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But Calidore again arose full hight,
For shame lie weer'd a sleeping wight to wound.* Bat; without enlarging any further on this romantic absurdity, permit me to refresh your me: mory by drawing your attention to the advan: tages which other nations have derived from a militia, not on permanent duty, like the militia of this empire, or even exercised as often as our volunteers. The Norwegian militia, horse and foot are justly considered as the principal bulwark of the Danish empire, though they are assembled only twenty-one days in the year; and I will venture to 'assert, that'a better or braver body of men are no where to be found. Perhaps, you will answer, that their remote corner of Europe presents no temptations to the cupidity of southern ambition, and therefore, their strength is adequate to their wants. Admitted : but, if the spoilers of of the south have hitherto passed them by, there are spoilers in the north who are not less fond of booty. A few years only have elapsed since the Prince Royal of Denmark, at the head of a few Holstein battalions, and his Norwegian militia, defeated the Swedish army, though entrenched up to their teeth, and protected by a strong train of ar
Spencer's Fairy Queen,'
tillery, with a bridge in front. Who were the saviours of Sweden, when its romantic Sovereign was a captive in a foreign land ? The hardy peasants of Delacarlia, who voluntarily, took the field, and baffled the efforts of an host of disciplined invaders. . Who saved Vienna, when invested by Cara Mustapha; with one hundred thousand regu, lar troops, flushed with continual victories ? John Sobieski, at the head of the Pospolite and infan, try, militia of Poland * : I do insist that an inspiring cause is half the battle, which I might easily prove from the instances cited above, But, what follows will sufficiently establish the fact. The military events of the American war we have all lived to attest. But, I must premise, that while that country formed a portion of the British Empire, her provincial militia, commanded by provincial officers, discomfited on many occasions, the veteran troops of France. It is impossible to read the progress of Sir William Johnson in 1759, and his body of provincial militia, without admiration of, and confidence in, such a species of force. During the war which America waged against the mother country, her militia constituted
* In those days the Turks were not considered, as they are now, to be mere food for powder.
her principal force, and atchieved the most important advantages without the co-operation of her allies. It has been judged expedient lately to discredit these operations, and you and your coadjutor the military legate*, have ventured to contest the claims of the American miJitia, and to ascribe their final success to rivers, woods, and bush-fighting. This is certainly an happy mode of apologizing for defeats; and is in every respect as scientific as those sprightly nar'rations of the marches and counter-marches on this side and that side, alternately right and left, of the banks of the Rhine. However, I am willing to concede every possible virtue to rivers, woods, and bush-fighting. But, I must, at the same time, be allowed to ask, whether there was any bushfighting at the battle of Bunker's Hill, or when the American militia crossed the Delaware, in the midst of snow, storms, and ice, and carried Trenton, garrisoned by Hessian troops ; or, in the subsequent capture of Princeton, which decided the
• Whose military lectures to a grave assembly of legislators must have been marvellously edifying. Perhaps, I may find time shortly to read the Professor, a lecture upon tactical reports, which may prove serviceable to him, should he be ever sent again as the historian of the operations of armies,
fate of the campaign in their favour? Lastly, with. out going over the history of that war, I should wish to be informed whether there was any bushfighting in the pitched battle of Saratoga, when a whole British army piled their arms, while an illtrained, a worse-armed, and.“ undisciplined rabble,” to whom eyes right and eyes left were wholly unknown, marched round them in triumph to the tune of Yankedoodle ? Nor was the loss of the Americans in that battle so great as that of the English; a circumstance that affords a consolatory glimpse of hope that your prediction of the volunteers being all killed before they can rally, will not be quite fulfilled to the letter. It may also not be amiss, if, before the Legate next attempts to perform his evolutions, that you should whisper in his ear, one steady fire from a battalion of this description of men, will do more execution than six discharges from a regular force; and for this reason, the consciousness of their inferiority in discipline, will induce them to supply its place, as a measure of self-preservation, by executing well what they do.
The next instance which I adduce in favour of the efficacy of militia and volunteer forces, is taken from the history and fate of Swisserland, With the single exception of three troops of drą,
goons, in the canton of Berne, the whole strength of the Swiss depended on their infantrymilitia. The constitution of that body somewhat resembled the principle of our militia law; and
, , and eternal prosperity of my country, that our system could be brought to resemble it exactly; for every man was liable to personal service from eighteen to sixty years of age* In the Forest Cantons, the men elected their own officers, with the exception of the field officer, if the strength of the corps admitted of one. The governments of the cantons of Berne, Soleure, Fribourg, and Zürich, sent respectively once during the summer an inspecting field officer to review the troops in their own districts, and to report their state. The person selected for this business, was always an officer who had served, at least five years in, some foreign service. The troops were assembled every Sunday after church, and exercised for the space of two hours. Absentees were fined a small sum
There were certainly a few exceptions. I believe the clergy were exempted.
+ Which was sent to the military chest of the canton, and sppropriated exclusively to the purchase of arms and other mi-, litary accoutrements. No wonder, after a century of peace, that the French robbers found the arsenals of that frugal, inoffensive country, so well filled.