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ion, than the judgment and limited experience of the officers; and even our infantry were subject to many capricious changes, which left them nearly in the same unprovided state. But we have now ample and sufficiently excellent systems for both artillery and infantry, founded on the latest improve
In regard to the tenth section, which provides for the annual inspection of the militia by brigade inspectors, we would only remark, that we apprehend the rank of the inspecting officer to be too humble. Experience has proved in all services, that great advantages arise from proper inspections; and inspecting officers have now generally respectable rank, much military experience, and should possess a quick discernment, joined with a fearless independence. The system of inspection now in force in our army has undoubtedly contributed greatly to its improvement; and so far as relates to the rank of the officer, it might be beneficially applied to the militia. The number necessary in each state might be left to the state authorities. These officers, with the rank of colonel, and independent of the fluctuations of subordinate commands, but forming a branch of the staff of the commander in chief, and subject alone to his orders, might give great energy to the military laws, both of the general and state governments. All officers are certainly interested in their due execution; but inspectors alone feel it their especial duty to point out, and report, all relaxations and derelictions.
Although we have been thus diffuse in our remarks on this first and fundamental law of Congress relating to the militia, yet we deem it proper, at the risk of being prolix, to extend them to a subsequent law, which forms an essential part of the subject.
The law of 1792, which we have been discussing, left untouched one of the essential powers vested in Congress by the constitution, that is, the power to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.' The organisation, arming, and disciplining of the militia, were only preliminary steps. A force was established, but no power was constituted for calling it into activity. It might be capable of irregular and spontaneous exertions, but there was no defined and paramount authority to give it efficacy for constitutional purposes. It was an immense and intangible power, over which the general
government had no acknowledged control. It was not until 1795 that this desideratum was supplied. The admonitory and alarming troubles in Pennsylvania may have accelerated this result. A conviction was then urged home to almost every bosom, that the executive arm should be strengthened with all its constitutional aids.
It may be unwise and hazardous to defer the development and investment of a constitutional power, until some strong emergency renders it indispensable. There is danger then of legislating too much under the guidance of temporary circumstances; the agitations of the moment may either withhold, or confer, too much power. Besides, those who feel the effects of the new restraints, may regard them as a peculiar and invidious stretch of authority, intended merely for an existing crisis, rather than as a wholesome and necessary exercise of a legitimate function, which should have been coeval with the government. In the present instance, however, we have no reason to suppose that Congress felt any unfavorable influences from the times. It is more probable that a beneficial influence was shed upon their deliberations. There was then no disposition to be prodigal of power to the executive. On the contrary, there may have been too keen and distrustful a jealousy respecting this coordinate branch of the government, and it perhaps required some strong impulse, derived from contemporary agitations, to develop that liberal and confiding spirit in Congress, which was necessary to the complete fulfilment of the constitution. The laws were contemned and opposed with impunity; for there existed no power adequate to enforce them. The government was sinking with debility, and Congress saw that they were assuming the immense responsibility of withholding the energy, which could give it firmness and respectability.
The law enacted in 1795, providing for calling forth the militia,' invests the President of the United States with full power over it in case of emergency, by defining the mode of calling it into active service. Its provisions are effectual for every constitutional purpose, and gives him the control of every species of force on which the national defence depends. Commander in chief of the army and navy, when he became vested with the power of calling forth such parts of the militia, as the constitutional emergencies might require, the circle of
his military prerogatives became complete. The power over the militia, reserved by the constitution to the states, embraces the appointment of all officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the dsicipline prescribed by Congress.' The section which declares that no state shall, without the consent of Congress, engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger, as will not admit of delay,' may be said to be only declaratory of a natural and inalienable right, which could neither have been conferred nor taken away. In cases of such emergency, when, from its suddenness, or the remoteness of the executive, constitutional provision cannot be made to meet it, the privilege of selfdefence assumes all its natural energy, and acts, for the occasion, without reference to any authority. Had the constitution been silent in this respect, such a right, in such emergencies, would have been equally obvious, and would have had the same force. The law in regard to the power of the President, in calling out the militia, is in the following words. Whenever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States to call forth such number of the militia of the state, or states, most convenient to the place of danger, or scene of action, as he may judge necessary to repel such invasion, and to issue his orders for that purpose to such officer or officers of the militia as he shall think proper." This act is still in force, and is the one under which the militia were called out by the executive authority during the last war.
