A. D. cir. 690. Wessex. INI
Cap. 51. If a ‘gesithcund’ man owning land neglect the ‘fyrd,’ let him pay cxx. shillings and forfeit his land; one not owning land, lx. shillings; a ceorlish man, xxx. shillings, as ‘fyrdwite.’
A. D. 978-1016. ETHELRED
Cap. 26. But let God’s law be henceforth zealously loved, by word and deed, then will God soon be merciful to this nation: and let ‘frithes-bot’ and ‘feos-bot’ everywhere in the country, and ‘burh-bot’ on every side, and ‘bric-bot,’ and the armaments (fyrdung) also be diligently attended to, according to what is always prescribed when there is need.
Cap. 28. And if any one without leave return from the ‘fyrd’ in which the king himself is, let it be at the peril of himself and all his estate; and he who else returns from the ‘fyrd,’ let him be liable in cxx. shillings.
(29) No constable may compel a knight to pay money for castle-guard if the knight is willing to undertake the guard in person, or with reasonable excuse to supply some other fit man to do it. A knight taken or sent on military service shall be excused from castle-guard for the period of this servlce.
(51) As soon as peace is restored, we will remove from the kingdom all the foreign knights, bowmen, their attendants, and the mercenaries that have come to it, to its harm, with horses and arms.
…that they, and every of them, shall and may, at all and every time and times hereafter, have, take, and lead in the said Voyage, and for and towards the said several Plantations, and Colonies, and to travel thitherward, and to abide and inhabit there, in every the said Colonies and Plantations, such and so many of our Subjects, as shall willingly accompany them or any of them, in the said Voyages and Plantations; With sufficient Shipping, and Furniture of Armour, Weapons, Ordinance, Powder, Victual, and all other things, necessary for the said Plantations, and for their Use and Defence there:
…that they, and every of them, shall and may, from time to time, and at all times forever hereafter, for their several Defences, encounter, expulse, repel, and resist, as well by Sea as by Land, by all Ways and Means whatsoever, all and every such Person or Persons, as without the especial Licence of the said several Colonies and Plantations, shall attempt to inhabit within the said several Precincts and Limits of the said several Colonies and Plantations, or any of them, or that shall enterprise or attempt, at any time hereafter, the Hurt, Detriment, or Annoyance, of the said several Colonies or Plantations:
…that they, and every of them, by their Deputies, Ministers, and Factors, may transport the Goods, Chattels, Armour, Munition, and Furniture, needful to be used by them, for their said Apparel, Food, Defence, or otherwise in Respect of the said Plantations, out of our Realms of England and Ireland, and all other our Dominions, from time to time, for and during the Time of seven Years, next ensuing the Date hereof, for the better Relief of the said several Colonies and Plantations, without any Customs, Subsidy, or other Duty, unto Us, our Heirs, or Successors, to be yielded or payed for the same.
…AND we do also GRANT and confirm to the said Treasurer and Company, and their Successors, as also to all and every such Governor, or other Officers, and Ministers, as by our said Council shall be appointed to have Power and Authority of Government and Command in and over the said Colony and Plantation; That they, and every of them, shall and lawfully may from Time to Time and at all Times for ever hereafter, for their several Defence and Safety, encounter, expulse, repel, and resist by Force and Arms, as well by Sea as by Land, and all Ways and Means whatsoever, all and every such Person and Persons whatsoever as (without the special Licence of the said Treasurer and Company and their Successors) shall attempt to inhabit within the said several Precincts and Limits of the said Colony and Plantation; And also all and every such Person and Persons whatsoever, as shall enterprise or attempt at any Time hereafter, Destruction, Invasion, Hurt, Detriment, or Annoyance, to the said Colony and Plantation, as is likewise specified in the said former Grant…
…all such and so many of our loving Subjects, or any other Strangers, that will become our loving Subjects, and live under our Obedience, as shall willingly accompany them in the said Voyage and Plantation; With sufficient Shipping, Armour, Weapons, Ordinance, Munition, Powder, Shot, Victuals, and such Merchandises or Wares as are esteemed by the wild People in those Parts, Cloathing, Implements, Furniture, Cattle, Horses, and Mares, and all other things necessary for the said Plantation, and for their Use, and Defence…
…so many of our loving Subjects, or any other Strangers that will become our loving Subjects, and live under our Allegiance, as shall willingly accompany them in the said Voyages and Plantation, with Shipping, Armour, Weapons, Ordnance, Munition, Powder, Shot, Victuals, and all Manner of Merchandises and Wares, and all Manner of Clothing, Implements, Furniture, Beasts, Cattle, Horses, Mares, and all other Things necessary for the said Plantation, and for their Use and Defence…
And Wee do further of our especiall Grace, certaine Knowledge and meere Motion, for Us, and our Heires, and Successors, give and grant to the said Councell, and their Successors for ever by these Presents, that it shall be lawfull and free for them and their Assignes, att all and every time and times hereafter, out of our Realmes or Dominions whatsoever, to take, load, carry, and transport in, and into their Voyages, and for, and towards the said Plantation in New-England, all such and so many of our loveing Subjects, or any other Strangers that will become our loving Subjects, and live under our Allegiance, as shall willingly accompany them in the said Voyages and Plantation, with Shipping, Armour, Weapons, Ordinances, Munition, Shott, Victuals, and all Manner of Cloathing, Implements, Furniture, Beasts, Cattle, Horses, Mares, and all other Things necessary for the said Plantation, and for their Use and Defence, and for Trade with the People there, and in passing and returning to and fro, without paving or yielding, any Custom or Subsidie either inwards or outwards, to Us, our Heires, or Successors, for the same, for the Space of seven Years, from the Day of the Date of these Presents, provided, that none of the said Persons be such as shall be hereafter by special Name restrained by Us, our Heire, or Successors.
And further our Will and Pleasure is, and Wee do by these Presents charge, comand, warrant, and authorize the said Councill, and their Successors, or the major Part of them, which shall be present and assembled for that Purpose, shall from time to time under their comon Seale, distribute, convey, assigne, and sett over, such particular Portions of Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, as are by these Presents, formerly granted unto each our loveing Subjects, naturally borne or Denisons, or others, as well Adventurers as Planters, as by the said Company upon a Comission of Survey and. Distribution, executed and returned for that Purpose, shall be named, appointed, and allowed, wherein our Will and Pleasure is, that Respect be had as well to the Proportion of the Adventurers, as to the special Service, Hazard, Exploit, or Meritt of any Person so to be recompensed, advanced, or rewarded, and wee do also, for Us, our Heires, and Successors, grant to the said Councell and their Successors and to all and every such Governours, other Officers, or Ministers, as by the said Councill shall be appointed to have Power and Authority of Government and Command in and over the said Collony and Plantation, that they and every of them, shall, and lawfully may, from time to time, and aft all Times hereafter for ever, for their severall Defence and Safety, encounter, expulse, repel, and resist by Force of Arms, as well by Sea as by Land, and all Ways and Meanes whatsoever, all such Person and Persons, as without the speciall Licence of the said Councell and their Successors, or the greater Part of them, shall attempt to inhabitt within the said severall Precincts and Limitts of the said Collony and Plantation. And also all, and every such Person or Persons whatsoever, as shall enterprise or attempt att any time hereafter Destruction, Invasion, Detriment, or Annovance to the said Collony and Plantation; and that it shall be lawfull for the said Councill, and their Successors, and every of them, from Time to Time, and att all Times heereafter, and they shall have full Power and Authority, to take and surprize by all Ways and Means whatsoever, all and every such Person and Persons whatsoever, with their Ships, Goods, and other Furniture, trafficking in any Harbour, Creeke, or Place, within the Limitts and Precintes of the said Collony and Plantations, and not being allowed by the said Councill to be adventurers or Planters of the said Collony.
That it shalbe lawfull and free for them and their Assignes, at all and every Tyme and Tymes hereafter, out of any our Realmes or Domynions whatsoever, to take, leade, carry, and transport, for in and into their Voyages, and for and towardes the said Plantacon in Newe England, all such and soe many of our loving Subjects, or any other strangers that will become our loving Subjects, and live under our Allegiance, as shall willinglie accompany them in the same Voyages and Plantacon; and also Shippmg, Armour, Weapons, Ordinance, Municon, Powder, Shott, Come, Victualls, and all Manner of dothing, Implements, Furniture, Beastes, Cattle, Horses, Mares, Merchandizes, and all other Thinges necessarie for the saide Plantacon, and for their Vse and Defence, and for Trade with the People there, and in passing and returning to and fro, any Lawe or Statute to the contrarie hereof in any wise notwithstanding; and without payeing or yeilding any Custome or Subsidie, either inward or outward, to Vs. our Heires or Successors, for the same, by the Space of seaven Yeares from the Day of the Date of theis Presents.
AND WEE DOE further, for Vs. our Heires and Successors, give and graunte to the said Governor and Company, and their Successors, by theis Presents, that it shall and male be lawfull, to and for the Chiefe Comaunders, Governors, and officers of the said Company for the Time being, who shalbe resident in the said Parte of Newe England in America, by theis presents graunted, and others there inhabiting by their Appointment and Direccon, from Tyme to Tyme, and at ail Tymes hereafter for their speciall Defence and Safety, to incounter, expulse, repell, and resist by Force of Armes, aswell by Sea as by Lande, and by all fitting Waies and Meanes whatsoever, all such Person and Persons, as shall at any Tyme hereafter, attempt or enterprise the Destruccon, Invasion, Detriment, or Annoyaunce to the said Plantation or Inhabitants, and to take and surprise by all Waies and Meanes whatsoever, all and every such Person and Persons, with their Shippes, Armour, Municons and other Goodes, as shall in hostile manner invade or attempt the defeating of the said Plantacon, or the Hurt of the said Company and Inhabitants:
Moreover that New Carolana may happily increase by the multitude of people thronging thither & alsoe that they be firmely defended from the incursions of the Barbarous & of others practicall or plundering enemyes. Therefore we for ourselves our Heires & Successors at the will & pleasure of the sayd Sr Robert Heath his heires and assignee, doe give & grant by these presents to all men & our subjects, ledges of our heires and successors both those in present & to come (unless it shall be in an especiall manner forbidden) power, licence & libertye to build & fortifye themselves & their familyes in the sayd Province of Carolana for the publicke safety of their seats there planted, tilled & inhabited with forts castles & other fortifications, with fitting stripes alsoe & convenient; furniture for transportation the statute of fugitives or anv other whatsoever contrary to these premises in any wise notwithstanding. We will alsoe & for Ifs our Heires & successors out of our great favour we firmely comand constitute ordaine & require that the said Province be in our Allegiance & that all & every our subjects: & ledges & of our heires & successors brought or to be brought into the said Province, their children either their already borne or hereafter to be borne are & shall be Naturall and leiges to us our Heires & successors & in all things shall be held, treated reputed & accounted as faithful ledges of us, our heires & successors borne in our Kingdom of England. And alsoe that they shall possesse lands, tenements, rents services & Hereditaments whatsoever with our Kingdome of England & other our Dominions to purchase, receive, take, have, hold, buy and possesse & them to use & enjoy & alsoe then to give sell alienate & bequeath & alsoe all libertyes, franchises & priviledges of this our Realme, to have & possess freely quietly & peaceably & that they may use enjoy them as our ledges borne or to be borne within our Kingdom of England without impediment molestation or vexation, claime or grievance from us our Heires & successors whatsoever; any statute, act Ordinance or provision here upon to the contrary notwithstanding: furthermore that our subjects may be incited with a ready & cheerful mind, to undertake this expedition with the hope of gaine & the meeknesse of priviledges. Know that we out of our especiall favour, certain knowledge & meere motion doe give license & grant free power, as well to the said Sr Robert Heath Knight his Heires & assignee as to all others who shall goe from time to time to inhabits in Carolana aforesaid, all & singular their goods as well moveable as immoveable wares, merchandise alsoe weapons & warlicke instruments offensive & defensive in any ports of ours, our Heires & successors to be laded in shipper, for to be transported into the province of Corolana, by him or his, or their assignee & this without molestation by us our Heires & successors or any officers of us our Heires or successors, or farmers to us, our Heires & successors: paying notwithstanding to us, our Heires & successors all & all manner of impositions, subsidyes, customes & other Dues for the sayd things wares & merchandises soe exported as are usuall & accustomed, any statute act Ordinance or other thing whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. Alwaies provided that before the sayd Goodes, things & merchandises are carried to & loaded in the shippes that licence for them be desired & obtained from the High Treasurer of the Kingdome of England to us, our heires & successors, or the commissioners for our Treasurye or from six or more of the Privy Councell, of us our Heires & successors inscribed under their hands To which Treasurer Commissioners & privy Councell of us our heirs & successors or to any sine or more of them; we for ourselves our Heires & successors have given & granted as by these presents we doe give & grant power to grant licence in the form aforesayd. And because in see remote a Region, seated among so many barbarous nations it is probable that the incursions as well of those Barbarous as of other enemyes Pirates & Robbers may cause feare. Therefore we for ourselves our Heires & successors have given to the foresayd Sr Robert Heath Knight his heires & assignee by himself his Captains or other his officers, that all men of whatever condition, or wherever borne, being at that time in the Province of Carolana power to call to their colours, to cause Musters to make warre, to pursue enemyes & Robbers aforesaid by land & sea, even beyond the bounds of his province, and then (with Gods blessing) to overcome & to take, & being taken by right of warre to slay, or according to his pleasure to preserve, & all & every thing which doe appertains to the right & office of a Captaine Generall or have been used to appertaine to be done & by these presents doe give full & free power as any Captaine Generall ever had.
Will will also & by this our charter doe give power, liberty and Authority to the foresayd Sr Robert Heath Knight his heires & assignee that in case of Rebellion sudden tumult or sedition, if any such shall chance to be which (God forbid) either upon the land within this Province aforesayd, or upon the wide Ocean, either makeing a journey towards Carolana aforesayd or returning from thence, we by these presents for us our heires & successors doe give & grant power and authoritye most ample to himself or by Captaines Deputyes or other their officers authorised to this purpose under their scales, against all authors of innovations, seditions against the Government of him or them, withdrawing themselves speakers evill of the militia, renegadors, deserters or any others whatsoever offending against the matter manner & discipline military shall by them be punished by law militarye soe freely and in such ample manner & forme as any Captaine Generall by the vertue of his office may or could doe
XIII. We also will, and by this our Charter, do give unto the aforesaid now Baron of Baltimore, and to his Heirs and Assigns, Power, Liberty, and Authority, that, in Case of Rebellion, sudden Tumult, or Sedition, if any (which God forbid) should happen to arise, whether upon Land within the Province aforesaid, or upon the High Sea in making a Voyage to the said Province of Maryland. or in returning thence, they may, by themselves, or by their Captains, or others Officers, thereunto deputed under their Seals (to whom We, for Us, our Heirs and Successors, by these Presents, do Give and Grant the fullest Power and Authority) exercise Martial Law as freely, and in as ample Manner and Form, as any Captain-General of an Army, by virtue of his Office may, or hath accustomed to use the same, against the seditious Authors of Innovations in those Parts, with-drawing themselves from the Government of him or them, refusing to serve in War, flying over to the Enemy, exceeding their Leave of Absence, Deserters, or otherwise howsoever offending against the Rule, Law, or Discipline of War.
