« السابقةمتابعة »
it cannot be the duty of an officer in battle merely to fill up an interval in a battallion, as he has no personal means of annoying the enemy, but to attend to his men, and see that they do their duty; and to perforın this effectually, he must be frequently pointing and speaking to different parts of his division, and should also be easily distinguished by his dress.
The scantiness of a subaltern's pay, in proportion to bis necessary expences, has been much complained of. But besides the consideration, that while every vacant ensigncy is as much solicited for as a lucrative employment, government has no right to draw an additional expence on the public,' another real advantage is derived from it. · If the property of the officers is so essential to a constitutional militia, any circumstance that coinpels the adoption of the same qualification in the army, has a direct-tendency to render that establishment more safe and constitutional. One alteration however is absolutely necessary. Every officer who has served a given number of years, should have such a competence secured to him, as shonld enable him to enjoy the remainder of his life in credit and comfort; and such of his sons as choose to go into the army should, while subalterns, be enabled by the assistance of government to meet the increased expences of the times.
It seems a great absurdity in the naval service, that the admiral should always engage in the largest ship, and take personally the greatest share in the action. How is it possible that, so situated, he can observe and direct the rest of the fleet? And surely the manoeuvres of a sea tight require some directions from the commanding officer, though not so much as those of a land battle. What would be said of a general, if, instead of giving his orders, he were to put himself at the head of the strongest regiment, and charge the enemy in person
The disposition is something like that of the heroes of Homer. They were personally the strongest men in the army, and acted as commanders only in arranging their troops for the attack. After that commenced, they min
of the men was greater than at Bunker's Hill, though the comparative disproportion of their numbers was also greater ; as at Quehee the army was on the war establishment, four officers to a company of an hundred men; and at Bunker's Hill on the peace establishment, three officers to a company of forty-five.
gled with the combatants, and by their own individual exertions chiefly decided the fortune of the day. The knights of the times of chivalry acted in the saine man
In land battles at present this is exactly reversed. The officers in general are the least robust men of the army, and, by laying aside the esponton and the fusil, may be said to be entirely unarmed, as the sword in the charge of a battallion of foot must be totally useless. I have heard some Wise gentlemen talk of a pistol in the belt; a weapon only formidable in the hand of a footpad (or a duellist who uses it for less * justifiable purposes,) when placed close to the head. The only officer of the third regiment of guards who was wounded at St. Amand, received a hurt from a pistol that went off in his own pocket.
There is a passage something to this purpose in Dr. Gillies's History of Greece. Alexander' (at the passage of the Granicus), after performing the duties of a great general, displayed such acts of personal prowess, as will be more easily admired than believed by the modern-reader. But in the close combats of antiquity, the forces when once thoroughly engaged might safely be abandoned to their resentment and courage, while the commanders displayed the peculiar accomplishments to which they had been trained from their youth, in the most conspicuous parts of the field.' But this observation, though very applicable to the age of Homer, is by no means so to that of Alexander, when the military art had been carried to its highest pitch. As the armies of antiquity, from the depth of their files, did not extend to the distance of those of the moderns, and were not enveloped in clouds of smoke, the skill of the.coinmünder was of greater use throughout the whole action than it can be at present. Indeed the only use of a general now, after the first fire, arises from the whole army never being engaged together. There are circumstances when it is necessary for a general to expose his own per'son to reaninate his troops: but in our battles this can only have a very partial effect; while the personal exertions of an ancient genera; might be conspicuous to his
* I do not mean to say that every man who fights a duel is in the wrong. Perhaps in the present state of things duelling is a necessary evil; but the second who suffers such a mode of fighting to take place, as makes the pistol almost certainly a fatal weapon, deserves to suffer the punishment of a cowardly assassin.
whole army. Yet that it was not customary for the cominanders of antiquity to expose their persons needlessly, appears from this anecdote preserved by Plutarch. A rash officer shewing his wounds with exultation to Timotheus, he said to him “ When I was your general against the Samians, I should have been ashamed if an arrow from a catapulta * had fallen near inet.”
I have always thought it to be regretted, that, when the new militia was established, the prejudice of the times obliged the legislature to adopt that name instead of some other, as provincial or county regiments. For though militia really means the military establishment of a country, yet so deservedly was the old institution that bore that name become disgraceful, that it was held in universal ridicule. Instances of this occur frequently in our old comedies, and, when they do occur, are always applied to the present institution that yoes under the same name, though so widely different in fact. It must be from this cause only, that so many militia officers were induced to take commissions in those heterogeneous corps called fencibles, tu which every ridicule that can attach on the militia must attach, without the honourable motive that induces a country gentleinan to enter into the established constitutional forces of his county. If it should be thought I have gone too far in saying the ridicule incurred by the old militia affects the new, only let
* The catapulta was one of the military engines, which threw very large arrows to a great distance.
