Part 4: Arms

Chap 1: Militias

  • In the beginning of society, the state’s defence required no police, nor particular provision for it.
    • The people rose up to oppose any attempt made against them.
    • The chief in peacetime, naturally preserved his influence in wartime.
  • But after the division of labour took place, some needed to stay at home to be employed in agriculture and other arts, while the rest went out to war.
    • Cultivation naturally fell to the meanest rank after the introduction of:
      • the appropriation of lands and
      • the distinction of ranks.
    • The employment of military service was less laborious but more honourable.
      • It would be claimed by the highest order.
  • Accordingly, this was the practice of all nations in their primitive state.
    • The Roman equites or knights were originally horsemen in the army.
    • The slaves or those who did not pay taxes never went out to war.
  • Similarly among our ancestors, only those who held by ‘knight’s service’ were employed in the state’s defence.
    • The ancient villains were never considered as a part of the national force.
  • There was no occasion for discipline when the state was defended by men of honour [261].
    • They would do their duty from this principle.
  • It became inconvenient for the rich to go out to war when:
    • arts and manufactures increased, and
    • men found that they could rise in dignity by applying to arts and manufactures.
      • These arts were initially despised by the active and the ambitious.
      • From a principle of avarice, it soon claimed their whole attention.
  • The merchant who can make £3,000 at home will not want to go out to war.
    • But it was an amusement to an ancient knight who had nothing else to do.
  • When the improvement of arts and manufactures was gained the attention of the higher ranks, the state’s defence naturally became the duty of the lower ranks.
    • Because the rich can never be forced to do anything but what they please.
    • In Rome, after the knights gave up serving in the army, the lowest of the people went instead.
    • In Britain after the feudal militia went out, another of the lowest ranks succeeded.
      • This is therefore the progress of military service in every country.
  • Among a nation of hunters and shepherds, and even when a nation is advanced to agriculture, everyone goes out to war.
    • When arts and manufactures begin to advance, everyone cannot go out.
    • These arts are laborious and not very lucrative.
      • Thus, only the highest go out.
    • After that, when arts and commerce advance further and become very lucrative, it falls to the meanest to defend the state.
    • This is our present condition in Great Britain.

Chap 2: Discipline

  • When everyone went out, there could be no military discipline.
    • They were all on the same level.
  • Discipline was unnecessary because their common cause was so well discerned.
    • When the highest orders went out, a principle of honour would supply the place of discipline.
    • But when this office fell on the lowest order, the most severe and rigid discipline became necessary.
    • Accordingly, discipline has been introduced into all standing armies.
  • Generally, they should be kept under such authority as to be more afraid of their general and officers than of the enemy.
    • It is the fear of their officers and of the rigid penalties of the martial law, which is the chief cause of their good behaviour.
    • It is to this principle that we owe their valiant actions.
  • In the recent war, 800 Prussians defended a pass a whole day against several thousands Austrians.
    • At night in their retreat, they deserted almost to a man.
  • What could be the foundation of this courage?
    • It was not:
      • a principle of honour,
      • love to their country, nor
      • a regard to their officers.
        • These would still have detained them.
  • It was the dread of their officers:
    • who were hanging over their heads, and
    • whom they dared not disobey.
  • This, by the by, shows the governableness of our nature.
    • It also shows how much that manly courage depends on external circumstances.
    • We may further observe how far this principle of fear may be carried.
  • If a bold, fierce, and tyrannic adjutant is succeeded by a gentler one, the ideas of terror remain with his position.
    • It is some time before he is perceived as not so terrible as the other.

[263]


Chap 3: Standing Armies

  • In this way, standing armies came to be introduced.
  • Armies should be raised:
    • in the most convenient way, and
    • with the least possible hurt to the country.
  • Many standing armies may be exclaimed against.
    • But they must be introduced in a certain period of society.
  • A militia commanded by landed gentlemen in possession of the nation’s public offices would never sacrifice the country’s liberties for anyone.
    • Such a militia would be the best security against a foreign standing army.
  • Standing armies are of two kinds:
    1. When the government gives offices to particular persons, and so much for every man they levy.
      • Our own army is modeled after this.
      • This has less danger than the second kind.
    2. When the government makes a slump bargain with a general to lead out troops for their assistance.
      • This is the model of the standing armies in some little Italian states.
      • They make a bargain with some chieftain in areas where the arts have not yet reached.
        • The officers are all dependent on him.
        • He is independent of the state.
        • His employers lie at his mercy.
  • But a standing army like ours is not so apt to turn their against the government.
    • Because the officers:
      • are men of honour and
      • have great connections in the country.
  • Yet sometimes, a standing army has proved dangerous to the people’s liberties, when that question on the sovereign’s power was disputed.
    • This was the case in Great Britain because the standing army generally takes the king’s side.
  • The principle [264] of the soldier is to obey his leader.
    • He thinks that he owes his service to the king because the king appointed and pays him.
  • This would never be the case if a proper militia were established.
    • This happens in Sweden.
    • People’s liberties there are in no danger.
  • We have considered the laws of nature as they regard justice, police, revenue, and arms.
    • We shall now consider the law of nations, or the claims which one nation may have on another.

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