…assigner for ever To be holden of ye sd Councill & their successors & Gladium com’itatus yt is to say by finding four able men coveniently armed & arraied for ye warr to attend upon ye Governor of New England for ye publique Service wthin fourteen dayes after warning given yeelding…
ARTICLES agreed on & concluded at James Cittie in Virginia for the surrendering and settling of that plantation under ye obedience & goverment of the common wealth of England by the Commissioners of the Councill of state by authoritie of the parliamt. of England & by the Grand assembly of the Governour, Councill & Burgesses of that countrey.
`13ly, That all ammunition, powder & armes, other then for private use, shall be delivered up, securitie being given to make satisfaction for it.
And We do further for US, Our Heirs and Successors, give and grant unto the said Governor and Company, and their Successors, by these Presents, That it shall and may be lawful to, and for the Chief Commanders, Governors and Officers of the said Company for the Time being, who shall be resident in the Parts of New-England hereafter mentioned, and others inhabiting there, by their Leave, Admittance Appointment, or Direction, from Time to Time, and at Al Times hereafter, for their special Defence and Safety, to Assemble, Martial-Array, and put in warlike Posture the Inhabitants of the said Colony, and to Commissionate, Impower, and Authorize such Person or Persons as they shall think fit, to lead and conduct the said Inhabitants, and to encounter, expulse, repel and resist by Force of Arms, as well by Sea as by Land, and also to kill, slay, and destroy by all fitting Ways Enterprises, and Means whatsoever, all and every such Person or Persons as shall at any Time hereafter attempt or enterprise the Destruction, Invasion, Detriment, or Annoyance of the said Inhabitants or Plantation, and to use and exercise the Law Martial in such Cases only as Occasion shall require; and to take or surprize by all Ways and Means whatsoever, all and every such Person and Persons, with their Ships’ Armour, Ammunition and other Goods of such as shall in such hostile Manner invade or attempt the defeating of the said Plantation, or the hurt of the said Company and Inhabitants, and upon just Causes to invade and destroy the Natives, or other Enemies of the said Colony.
…and assigns, full power, liberty and license to erect, raise and build within the said province and places aforesaid, or any part or parts thereof, such and so many forts, fortresses, castles, cities, boroughs, towns, villages and other fortifications whatsoever, and the same or any of them to fortify and furnish with ordinance, powder, shot, armory, and all other weapons, ammunition, habilements of war, both offensive and defensive, as shall be thought fit and convenient for the safety and welfare of the said province and places, or any part thereof, and the same, or any of them from time to time, as occasion shall require, to dismantle, disfurnish, demolish and pull down, and also to place, constitute and appoint in and over all or any of the castles, forts, fortifications, cities, towns and places aforesaid, governors, deputy governors, magistrates, sheriffs and other officers, civil and military, as to them shall seem meet…
15th. And because that in so remote a country, and scituate among so many barbarous nations, and the invasions as well of salvages as of other enemies, pirates and robbers, may probably be feared; therefore we have given, and for us, our heirs and successors, do give power, by these presents, unto the said Edward Earl of Clarendon, George Duke of Albemarle, William Lord Craven, John Lord Berkley, Anthony Lord Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir William Berkley, and Sir John Colleton, their heirs and assigns, by themselves, or their captains, or other their officers, to levy, muster and train all sorts of men, of what condition or wheresoever born, in the said province for the time being, and to make war and pursue the enemies aforesaid, as well by sea as by land, yea, even without the limits of the said province, and by God’s assistance to vanquish and take them, and being taken to put them to death by the law of war, or to save them at their pleasure; and to do all and every other thing, which unto the charge of a captain general of an army belongeth, or hath accustomed to belong, as fully and freely as any captain general of an army hath or ever had the same.
16th. Also our will and pleasure is, and by this our charter we give unto the said Edward Earl of Clarendon, George Luke of Albemarle, William Lord Craven, John Lord Berkley, Anthony Lord Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir William Berkley, and Sir John Colleton, their heirs and assigns, full power, liberty and authority, in case of rebellion, tumult or sedition, (if any should happen,) which God forbid, either upon the land within the province aforesaid, or upon the main sea, in making a voyage thither, or returning from thence, by him or themselves, their captains, deputies and officers, to be authorized under his or their seals for that purpose, to whom also, for us, our heirs and successors, we do give and grant by these presents, full power and authority, to exercise martial law against mutinous and seditious persons of those parts, such as shall refuse to submit themselves to their government, or shall refuse to serve in the wars, or shall fly to the enemy, or forsake their colours or ensigns, or be loyterers or straglers, or otherwise howsoever offending against law, custom or discipline military, as freely and in as ample manner and form as any captain general of an army by vertue of his office, might or hath accustomed to use the same.
…And wee doe further, for vs. oure heroes and successours, give and graunt vnto the sayd Governour and Company, and theire successours, by these presents, that itt shall and may bee lawfull to and for the sayd Governour, or in his absence, the Deputy-Governour, and majour parte of the sayd Assistants, for the tyme being, aft any tyme when the sayd Generall Assembly is not sitting, to nominate, apoynt and constitute, such and soe many commanders, governours, and military officers, as to them shall seeme requisite, for the leading, conductinge and travneing vpp the inhabitants of the sayd Plantations in martiall afiaires, and for the defence and safeguard of the sayd Plantations; and that itt shall and may bee lawfull to and for all and every such commander, governour and military officer, that shall bee soe as aforesayd, or by the Governour. or, in his absence, the Deputy-Governour, and six of the sayd Assistants, and majour parte of the Freemen of the sayd Company present att any Generall Assemblies, nominated, apoynted and constituted accordinge to the tenor of his and theire respective commissions and directions, to assemble, exercise in arms, martiall array, and putt in warlyke posture, the inhabitants of the sayd collonie, For theire speciall defence and safety; and to lead and conduct the sayd inhabitants, and to encounter, expulse, expell and resist, by force of armes, as well by sea as by lance; and alsoe to kill, slay and destroy, by all fitting wayes, enterprises and meaner, whatsoever, all and every such person or persons as shall, aft any tyme hereafter, attempt or enterprize the destruction, invasion, detriment or annoyance of the sayd inhabitants or Plantations; and to vse and exercise the lawe martialI in such cases only as occasion shall necessarily require; and to take or surprise, by all wayes and meanes whatsoever, all and every such person and persons, with theire shipp or shipps, armor, ammunition or other goods of such persons, as shall, in hostile manner, invade or attempt the defeating of the sayd Plantations, or the hurt of the sand Company and inhabitants; and vpon just causes, to invade and destroy the native Indians, or other enemyes of the sayd Collony. Neverthelesse, our will and pleasure is, and wee doe hereby declare to the rest of oure Collonies in New England, that itt shall not bee lawefull ffor this our sayd Collony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, in America, in New-England, to invade the natives inhabiting within the bounces and limitts of theire sayd Collonies without the knowledge and consent of the sand other Collonies. And itt is hereby declared, that itt shall not bee lawfull to or ffor the rest of the Collonies to invade or molest the native Indians, or any other inhabittants, inhabiting within the bounds and lymitts hereafter mentioned (they having subjected themselves vnto vs. and being by vs taken into our speciall protection), without the knowledge and consent of the Governour and Company of our Collony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations.
7. We will grant to every present undertaker for his own head, one hundred acres of land, to him and his heires forever, to be held in free and common soccage; and for every man-servant that he shall bring or sent thither, that is fit to bear arms, armed with a good firelock inusket, performed bore, twelve bullets to the pound, and with twenty pounds of powder and twenty pounds of bullets, fifty acres of land; and for every woman-servant thirty acres; and to every man-servant that shall come within that time, ten acres after the expiration of his time; and to every woman-servant six acres after the expiration of her time.
8. We will enjoin the Governor and council to take care that there lie always one man armed and provided as aforesaid in the colony for every fifty acres which we shall grant, and that there be a supply to make up the number in case of death or quitting the colony by the owners of said lands within twelve months after giving notice of the defect.
The Concession and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey, to and With All and Every the Adventurers and All Such as Shall Settle or Plant There – 1664
VI. By their enacting to be confirm’d as aforesaid, to erect, raise and build within the said Province or any part thereof, such and so many forts, fortresses, castles, cities, corporations, boroughs, towns, villages, and other places of strength and defence; and them or any of them, to incorporate with such charters and privileges, as to them shall seem good, and the grant made unto us will permit; and the same or any of them to fortify and furnish with such provisions and proportion of ordnance, powder, shot, armour, and all other weapons, ammunition and abiliments of war, both offensive and defensive, as shall be thought necessary and convenient for the safety and welfare of the said Province. But they may not at any time demolish, dismantle or disfurnish the same, without the consent of the Governor and the major part of the council of the said Province.
IV. To place officers and soldiers for the safety, strength and defence of the forts, castles, cities &c. according to the number appointed by the General Assembly, to nominate, place and commissionate all military officers under the dignity of the said Governor, who is commissionated by us over the several train’d bands and companies, constituted by the General Assembly, as colonels, captains, &c. and their commissions to revoke at pleasure. The Governor with the advice of his Council, unless some present danger will not permit him, to advise to muster and train all forces within the said Province, to prosecute war, pursue an enemy, suppress all rebellions, and mutinies, as well by sea as land; and to exercise the whole militia, as fully as we by the grant from his Royal Highness can impower them to do: Provided, that they appoint no military forces but what are freeholders in the said Province, unless the General Assembly shall consent.
AND THAT THE PLANTING OF THE SAID PROVINCE MAY BE THE MORE SPEEDILY PROMOTED
I. We do hereby grant unto all persons who have already adventured to the said Province of New Caesarea or New Jersey, or shall transport themselves, or servants, before the first day of January, which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand six-hundred sixty-five, these following proportions, viz: To every freeman that shall go with the first Governor, from the port where he embarques, or shall meet him at the rendezvous he appoints, for the settlement of a plantation there, arm’d with a good musket, bore twelve bullets to the pound, with ten pounds of powder, and twenty pounds of bullets, with bandiliers and match convenient, and with six months provision for his own person arriving there, one hundred and fifty acres of land English measure; and for every able servant that he shall carry with him, arm’d and provided as aforesaid, and arriving there, the like quantity of one hundred and fifty acres English measure: And whosoever shall send servants at that time, shall have for every man servant he or she shall send, armed and provided as aforesaid, and arrive there, the like quantity of one hundred and fifty acres: And for every weaker servant. or slave, male or female, exceeding the age of fourteen years, which any one shall send or carry, arriving there, seventy-five acres of land: And for every Christian servant, exceeding the age aforesaid, after the expiration of their time of service, seventy-five acres of land for their own use.
II. ITEM. To every master or mistress that shall go before the first day of January, which shall be in the year one thousand six hundred sixty-five; one hundred and twenty acres of land. And for every able man servant, that he or she shall carry or send, arm’d and provided as aforesaid, and arriving within the time aforesaid, the like quantity of one hundred and twenty acres of land: And for every weaker servant or slave, male or female, exceeding the age of fourteen years, arriving there, sixty acres of land: And to every Christian servant to their own use and behoof sixty acres of land.
III. ITEM. To every free man and free woman that shall arrive in the said Province, arm’d and provided as aforesaid, within the second year, from the first day of January 1665 to the first day of January one thousand six hundred sixty-six, with an intention to plant, ninety acres of land English measure: And for every man servant that he or she shall carry or send, armed and provided as aforesaid, ninety acres of land of like measure.
IV. ITEM. For every weaker servant or slave, aged as aforesaid, that shall be so carried or sent thither within the second year, as aforesaid, forty-five acres of land of like measure: And to every Christian servant that shall arrive the second year, forty-five acres of land of like after the expiration of his or their time of service, for their own use and behoof.
V. ITEM. TO every free man and free woman, armed and provided as aforesaid, that shall go and arrive with an intention to plant, within the third year from January 1666 to January 1667, armed and provided as aforesaid, threescore acres of land of like measure: And for every able man servant, that he or she shall carry or send within the said time, armed and provided as aforesaid, the like quantity of threescore acres of land. And for every weaker servant or slave, aged as aforesaid, that he or she shall carry or send within the third year, thirty acres of land: And to every Christian servant so carried or sent in the third year, thirty acres of land of like measure, after the expiration of their time of service. All which land, and all other that shall be possessed in the said Province, are to be held on the same terms and conditions as is before mentioned, and as hereafter in the following paragraphs is more at large express’d.
VII. By act (as aforesaid) to constitute train’d bands and companies, with the number of soldiers, for the safety, strength and defence of the said Province; and of the forts, castles, cities, &c. To suppress all mutinies and rebellions; to make war offensive and defensive with all Indians, strangers and foreigners, as they shall see cause; and to pursue an enemy as well by sea as by land, if need be, out of the limits and jurisdictions of the said Province, with the particular consent of the Governor, and under his conduct, or of our commander in chief, or whom he shall appoint.
6. Item by these enacting to be confirmed as aforesd to erect rayse and build within the sd Countyes or any part thereof such and soe many Forts Fortresses Castles Cittyes Corporacons Borroughs Townes Villages and other places of strenkt and defence and them or any of them to incorporate with such Charters and priveledges as to them shall seeme good and our Charter will permit and the same or any of them to fortifie and furnish with such Proportions of ordinance powder shots Armor and all other Weapons Ammunition and Habillaments of warr both offensive and defensive as shalbe thought necessary and convenient for the safety and welfare of ye sd Countyes, but they may not at any time demolish dismantle or disfurnish the same without the consent of the Governor and the Major parte of the Councill of the County where such Forts Fortresses &c. shalbe erected and built.
7. Item by act as aforesd to constitute trayne bands and Companys with the number of souldiers for the safety strength and defence of the said Countyes and Province and of the Forts Castles Cityes &c to suppress all meutinyes and Rebellions. To make warr offensive and defensive with all Indians Strangers and Foraigners as they shall see cause and to persue any Enemy by sea as well as by land if need be out of ye Lymitts and Jurisdiccons of ye sd County with the perticculer consent of the Governor and under the Conduct of our Leut: Gen: or Commander in Cheife or whome he shall appoint.
…assigns, full power, liberty and licence, to erect, raise and build, within the said province and places aforesaid, or any part or parts thereof, such and so many forts, fortresses, castles, cities, boroughs, towns, villages, and other fortifications whatsoever; and the same, or any of them, to fortify and furnish with ordnance, powder, shot, armour, and all other weapons, ammunition, and habiliments of war, both defensive and offensive, as shall be thought fit and convenient, for the safety and welfare of the said province and places, or any part thereof; and the same, or any of them, from time to time, as occasion shall require, to dismantle, disfurnish, demolish and pull down: And also to place, constitute and appoint, in or over all or any of the said castles, forts, fortifications, cities, towns, and places aforesaid, Governors, Deputy-Governors, Magistrates, Sheriffs, and other officers, civil and military, as to them shall seem meet:
…assigns full power, liberty, and authority, in case of rebellion, tumult, or sedition, (if any should happen, which God forbid) either upon the land within the province aforesaid, or upon the main sea, in making a voyage thither or returning from thence, by him and themselves, their Captains, Deputies, or officers, to be authorized under his or their seals, for that purpose; to whom also, for us, our heirs and successors, we do give and grant, by these presents, full power and authority, to exercise martial law against any mutinous and seditious persons of these parts; such as shall refuse to submit themselves to their government, or shall refuse to serve in the war, or shall fly to the enemy, or forsake their colours or ensigns, or be loiterers, or stragglers, or otherwise offending against law, custom, or military discipline; as freely and in as ample manner and form, as any Captain-General of an army, by virtue of his office, might or hath accustomed to use the same.
One hundred and sixteen. All inhabitants and freemen of ()arolina above seventeen years of age, and under sixty, shall be bound to bear arms and serve as soldiers, whenever the grand council shall find it necessary.