This surrender of power over the militia on the part of the states, in respect to organised or premeditated service, in all cases where the emergency can be anticipated and provided for, was as necessary as proper. To have vested the general government with authority over the army and navy, and given it no control over the militia, would have been depriving it of the mainspring of national defence. It is well known that in this free country, where the field of profitable exertion is so wide and open, an army of any magnitude can never be be raised by voluntary enlistment. The experience of the late war is proof of this. Inducement was accumulated upon
* See the Act of February 28th, 1795. Sec. I.
inducement, and yet our establishments were at all times incomplete. The distresses of the country, which always contribute to recruit an army, though great and augmenting, still left for the mass of the people a sufficiency of comfort and profitable employment to restrain enlistment. The main dependence of the country for defence, therefore, was, and always must be, upon the militia.
Since the law of 1792, many attempts have been made in Congress to improve or alter the present organisation of the militia, and the mode of instructing it. General Sumner says, 'the plan which is most countenanced is that, which is founded upon a system of classification. This proposes that the enrolled militia shall be divided into distinct corps, according to age, and that the youngest class shall be encamped each year, for a definite period, and the officers and men paid for their services.' p. 34. This plan, in its principal features, has often been proposed, but, though generally supported by talent and experience, has as often failed of success. Judge Marshall, in remarking upon General Knox's plan, which probably was somewhat similar, says, 'it may well be doubted whether the attempt to do more than organise and arm the militia of a country, under the circumstances of the United States, can ever be successful. Those habits of subordination and implicit obedience, which are believed to constitute the most valuable part of discipline, and the art of moving in an unbroken body, are perhaps to be acquired only in camp; and experience has not rendered it certain that arrangements, which aim at an object by means unequal to its attainment, will yield a good proportioned to the burden required.' There appears to be much sagacity and truth in these observations, and similar reasoning may have influenced the minds of those who have defeated these various plans, all of which have probably aimed at an object by means unequal to its attainment.' They all involved a sacrifice of time to the individual, and expense to the country, without sufficient assurance of an adequate benefit.
There is something seducing to unmilitary or inexperienced minds in an encampment. It is believed that if men are placed under canvass a few weeks, they become expert soldiers. There is doubtless a great error in this. It is a fact, well known to all military men, that a long course of un
remitting drill, such as nothing but the despotism of martial law can bring men to submit to, makes an expert soldier. General Washington, in one of his letters, says, that the making of a soldier is not the work of a day, a month, or even a year;' and most military works lay it down as a principle, that two years of assiduous and severe apprenticeship are required to form a complete soldier in all points of manual, movements, and police. And all this proficiency may be lost in a comparatively short time. The feelings and many of the habits of a soldier remain with him long after his occupation's gone;' but all the more important points of discipline which belonged to him, as a component part of a living machine, as a homogeneous unit of a compact and harmoniously moving body of men, are soon lost by disuse. Hence, we are inclined to believe, that annual encampments of the militia for a few weeks, or even longer, is a plan which aims at an object by means unequal to its attainments,' and will always be defeated by the good sense of the national legislature. It is at all times in the power of the states to increase the number of trainings, and consequently the means of instruction. In unquiet times, and especially on the approach of war, they would very properly be multiplied. The citizens then, aware of the emergency, would unhesitatingly intermit their accustomed avocations; the country, being in danger, demands sacrifices, and they are always ready in such seasons to make them. But in times of national repose, it appears to be inexpedient and impolitic to subject a large class of the community to an annual interruption of their employments for a few weeks, when the moral and pecuniary injuries are so probable, and the military benefits so uncertain or so transient.
The plan proposed by Captain Partridge, of establishing camps of instruction for officers only, may perhaps be thought more feasible, and less objectionable. The officers constitute a comparatively small class, and can be more easily assembled, and, being generally a select body of men, more profitably instructed. But even this plan, unless enforced by laws compelling attendance under penalty of heavy fines, would probably be nearly unavailing; and the effect of such laws might be to lessen so much the inducements to accept commissions, as to throw most of them into the hands of the idle and incapable, who would seek them for the small compensation attached to