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 that was 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 thus defended by men of honour [261].
    • They would do their duty from this principle.
  • But when arts and manufactures increased, and were thought worthy of attention, and men found that they could rise in dignity by applying to them,
  • It became inconvenient for the rich to go out to war.
    • These arts were at first 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 pounds at home will not incline 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 thought an object deserving the attention of the higher ranks, the state’s defence naturally became the province of the lower.
    • Because the rich can never be forced to do anything but what they please.
  • In Rome, after the knights gave over serving in the army, the lowest of the people went in their stead.
  • In our own country, after the feudal militia went out, another of the lowest ranks succeeded.
    • This therefore is the progress of military service in every country.
  • Among a nation of hunters and shepherds, and even when a nation is advanced to agriculture, the whole body goes out to war.
  • When arts and manufactures begin to advance, the whole cannot go out.
  • These arts are laborious and not very lucrative.
  • Thus, only the highest go out.
  • After that, when arts and commerce are still farther advanced and begin to be very lucrative, it falls to the meanest to defend the state.
    • This is our present condition in Great Britain.

 

 

Chap 2: DISCIPLINE

  • When the whole body went out, there could be no occasion for 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.
  • In general, 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 nothing but the dread of their officers:
    • who were hanging over their heads, and
    • whom they durst not disobey.
  • This, by the by, shows the governableness of our nature.
    • It may also show how much that manly courage we so much boast of 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 one of a mild and gentle disposition, the ideas of terror are conveyed with the coat.
  • It is some time before it is perceived that he is not so terrible as the other.

[263]


 

 

Chap 3: STANDING ARMIES

  • In this way, standing armies came to be introduced.
  • The only thing to be observed concerning them is that they 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 can never have any prospect of sacrificing the liberties of the country for any person whatever.
    • Such a militia would be the best security against the standing army of another nation.

 

  • 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.
      1. This is the model of the standing armies in some little Italian states.
  • They make a bargain with some chieftain in those parts 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, as has been the case in our own country, because the standing army generally takes the side of the king.
  • 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.