A Declaration of the True Intent and Meaning of us the Lords Proprietors, and Explanation of There Concessions Made to the Adventurers and Planters of New Caesarea or New Jersey-1672
II. As to the fourth article, in case of foreign invasion or intestine mutiny or rebellion; it shall be lawful for the Governor and his Council to call in to their aid, any persons whatsoever whether freeholder or not.
And we do further of our Especiall Grace certaine knowledge and meer motion for us our heires and successors give and graunt unto our said deare brother his heirs and assigns by these presents that it shall and may be lawfull to and for him them or any of them at all and Every time and times hereafter out of any of our realms or dominions whatsoever to take lead carry and transport in and into their voyages for and towards the Plantacons of our said Territoryes and Islands aforesaid all such and so many of our loving subjects or any other strangers being not prohibited or under restraint that will become our loving subjects and live under our allegiance and shall willingly accompany them in the said voyages together with all such cloathing implements fi urniture and other things usually transported and not prohibited as shall be necessary for the inhabitants of the said Islands and territoryes and for their use and defence thereof and managing and carrying on the trade with the people there and in passing and returning to and fro Yielding and paying to us our heirs and successors the customes and dutyes therefore due and payable according to the Lawes and Customes of this our realme And Wee do also for us our heirs and successors graunt unto our said dearest brother James Duke of Yorke his heirs and assignee and to all and every such Governor or Governors Deputyes their Officers or Ministers as by our said brother his heirs or assignee shall bee appointed to have power and authority of government or command in or ON or the inhabitants of the said Territorves or Islands that they of every of them shall and lawfully may from time to time and at all times forever hereafter for their severall defence and safety encounter repulse and Expell and resist by force of armes (as well by sea as by land) and all wayes and means whatsoever all such person and persons as without the speciall licence of our dearest brother his heirs and assignee shall attempt to inhabit within the severall precincts and limits of our said Territoryes and Islands and also all and every such person and persons whatsoever as shall enterprise and attempt at any time hereafter the destruccon invasion detriment or annoyance to the parts places or Islands aforesaid or any part thereof
The Com’ission constituting a President & Councell for ye Province of New Hampshire in New-England
And for ye better defence and security of all Our loving subjects within ye Province of New-Hampsh. and ye bounds & limits aforesaid, Our further will & pleasure is, and hereby we do authorize, require & com’and ye said Pres: & Councell for the time being, in Our name & under the seal by Us appointed to be used. to issue forth & give Com’ssions from time to time, to such psen & persons, whom they shall judg shall be best qualified for regulation & discipline of ye militia of Our said Province; & for ye arraying and mustering ye Inhabitants thereof; & instructing them how to bear and use their arms; & that care be taken, that such good discipline shall be observed, as by ye said Councell shall be prscribed; & yt if any invasions shall at any time be made, or other destruction, detriment, or an’oyance made or done by Indians, or others upon or unto Our good subjects inhabiting within Ye said Prov: of New H: We do by these prsents, for Us Our heirs & successors, declare, Ordaine & grant, that it shall & may be lawfull to & for Our said subjects, so com’issionated by Our said Councell from time to time, & at all times for their speciall defence & safety, to encounter, expell, repell, & resist bv force of arms, & all other fitting ways & means whatsoever, all & every such person & persons, as shall at any time hereafter attempt or enterprize ye destruction invasion detriment or an’oyance of any of Our said loving subjects, or their plantations or estates.
VII. Forasmuch as by the Concessions and agreements of the former Proprietors, (to wit) the Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, to and with all and every the adventurers and all such as shall settle and plant in the Province in Anno 1664, it is consented and agreed by the six and seven articles, that the great Assembly should have power, by act confirmed as there expressed, to erect, raise and build within the said Province, or any part thereof, such and so many forts, castles, cities and other places of defence, and the same, or any of them, to fortify and furnish with such provisions and proportions of ordnance, powder, shot, armour and all other weapons, ammunition and abilments of war, both offensive and defensive, as shall be thought necessary and convenient for the safety and welfare of the said Province; as also to constitute train bands and companies, with the number of the soldiers, for the safety, strength and defence of the aforesaid Province; to suppress all mutinies and rebellions; to make war offensive and defensive, against all and every one that shall infest the said Province, not only to keep the enemy out of their limits, but also, in case of necessity, the enemy by sea and land to pursue out of the limits and jurisdiction of the said Province. And that amongst the present Proprietors there are several that declare, that they have no freedom to defend themselves with arms, and others who judge it their duty to defend themselves, wives and children, with arms; it is therefore agreed and consented to, and they the said Proprietors do by these presents agree and consent, that they will not in this case force each other against their respective judgments and consciences; in order whereunto it is Resolved, that on the one side, no man that declares he cannot for conscience sake bear arms, whether Proprietor or planter, shall be at any time put upon so doing in his own person, nor yet upon sending any to serve in his stead. And on the other side, those who do judge it their duty to bear arms for the publick defence, shall have their liberty to do in a legal way. In pursuance whereof, there shall be a fourth committee erected, consisting of six proprietors, or their proxies, and three of the freemen, that are to set in the other three committees, which shall be such as to understand it their duty to use arms for the publick defence; which committee shall provide for the publick defence without and peace within, against all enemies whatsoever; and shall therefore be stiled the committee for the preservation of the publick peace: And that all things may proceed in good order, the said committee shall propound-to the great Council what they judge convenient and necessary for the keeping the peace within the said Province, and for publick defence without, by the said great Council to be approved and corrected, as they, according to exigence of affairs, shall judge fit; the execution of which resolutions of the great Council shall be committed to the care of the said committee. But because through the scruples of such of the Proprietors, or their proxies, as have no freedom to use arms, the resolutions of the great Council may be in this point obstructed, it is resolved and agreed, and it is by these presents resolved and agreed, that in things of this nature, the votes of these Proprietors shall only be of weight at such time or times as one of these two points are under deliberation, which shall not be concluded where twelve of the Proprietors and two thirds of the whole Council, as in other cases, are not consenting, (that is to say) first, whether, to speak after the manner of men, (and abstractly from a man’s persuasion in matters of religion) it be convenient and suitable to the present condition or capacity of the inhabitants, to build any forts, castles or any other places of defence? If yea; where and in what places (to speak as men) they ought to be erected. Secondly, whether there be any present or future foreseen danger, that may, (to speak as men without respect- to one’s particular perswasion in matters of religion) require the putting the Province into a posture of defence, or to make use of those means which we at present have, or which, from time to time as occasion may require, according to the capacity of the inhabitants, we may have; which ability and conveniency of those means of defence, and (to speak as men without respect to any man’s judgment in matters of religion) the necessity of the actual use thereof, being once resolved upon; all further deliberations about it, as the raising of men, giving of commissions both by sea and land, making Governors of forts, and providing money necessary for maintaining the same, shall belong only to those members of the great Council who judge themselves in duty bound to make use of arms for the defence of them and theirs. Provided, that they shall not conclude any thing but by the consent of at least five parts out of six of their number; and that none of the Proprietors and other inhabitants may be forced to contribute any money for the use of arms, to which for conscience sake they have not freedom, that which is necessary for the publick defence, shall be borne by such as judge themselves in duty bound to use arms. Provided, that the other, that for conscience sake do oppose the bearing of arms, shall on the other hand bear so much in other charges, as-may make up that portion in the general charge of the Province. And as the refusing to subscribe such acts concerning the use and exercise of arms abovesaid, in the Governor and Secretary, if scrupulous in conscience so to do, shall not be esteemed in them an omission or neglect of duty, so the wanting thereof shall not make such acts invalid, they being in lieu thereof, subscribed by the major part of the six Proprietors of the committees for the preservation of the publick peace.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you the said Sr Edmd Andros by your self your Captains and Commanders, by you to be authorized, full power and authority to levy arme muster command or employ, all persons whatsoever residing within our said Territory and Dominion of New England, and, as occasion shall serve, them to transfers from one place to another for the resisting and withstanding all enemies pyrats and rebells, both at land and sea, and to transfers such forces to any of our Plantations in America or the Territories thereunto belonging, as occasion shall require for the defence of the same against the invasion or attempt of any of our enemies, and then, if occasion shall require to pursue and prosecute in or out of the limits of our said Territories and Plantations or any of them, And if it shall so please God, them to vanquish; and, being taken, according to the law of arms to put to death or keep and preserve alive, at your discretion. And also to execute martiall law in time of invasion insurrection or warr, and during the continuance of the same, and upon soldiers in pay, and to do and execute all and every other thing which to a Captain Generall doth or ought of right to belong, as fully and amply as any our Captain Generall doth or hath usually don.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you full power and authority to erect raise and build within our Territory and Dominion aforesaid, such and so many forts, platformes, Castles, cities, boroughs, towns, and fortifications as you shall judge necessary; and the same or any of them to fortify and furnish with ordnance ammunition and all sorts of armes, fit and necessary for the security & defence of our said territory; and the same again or any of them to demolish or dismantle as may be most convenient.
By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law;
By causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law;
That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;
That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;
And Wee doe by these presents for vs Our Heires and Successors Grant Establish and Ordaine that the Governor of our said Province or Territory for the time being shall have full Power by himselfe or by any Cheif Comander or other Officer or Officers to be appointed by him from time to time to traine instruct Exercise and Governe the Militia there and for the speciall Denfence and Safety of Our said Province or Territory to assemble in Martiall Array and put in Warlike posture the Inhabitants of Our said Province or Territory and to lead and Conduct them and with them to Encounter Expulse Repell Resist and pursue by force of Armes aswell by Sea as by Land within or without the limitts of Our said Province or Territory and alsoe to kill slay destroy and Conquer by all fitting wayes Enterprises and meanes whatsoever all and every such Person and Persons as shall at any time hereafter Attempt or Enterprize the destruccon Invasion Detriment or Annoyance of Our said Province or Territory and to vse and exercise the Law Martiall in time of actuall Warr Invasion or Rebellion as occasion shall necessarily require and alsoe from time to time to Erect Forts and to fortifie any place or Places within Our said Province or Territory and the same to furnish with all necessary Amunicon Provisions and Stores of Warr for Odence or Defence and to comitt from time to time the Custody and Government of the same to such Person or Persons as to him shall seem meet And the said Forts and Fortificacons to demolish at his Pleasure and to take and surprise by all waies and meanes whatsoever all and every such Person or Persons with their Shipps Arms Ammuncon and other goods as shall in a hostile manner Invade or attempt the Invading Conquering or Annoying of Our said Province or Territory Provided alwayes and Wee doe by these presents for Vs Our Heires and Successors Grant Establish and Ordeyne That the said Governour shall not at any time hereafter by vertue of any power hereby granted or hereafter to be granted to him Transport any of the Inhabitants of Our said Province or Territory or oblige them to march out of the Limitts of the same without their Free and voluntary consent or the Consent of the Great and Generall Court or Assembly or Our said Province or Territory nor grant Comissions for exerciseing the Law Martiall vpon any the Inhabitants of Our said Province or Territory without the Advice and Consent of the Councill or Assistants of the same
And we do by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, will, grant and ordain, that the said corporation and their successors, shall have full power for and during and until the full end and term of twenty-one years, to commence from the date of these our letters patent, by any commander or other officer or officers, by them for that purpose from time to time appointed, to train and instruct, exercise and govern a militia, for the special defence and safety of our said colony, to assemble in martial array, the inhabitants of the said colony, and to lead and conduct them, and with them to encounter, expulse, repel, resist and pursue by force of arms, as well by sea as by land, within or without the limits of our said colony; and also to kill, slay and destroy, and conquer by all fitting ways, enterprises and means whatsoever, all and every such person or persons as shall at any time hereafter, in any hostile manner, attempt or enterprise the destruction, invasion, detriment or annoyance of our said colony; and to use and exercise the martial law in time of actual war and invasion or rebellion, in such cases, where by law the same may be used or exercised; and also from time to time to erect forts, and fortify any place or places within our said colony, and the same to furnish with all necessary ammunition, provisions and stores of war, for offence and defence, and to commit from time to time the custody or government of the same, to such person or persons as to them shall seem meet: and the said forts and fortifications to demolish at their pleasure; and to take and surprise, by all ways and means, all and every such person or persons, with their ships, arms, ammunition and other goods, as shall in an hostile manner, invade or attempt the invading, conquering or annoying of our said colony. And our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby, for us, our heirs and successors, declare and grant, that the governor and commander in chief of the province of South-Carolina, of us, our heirs and successors, for the time being, shall at all times hereafter have the chief command of the militia of our said province, hereby erected and established; and that such militia shall observe and obey all orders and directions, that shall from time to time be given or sent to them by the said governor or commander in chief; any thing in these Presents before contained to the contrary hereof, in any wise notwithstanding.
Book the First – Chapter the First : Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals (1763)
5. THE fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute 1 W. & M. st. 2. c. 2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.
IN these several articles consist the rights, or, as they are frequently termed, the liberties of Englishmen : liberties more generally talked of, than thoroughly understood ; and yet highly necessary to be perfectly known and considered by every man of rank or property, left his ignorance of the points whereon it is founded should hurry him into faction and licentiousness on the one hand, or a pusillanimous indifference and criminal submission on the other. And we have seen that these rights consist, primarily, in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty, and of private property. So long as these remain inviolate, the subject is perfectly free ; for every species of compulsive tyranny and oppression must act in opposition to one or other of these rights, having no other object upon which it can possibly be employed. To preserve these from violation, it is necessary that the constitution of parliaments be supported in it’s full vigor ; and limits certainly known, be set to the royal prerogative. And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the sirst place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law ; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances ; and lastly to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence. And all these rights and liberties it is our birthright to enjoy entire; unless where the laws of our country have laid them under necessary restraints. Restraints in themselves so gentle and moderate, will appear upon farther enquiry, that no man of sense or probity would wish to see them slackened. For all of us have it in our choice to do every thing that a good man would desire to do; and are restrained from nothing, but what would be pernicious either to ourselves or our fellow citizens. So that this review of our situation may fully justify the observation of a learned French author [Montesquieu], who indeed generally both thought and wrote in the spirit of genuine freedom and who hath not scrupled to prosess, even in the very bosom of his native country, that the English is the only nation in the world, where political or civil liberty is the direct end of it’s constitution. Recommending therefore to the student in our laws a farther and more accurate seach into this extensive and important title, I shall close my remarks upon it with the expiring wish of the famous father Paul to his country, ESTO PERPETUA
Book the First – Chapter the Thirteenth : Of the Military and Maritime States
IN a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitutions, which is that of governing by fear: but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms, but with a view to defend his country and it’s laws: he puts not off the citizen when he enters the camp; but it is because he is a citizen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier. The laws therefore and constitution of these kingdoms know no fuch state as that of a perpetual standing soldier, bred up to no other profession than that of war: and it was not till the reign of Henry VII, that the kings of England had so much as a guard about their persons.
