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them. The active and thriving would be unwilling to bestow their time, as the pay would be no remuneration. Under the present system commissions generally fall upon the most intelligent and useful members of the community. They accept them because the consequent encroachments on their avocations are small, and the notoriety and promotion, which often follow, are objects worthy of ambition. The occasional assemblages are made subservient to recreation, and frequently to business, as well as military instruction. It is true the latter is trifling, but it is something; and it leaves the civil character of the institution, as it ought to be, paramount. It cannot be expected that the mass of the militia, under any organisation, which it would be thought expedient or proper to impose on it in time of peace, will be able to acquire any available proficiency as soldiers. The militiaman is a citizen, and not a soldier; and if he be enrolled, armed, and equipped, and be occasionally embodied, in order to be instructed in simple elements, he is always capable, on the approach of emergencies, of being made a soldier. And this is perhaps all that can be expected of an institution, which intends in seasons of national quiet to leave its members, that is, the citizens, the free and unembarrassed pursuit of their private occupations.
But we apprehend there may be some constitutional objections raised against these various plans, which propose to vest the general government with such control over the permanent trainings of the states' militia. The constitution requires of the general government to organise and arm the militia, and to prescribe the mode of its discipline. The first object has been attained, though perhaps not in the best manThe second object undoubtedly should be in the course of attainment, as fast as the resources of the country will admit. The last object may be said to be attained, whenever a mode of discipline becomes prescribed. A mode, or system, has been prescribed; and we are inclined to think its more immediate enforcement on the militia, in its inactive state, devolves on the state authorities. Is the general government, in addition to these three duties, bound to train the militia, or the officers thereof, when not in actual service? This question will doubtless be answered by the affirmation, that it is not only not enjoined to do it, but that the duty is expressly
reserved to the states of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.'
But although these and other arguments may be urged against encampments of the militia, we believe that equally forcible objections exist against its classification. Indeed such a modification appears to be a great desideratum ; and a law, which should divide it into two classes, would be a most extensive improvement, and still leave all its civil characteristics unimpaired. A plan was introduced into the last Congress, which proposes to draw the dividing line at the age of twentyfive, and if the usual accompaniment, a proposition for annual encampments shall be expunged, we cannot but earnestly hope that it may ultimately pass into a law. The younger class, between the ages of eighteen and twentyfive, are not only the best fitted for military life and duty, in respect to health, vigor, and buoyancy of spirits, but may at all times be abstracted from the community with the least inconvenience to its ordinary pursuits, and the least diminution of domestic comforts and protection. When drafts from this class will meet the emergency, the most substantial and essential part of society remains with it, while the demands of war are better supplied than if they had embraced the full range from eighteen to fortyfive. Extensive drafts made under the existing organisation leave a chasm behind, which greatly aggravates the effects of war, always sufficiently melancholy and oppressive when mitigated by every lenient provision.
If Congress, in addition to existing laws, were to classify the militia, and adopt measures for gradually arming it, we are disposed to believe that the main intentions of the constitution in this respect would be generally fulfilled. The institution would then appear to be built on as good a foundation, as the nature of our government, and the genius of the people, will perhaps admit. Periods of danger would superinduce more energy, but that would be suited to the exigency, and subside with it. The President has no control over the militia, excepting in specified emergencies; yet Congress, by several acts of legislation, has established the precedent by which portions of it are placed under his authority, in anticipation of danger. Such a law passed during the administration of Mr Adams, giving him, at a time when he could have
had otherwise no constitutional power over them, the control of 80,000 drafts. A similar law conferred on Mr Jefferson a like control over 100,000 minute men.* These were wise provisions against threatening troubles. The times demanded some interference with the ordinary pursuits of the citizen. Sacrifices were required, and were cheerfully made, because the necessity was apparent. These detachments could be embodied as frequently, and instructed as extensively, as the President might deem proper to direct; and as soon as the season of probable danger passed away, they returned again to their usual employments.
The executive or operative power with respect to the militia rests, in time of peace, entirely with the state authorities. An important responsibility then devolves on them; and we cannot but earnestly protest against some of the prevailing notions, that this responsibility may be discharged, by merely preserving the forms of organisation, and rendering due returns. The constitution has left it with them to designate the time and extent of instruction. Each state, understanding well the genius of its people, may be properly vested with this apportionment, as the effects of too great pressure, or too great relaxation, can at once be perceived. We are fully of opinion with General Sumner, that the few trainings, which are established in the several states, are not deemed a burden by the great mass of the militia; that, on the contrary, they are anticipated with pleasure and even with eagerness, as authorised relaxations from labor or monotonous pursuits, which relieve the body, and give energy to the feelings. Besides, we are well assured that their effect is to excite and nourish some of the best sentiments of a free republican people.
