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no medical officer would be justified in assuming he ever would be. The determination of this point must comprise not only what he may be called upon to do immediately after enlistment, but what at any period of his service a soldier's eventful life may subject him to. At the enlistment of lads they may not then from their age be capable of sustaining the fatigues of duty on active service, but if care is instituted in their selection, if a healthy and vigorous frame is considered essential, there is an assurance that a year or two will provide for the deficiency. Not so in the other case, if not thoroughly physically qualified at the period of enlistment, he more than likely never will be; in such a man immediate fitness ought not to be deemed enough, he should be fully equal to every contingency.
Independent of the baneful effects of climate, the exposure to morbific poisons, and numerous other exciting sources of disease on foreign service, an infantry soldier, on active service, is at all times liable to the exhausting and debilitating influence of hardships, consequent upon want of rest and long marches, frequently carrying very considerable weight. Attention is particularly directed to these points in the instructions, "as soldiers are liable to serve in every variety of climate, to be exposed to frequent vicissitudes of temperature and weather, to undergo much fatigue and danger, and often to sustain considerable privations, no recruit who is not vigorous ought to be approved." A reference to historical details will put us in possession of the exertion and endurance, the marches and privations, sustained by our troops in the Peninsula, India, and elsewhere, the fatigues of continuous marches of many hundred miles by our's and other troops, as well as the remarkable energy and perseverance displayed in accomplishing distances in an almost incredibly short time. Even the ordinary marches men may have to perform are to be estimated at nearly fifteen miles a day; the usual weight they carry, including thirty rounds of ammunition, is between forty-five and forty-eight pounds When an infantry soldier is completely equipped for service, he generally carries, besides the above, three days' rations, additional ammunition, blanket, &c, which would, altogether, constitute a burthen to be borne of little less than sixty pounds.*
The routine of service is such that the soldier is always subjected to these influences to a greater or less amount; but, in making his examination, the medical officer is bound to bear in mind that fitness should consist in the capability of the recruit to bear the maximum of exertion.
Attention to the proportions of the different parts of the figure demands very particular notice. This can be fully estimated without dwelling on measurements or minute description; moderate symmetry is essential in every soldier, and its components are of course known to all medical men; deficiencies and irregularities will be more fully considered when investigating each individual organ. There is connected with this portion of the subject another point of material consequence, requiring reflection and special remark: that is, the branch of the service for which the recruit is enlisted, Artillery, Cavalry, or Infantry.
* Subsequent arrangements may reduce the burthen at present borne by the infantry soldier, but the weight of his arms, ammunition, appointments, &c, can never be inconsiderable.
The Royal Foot Artillery are the largest framed and most muscular men of the three branches of the service, the nature of their employment requiring the exercise of strength more than activity; lifting weights, moving heavy guns, and working in the arsenal, tend to increase their muscular proportions. The chief characteristic of a gunner ought to be strength. Observation at a parade at Woolwich will shew how well this distinguishing feature is observed. In no army in Europe is it possible to find finer men than the Royal Artillery; they are preeminent for this characteristic.
A heavy cavalry soldier is above the ordinary height, and, whether on foot or horseback, is remarkable from his size and general appearance; an awkward or ill-made man rarely rides well, a tendency to corpulency or undue developement in any way is objectionable; round shoulders are most unsightly; knock-knee, if prominent, is objectionable in any soldier, but in none more than a heavy dragoon The object ought to comprise a selection of men at least moderately symmetrical.
In the choice of light cavalry, the institution of still greater circumspection is admissable, as the standard is much lower, nearer the average height, the facilities of obtaining recruits is far greater, affording a more extensive selection, admitting, if sought for, the acquisition of the stamp of men most eligible for this branch of the service. A frame manifesting strength and muscular developement is absolutely necessary in a light cavalry soldier; yet the nature of his duties in every respect, especially in the instances of not having to carry weight, and being but little subject to loss of rest or exposure at night, are vastly less productive of fatigue or other consequences injurious to the constitution than those of infantry, wherefore to the same extent it does not appear so essential. A dragoon's chief value consists in his being a good horseman, wherefore a figure manifesting activity, suppleness, and ease of motion, ought to be the object of acquisition.
The absolute necessity of such an arrangement when extensively pursued, or the vague unlimited standard that any medical officer may picture to himself as the requisite proportion may be open to objection; but such is erroneous, as the possession of these characters can only be insisted on as desirable; and though possibly it would not be judicious to imply a censure for passing a healthy man for a light dragoon who is inactively made yet not deformed, still it appears to me very easy to understand the spirit of a suggestion to be particular that a proportion, indicating the presence of the features most necessary for the fulfilment of his employment, shall exist; and that it is a consideration recommendatory in recruits for each branch of the service that the general appearance of the man should, as much as possible, associate with his peculiar duties.
Assuming that equal attention is devoted to ascertaining the freedom from disabilities in each branch of the service, the stamp of man calculated for an infantry soldier, from the nature of his employments, comprises a combination of characteristics which must always be recollected as necessary and not merely desirable; he ought to be compact, strong, but not awkwardly made; the figure preserving a due proportion between the trunk and members of the body, combining the evidences of muscular power with the attributes of a good walker, or at least possessing a figure displaying no deficiency in this most necessary trait.
"V. The more common causes of rejection are enumerated below:—
"1.—Feeble constitution: unsound health, indications of former disease, as leech-bites, traces of blisters, nodes, glandular swellings, or other symptoms of scrofula, 8fc. 8.c."
The general appearances indicating a feeble constitution or unsound health, when discoverable at