IN the time of our Saxon ancestors, as appears from Edward the confessor’s laws, the military force of this kingdom was in the hands of the dukes or heretochs, who were constituted through every province and county in the kingdom; being taken out of the principal nobility, and fuch as were moft remarkable for being sapientes, fideles, et animosi. Their duty was to lead and regulate the English armies, with a very unlimited power; prout eis visum suerit, ad honorem coronae et utilitatem regni. And because of this great power they were elected by the people in their full assembly, or folkmote, in the same manner as sheriffs were elected: following still that old fundamental maxim of the Saxon consititution, that where any officer was entrusted with such power, as if abused might tend to the oppression of the people, that power was delegated to him by the vote of the people them selves. So too, among the antient Germans, the ancestors of our Saxon forefathers, they had their dukes, as well as kings, with an independent power over the military, as the kings had over the civil state. The dukes were elective, the kings hereditary: for so only can be consistently understood that passage of Tacitus , reges ex nobilitate, duces ex virtute fumunt; in constituting their kings, the family, or blood royal, was regarded, in chusing their dukes or leaders, warlike merit: just as Caefar relates of their ancestors in his time, that whenever they went to war, by way either of attack or defence, they elected leaders to command them. This large share of power, thus conferred by the people, though intended to preserve the liberty of the subject, was perhaps unreasonably detrimental to the prerogative of the crown: and accordingly we find a very ill use made of it by Edric duke of Mercia, in the reign of king Edmond Ironside; who, by his office of duke or heretoch, was entitled to a large command in the king’s army, and his repeated treacheries at last transferred the crown to Canute the Dane.
IT seems universally agreed by all historians, that king Alfred first settled a national militia in this kingdom, and by his prudent discipline made all the fubjects of his dominion soldiers: but we are unfortunately left in the dark as to the particulars of this his so celebrated regulation; though, from what was last observed, the dukes seem to have been left in possession of too large and independent a power: which enabled duke Harold on the death of Edward the confessor, though a stranger to the royal blood, to mount for a short space the throne of this kingdom, in prejudice of Edgar Atheling, the rightful heir.
UPON the Norman conquest the feodal law was introduced here in all it’s rigor, the whole of which is built on a military plan. I shall not now enter into the particulars of that constitution, which belongs more properly to the next part of our comentaries: but shall only observe, that, in consequence thereof, all the lands in the kingdom were divided into what were called knight’s fees, in number above sixty thousand; and for every knight’s fee a knight or soldier, miles, was found to attend the king in his wars, for forty days in a year; in which space of time, before was reduced to a science, the campaign was generally finished, and a kingdom either conquered or victoriouse . By this means the king had, without any expense, an army of sixty thousand men always ready at his command. And accordingly we find one, among the laws of William the conquerors , which in the king’s name commands and firmly enjoins the personal attendance of all knights and others; quod habeant et teneant fe femper in armis et equis, ut decet e oportet; et quod femper fint prompti et parati ad fervitium fuum integrum nobis explendum et peragendum, cum opus adfuerit, fecundum quod debent de feodis et tenementis fuis de jure nobis facere. This perfonal service in process of time degenerated into pecuniary commutations or aids, and at last the military part of the feodal system was abolished at the restoration, by statute 12 Car. II. c. 24.
IN the mean time we are not to imagine that the kingdom was left wholly without defence, in cafe of domestic insurrections, or the prospect of foreign invasions. Besides those, who by their military tenures were bound to perform forty days service in the field, the statute of Winchester obliged every man, according to his estate and degree, to provide a determinate quantity of such arms as were then in use, in order to keep the peace: and constables were appointed in all hundreds to see that such arms were provided. These weapons were changed, by the stature 4 & 5 Ph. & M. c. 2. into others of more modern service; but both this and the former provision were repealed in the reign of James I. While these continued in force, it was usual from time to time for our princes to to issue commissioins of array, and send into every county officers in whom they could confide, to muster and array (or set in military order) the inhabitants of every district: and the form of the commission of array was settled in parliament in the 5 Hen. IVi. But at the same time it was provided, that no man should be compelled to go out of the kingdom at any race, nor out of his shire but in cases of urgent necessity; nor should provide soldiers unless by consent of parliament. About the reign of king Henry the eighth, and his children, lord lieutenants began to be introduced, as standing representatives of the crown, to keep the counties in military order; for we find them mentioned as known officers in the statute 4 & 5 Ph. & M. c. 3. though they had not been then long in use, for Camden speaks of them , in the time of queen Elizabeth, as extraordinary magistrates constituted only in times of difficulty and danger.
IN this state things continued, till the repeal of the statutes of armour in the reign of king James the first: after which, when king Charles the first had, during his northern expeditions, issued commissions of lieutenancy and exerted some military powers which, having been long exercised, were thought to belong to the crown, it became a question in the long parliament, how far the power of the militia did inherently reside in the king; being now unsupported by any statute, and founded only upon immemorial usage. This question, long agitated with great heat and resentment on both sides, became at length the immediate cause of the fatal repture between the king and his parliament: the two houses not only denying this prerogative of the crown, the legality of which right perhaps might be fomewhat doubtful; but also seizing into their won hands the intire power of the militia, the illegality of which step could never be any doubt at all.
SOON after the restoration of king Charles the second, when the military tenures were abolished, it was thought proper to ascertain the power of the militia, to recognize the sole right of the crown to govern and command them, and to put the whole into a more regular method of military subordination : and the order, in which the militia now stands by law, is principally built upon the statutes which were then enacted. It is true the two last of them are apparently repealed; but many of their provisions are re-enacted, with the addition of some new regulations, by the present militia laws: the general scheme of which is to discipline a certain number of the inhabitants of every county, chosen by lot for three years, and offcered by the lord lieutenant, the deputy lieutenants, and other principal landholders, under a commission from the crown. They are not compellable to march out of their counties, unless in case of invasion or actual rebellion, nor in any case compellable to march out of the kingdom. They are to be exercised at stated times: and their discipline in general is liberal easy; but, when drawn out into actual service, they are subject to the rigours of martial law, as necessary to keep them in order. This is the constiturional security, which our laws have provided for the public peace, and for protecting the realm against foreign or domestic violence; and which the statutes declare is essentially necessary to the safety and prosperity of the kingdom.
WHEN the nation is engaged in a foreign war, more veteran troops and more regular discipline may perhaps be necessary, than can be expected from a mere militia. And therefore at such times particular provisions have been usually made for the raising of armies and the due regulation and discipline of the soldiery: which are to be looked upon only as temporary excrescences bred out of the distemper of the state, and not as any part of the permanent and perpetual laws of the kingdom. For martial law, which is built upon no settled principles, but is entirely arbitrary in it’s decisions, is, as sir Matthew Hale obferves , in truth and reality no law, but something indulged, rather than allowed as a law: the necessity of order and discipline in an army is the only thing which can give it countenance; and therefore it ought not to be permitted in time of peace, when the king’s courts are open for all persons to receive justice according to the laws of the land. Wherefore Edmond earl of Kent being taken at Pontefract, 15 Edw. II. and condemned by martial law, his attainder was reversed 1 Edw. III. because it was done in time of peace. And it is laid down, that if a lieutenant, or other, that hath commission of martial authority, doth in time of peace hang or otherwise execute any man by colour of martial law, this is murder; for it is against magna carta. And the petition of right r enacts, that no soldier shall be quartered on the subject without his own consents ; and that no commission shall issue to proceed within this land according to martial law. And whereas, after the restoration, king Charles the second kept up about five thousand regular troops, by his won authority, for guards and garrisons; which king James the second by degrees increased to no less than thirty thousand, all paid from his own civil list; it was made one of the articles of the bill of rightst , that the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is against law.
BUT, as the fashion of keeping standing armies has universally prevailed over all Europe of late years (though some of it’s potentates, being unable themselves to maintain them, are obliged to have recourse to richer powers, and receive subsidiary pensions for that purpose) it has also for many years past been annually judged necessary by our legislature, for the safety of the kingdom, the defence of the possessions of the corwn of Great Britain, and the preservation of the balance of power in Europe, to maintain even in time of peace a standing body of troops, under the command of the crown; who are however ipso facto disbanded at the expiration of every year, unless continued by parliament.
TO prevent the executive power from being able to appress, says baron Montesquieu, it is requisite that the armies with which it is entrusteed should consist of the people, and have the same spirit with the people; as was the case at Rome, till Marius new-modelled the legions by enlisting the rabble of Italy, and laid the foundation of all the military tyranny that ensued. Nothing then, according to these principles, ought to be more guarded against in a free state, than making the military power, when such a one is necessary to be kept on foot, a body too distinct from the people. Like ours therefore, it should wholly be compsed of natural subjects; it ought only to be enlisted for a short and limited time; the soldiers also should live intermixed with the people; no separate camp, no barracks, no inland fortresses should be allowed. And perhaps it might be stil better, if, by dismiffing a stated number and enlisting others at every renewal of their term, a circulation could be kept up between the army and the people, and the citizen and the soldier be more intimately connected together.
A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, Now Met in Congress at Philadelphia, Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms (1775)
The inhabitants of Boston being confined within that town by the general their governor, and having, in order to procure their dismission, entered into a treaty with him, it was stipulated that the said inhabitants having deposited their arms with their own magistrate, should have liberty to depart, taking with them their other effects. They accordingly delivered up their arms, but in open violation of honour, in defiance of the obligation of treaties, which even savage nations esteemed sacred, the governor ordered the arms deposited as aforesaid, that they might be preserved for their owners, to be seized by a body of soldiers; detained the greatest part of the inhabitants in the town, and compelled the few who were permitted to retire, to leave their most valuable effects behind.
We the delegates of the thirteen United Colonies in North-America, have taken into our most serious consideration a proclamation issued from the Court at St. James’s, on the twenty-third day of August last.
We condemn, and, with arms in our hands–a resource which Freemen will never part with–we oppose the claim and exercise our unconstitutional powers, to which neither the Crown or Parliament were ever entitled.
No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands].
There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war.
SEC. 13. That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
The Governor may embody the militia, with the advice of the Privy Council; and when embodied, shall alone have the direction of the militia, under the laws of the country.
III. That the people of this State have the sole, exclusive and inherent right of governing and regulating the internal police of the same.
VIII. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expence of that protection, and yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent thereto: But no part of a man’s property can be justly taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of his legal representatives: Nor can any man who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent, nor are the people bound by any laws, but such as they have in like manner assented to, for their common good.
XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
SECT. 5. The freemen of this commonwealth and their sons shall be trained and armed for its defence under such regulations, restrictions, and exceptions as the general assembly shall by law direct, preserving always to the people the right of choosing their colonels and all commissioned officers under that rank, in such manner and as often as by the said laws shall be directed.
SECT. 43. The inhabitants of this state shall have liberty to fowl and hunt in seasonable times on the lands they hold, and on all other lands therein not inclosed; and in like manner to fish in all boatable waters, and others not private property
XXV. That a well-regulated militia is the proper and natural defence of a free government.
XXVI. That standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up, without consent of the Legislature.
XXVII. That in all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to and control of the civil power.
XXXIII. That the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Council, may embody the militia; and, when embodied, shall alone have the direction thereof; and shall also have the direction of all the regular land and sea forces, under the laws of this State, (but he shall not command in person, unless advised thereto by the Council, and then, only so long as they shall approve thereof)
XVII. That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and, as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
XIV. That the Senate and House of Commons shall have power to appoint the generals and field-officers of the militia, and all officers of the regular army of this State.
XVIII. The Governor. for the time being, shall be captain-general and commander in chief of the militia; and, in the recess of the General Assembly, shall have power, by and with the advice of the Council of State, to embody the militia for the public safety.
The representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, to the people in general, and particularly to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, and the adjacent states.
Resistance has now been made with a Spirit and Resolution becoming a free People, and with a Degree of Success hitherto which could scarce have been expected. The Enemy have been expelled from the northern Provinces where they at first had Possession, and have been repulsed in their Attempts upon the southern by the undaunted Valour of the Inhabitants. Our Success at Sea, in the Capture of the Enemies Ships, has been astonishing. They have been compelled to retreat before the northern Army. Notwithstanding the Difficulty and Uncertainty at first of our being supplied with Ammunition and military Stores, those we have now in Abundance, and by some late Arrivals and Captures there is an immediate Prospect of sufficient Clothing for the Army.
Given at Philadelphia, December 10, 1776.
ART. XXXIII. The governor for the time being shall be captains general and commander-in-chief over all the militia, and other military and naval forces belonging to this State.
ART. XXXV. Every county in this State that has, or hereafter may have, two hundred and fifty men, and upwards, liable to bear arms, shall be formed into a battalion; and when they become too numerous for one battalion, they shall be formed into more, by bill of the legislature; and those counties that have a less number than two hundred and fifty shall be formed into independent companies.
XL. And whereas it is of the utmost importance to the safety of every State that it should always be in a condition of defence; and it is the duty of every man who enjoys the protection of society to be prepared and willing to defend it; this convention therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, doth ordain, determine, and declare that the militia of this State, at all times hereafter, as well in peace as in war, shall be armed and disciplined, and in readiness for service. That all such of the inhabitants of this State being of the people called Quakers as, from scruples of conscience, may be averse to the bearing of arms, be therefrom excused by the legislature; and do pay to the State such sums of money, in lieu of their personal service, as the same; may, in the judgment of the legislature, be worth.(12) And that a proper magazine of warlike stores, proportionate to the number of inhabitants, be, forever hereafter, at the expense of this State, and by acts of the legislature, established, maintained, and continued in every county in this State.
12 This exemption-fee was fixed at £10 per annum by the act of April 3, 1778 organizing the militia of the State. — Hough.
IX. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, and therefore, is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expense of that protection, and yield his personal service, when necessary, or an equivalent thereto; but no part of a man’s property can be justly taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of his legal representatives; nor can any man who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent; nor are the people bound by any law’ but such as they have, in like manner, assented to, for their common good.
XV. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State; and, as standing armies, in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
SECTION V. The freemen of this Commonwealth, and their sons, shall be trained and armed for its defence, under such regulations, restrictions and exceptions, as the general assembly shall, by law, direct; preserving always to the people, the right of choosing their colonels of militia, and all commissioned officers under that rank, in such manner, and as often, as by the said laws shall be directed.
SECTION XXXIX. That the inhabitants of this State, shall have liberty to hunt and fowl, in seasonable times, on the lands they hold, and on other lands (not enclosed;) and, in like manner, to fish in all beatable and other waters, not private property, under proper regulations, to be hereafter made and provided by the General Assembly.
SECTION XLII. All field and staff officers, and commissioned officers of the army, and all general officers of the militia, shall be chosen by the General Assembly.
Whereas it is essential to the operations of the army during the next campaign, that the most vigorous measures should forthwith be adopted for forming a body of horse … Resolved, that it be earnestly recommended to the young gentlemen of property and spirit … to constitute within their respective states a troop or troops of light cavalry …
Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the young gentlemen of property and spirit in the States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North-Carolina forthwith to constitute within their respective States, a troop or troops of light calvary to serve at their own expence (except in the [?] of provisions for themselves, and forage for their horses) until the 31st December next:
LIST of NECESSARIES and ACCOUTREMENTS for each HORSEMAN.
1. A well tempered sword, the blade straight and three feet long, with the back sharpened up six inches from the point; an open guard about the hilt; that will be light and yet defend the hand; with a scabbard of substantial leather without wood.
2. A carbine, susee, or short blunderbuss; the barrel of the blunderbuss not to exceed two feet in length.
3. A pair of pistols and holsters.
4. A sword-belt—a belt for the carbine, with a [?] that will [?] to any part of the belt.
5. A cartridge-box to buckle round the waist, with twelve tin pipes for the cartridges.
6. A helmet of jacked leather, and effectually guarded by several rows of small chain, iron or steel hoops; or a hat with a steel or iron scull-piece inside the crown.
7. A saddle, saddle-cloth, breast-plate, crupper, saddle-straps and pad.
8. Saddle-bags connected by two broad straps, in the common fashion, and not a portmanteau.
9. A double reined bridle, with a curb and snaffle bit, and a halter.
10. A cloak sufficient to cover all the arms and accoutrements, and which is to serve also in the place of a blanket.
11. Boots and spurs.
These articles, made as near as may be according to the above directions, with a good horse, will fit each man for the field.
