments of cuirassiers, eight of lancers, three of light cavalry, and three of hussars. The nominal strength of each regiment is five hundred and thirty-four men, and four hundred and twelve horses. Besides those, there is a detached squadron of light cavalry one hundred and fifty-five strong, and one hundred and twenty horses. There are also four depôts of instruction to which are attached six hundred and twenty-four men, and five hundred horses; and four squadrons of reserve of about the same strength. The carabiniers are employed in the prevention of smuggling on the frontiers. They are divided into thirty separate commands, with an additional section for the capital. They are sub-divided into seventy-five companies, eleven of which are mounted. The civic guard, upon whom has devolved most if not all the little bloodshed that has attended the insurrection hitherto, constitute the police. There are four brigades altogether. In addition to these there are six battalions of provincial militia.
Politicians who consider themselves to have a peculiar gift for seeing into the future continue to speak of Belgium as destined eventually to be partitioned among other Powers; so far as present appearances indicate, however, there are no signs of such a catastrophe. The people, for the most part, are resolute in their determination not to consent to any arrangement that would deprive them of their independence. In the review of the Wellington Despatches published last month, reference was made to the opposition of the portion of the population of Antwerp to the continuance of the work on the fortifications of the city, and the King, we are told, has promised to give their objection his serious consideration. If it is true as is stated that there are eleven thousand soldiers employed on them at the present moment, it does not appear that he has found it advisable to adopt their views. In this country as in most others, there is a strong feeling that the expenditure on the army ought to be reduced, and it is probable that the Minister of War will shortly make a report relative to the organisation of the army, in which the question of economy will receive a proper share of attention. Among those who object to the continuance of the present system are many who consider the military organization of Belgium ought to resemble that of Switzerland. At the Berne Congress a good deal of time was devoted to the discussion of this matter, and though it was asserted that the Swiss system might be adopted with advantage by every European nation, from the similarity in the circumstances of the two countries Belgium was especially referred to by way of comparison. As we are so intimately concerned in this question, I will translate what passed.
The Belgian military system exacts eight years of active service, and two years in the reserve. The recruiting of the army is carried on by conscription, those drawn having the privilege of paying for a substitute; the number of recruits raised varies from ten to eleven thousand men yearly. The organised army, including the reserve, amounts when on a war footing to one hundred thousand fighting men; fifteen per cent of whom form the special branches of the army. The cavalry comprises six thousand horses, of engineers and artillery there are twenty-five mounted batteries. The budget presented to the Chamber for 1865 stated the effective force under arms averaged thirty-eight thousand, or about two-hifths of the organised army. The number of horses employed is about eight thousand. A calculation of the time occupied in the military service in Belgium shows that thirty-eight thousand men, continually under arms, represents a loss of time to the civil service of the country of fourteen million days yearly ; (in Switzerland the loss is put at 1,330,000,) which is equivalent to the exaction of three days from every inhabitant of Belgium, whereas in Switzerland it is only half a day. The ordinary expense of the army as given in last year's Estimates amounts to thirty three-million francs, or three hundred and thirty francs per man, if we take the entire organised army, (in Switzerland it is 41), equivalent to six francs eighty centimes per head of the whole population, (in Switzerland it is 3,40.)
Estimating the value of the daily labour of a man at one franc, and that of a horse at two francs, the subjoined table will show the comparative cost of the Swiss and Belgian systems.
Belgium Switzerland Expenditure of money,
£1,320,000 £325,000 Value of days lost by the men, 560,000
53,100 borses, 224,000
£2,101,000 £390,900 Notwithstanding this difference in the expenditure, Switzerland has an organized army of 200,000 men, just twice as many as Belgium; and if the same systein was applied to the latter country as exists in the former, the war expenditure would be reduced to £800,000 and the strength of the organised army would be increased to 300,000 men.
papers and discussions on them, went on to show that the same militia system might be adopted in every European State, and the immense saving that would result from it; but as that which might very well be adopted in Belgium, which exists under the protection of the five Powers, would be wholly inapplicable to any other we need not follow the argument any further.
If we are not avowedly going back to the so-called good old times and admitting that in all cases “those may take who have the power, and those may keep who can,” we are doing something very like it in practice. "Any nation sufficiently strong to disregard public opinion inay seize portions of the territory of a weaker neighbour without any risk of being called upon by powers of equal strength to disgorge. Among other matters discussed between Count Bismark and the Emperor, it seems that the island of Formosa was not forgotten. Whether occupied by the Dutch or by Chinese pirates makes no kind of difference; the island unquestionably belongs to China as much as the Channel Islands belong to us. The proposal of Prussia therefore to take possession of this island is one of those abuses of force as little or less justifiable than the seizure of the Duchies, but inasmuch as France has got a large territory in Cochin China, and England holds Hong Kong, Prussia may consider it has an equal right to lay hold and keep for its use an island which is in such an advantageous position for trading with China. It is possible, however, that the Prussian Government may find that it has work enough to do at home without going so far a field to look for it.
The disputes which were incessant during the whole of the last session between the Government and the Liberals are pretty certain to be renewed this with even greater virulence, it will be strange indeed if we do not ind it to be the case.
What between Patents, Imperial Rescripts, Manifestoes, and Protests, Austrian affairs are such an intricate maze that not one man in a thousand could be found who has not given up the attempt to understand them in despair; in fact, no man who has not a special reason for keeping himself well-informed about them could spare the time. There are many, however, who like to have a general idea of the state of affairs in that country. Without going into particular questions, it may be stated that the Emperor continues firin in the road he entered on his return from bis first visit to Hungary. Indeed, he cannot well withdraw from it now that he has committed himself so far as he has done. The Hungarians, at least their leaders, seem to have a pretty clear idea of what they want, and much as they are evidently flattered by the personal attentions they have received from the Emperor, they do not appear disposed to resign the smallest portion of what they conceive to be their rights. The nation in general, however, are little inclined to be captious, and are well-content with the recognition of the inportance of their country, as implied by the Emperor's past and