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INCREASING THE INCOMES
OFFICERS OF THE ARMY,
AFTER A CERTAIN PERIOD OF SERVICE, OR BEING DISA
BLED FROM WOUNDS, &c. &c. OR INVALIDED;
FOR A PROVISION,
IN ADDITION TO THE GOVERNMENT ALLOWANCE, TO
A LIBERAL ALLOWANCE
TO THE CHILDREN OF OFFICERS,
For the purposes of Education, &c.
TO BE EFFECTED
BY A YEARLY CONTRIBUTION.
By DAVID ROBERTS, Esq. Lieutenant Colonel in his Majesty's 51st Regiment of Light Infantry,
WITH A SUPPLEMENT
By JOHN PHILIPPART, Esq.
PUBLISHED EXCLUSIVELY IN THIS WORK.
The nature of my object in publishing this address will, I trust, suffice, and warrant the intrusion of my laying it before you and the public. Having entered the army at an early period, my pursuits have been entirely military, which must be my apology for any literary inaccuracy. I therefore, without further comment, enter upon the subject of my letter.
Much has been said, and many efforts have been made, highly honorable to those who espouse the cause of the otficers of the army, to accomplish some increase of pay.' We all feel it a measure devoutly to be wished for, but, probably, not easily practicable. There I must leave it; but, I trust, my brother officers will, on consideration, agree with me, that any measure tending to their benefit, at a time of life when most wanted, is of infinitely more importance than any immediate addition of pay.—The reason is obvious: no increase of pay can be placed in competition with the annuity that shall render the declining years of life not only comfortable but respectable. The former is given when the active exertions of youth overcome innumerable difficulties; the latter sinoothes the hardships attendant on age and infirmity; and the little which by this plan is laid up in store will, when those infirmities require, permanently ensure the comforts of life then really and truly desirable.
This is a plan by which the veteran, the infirm, the wounded, the inutilated officer, of every rank, may have the winter of a life spent in his country's service made easy and respectable; and also a provision for his widow and children. It will enable him to return to his native home greeted with the affectionate regards of his friends, with the self-approbation of a life honorably distinguished; and with an income suitable to his situation and merits, he may pass the remainder of his days in ptio cum dignitate.
Those officers that bave served long must often, and painfully, have witnessed the ditficulties, mortificatiops, and variety of calamities, too frequeptly attendant on veterans and their families, who, in the decline of life, bitterly experience frequent and accumulated evils ; yet, a certain delicacy so elings about thein, and their wants are so irksome, they cannot meet the world's eye, and many such have been victims to a broken spirit. Anxious in any degree to alleviate such sufferings, I take the freedom of an old soldier, to point out to the army at large enliveping prospects, and which, if brought into action, cannot fail being salutary to the service, and beneficial to the man.
The plan proposed is by subscription, and will fall so easily on the different ranks that it will hardly be felt; and the prospect of certain benefit resulting from it will cheer the heart, and smooth the rugged path of duty.
The affluent have two motives to influence their contribution: the first, the pleasing reflection that they are conducing to the comfort of their brethren in the army ;-the other, the uncertainty of human affairs, which may reverse their circumstances, and give them an individual interest. The soldier of fortune has every motive to be a subscriber,-a certain prospect of having the declining years of bis life rendered comfortable, and bis appearance respectable. Op a fạir calculation, the whole subscription of an officer, from his entrance into, until his retirement from the service, will be comparatively trifling; and when we reflect, that, for a small sum, paid in so gradual a manner as to be almost unfelt, the return will be made with an amazing increase, at a time when man most wants the indulgences of life, so plainly appears this advautage, that I should imagine there cannot be a dissentient voice. The infirm officer, whose constitution is broken by foreign service and a pestilential climate, the wounded and the mutila. ted, have the consolatory reflection, that from the fund they can assure themselves of a comfortable and honorable addition to their incomes,
which will reuder them independent, and enable them to preserve their rank in society.
It is a well known fact, that there are not places sufficient in this, nor any government, for the reward of all the old and gallant officers who have served the state ; many must retire on their half pay,--a miserable, a wretched stipend ! To increase this stipend is one object of the proposed instilution.
I do not conceive it necessary that an officer, having served his num: ber of years, and arrived at the age that will entitle him to claim an advantage from the proposed fund, should be obliged to retire from the service, or that this ought to be an additional reason for his doing so; on the contrary, if capable, it is his duty, and ought to be his inclination, still to draw. his sword in the service of his country;, but he will be enabled to claim such an addition to his full pay from the fund, as will make his circumstances comfortable. The soldier of fortune entering the service will have this always in view ; and it will be to him a peculiarly pleasing reflection, that whenever he may be disabled, and incapable of service, there will await him a substantial subsistence. When we calculate how rapidly the prices of every article of life have risen within the last twelve years, we have more forcible motives to induce us to provide for the time to come ; and when we reflect that even at the present moment the stipends of many, infi. nitely our inferiors in rank in society, frequently exceed the full pay of the subalterns in the army, can I urge a more substantial plea?
Respecting widows and orphans little need be remarked. The husband and the father have only to consult their own feelings. When called upon in the course of duty, is it possible to appreciate the difference of sensations that must arise between the man whose mind is doubly fortified against the horrors of death; first, in honorably performing his duty as a citizen and a soldier; secondly, having faithfully discharged the affectionate part of the husband and the father, who, satisfied with the consolation of leaving all that is dear to him beyond the reach of penury and dependence, sinks into eternity, with honor and resignation ; or the man, wbo, hastened to the grave, leaves a wretched wife and orphan children to poverty, misery, dependence, and despair?
Conceiving this plan, therefore, to be fraught with advantage, I beg leave to submit it for your consideration. Should it tend to promote the respectability and happiness of any brother officer, add to the
comfort of the widow, or smooth the path of adversity for the children, my object will be fully attained.
I have the honor to be,
The subscription to be opened to every commissioned officer in the army, militia, or half pay, or holding military situations; a poundage, as undermentioned, rated on the net pay they receive, will be required.
First class.-Of regiments stationed always in Great Britain or Ireland, the officers to pay six pence in the pound.
Second class.-Of cavalry regiments, and all those whose services are extended to Europe, the officers to pay five pence in the pound.
Third class.-Of regiments whose services are unlimited, the officers to pay four pence in the pound.
Staff officers to be rated as third class on the net pay they receive.
Wives and children.-Officers desirous that the benefit should be extended to their wives and children must pay a poundage of two pence for the former, and three halfpence for the latter.
Pensions will be allowed to subscribers, their wives and children, who shall become entitled to it, after the stated ten years for the accumulation of the subscription, under the following conditions : but, from the necessity of establishing a capital sufficiently great as to secure, by its interest, future demands, it will not be possible to give officers, their widows, or children, any pension, who may be rendered deserving objects during the ten years.
Officers at present in the service must pay from the commencement of the subscription; those who neglect so to do for two years will have to pay an entrance of one pound, and also the annual subscription due rated on, the pay they then receive, with compound interest on the same. This entrance will be doubled after two years more, and increased in the like manner every two years, till the expiration of the ten, when ail officers so situated must pay from their age of sixteen, rated on the pay they are receiving, with compound interest, and an entrance of ten pounds.
Officers entering the service during the ten years must pay from the date of their commissions: otherwise, after two years, they will be subject to the · same entrances as officers at present in the service, also to that of ten pounds at the expiration of the ten years.