Friends and countrymen, three years have now passed away since the commencement of the present war.
We were then quite defenceless. Without Arms, without Ammunition, without Cloathing, without Ships, without Money, without Officers skilled in War; with no other Reliance but the Bravery of our People and the Justice of our Cause.
In CONGRESS, May 9, 1778.
Whereas, many persons, at and below the White-Plains, in the county of West-Chester, by reason of the ravages of the enemy are greatly distressed for want of provision to support their families : … I do hereby authorize … permission to any person or persons … to carry or drive to their respective dwellings, the necessary provisions for their families …
…And all guards, scouts and patroles of the American troops, or persons in arms in her favour, are hereby ordered and directed, to pay due regard to the permits which shall be granted by the persons aforesaid, but to no others.
Given at Head-Quarters, Peeks-Kill, December 22, 1778.
ALEXANDER M`DOUGALL, Major-General
We cannot review the progress of the revolution which has given freedom to America, without admiring the goodness and gratefully acknowledging the interposition of Divine Providence. …
Oppressed by the Prince who ought to have exerted himself for our protection, and suddenly called upon to repel his unprovoked invasion,—without arms or ammunition, without military discipline or permanent finances, without an established government or allies; enfeebled by habitual attachments to our very enemies—We were precipitated into all the expensive operations incident to a state of war, with one of the most formidable nations on earth. Thus surrounded on all sides with wants and difficulties and dangers, notwithstanding the internal wealth of our country, immediate taxation was impracticable; and, for the same reason of ill success at different periods, we could not hope, either at home or abroad, to borrow money to supply our exigencies.
No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.
The United States in Congress assembled shall have authority to…to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make requisitions from each State for its quota, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in such State; which requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the legislature of each State shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men and cloath, arm and equip them in a solid-like manner, at the expense of the United States; and the officers and men so cloathed, armed and equipped shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled. But if the United States in Congress assembled shall, on consideration of circumstances judge proper that any State should not raise men, or should raise a smaller number of men than the quota thereof, such extra number shall be raised, officered, cloathed, armed and equipped in the same manner as the quota of each State, unless the legislature of such State shall judge that such extra number cannot be safely spread out in the same, in which case they shall raise, officer, cloath, arm and equip as many of such extra number as they judeg can be safely spared. And the officers and men so cloathed, armed, and equipped, shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled.
7th. All soldiers acting as servants with arms, shall draw with their corps; and all such soldiers who are annexed to officers, and are without arms, shall be drawn for by the officers respectively with whom they serve.
By the UNITED STATES in CONGRESS assembled, APRIL 22, 1782.
The number and condition of the militia and regular troops, and their pay?
The following is a state of the militia, taken from returns of 1780 and 1781, except in those counties marked with an asterisk, the returns from which are somewhat older.
Situation. Counties. Militia.
Westward of the Lincoln 600
Ohio Monongalia *1000
Between the Allegany Hampshire 930
and Blue Ridge. 7673.
Between the Blue ridge Loudoun 1746
and Tide waters. Fauquier 1078
18,828 Culpeper 1513
Prince Edward 589
Situation. Counties. Militia.
Between James river Greenesville 500
and Carolina. 6959.
Prince George 382
Isle of Wight *600
Princess Anne *594
Between James and York Henrico 619
rivers. 3009. Hanover 796
New Kent *418
Charles City 286
James City 235
Elizabeth City 182
Between York and Caroline 805
King William 436
King & Queen 500
Between Rappahonock Fairfax 652
& Patowmac. 4137.
Prince William 614
King George 483
East. Shore. 1638.
Whole Militia of the State 49,971
Every able-bodied freeman, between the ages of 16 and 50, is enrolled in the militia. Those of every county are formed into companies, and these again into one or more battalions, according to the numbers in the county. They are commanded by colonels, and other subordinate officers, as in the regular service. In every county is a county-lieutenant, who commands the whole militia of his county, but ranks only as a colonel in the field. We have no general officers always existing. These are appointed occasionally, when an invasion or insurrection happens, and their commission determines with the occasion. The governor is head of the military, as well as civil power. The law requires every militia-man to provide himself with the arms usual in the regular service. But this injunction was always indifferently complied with, and the arms they had have been so frequently called for to arm the regulars, that in the lower parts of the country they are entirely disarmed. In the middle country a fourth or fifth part of them may have such firelocks as they had provided to destroy the noxious animals which infest their farms; and on the western side of the Blue ridge they are generally armed with rifles. The pay of our militia, as well as of our regulars, is that of the Continental regulars. The condition of our regulars, of whom we have none but Continentals, and part of a battalion of state troops, is so constantly on the change, that a state of it at this day would not be its state a month hence. It is much the same with the condition of the other Continental troops, which is well enough known.
X. That every member of society 1latll a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property; and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expense of that protection, and yield his personal service, when necessary, or an equivalent thereto: but no part of a man’s property can be justly taken from llim, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the freemen; nor can any man, who is Conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent; nor the people bound by any law, belt such as they have in like manner assented to, for their common good. And previous to any law being made to raise a tax, the purpose for which it is to be raised ought to appear evident to the Legislature to be of more service to the community, than the money would be if not collected.
And all guards, scouts and patroles of the American troops, or persons in arms in her favour, are hereby ordered and directed, to pay due regard to the permits which shall be granted by the persons aforesaid, but to no others.
XVIII. That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of themselves and the State: and as standing armies, in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.
XIX. The inhabitants of this Commonwealth shall be trained and armed for its defence, under such regulations, restrictions, and exceptions, as the General Assembly shall by law direct. The several companies of militia shall, as often as vacancies happen, elect their captains and other inferior officers; and the captains and subalterns shall nominate and recommend the field officers of their respective regiments, who shall appoint their staff-officers.
XXXVII. The inhabitants of this State shall have liberty, in seasonable times, to hunt and fowl on the lands they hold, and on other lands not inclosed; and in like manner to fish in all beatable and other waters, not private property, under proper regulations, to be hereafter made and provided by the General Assembly.
The institutions chiefly alluded to are STANDING ARMIES and the correspondent appendages of military establishments. Standing armies, it is said, are not provided against in the new Constitution; and it is therefore inferred that they may exist under it.1 Their existence, however, from the very terms of the proposition, is, at most, problematical and uncertain. But standing armies, it may be replied, must inevitably result from a dissolution of the Confederacy. Frequent war and constant apprehension, which require a state of as constant preparation, will infallibly produce them. The weaker States or confederacies would first have recourse to them, to put themselves upon an equality with their more potent neighbors. They would endeavor to supply the inferiority of population and resources by a more regular and effective system of defense, by disciplined troops, and by fortifications. They would, at the same time, be necessitated to strengthen the executive arm of government, in doing which their constitutions would acquire a progressive direction toward monarchy. It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority.
It may, perhaps, be asked, by way of objection to this, why did not standing armies spring up out of the contentions which so often distracted the ancient republics of Greece? Different answers, equally satisfactory, may be given to this question. The industrious habits of the people of the present day, absorbed in the pursuits of gain, and devoted to the improvements of agriculture and commerce, are incompatible with the condition of a nation of soldiers, which was the true condition of the people of those republics. The means of revenue, which have been so greatly multiplied by the increase of gold and silver and of the arts of industry, and the science of finance, which is the offspring of modern times, concurring with the habits of nations, have produced an entire revolution in the system of war, and have rendered disciplined armies, distinct from the body of the citizens, the inseparable companions of frequent hostility.
There is a wide difference, also, between military establishments in a country seldom exposed by its situation to internal invasions, and in one which is often subject to them, and always apprehensive of them. The rulers of the former can have a good pretext, if they are even so inclined, to keep on foot armies so numerous as must of necessity be maintained in the latter. These armies being, in the first case, rarely, if at all, called into activity for interior defense, the people are in no danger of being broken to military subordination. The laws are not accustomed to relaxations, in favor of military exigencies; the civil state remains in full vigor, neither corrupted, nor confounded with the principles or propensities of the other state. The smallness of the army renders the natural strength of the community an over-match for it; and the citizens, not habituated to look up to the military power for protection, or to submit to its oppressions, neither love nor fear the soldiery; they view them with a spirit of jealous acquiescence in a necessary evil, and stand ready to resist a power which they suppose may be exerted to the prejudice of their rights. The army under such circumstances may usefully aid the magistrate to suppress a small faction, or an occasional mob, or insurrection; but it will be unable to enforce encroachments against the united efforts of the great body of the people.
In a country in the predicament last described, the contrary of all this happens. The perpetual menacings of danger oblige the government to be always prepared to repel it; its armies must be numerous enough for instant defense. The continual necessity for their services enhances the importance of the soldier, and proportionably degrades the condition of the citizen. The military state becomes elevated above the civil. The inhabitants of territories, often the theatre of war, are unavoidably subjected to frequent infringements on their rights, which serve to weaken their sense of those rights; and by degrees the people are brought to consider the soldiery not only as their protectors, but as their superiors. The transition from this disposition to that of considering them masters, is neither remote nor difficult; but it is very difficult to prevail upon a people under such impressions, to make a bold or effectual resistance to usurpations supported by the military power.
The kingdom of Great Britain falls within the first description. An insular situation, and a powerful marine, guarding it in a great measure against the possibility of foreign invasion, supersede the necessity of a numerous army within the kingdom. A sufficient force to make head against a sudden descent, till the militia could have time to rally and embody, is all that has been deemed requisite. No motive of national policy has demanded, nor would public opinion have tolerated, a larger number of troops upon its domestic establishment. There has been, for a long time past, little room for the operation of the other causes, which have been enumerated as the consequences of internal war. This peculiar felicity of situation has, in a great degree, contributed to preserve the liberty which that country to this day enjoys, in spite of the prevalent venality and corruption. If, on the contrary, Britain had been situated on the continent, and had been compelled, as she would have been, by that situation, to make her military establishments at home coextensive with those of the other great powers of Europe, she, like them, would in all probability be, at this day, a victim to the absolute power of a single man. ‘T is possible, though not easy, that the people of that island may be enslaved from other causes; but it cannot be by the prowess of an army so inconsiderable as that which has been usually kept up within the kingdom.
If, to obviate this consequence, it should be resolved to extend the prohibition to the RAISING of armies in time of peace, the United States would then exhibit the most extraordinary spectacle which the world has yet seen, that of a nation incapacitated by its Constitution to prepare for defense, before it was actually invaded. As the ceremony of a formal denunciation of war has of late fallen into disuse, the presence of an enemy within our territories must be waited for, as the legal warrant to the government to begin its levies of men for the protection of the State. We must receive the blow, before we could even prepare to return it. All that kind of policy by which nations anticipate distant danger, and meet the gathering storm, must be abstained from, as contrary to the genuine maxims of a free government. We must expose our property and liberty to the mercy of foreign invaders, and invite them by our weakness to seize the naked and defenseless prey, because we are afraid that rulers, created by our choice, dependent on our will, might endanger that liberty, by an abuse of the means necessary to its preservation.
Here I expect we shall be told that the militia of the country is its natural bulwark, and would be at all times equal to the national defense. This doctrine, in substance, had like to have lost us our independence. It cost millions to the United States that might have been saved. The facts which, from our own experience, forbid a reliance of this kind, are too recent to permit us to be the dupes of such a suggestion. The steady operations of war against a regular and disciplined army can only be successfully conducted by a force of the same kind. Considerations of economy, not less than of stability and vigor, confirm this position. The American militia, in the course of the late war, have, by their valor on numerous occasions, erected eternal monuments to their fame; but the bravest of them feel and know that the liberty of their country could not have been established by their efforts alone, however great and valuable they were. War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perserverance, by time, and by practice.
All violent policy, as it is contrary to the natural and experienced course of human affairs, defeats itself. Pennsylvania, at this instant, affords an example of the truth of this remark. The Bill of Rights of that State declares that standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up in time of peace. Pennsylvania, nevertheless, in a time of profound peace, from the existence of partial disorders in one or two of her counties, has resolved to raise a body of troops; and in all probability will keep them up as long as there is any appearance of danger to the public peace. The conduct of Massachusetts affords a lesson on the same subject, though on different ground. That State (without waiting for the sanction of Congress, as the articles of the Confederation require) was compelled to raise troops to quell a domestic insurrection, and still keeps a corps in pay to prevent a revival of the spirit of revolt. The particular constitution of Massachusetts opposed no obstacle to the measure; but the instance is still of use to instruct us that cases are likely to occur under our government, as well as under those of other nations, which will sometimes render a military force in time of peace essential to the security of the society, and that it is therefore improper in this respect to control the legislative discretion. It also teaches us, in its application to the United States, how little the rights of a feeble government are likely to be respected, even by its own constituents. And it teaches us, in addition to the rest, how unequal parchment provisions are to a struggle with public necessity..
It was a fundamental maxim of the Lacedaemonian commonwealth, that the post of admiral should not be conferred twice on the same person. The Peloponnesian confederates, having suffered a severe defeat at sea from the Athenians, demanded Lysander, who had before served with success in that capacity, to command the combined fleets. The Lacedaemonians, to gratify their allies, and yet preserve the semblance of an adherence to their ancient institutions, had recourse to the flimsy subterfuge of investing Lysander with the real power of admiral, under the nominal title of vice-admiral. This instance is selected from among a multitude that might be cited to confirm the truth already advanced and illustrated by domestic examples; which is, that nations pay little regard to rules and maxims calculated in their very nature to run counter to the necessities of society. Wise politicians will be cautious about fettering the government with restrictions that cannot be observed, because they know that every breach of the fundamental laws, though dictated by necessity, impairs that sacred reverence which ought to be maintained in the breast of rulers towards the constitution of a country, and forms a precedent for other breaches where the same plea of necessity does not exist at all, or is less urgent and palpable.
It may not be amiss in this place concisely to remark the origin and progress of the idea, which aims at the exclusion of military establishments in time of peace. Though in speculative minds it may arise from a contemplation of the nature and tendency of such institutions, fortified by the events that have happened in other ages and countries, yet as a national sentiment, it must be traced to those habits of thinking which we derive from the nation from whom the inhabitants of these States have in general sprung.
In England, for a long time after the Norman Conquest, the authority of the monarch was almost unlimited. Inroads were gradually made upon the prerogative, in favor of liberty, first by the barons, and afterwards by the people, till the greatest part of its most formidable pretensions became extinct. But it was not till the revolution in 1688, which elevated the Prince of Orange to the throne of Great Britain, that English liberty was completely triumphant. As incident to the undefined power of making war, an acknowledged prerogative of the crown, Charles II. had, by his own authority, kept on foot in time of peace a body of 5,000 regular troops. And this number James II. increased to 30,000; who were paid out of his civil list. At the revolution, to abolish the exercise of so dangerous an authority, it became an article of the Bill of Rights then framed, that “the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, UNLESS WITH
THE CONSENT OF PARLIAMENT, was against law.”
In that kingdom, when the pulse of liberty was at its highest pitch, no security against the danger of standing armies was thought requisite, beyond a prohibition of their being raised or kept up by the mere authority of the executive magistrate. The patriots, who effected that memorable revolution, were too temperate, too wellinformed, to think of any restraint on the legislative discretion. They were aware that a certain number of troops for guards and garrisons were indispensable; that no precise bounds could be set to the national exigencies; that a power equal to every possible contingency must exist somewhere in the government: and that when they referred the exercise of that power to the judgment of the legislature, they had arrived at the ultimate point of precaution which was reconcilable with the safety of the community.
