Chapter 1 Part 4

The Development of Militias Icon

September 9, 2015

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 need for discipline when the state was defended by men of honour

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.


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