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Charles VIII. of France, when he invaded Italy anno 1498, understood not such mock battles; and his men were held to be devils incarnate, who seemed to take delight in thedding human blood. The Dutch, who for many years have been reduced to mercenary troops, are more indebted to the mutual jealousy of their neighbours for their independence, than to their own army.
In the year 1672, Lewis of France invaded Holland, and in forty days took forty walled towns. That country was faved, not by its army, but
, by being laid under water. Frost, which is usual at that feason, would have put an end to the seven United Provinces.
The small principality of Palmyra is the only instance known in history, where the military spirit was not enervated by opulence. Pliny describes that country as extremely pleafant, and blessed with plenty of springs, tho' surrounded with dry anci fandy deferts. The commerce of the Indies was at that time carried on by land ; and the city of Palmyra was the centre of that commerce between the East and the West: Its territory being very finall, little more than sufficient for villas and plea
fure-grounds, the inhabitants, like those of Hamburgh, had no way to employ their riches for profit but in trade. At the same time, being situated between the two mighty empires of Rome and Parthia; it required great address and the most affiduous military discipline, to guard it from being swallowed up by the one or the other. This ticklish situation preserved the inhabitants from luxury and effeminacy, the usual concomitants of riches. Their superfluous wealth was laid out on magnificient buildings, and on embellishing their country-seats. The fine arts were among them carried to a high degree of perfection. The famous Zenobia, their Queen, being led captive to Rome after being deprived of her dominions, was admired and celebrated for spirit, for learning, and for an exquisite taste in the fine
Thus, by accumulating wealth, a manufacturing and commercial people become a tempting object for conquest; and by effeminacy become an easy conqueft. The military spirit seems to be at a low ebb in Britain : will no phantom appear, even in a dream, to disturb our downy
rest? Formerly, plenty of corn in the temperate regions of Europe and Asia; proved a tempting bait to northern savages who wanted bread: have we no cause to dread a similar fate from fome warlike neighbour,, impelled by hunger, or by ambition, to extend his dominions ? The difficulty of providing for defence, confiftent with industry has produced a general opinion among political writers, that a
, nation, to preserve its military spirit; must give up industry, and to preserve indu
; stry, must give up a military fpirit. In the former cafe, we are secure against any invader :, in the latter, we lie
open to every invader. A military plan that would fecure us against enemies, without hurting our industry and manufactures, would be a rich present to Britain. That such a plan is possible, will appear from what follows; tho' I am far from hoping that it will meet, with universal approbation. To prepare the reader, I shall premife an account of the different military establishments that exist, and have existed, in Europe, with the advantages and disadvan
, tages of each. In examining these, who VOL. III,
knows whether some hint may not occur of a plan more perfect than any of them.
The most illustrious military establishment of antiquity is that of the Romans, by which they subdued almost all the known world. The citizens of Rome were all of them soldiers : they lived upon their pay when in the field; but if they hap
' pened not to be successful in plundering, they starved at home. An annual distribution of corn among them, became necessary; which in effect corresponded to the halfpay of our officers. It is believed, that such a constitution would not be adopted by any modern state.
It was a forc'd constitution; contrary to nature, which gives different dispositions to men, in order to supply hands for every
neceffary art. It was a hazardous conftitution, having no medium between universal conquest and wretched slavery. Had the Gauls who conquered Rome, entertained any view but of plunder, Rome would never have been heard of. It was on the brink of ruin in the war.with Hannibal. What would have happened had Hannibal been victorious ? It is easy to judge, by comparing it with Carthage. Car
thage was a commercial state, the people all employ'd in arts, manufactures, and navigation. The Carthaginians were subdued ; but they could not be reduced to extremity, while they had access to the sea. In fact, they profpered so much by commerce, even after they were subdued, as to raise jealousy in their masters; who thought themselves not secure while a house remained in Carthage. On the other hand, what resource for the inhabitants of Rome, had they been subdued ? They must have perished by hunger; for they could not work. In a word, ancient Rome resembles a gamester who ventures all upon one decisive throw: if he lose, he is undone.
I take it for granted, that our feudal system will not have a single vote. a system that led to confusion and anarchy, as little fitted for war as for peace. And as for mercenary troops, it is unnecessary to bring them again into the field, after what is said of them above.
The only remaining forms that merit attention, are a standing army, and a militia ; which I shall examine in their order, with the objections that lie against B 2