From the same source, the people of America may be said to have derived an hereditary impression of danger to liberty, from standing armies in time of peace. The circumstances of a revolution quickened the public sensibility on every point connected with the security of popular rights, and in some instances raise the warmth of our zeal beyond the degree which consisted with the due temperature of the body politic. The attempts of two of the States to restrict the authority of the legislature in the article of military establishments, are of the number of these instances. The principles which had taught us to be jealous of the power of an hereditary monarch were by an injudicious excess extended to the representatives of the people in their popular assemblies. Even in some of the States, where this error was not adopted, we find unnecessary declarations that standing armies ought not to be kept up, in time of peace, WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE LEGISLATURE. I call them unnecessary, because the reason which had introduced a similar provision into the English Bill of Rights is not applicable to any of the State constitutions. The power of raising armies at all, under those constitutions, can by no construction be deemed to reside anywhere else, than in the legislatures themselves; and it was superfluous, if not absurd, to declare that a matter should not be done without the consent of a body, which alone had the power of doing it. Accordingly, in some of these constitutions, and among others, in that of this State of New York, which has been justly celebrated, both in Europe and America, as one of the best of the forms of government established in this country, there is a total silence upon the subject.
It is remarkable, that even in the two States which seem to have meditated an interdiction of military establishments in time of peace, the mode of expression made use of is rather cautionary than prohibitory. It is not said, that standing armies SHALL NOT BE kept up, but that they OUGHT NOT to be kept up, in time of peace. This ambiguity of terms appears to have been the result of a conflict between jealousy and conviction; between the desire of excluding such establishments at all events, and the persuasion that an absolute exclusion would be unwise and unsafe.
Can it be doubted that such a provision, whenever the situation of public affairs was understood to require a departure from it, would be interpreted by the legislature into a mere admonition, and would be made to yield to the necessities or supposed necessities of the State? Let the fact already mentioned, with respect to Pennsylvania, decide. What then (it may be asked) is the use of such a provision, if it cease to operate the moment there is an inclination to disregard it?
Let us examine whether there be any comparison, in point of efficacy, between the provision alluded to and that which is contained in the new Constitution, for restraining the appropriations of money for military purposes to the period of two years. The former, by aiming at too much, is calculated to effect nothing; the latter, by steering clear of an imprudent extreme, and by being perfectly compatible with a proper provision for the exigencies of the nation, will have a salutary and powerful operation.
The legislature of the United States will be OBLIGED, by this provision, once at least in every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter, by a formal vote in the face of their constituents. They are not AT LIBERTY to vest in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence. As the spirit of party, in different degrees, must be expected to infect all political bodies, there will be, no doubt, persons in the national legislature willing enough to arraign the measures and criminate the views of the majority. The provision for the support of a military force will always be a favorable topic for declamation. As often as the question comes forward, the public attention will be roused and attracted to the subject, by the party in opposition; and if the majority should be really disposed to exceed the proper limits, the community will be warned of the danger, and will have an opportunity of taking measures to guard against it. Independent of parties in the national legislature itself, as often as the period of discussion arrived, the State legislatures, who will always be not only vigilant but suspicious and jealous guardians of the rights of the citizens against encroachments from the federal government, will constantly have their attention awake to the conduct of the national rulers, and will be ready enough, if any thing improper appears, to sound the alarm to the people, and not only to be the VOICE, but, if necessary, the ARM of their discontent.
Schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community REQUIRE TIME to mature them for execution. An army, so large as seriously to menace those liberties, could only be formed by progressive augmentations; which would suppose, not merely a temporary combination between the legislature and executive, but a continued conspiracy for a series of time. Is it probable that such a combination would exist at all? Is it probable that it would be persevered in, and transmitted along through all the successive variations in a representative body, which biennial elections would naturally produce in both houses? Is it presumable, that every man, the instant he took his seat in the national Senate or House of Representatives, would commence a traitor to his constituents and to his country? Can it be supposed that there would not be found one man, discerning enough to detect so atrocious a conspiracy, or bold or honest enough to apprise his constituents of their danger? If such presumptions can fairly be made, there ought at once to be an end of all delegated authority. The people should resolve to recall all the powers they have heretofore parted with out of their own hands, and to divide themselves into as many States as there are counties, in order that they may be able to manage their own concerns in person.
If such suppositions could even be reasonably made, still the concealment of the design, for any duration, would be impracticable. It would be announced, by the very circumstance of augmenting the army to so great an extent in time of profound peace. What colorable reason could be assigned, in a country so situated, for such vast augmentations of the military force? It is impossible that the people could be long deceived; and the destruction of the project, and of the projectors, would quickly follow the discovery.
It has been said that the provision which limits the appropriation of money for the support of an army to the period of two years would be unavailing, because the Executive, when once possessed of a force large enough to awe the people into submission, would find resources in that very force sufficient to enable him to dispense with supplies from the acts of the legislature. But the question again recurs, upon what pretense could he be put in possession of a force of that magnitude in time of peace? If we suppose it to have been created in consequence of some domestic insurrection or foreign war, then it becomes a case not within the principles of the objection; for this is levelled against the power of keeping up troops in time of peace. Few persons will be so visionary as seriously to contend that military forces ought not to be raised to quell a rebellion or resist an invasion; and if the defense of the community under such circumstances should make it necessary to have an army so numerous as to hazard its liberty, this is one of those calamaties for which there is neither preventative nor cure. It cannot be provided against by any possible form of government; it might even result from a simple league offensive and defensive, if it should ever be necessary for the confederates or allies to form an army for common defense.
But it is an evil infinitely less likely to attend us in a united than in a disunited state; nay, it may be safely asserted that it is an evil altogether unlikely to attend us in the latter situation. It is not easy to conceive a possibility that dangers so formidable can assail the whole Union, as to demand a force considerable enough to place our liberties in the least jeopardy, especially if we take into our view the aid to be derived from the militia, which ought always to be counted upon as a valuable and powerful auxiliary. But in a state of disunion (as has been fully shown in another place), the contrary of this supposition would become not only probable, but almost unavoidable.
If, on the contrary, the insurrection should pervade a whole State, or a principal part of it, the employment of a different kind of force might become unavoidable. It appears that Massachusetts found it necessary to raise troops for repressing the disorders within that State; that Pennsylvania, from the mere apprehension of commotions among a part of her citizens, has thought proper to have recourse to the same measure. Suppose the State of New York had been inclined to re-establish her lost jurisdiction over the inhabitants of Vermont, could she have hoped for success in such an enterprise from the efforts of the militia alone? Would she not have been compelled to raise and to maintain a more regular force for the execution of her design? If it must then be admitted that the necessity of recurring to a force different from the militia, in cases of this extraordinary nature, is applicable to the State governments themselves, why should the possibility, that the national government might be under a like necessity, in similar extremities, be made an objection to its existence? Is it not surprising that men who declare an attachment to the Union in the abstract, should urge as an objection to the proposed Constitution what applies with tenfold weight to the plan for which they contend; and what, as far as it has any foundation in truth, is an inevitable consequence of civil society upon an enlarged scale? Who would not prefer that possibility to the unceasing agitations and frequent revolutions which are the continual scourges of petty republics?
Let us pursue this examination in another light. Suppose, in lieu of one general system, two, or three, or even four Confederacies were to be formed, would not the same difficulty oppose itself to the operations of either of these Confederacies? Would not each of them be exposed to the same casualties; and when these happened, be obliged to have recourse to the same expedients for upholding its authority which are objected to in a government for all the States? Would the militia, in this supposition, be more ready or more able to support the federal authority than in the case of a general union? All candid and intelligent men must, upon due consideration, acknowledge that the principle of the objection is equally applicable to either of the two cases; and that whether we have one government for all the States, or different governments for different parcels of them, or even if there should be an entire separation of the States, there might sometimes be a necessity to make use of a force constituted differently from the militia, to preserve the peace of the community and to maintain the just authority of the laws against those violent invasions of them which amount to insurrections and rebellions.
Independent of all other reasonings upon the subject, it is a full answer to those who require a more peremptory provision against military establishments in time of peace, to say that the whole power of the proposed government is to be in the hands of the representatives of the people. This is the essential, and, after all, only efficacious security for the rights and privileges of the people, which is attainable in civil society.1
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. The usurpers, clothed with the forms of legal authority, can too often crush the opposition in embryo. The smaller the extent of the territory, the more difficult will it be for the people to form a regular or systematic plan of opposition, and the more easy will it be to defeat their early efforts. Intelligence can be more speedily obtained of their preparations and movements, and the military force in the possession of the usurpers can be more rapidly directed against the part where the opposition has begun. In this situation there must be a peculiar coincidence of circumstances to insure success to the popular resistance.
The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them. The natural strength of the people in a large community, in proportion to the artificial strength of the government, is greater than in a small, and of course more competent to a struggle with the attempts of the government to establish a tyranny. But in a confederacy the people, without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. How wise will it be in them by cherishing the union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized!
It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority. Projects of usurpation cannot be masked under pretenses so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men, as of the people at large. The legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty.
The great extent of the country is a further security. We have already experienced its utility against the attacks of a foreign power. And it would have precisely the same effect against the enterprises of ambitious rulers in the national councils. If the federal army should be able to quell the resistance of one State, the distant States would have it in their power to make head with fresh forces. The advantages obtained in one place must be abandoned to subdue the opposition in others; and the moment the part which had been reduced to submission was left to itself, its efforts would be renewed, and its resistance revive.
We should recollect that the extent of the military force must, at all events, be regulated by the resources of the country. For a long time to come, it will not be possible to maintain a large army; and as the means of doing this increase, the population and natural strength of the community will proportionably increase. When will the time arrive that the federal government can raise and maintain an army capable of erecting a despotism over the great body of the people of an immense empire, who are in a situation, through the medium of their State governments, to take measures for their own defense, with all the celerity, regularity, and system of independent nations? The apprehension may be considered as a disease, for which there can be found no cure in the resources of argument and reasoning.
THE power of regulating the militia, and of commanding its services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents to the duties of superintending the common defense, and of watching over the internal peace of the Confederacy.
It requires no skill in the science of war to discern that uniformity in the organization and discipline of the militia would be attended with the most beneficial effects, whenever they were called into service for the public defense. It would enable them to discharge the duties of the camp and of the field with mutual intelligence and concert an advantage of peculiar moment in the operations of an army; and it would fit them much sooner to acquire the degree of proficiency in military functions which would be essential to their usefulness. This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, RESERVING TO THE STATES RESPECTIVELY THE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS, AND THE AUTHORITY OF TRAINING THE MILITIA ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS.”
Of the different grounds which have been taken in opposition to the plan of the convention, there is none that was so little to have been expected, or is so untenable in itself, as the one from which this particular provision has been attacked. If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security. If standing armies are dangerous to liberty, an efficacious power over the militia, in the body to whose care the protection of the State is committed, ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions. If the federal government can command the aid of the militia in those emergencies which call for the military arm in support of the civil magistrate, it can the better dispense with the employment of a different kind of force. If it cannot avail itself of the former, it will be obliged to recur to the latter. To render an army unnecessary, will be a more certain method of preventing its existence than a thousand prohibitions upon paper.
In order to cast an odium upon the power of calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, it has been remarked that there is nowhere any provision in the proposed Constitution for calling out the POSSE COMITATUS, to assist the magistrate in the execution of his duty, whence it has been inferred, that military force was intended to be his only auxiliary. There is a striking incoherence in the objections which have appeared, and sometimes even from the same quarter, not much calculated to inspire a very favorable opinion of the sincerity or fair dealing of their authors. The same persons who tell us in one breath, that the powers of the federal government will be despotic and unlimited, inform us in the next, that it has not authority sufficient even to call out the POSSE COMITATUS. The latter, fortunately, is as much short of the truth as the former exceeds it. It would be as absurd to doubt, that a right to pass all laws NECESSARY AND PROPER to execute its declared powers, would include that of requiring the assistance of the citizens to the officers who may be intrusted with the execution of those laws, as it would be to believe, that a right to enact laws necessary and proper for the imposition and collection of taxes would involve that of varying the rules of descent and of the alienation of landed property, or of abolishing the trial by jury in cases relating to it. It being therefore evident that the supposition of a want of power to require the aid of the POSSE COMITATUS is entirely destitute of color, it will follow, that the conclusion which has been drawn from it, in its application to the authority of the federal government over the militia, is as uncandid as it is illogical. What reason could there be to infer, that force was intended to be the sole instrument of authority, merely because there is a power to make use of it when necessary? What shall we think of the motives which could induce men of sense to reason in this manner? How shall we prevent a conflict between charity and judgment?
By a curious refinement upon the spirit of republican jealousy, we are even taught to apprehend danger from the militia itself, in the hands of the federal government. It is observed that select corps may be formed, composed of the young and ardent, who may be rendered subservient to the views of arbitrary power. What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government, is impossible to be foreseen. But so far from viewing the matter in the same light with those who object to select corps as dangerous, were the Constitution ratified, and were I to deliver my sentiments to a member of the federal legislature from this State on the subject of a militia establishment, I should hold to him, in substance, the following discourse:
“The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.
“But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia. The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.”
Thus differently from the adversaries of the proposed Constitution should I reason on the same subject, deducing arguments of safety from the very sources which they represent as fraught with danger and perdition. But how the national legislature may reason on the point, is a thing which neither they nor I can foresee.
There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia, that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instil prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common-sense, are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits and interests? What reasonable cause of apprehension can be inferred from a power in the Union to prescribe regulations for the militia, and to command its services when necessary, while the particular States are to have the SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS? If it were possible seriously to indulge a jealousy of the militia upon any conceivable establishment under the federal government, the circumstance of the officers being in the appointment of the States ought at once to extinguish it. There can be no doubt that this circumstance will always secure to them a preponderating influence over the militia.
In reading many of the publications against the Constitution, a man is apt to imagine that he is perusing some ill-written tale or romance, which instead of natural and agreeable images, exhibits to the mind nothing but frightful and distorted shapes “Gorgons, hydras, and chimeras dire”; discoloring and disfiguring whatever it represents, and transforming everything it touches into a monster.
A sample of this is to be observed in the exaggerated and improbable suggestions which have taken place respecting the power of calling for the services of the militia. That of New Hampshire is to be marched to Georgia, of Georgia to New Hampshire, of New York to Kentucky, and of Kentucky to Lake Champlain. Nay, the debts due to the French and Dutch are to be paid in militiamen instead of louis d’ors and ducats. At one moment there is to be a large army to lay prostrate the liberties of the people; at another moment the militia of Virginia are to be dragged from their homes five or six hundred miles, to tame the republican contumacy of Massachusetts; and that of Massachusetts is to be transported an equal distance to subdue the refractory haughtiness of the aristocratic Virginians. Do the persons who rave at this rate imagine that their art or their eloquence can impose any conceits or absurdities upon the people of America for infallible truths?
If there should be an army to be made use of as the engine of despotism, what need of the militia? If there should be no army, whither would the militia, irritated by being called upon to undertake a distant and hopeless expedition, for the purpose of riveting the chains of slavery upon a part of their countrymen, direct their course, but to the seat of the tyrants, who had meditated so foolish as well as so wicked a project, to crush them in their imagined intrenchments of power, and to make them an example of the just vengeance of an abused and incensed people? Is this the way in which usurpers stride to dominion over a numerous and enlightened nation? Do they begin by exciting the detestation of the very instruments of their intended usurpations? Do they usually commence their career by wanton and disgustful acts of power, calculated to answer no end, but to draw upon themselves universal hatred and execration? Are suppositions of this sort the sober admonitions of discerning patriots to a discerning people? Or are they the inflammatory ravings of incendiaries or distempered enthusiasts? If we were even to suppose the national rulers actuated by the most ungovernable ambition, it is impossible to believe that they would employ such preposterous means to accomplish their designs.