The militiaman, who occasionally appears on public parades with his musket, associates with it many of the noblest ideas of defence and love of country. These short and occasional embodyings leave behind but few of the systematic habits of a regular soldier, for the limited time is hardly sufficient for learning even the manual; but they accustom the men to concentration, to know their officers, and they keep alive a degree
* See Acts authorising a Detachment from the Militia of the United States, passed June 24, 1795,-April 18, 1806,--March 30, 1808.
of martial pride and spirit, all of which are among the best elements of an efficient army. We hardly accede to the full latitude of General Sumner's remark, that the officers of the army unite in opinion, that one who has never shouldered a musket is a better recruit than a militiaman.' Some of them doubtless are selfsufficient and obstinate with their little proficiency, and may at first resist instruction more than one, whose utter ignorance induces him to surrender himself entirely to the direction of others. But, as a general rule, we are sure that the few rudiments he may have acquired, will be so far serviceable to him whenever called into active service.
General Sumner correctly and forcibly remarks, that it should never be argued as an objection to the militia, that it is inferior to the army. The militia of no state ever was or ever will be its equal; the nature of the institution does not require it.' p. 29. We would add, it absolutely forbids it, at least in time of peace. And even in war, the limited time for which the militia can be kept in the field, must confine their proficiency within narrow bounds, and leave them far behind the practical, professional soldier. But surely, because we cannot give our militia the highest degree of perfection, it is no reason why we should not strive to raise it above the character of an armed rabble. With all its deficiencies, it may always be beneficially used as light troops, or for partisan warfare; and this kind of warfare has achieved wonders in the modern defences of countries. The Spanish Guerrillas, a kind of militia almost destitute of organisation, were powerfully instrumental in the defence of their country. Indeed, Marsha! Bulow, a military writer of considerable notoriety, and who has had much experience in war, has advanced the opinion that all wars should be carried on with light troops alone, and that the compact and close order, which is required by modern tactics, only serves to increase the carnage, without giving greater efficiency to troops. We do not subscribe to this opinion, which has found but few supporters. It shows, however, that the description of service, of which our militia is always capable, has been even deemed superior to all others.
But we might answer the question as to the utility of our militia, as General Sumner does, by a reference to its many
achievements in our own country. The scenes of Lexington, Bunker Hill, and New Orleans, are said to be counterbalanced by those of Long Island, Camden, and Bladensburgh, where the militia were scattered like bands of unarmed peasants. But there would be as much error in inferring from these disasters, that the militia are useless, as that regular armies are so, because they have often been most shamefully defeated. No one will deny that, for belligerent purposes, regular armies are the best. But the nature of our government, and the genius of our people, forbid the existence of such large armies, as would render all other defences unnecessary. We should then sustain and improve an institution, which, with all its defects, has so often rendered such illustrious and important services. If our citizens, without losing any of their civil characteristics, are capable on emergencies of defeating veteran armies, and averting ruin from the country, our republican institutions may promise themselves durability. The main defence rests as it should with the people.
When armies of militia and of regulars are abstractly considered, the difference of their apparent efficiency is great indeed; but this difference often diminishes when they come in contact. Generals are commonly cautious in proportion to their fear of the enemy; if they despise him, they become careless and presumptuous; in this way, militia are frequently raised to a level with their adversaries. Many of our successes during the Revolution, and during the late war, may be traced to this presumptuous confidence in the enemy. He was far beyond us in discipline, but he despised our militia, agrestes turma, and often became so incautious or rash, as to lose his advantages. At Bunker Hill, at Bennington, and at New Orleans, the enemy exercised no generalship, took no precautions. Had the lines at Breed's Hill been taken in reverse in the outset, as they were at the close of the action, that sanguinary and eventful conflict might have scarcely caught the attention of the historian. At Bennington, the German leaders were most inexcusably negligent and unwary in their march. And at New Orleans, as the militia were in position, it would have been the part of good generalship to endeavor to turn that position. That such a manœuvre was practicable, the success of Colonel Thorn