† There was a part of the Grecian army called the peltastæ, from pelta, a small shield. This is usually translated targeteers; but Though target is properly the diminutive of targe, as that word iq obsolete, and target is in common use for a butt to shoot at, it gives us the idea of a shield in general, without any notion of diinunition, like the word PISTOLET in French. Ifa Greek army were drawn up in Hyde-Park, and an aid-du-camp ordered to ride up to the targeteers, he would go without hesitation to the heavy armed foot, from their shields being most conspicuous.
I Those corps only are alluded to, which unite every evil both of regulars and militia, without having the advantage of either, and whose only evd is to injure the recruiting service The military associations, both in the metropolis and the country, are truly re. spectable, and indeed have arisen out of the ipilitia, which is by no means numerous enough to be the sole defence of the country in the hour of danger, but is a barrier immediately ready for the whole country to rally behind. The regular forces are not mentioned, as one of the principal advautages of the militia is the enabling them to defend the country in the most effectual manuer by attacking the territories of the eucmy. .
it be remembered, that whenever the farcè df the MATOR of GARRAT is performed, bow constantly the satire, levelled solely at the Westminister inilitia, is applied to the county regimeuts; as if it were a good jest to suppose that country clowns were afraid of oxen, and that country squires could not ride.
The exercise of the London trained bands was a sub ject of ridicule so long ayo as the time of Beaumont and Fletcher, as appears in THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING Pestle. Perhaps the satire was directed by the soldiers of the old feudal system against the tirst attempt at regular discipline ; who being themselves never trained, but in immediate preparation for actual service, laughed at all other training, just as the regulars now laugh at the militia, and as the regulars have themselves been laughed at for military parade * in time of peace. If this be so, the success of the London trained bands against the horse at the batile of Newbury, instead of being wonderful, was the natural consequence of the superiority of disciplined, though untried iufantry, agaiost, cavalry +. This seems confirmed by the account of Lord Clarendon.
* That tbe officers in the army are at least indebted to the militia for taking this source of ridicule from them, appears from a poem. called MANNERS, written by Paul Whitehead. . • Mark our bright youths, how gallant and how gay,
Fresh plum'd and powder'd, in review array; • Uphurt each feature by the inartial scar, • Lo! Albemarle assumes the god of war. « Yet vain, while prompt to arms by plume and pay, • He takes the soldier's name, from soldier's play, • This truth, my warrior, treasure in your breast: "A standing soldier is a standing jest." • When bloody battles dwindle to reviews, ' Armies must then become mere puppet shews; «Where the lac'd log may strut the soldier's part, • Bedeck'd with feather, though unarm’d with heart.'
t • The London trained baps and auxiliary regiments, (of whose inexperience of danger, or any kind of service beyond the easy practice of their postures in the artillery garden, men had then too CHEAP an estimation) behaved themselves to wonder; and were in truth the preservatioii of the army that day. For they stood as a bulwark and ranipire to the rest; and wheo their wings of horse were scattered and dispersed, kept their ground so steadily, that though Prince Rupert himself led up the choice horse to charge them, and endured their storın of small shot, he could make no impression upon their stand of pikes, but was forced to wheel about. OF SO SOVEREIGN BENEFIT AND USE IS THAT READINESS, ORDER, AND DEXTERITY IN THE USE OF THEIR ARMS, WHICH HATH BEEN SO MUCH NEGLECTED.' This shews. they were tlie only web-disciplined foot in the eriny.. :
The most zealous partizan of the militia must acknow. ledge its weakest part to be the want of proper subordination in the officers. A few singular instances of public spirit excepted, the hope of honour and emolument, and the fear of disgrace and punishment, are the general spurs to huinan industry; and these are wanting to the militia officer. This deficiency in discipline is the most felt in those regiments which are most respectably ofticered in point of qualification, as the commanding officers of militia will not often be inclined to exact a very strict obedience from persons who have great property and influence in their counties.
The ballotting for the militia, which was taken from the French, is also a defect. If every man ballotted were compelled to serve if able (which is impossible), there would be no injustice, as all would be on an equality. But as no person ever does serve, who can possibly afford to hire a substitute, the ballot is merely gambling who shall pay a most unequal poll-tax. If property were assessed to find soldiers, it would be more just, and the deputy-lieutenants might then be stricter in the choice of men, than coinmon humanity will now permit them to be when the principal is in very low circumstances.
Collatis undique membris.-HOR.
ILL suited matches are productive of such complicated misery, that it is a wonder it should be necessary to declaim against them, and hy arguments and examples expose the folly, or brand the cruelty of such parents as sacrifice their children to arnbition or avarice. Daily experience indeed shews, that this misconduct of the old, .who, by their wisdom, should be able to direct the young, and who either have, or are thought to have, their welfare in view, is not only subversive of all the bliss of social