In times of insurrection, or invasion, it would be natural and proper that the militia of a neighboring State should be marched into another, to resist a common enemy, or to guard the republic against the violence of faction or sedition. This was frequently the case, in respect to the first object, in the course of the late war; and this mutual succor is, indeed, a principal end of our political association. If the power of affording it be placed under the direction of the Union, there will be no danger of a supine and listless inattention to the dangers of a neighbor, till its near approach had superadded the incitements of selfpreservation to the too feeble impulses of duty and sympathy.
Security against foreign danger is one of the primitive objects of civil society. It is an avowed and essential object of the American Union. The powers requisite for attaining it must be effectually confided to the federal councils. Is the power of declaring war necessary? No man will answer this question in the negative. It would be superfluous, therefore, to enter into a proof of the affirmative. The existing Confederation establishes this power in the most ample form. Is the power of raising armies and equipping fleets necessary? This is involved in the foregoing power. It is involved in the power of self-defense. But was it necessary to give an INDEFINITE POWER of raising TROOPS, as well as providing fleets; and of maintaining both in PEACE, as well as in war? The answer to these questions has been too far anticipated in another place to admit an extensive discussion of them in this place. The answer indeed seems to be so obvious and conclusive as scarcely to justify such a discussion in any place. With what color of propriety could the force necessary for defense be limited by those who cannot limit the force of offense? If a federal Constitution could chain the ambition or set bounds to the exertions of all other nations, then indeed might it prudently chain the discretion of its own government, and set bounds to the exertions for its own safety.
How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation? The means of security can only be regulated by the means and the danger of attack. They will, in fact, be ever determined by these rules, and by no others. It is in vain to oppose Constitutional barriers to the impulse of self-preservation. It is worse than in vain; because it plants in the Constitution itself necessary usurpations of power, every precedent of which is a germ of unnecessary and multiplied repetitions. If one nation maintains constantly a disciplined army, ready for the service of ambition or revenge, it obliges the most pacific nations who may be within the reach of its enterprises to take corresponding precautions.
The fifteenth century was the unhappy epoch of military establishments in the time of peace. They were introduced by Charles VII. of France. All Europe has followed, or been forced into, the example. Had the example not been followed by other nations, all Europe must long ago have worn the chains of a universal monarch. Were every nation except France now to disband its peace establishments, the same event might follow. The veteran legions of Rome were an overmatch for the undisciplined valor of all other nations and rendered her the mistress of the world. Not the less true is it, that the liberties of Rome proved the final victim to her military triumphs; and that the liberties of Europe, as far as they ever existed, have, with few exceptions, been the price of her military establishments. A standing force, therefore, is a dangerous, at the same time that it may be a necessary, provision. On the smallest scale it has its inconveniences. On an extensive scale its consequences may be fatal. On any scale it is an object of laudable circumspection and precaution.
A wise nation will combine all these considerations; and, whilst it does not rashly preclude itself from any resource which may become essential to its safety, will exert all its prudence in diminishing both the necessity and the danger of resorting to one which may be inauspicious to its liberties. The clearest marks of this prudence are stamped on the proposed Constitution. The Union itself, which it cements and secures, destroys every pretext for a military establishment which could be dangerous. America united, with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.
It was remarked, on a former occasion, that the want of this pretext had saved the liberties of one nation in Europe. Being rendered by her insular situation and her maritime resources impregnable to the armies of her neighbors, the rulers of Great Britain have never been able, by real or artificial dangers, to cheat the public into an extensive peace establishment. The distance of the United States from the powerful nations of the world gives them the same happy security. A dangerous establishment can never be necessary or plausible, so long as they continue a united people. But let it never, for a moment, be forgotten that they are indebted for this advantage to the Union alone. The moment of its dissolution will be the date of a new order of things. The fears of the weaker, or the ambition of the stronger States, or Confederacies, will set the same example in the New, as Charles VII. did in the Old World. The example will be followed here from the same motives which produced universal imitation there. Instead of deriving from our situation the precious advantage which Great Britain has derived from hers, the face of America will be but a copy of that of the continent of Europe. It will present liberty everywhere crushed between standing armies and perpetual taxes.
The fortunes of disunited America will be even more disastrous than those of Europe. The sources of evil in the latter are confined to her own limits. No superior powers of another quarter of the globe intrigue among her rival nations, inflame their mutual animosities, and render them the instruments of foreign ambition, jealousy, and revenge. In America the miseries springing from her internal jealousies, contentions, and wars, would form a part only of her lot. A plentiful addition of evils would have their source in that relation in which Europe stands to this quarter of the earth, and which no other quarter of the earth bears to Europe. This picture of the consequences of disunion cannot be too highly colored, or too often exhibited. Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty, ought to have it ever before his eyes, that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America, and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it.
Next to the effectual establishment of the Union, the best possible precaution against danger from standing armies is a limitation of the term for which revenue may be appropriated to their support. This precaution the Constitution has prudently added. I will not repeat here the observations which I flatter myself have placed this subject in a just and satisfactory light. But it may not be improper to take notice of an argument against this part of the Constitution, which has been drawn from the policy and practice of Great Britain. It is said that the continuance of an army in that kingdom requires an annual vote of the legislature; whereas the American Constitution has lengthened this critical period to two years. This is the form in which the comparison is usually stated to the public: but is it a just form? Is it a fair comparison? Does the British Constitution restrain the parliamentary discretion to one year? Does the American impose on the Congress appropriations for two years? On the contrary, it cannot be unknown to the authors of the fallacy themselves, that the British Constitution fixes no limit whatever to the discretion of the legislature, and that the American ties down the legislature to two years, as the longest admissible term.
Had the argument from the British example been truly stated, it would have stood thus: The term for which supplies may be appropriated to the army establishment, though unlimited by the British Constitution, has nevertheless, in practice, been limited by parliamentary discretion to a single year. Now, if in Great Britain, where the House of Commons is elected for seven years; where so great a proportion of the members are elected by so small a proportion of the people; where the electors are so corrupted by the representatives, and the representatives so corrupted by the Crown, the representative body can possess a power to make appropriations to the army for an indefinite term, without desiring, or without daring, to extend the term beyond a single year, ought not suspicion herself to blush, in pretending that the representatives of the United States, elected FREELY by the WHOLE BODY of the people, every SECOND YEAR, cannot be safely intrusted with the discretion over such appropriations, expressly limited to the short period of TWO YEARS? A bad cause seldom fails to betray itself. Of this truth, the management of the opposition to the federal government is an unvaried exemplification.
But among all the blunders which have been committed, none is more striking than the attempt to enlist on that side the prudent jealousy entertained by the people, of standing armies. The attempt has awakened fully the public attention to that important subject; and has led to investigations which must terminate in a thorough and universal conviction, not only that the Constitution has provided the most effectual guards against danger from that quarter, but that nothing short of a Constitution fully adequate to the national defense and the preservation of the Union, can save America from as many standing armies as it may be split into States or Confederacies, and from such a progressive augmentation, of these establishments in each, as will render them as burdensome to the properties and ominous to the liberties of the people, as any establishment that can become necessary, under a united and efficient government, must be tolerable to the former and safe to the latter.
The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism.
Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.
Samuel Adams proposed the following amendments:
“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless when necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.”
That no standing Army shall be Kept up in time of Peace unless with the consent of three fourths of the Members of each branch of Congress, nor shall Soldiers in Time of Peace be quartered upon private Houses without the consent-of the Owners.-
Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.-
That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, including the body of the People capable of bearing Arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State;
That standing Armies in time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in Cases of necessity; and that at all times, the Military should be under strict Subordination to the civil Power.
That the Militia of any State shall not be compelled to serve without the limits of the State for a longer term than six weeks, without the Consent of the Legislature thereof.
17th. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.
19th. That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.
XI. That each state, respectively, shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining its own militia whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same. That the militia shall not be subject to martial law, except when in actual service in time of war, invasion or rebellion: And when not in the actual service of the United States, shall be subject only to such fines, penalties, and punishments as shall be directed or inflicted by the laws of its own state.
17th That the people have a right to keep and bear arms, that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state; that the militia shall not be subject to martial law except in time of war, rebellion or insurrection; that standing armies in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity; and that at all times the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power; that in time of peace no soldier ought to be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, and in time of war, only by the civil magistrate, in such manner as the law directs.
18th That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, ought to be exempted, upon payment of an equivalent, to employ another to bear arms in his stead.
12th As standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity; and as at all times the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power, that therefore no standing army, or regular toops shall be raised, or kept up in time of peace.
Seventeenth, That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the Community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the Civil power.
Nineteenth, That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.
Ninth, That no standing army or regular troops shall be raised or kept up in time of peace, without the consent of two thirds of the members present in both houses. Tenth, That no soldier shall be inlisted for any longer term than four years, except in time of war, and then for no longer term than the continuance of the war. Eleventh, That each State respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining it’s own Militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same. That the Militia shall not be subject to Martial law, except when in actual service in time of war, invasion, or rebellion; and when not in the actual service of the United States, shall be subject only to such fines, penalties and punishments as shall be directed or inflicted by the laws of its own State.
The Address and reasons of dissent of the minority of the convention, of the state of Pennsylvania, to their constituents.
Seventh. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game, and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil powers.
Eighth. The inhabitants of the several states shall have liberty to fowl and hunt in seasonable times, on the lands’ they hold, and on all other lands in the United States not inclosed, and in like manner to fish in all navigable waters, and others not private property, without being restrained therein by any laws to be passed by the legislature of the United States.
Eleventh. That the power of organizing, arming and disciplining the militia (the manner of disciplining the militia to be prescribed by Congress) remain with the individual states, and that Congress shall not have authority to call or march any of the militia out of their own state, without the consent of such state, and for such length of time only as such state shall agree.
To the people of Maryland: The following facts, disclosing the conduct of the late Convention of Maryland, is submitted to the serious consideration of the citizens of the state. …
This provision to restrain the powers of congress over the militia, although, by no means so ample as that provided by magna charta, and the other fundamental and constitutional laws of Great-Britain, (it being contrary to magna charta to punish a freeman by martial law in time of peace, and murder to execute him,) yet it may prove an inestimable check; for all other provisions in favour of the rights of men, would be vain and nugatory, if the power of subjecting all men able to bear arms to martial law at any moment, should remain vested in congress.
Thus far the amendments were agreed to.
The following amendments were laid before the committee, and negatived by a majority.
1. That the militia, unless selected by lot or voluntarily enlisted, shall not be marched beyond the limits of an adjoining state, without the consent of their legislature or executive.
10. That no person, conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms in any case, shall be compelled personally to serve as a soldier.
Article the Fourth. –A well regulated Militia being necessary to the Security of a free State, the Right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.
The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable, will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangement which will be made respecting it, it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the officers and soldiers with a due regard to economy.
These aggravated provocations rendered it essential to the safety of the Western settlements that the aggressors should be made sensible that the Government of the Union is not less capable of punishing their crimes than it is disposed to respect their rights and reward their attachments. As this object could not be effected by defensive measures, it became necessary to put in force the act which empowers the President to call out the militia for the protection of the frontiers, and I have accordingly authorized an expedition in which the regular troops in that quarter are combined with such drafts of militia as were deemed sufficient. The event of the measure is yet unknown to me. The Secretary of War is directed to lay before you a statement of the information on which it is founded, as well as an estimate of the expense with which it will be attended.
The establishment of the militia, of a mint, of standards of weights and measures, of the post office and post roads are subjects which I presume you will resume of course, and which are abundantly urged by their own importance.
Some of these have been crowned with full success and others are yet depending. The expeditions which have been completed were carried on under the authority and at the expense of the United States by the militia of Kentucky, whose enterprise, intrepidity, and good conduct are entitled of peculiar commendation.
The first is certainly an object of primary importance whether viewed in reference to the national security to the satisfaction of the community or to the preservation of order. In connection with this the establishment of competent magazines and arsenals and the fortification of such places as are peculiarly important and vulnerable naturally present themselves to consideration. The safety of the United States under divine protection ought to rest on the basis of systematic and solid arrangements, exposed as little as possible to the hazards of fortuitous circumstances.
I have reason to believe that every practicable exertion has been made (pursuant to the provision by law for that purpose) to be prepared for the alternative of a prosecution of the war in the event of a failure of pacific overtures. A large proportion of the troops authorized to be raised have been recruited, though the number is still incomplete, and pains have been taken to discipline and put them in condition for the particular kind of service to be performed. A delay of operations (besides being dictated by the measures which were pursuing toward a pacific termination of the war) has been in itself deemed preferable to immature efforts. A statement from the proper department with regard to the number of troops raised, and some other points which have been suggested, will afford more precise information as a guide to the legislative consultations, and among other things will enable Congress to judge whether some additional stimulus to the recruiting service may not be advisable.
I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act. And it shall at all time hereafter be the duty of every such Captain or Commanding Officer of a company, to enroll every such citizen as aforesaid, and also those who shall, from time to time, arrive at the age of 18 years, or being at the age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years (except as before excepted) shall come to reside within his bounds; and shall without delay notify such citizen of the said enrollment, by the proper non-commissioned Officer of the company, by whom such notice may be proved. That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of power and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and power-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a power of power; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and esontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.
II. And be it further enacted, That the Vice-President of the United States, the Officers, judicial and executives, of the government of the United States; the members of both houses of Congress, and their respective officers; all custom house officers, with the clerks; all post officers, and stage-drivers who are employed in the care and conveyance of the mail of the post office of the United States; all Ferrymen employed at any ferry on the post road; all inspectors of exports; all pilots, all mariners actually employed in the sea service of any citizen or merchant within the United States; and all persons who now are or may be hereafter exempted by the laws of the respective states, shall be and are hereby exempted from militia duty, notwithstanding their being above the age of eighteen and under the age of forty-five years.
IV. And be it further enacted, That out of the militia enrolled as is herein directed, there shall be formed for each battalion, as least one company of grenadiers, light infantry or riflemen; and that each division there shall be, at least, one company of artillery, and one troop of horse: There shall be to each company of artillery, one captain, two lieutenants, four serjeants, four corporals, six gunners, six bombardiers, one drummer, and one fifer. The officers to be armed with a sword or hanger, a fusee, bayonet and belt, with a cartridge box to contain twelve cartridges; and each private of matoss shall furnish themselves with good horses of at least fourteen hands and an half high, and to be armed with a sword and pair of pistols, the holsters of which to be covered with bearskin caps. Each dragoon to furnish himself with a serviceable horse, at least fourteen hands and an half high, a good saddle, bridle, mail-pillion and valise, holster, and a best plate and crupper, a pair of boots and spurs; a pair of pistols, a sabre, and a cartouchbox to contain twelve cartridges for pistols. That each company of artillery and troop of house shall be formed of volunteers from the brigade, at the discretion of the Commander in Chief of the State, not exceeding one company of each to a regiment, nor more in number than one eleventh part of the infantry, and shall be uniformly clothed in raiments, to be furnished at their expense, the colour and fashion to be determined by the Brigadier commanding the brigade to which they belong.
