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'N this age of levity and ridicule, it is extremely
proposal, however important, or however wifely calculated for the public benefit; but fure if there ever was a propofition deferving attention from every true Englishman, it is this for the establishment of a National Militia, now under the confideration of the legislature; on the success of which I fincerely think, that our glory abroad, our fecurity at home, and our very being as a nation, intirely depend.
So manifeft is the truth of this to the meaneft and most abfurd understandings, that I never met with one of that kind who has not been clearly convinced of it; to fuch therefore I fhall not here address myself, but to the wife and fagacious only, many of whom, to my great furprize, I have
found of a very different opinion: to these then-F shall endeavour to prove, in as few words as poffible, the truth of the following propositions:
ift, That such a militia may foon be rendered not at all inferior to our present regular forces..
2dly, That it will effectually fecure our liberties, properties, and religion.
3dly, That it will strengthen the hands of go
4thly, That it will reduce the price of our provisions, and manufactures, and extend our trade.
5thly, That it will increase the number of our people; and,
Lastly, That it may be carried into execution without any expence to the public.
FIRST, then, I fhall endeavour to prove that a militia may very foon be rendered not at all inferior to our present regular forces: and whoever will look back on the behaviour of thefe forces for fome years past both by land and fea, will be convinced that this is no very arduous undertaking; nor be under any doubt, but that after a few days exercise they will behave as valiantly as our regiments at Falkirk, Prefton Pans, or Ofwego; or
Your fleets in the Mediterranean. Nor can I indeed comprehend from whence their inferiority fhould proceed; unless strong-beer should infpire lefs true courage than gin; or being trained in a country church-yard, produce a lefs familiarity with death than performing the fame exercise in the gay fcenes of Hyde-Park or St. James's. If it be objected that they will be deficient in military knowledge and experience; I answer, they will fight the better: the utility of these qualifications in the day of battle is a vulgar error, propagated like all others, for want of reasoning; for all fighting being in its own nature contradictory to common fenfe, it can never be promoted by knowledge: military knowledge therefore can never be that fort of knowledge which enables men to fight; but that which enables them to find out good reafons for not fighting; or if they should be bad, to call in the affiftance of councils of war and court-martials to make them better. Much less fure will experience induce men to fight, unless we can believe that wounds and bruifes, like coffee and tobacco, though difagreeable at first tafting, grow pleasant by frequent repetitions.
Since the writing of this, the bravery and conduct of our regular forces, both by fea and land, in every quarter of the globe, have been fo unexampled, that, notwithstanding the author's partiality for the Militia, he is candid enough to acknowledge, that he begins to have some small doubts, whether thofe corps may ever be able altogether to equal them.