I can not recommend to your notice measures for the fulfillment of our duties to the rest of the world without again pressing upon you the necessity of placing ourselves in a condition of complete defense and of exacting from them the fulfillment of their duties toward us. The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that, contrary to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other nation abounds. There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war. The documents which will be presented to you will shew the amount and kinds of arms and military stores now in our magazines and arsenals; and yet an addition even to these supplies can not with prudence be neglected, as it would leave nothing to the uncertainty of procuring warlike apparatus in the moment of public danger.
Nor can such arrangements, with such objects, be exposed to the censure or jealousy of the warmest friends of republican government. They are incapable of abuse in the hands of the militia, who ought to possess a pride in being the depository of the force of the Republic, and may be trained to a degree of energy equal to every military exigency of the United States. But it is an inquiry which can not be too solemnly pursued, whether the act “more effectually to provide for the national defense by establishing an uniform militia throughout the United States” has organized them so as to produce their full effect; whether your own experience in the several States has not detected some imperfections in the scheme, and whether a material feature in an improvement of it ought not to be to afford an opportunity for the study of those branches of the military art which can scarcely ever be attained by practice alone.
When we contemplate the war on our frontiers, it may be truly affirmed that every reasonable effort has been made to adjust the causes of dissension with the Indians north of the Ohio. The instructions given to the commissioners evince a moderation and equity proceeding from a sincere love of peace, and a liberality having no restriction but the essential interests and dignity of the United States. The attempt, however, of an amicable negotiation having been frustrated, the troops have marched to act offensively. Although the proposed treaty did not arrest the progress of military preparation, it is doubtful how far the advance of the season, before good faith justified active movements, may retard them during the remainder of the year. From the papers and intelligence which relate to this important subject you will determine whether the deficiency in the number of troops granted by law shall be compensated by succors of militia, or additional encouragements shall be proposed to recruits.
In the arrangement to which the possibility of a similar contingency will naturally draw your attention it ought not to be forgotten that the militia laws have exhibited such striking defects as could not have been supplied by the zeal of our citizens. Besides the extraordinary expense and waste, which are not the least of the defects, every appeal to those laws is attended with a doubt on its success.
The devising and establishing of a well regulated militia would be a genuine source of legislative honor and a perfect title to public gratitude. I therefore entertain a hope that the present session will not pass without carrying to its full energy the power of organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and thus providing, in the language of the Constitution, for calling them forth to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.
As auxiliary to the state of our defense, to which Congress can never too frequently recur, they will not omit to inquire whether the fortifications which have been already licensed by law be commensurate with our exigencies.
Gentlemen: Among the objects which will claim your attention in the course of the session, a review of our military establishment is not the least important. It is called for by the events which have changed, and may be expected still further to change, the relative situation of our frontiers. In this review you will doubtless allow due weight to the considerations that the questions between us and certain foreign powers are not yet finally adjusted, that the war in Europe is not yet terminated, and that our Western posts, when recovered, will demand provision for garrisoning and securing them. A statement of our present military force will be laid before you by the Department of War.
With the review of our Army establishment is naturally connected that of the militia. It will merit inquiry what imperfections in the existing plan further experience may have unfolded. The subject is of so much moment in my estimation as to excite a constant solicitude that the consideration of it may be renewed until the greatest attainable perfection shall be accomplished. Time is wearing away some advantages for forwarding the object, while none better deserves the persevering attention of the public councils.
While we indulge the satisfaction which the actual condition of our Western borders so well authorizes, it is necessary that we should not lose sight of an important truth which continually receives new confirmations, namely, that the provisions heretofore made with a view to the protection of the Indians from the violences of the lawless part of our frontier inhabitants are insufficient. It is demonstrated that these violences can now be perpetrated with impunity, and it can need no argument to prove that unless the murdering of Indians can be restrained by bringing the murderers to condign punishment, all the exertions of the Government to prevent destructive retaliations by the Indians will prove fruitless and all our present agreeable prospects illusory. The frequent destruction of innocent women and children, who are chiefly the victims of retaliation, must continue to shock humanity, and an enormous expense to drain the Treasury of the Union.
To enforce upon the Indians the observance of justice it is indispensable that there shall be competent means of rendering justice to them. If these means can be devised by the wisdom of Congress, and especially if there can be added an adequate provision for supplying the necessities of the Indians on reasonable terms (a measure the mention of which I the more readily repeat, as in all the conferences with them they urge it with solicitude), I should not hesitate to entertain a strong hope of rendering our tranquillity permanent. I add with pleasure that the probability even of their civilization is not diminished by the experiments which have been thus far made under the auspices of Government. The accomplishment of this work, if practicable, will reflect undecaying luster on our national character and administer the most grateful consolations that virtuous minds can know.
I have heretofore proposed to the consideration of Congress the expediency of establishing a national university and also a military academy. the desirableness of both these institutions has so constantly increased with every new view I have taken of the subject that I can not omit the opportunity of once for all recalling your attention to them.
The institution of a military academy is also recommended by cogent reasons. However pacific the general policy of a nation may be, it ought never to be without an adequate stock of military knowledge for emergencies. The 1st would impair the energy of its character, and both would hazard its safety or expose it to greater evils when war could not be avoided; besides that, war might often not depend upon its own choice. In proportion as the observance of pacific maxims might exempt a nation from the necessity of practicing the rules of the military art ought to be its care in preserving and transmitting, by proper establishments, the knowledge of that art.
Whatever argument may be drawn from particular examples superficially viewed, a thorough examination of the subject will evince that the art of war is at once comprehensive and complicated, that it demands much previous study, and that the possession of it in its most improved and perfect state is always of great moment to the security of a nation. This, therefore, ought to be a serious care of every government, and for this purpose an academy where a regular course of instruction is given is an obvious expedient which different nations have successfully employed.
Whatever argument may be drawn from particular examples superficially viewed, a thorough examination of the subject will evince that the art of war is at once comprehensive and complicated, that it demands much previous study, and that the possession of it in its most improved and perfect state is always of great moment to the security of a nation. This, therefore, ought to be a serious care of every government, and for this purpose an academy where a regular course of instruction is given is an obvious expedient which different nations have successfully employed.
My solicitude to see the militia of the United States placed on an efficient establishment has been so often and so ardently expressed that I shall but barely recall the subject to your view on the present occasion, at the same time that I shall submit to your inquiry whether our harbors are yet sufficiently secured.
The manufacture of arms within the United States still invites the attention of the National Legislature. At a considerable expense to the public this manufacture has been brought to such a state of maturity as, with continued encouragement, will supersede the necessity of future importations from foreign countries.
a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority;
War, indeed, and untoward events, may change this prospect of things, and call for expenses which the imposts could not meet; but sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not perhaps happen but from the temptations offered by that treasure.
A statement has been formed by the secretary of war, on mature consideration, of all the posts and stations where garrisons will be expedient, and of the number of men requisite for each garrison. The whole amount is considerably short of the present military establishment. For the surplus no particular use can be pointed out. For defence against invasion, their number is as nothing; nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for that purpose. Uncertain as we must ever be of the particular point in our circumference where an enemy may choose to invade us, the only force which can be ready at every point and competent to oppose them, is the body of neighboring citizens as formed into a militia. On these, collected from the parts most convenient, in numbers proportioned to the invading foe, it is best to rely, not only to meet the first attack, but if it threatens to be permanent, to maintain the defence until regulars may be engaged to relieve them. These considerations render it important that we should at every session continue to amend the defects which from time to time show themselves in the laws for regulating the militia, until they are sufficiently perfect. Nor should we now or at any time separate, until we can say we have done everything for the militia which we could do were an enemy at our door.
The provisions of military stores on hand will be laid before you, that you may judge of the additions still requisite.
The fortifications of our harbors, more or less advanced, present considerations of great difficulty. While some of them are on a scale sufficiently proportioned to the advantages of their position, to the efficacy of their protection, and the importance of the points within it, others are so extensive, will cost so much in their first erection, so much in their maintenance, and require such a force to garrison them, as to make it questionable what is best now to be done. A statement of those commenced or projected, of the expenses already incurred, and estimates of their future cost, so far as can be foreseen, shall be laid before you, that you may be enabled to judge whether any attention is necessary in the laws respecting this subject.
No change being deemed necessary in our military establishment, an estimate of its expenses for the ensuing year on its present footing, as also sums to be employed in fornications and other objects within that department, has been prepared by the Secretary of War, and will make a part of the general estimates which will be presented you.
Considering that our regular troops are employed for local purposes, and that the militia our general reliance for great and sudden emergencies, you will doubtless think this institution worth of a review, and give those improvements of which you find susceptible.
No circumstances has arisen since your last session which calls for any augmentation of our regular military force. Should any improvement occur in militia system, that will be always seasonable.
In reviewing these injuries from some of the belligerent powers the moderation, the firmness, and the wisdom of the Legislature will all be called into action. We ought still to hope that time and a more correct estimate of interest as well as of character will produce the justice we are bound to expect. But should any nation deceive itself by false calculations and disappointment that expectation, we must join in unprofitable contest of trying which party can do the other the most harm. Some of these injuries may perhaps admit a peaceable remedy. Where that is competent it is always the most desirable. But some of them are of a nature to be met by force only, and all of them may lead to it. I can not, therefore, but recommend such preparations as circumstances call for. The first object is to place our seaport town out of danger of insult. Measures have been already taken for furnishing them with heavy cannon for the service of such land batteries as may make apart of their defense against armed vessels approaching them. In aid of these it is desirable we should have a competent number of gunboats, and the number, to be competent, must be considerable. If immediately begun, they may be in readiness for service at the opening of the next season. Whether it will be necessary to augment our land forces will be decided buy occurrences probably in the course of your session. In the meantime you will consider whether it would not be expedient for a state of peace as well as war so to organize or class the militia as would enable us on any sudden emergency to call for the services of the younger portions unencumbered with the old and those having families. Upward of 300,000 able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 26 years, which the last census shews we may now count within our limits, will furnish a competent number for offense or defense in any point where they may be wanted, and will give time for raising regular forces after the necessity of them shall become certain; and the reducing to the early period of life all its active service can not but be desirable to our younger citizens of the present as well as future times, inasmuch as it engages to them in more advanced age a quiet and undisturbed repose in the bosom of their families. I can not, then, but earnestly recommend to your early consideration the expediency of so modifying our militia system as, by a separation of the more active part from that which is less so, we may draw from it when necessary an efficient corps fit for real and active service, and to be called to it in regular rotation.
The nature of that country requires indispensably that an unusual proportion of the force employed there should be cavalry or mounted infantry. In order, therefore, that the commanding officer might be enabled to act with effect, I had authorized him to call on the governors of Orleans and Mississippi for a corps of five hundred volunteer cavalry. The temporary arrangement he has proposed may perhaps render this unnecessary. But I inform you with great pleasure of the promptitude with which the inhabitants of those territories have tendered their services in defence of their country. It has done honor to themselves, entitled them to the confidence of their fellow-citizens in every part of the Union, and must strengthen the general determination to protect them efficaciously under all circumstances which may occur.
Whether it will be necessary to enlarge our regular force will depend on the result of our negotiation with Spain; but as it is uncertain when that result will be known, the provisional measures requisite for that, and to meet any pressure intervening in that quarter, will be a subject for your early consideration.
The possession of both banks of the Mississippi reducing to a single point the defence of that river, its waters, and the country adjacent, it becomes highly necessary to provide for that point a more adequate security. Some position above its mouth, commanding the passage of the river, should be rendered sufficiently strong to cover the armed vessels which may be stationed there for defence, and in conjunction with them to present an insuperable obstacle to any force attempting to pass. The approaches to the city of New Orleans, from the eastern quarter also, will require to be examined, and more effectually guarded. For the internal support of the country, the encouragement of a strong settlement on the western side of the Mississippi, within reach of New Orleans, will be worthy the consideration of the legislature.
This, fellow citizens, is the state of the public interest at the present moment, and according to the information now possessed. But such is the situation of the nations of Europe, and such too the predicament in which we stand with some of them, that we cannot rely with certainty on the present aspect of our affairs that may change from moment to moment, during the course of your session or after you shall have separated. Our duty is, therefore, to act upon things as they are, and to make a reasonable provision for whatever they may be. Were armies to be raised whenever a speck of war is visible in our horizon, we never should have been without them. Our resources would have been exhausted on dangers which have never happened, instead of being reserved for what is really to take place. A steady, perhaps a quickened pace in preparations for the defence of our seaport towns and waters; an early settlement of the most exposed and vulnerable parts of our country; a militia so organized that its effective portions can be called to any point in the Union, or volunteers instead of them to serve a sufficient time, are means which may always be ready yet never preying on our resources until actually called into use. They will maintain the public interests while a more permanent force shall be in course of preparation. But much will depend on the promptitude with which these means can be brought into activity. If war be forced upon us in spite of our long and vain appeals to the justice of nations, rapid and vigorous movements in its outset will go far toward securing us in its course and issue, and toward throwing its burdens on those who render necessary the resort from reason to force.
The moment our peace was threatened I deemed it indispensable to secure a greater provision of those articles of military stores with which our magazines were not sufficiently furnished. To have awaited a previous and special sanction by law would have lost occasions which might not be retrieved. I did not hesitate, therefore to authorize engagements for such supplements to our existing stock would render it adequate to the emergencies threatening us, and I trust that the legislature, feeling the same anxiety for the safety of our country, so materially advanced by this precaution, will approve, when done, what they would have seen so important to be done if then assembled. Expenses, also unprovided for, arose out of the necessity of calling all our gunboats into actual service for the defense of our harbors; of all which accounts will be laid before you.
When a regular army is to be raised, and to what extent, must depend on the information so shortly expected. In the meantime I have called on the States for quotas of militia, to be in readiness for present defense, and have, moreover, encouraged the acceptance of volunteers; and I am happy to inform you that these have offered themselves with great alacrity in every part of the Union. They are ordered to be organized and ready at a moment’s warning to proceed on any service to which they may be called, and every preparation within the Executive powers has been made to insure us the benefit of earl exertions.
Under the act of the last session for raising an additional military force, so many officers were immediately appointed as were necessary for carrying on the business of recruiting, and in proportion as it advanced, others have been added. We have reason to believe their success has been satisfactory, although such returns have not yet been received as enable me to present to you a statement of the numbers engaged.
I have not thought it necessary in the course of the last season to call for any general detachments of militia or volunteers under the law passed for that purpose. For the ensuing season, however, they will require to be in readiness should their services be wanted. Some small and special detachments have been necessary to maintain the laws of embargo on that portion of our northern frontier which offered peculiar facilities for evasion, but these were replaced as soon as it could be done by bodies of new recruits. By the aid of these, and of the armed vessels called into actual service in other quarters, the spirit of disobedience and abuse which manifested itself early, and with sensible effect while we were unprepared to meet it, has been considerably repressed.
Considering the extraordinary character of the times in which we live, our attention should unremittingly be fixed on the safety of our country. For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security. It is, therefore, incumbent on us, at every meeting, to revise the condition of the militia, and to ask ourselves if it is prepared to repel a powerful enemy at every point of our territories exposed to invasion. Some of the States have paid a laudable attention to this object; but every degree of neglect is to be found among others. Congress alone have power to produce a uniform state of preparation in this great organ of defence; the interests which they so deeply feel in their own and their country’s security will present this as among the most important objects of their deliberation.
Under the acts of March 11th and April 23d, respecting arms, the difficulty of procuring them from abroad, during the present situation and dispositions of Europe, induced us to direct our whole efforts to the means of internal supply. The public factories have, therefore, been enlarged, additional machineries erected, and in proportion as artificers can be found or formed, their effect, already more than doubled, may be increased so as to keep pace with the yearly increase of the militia. The annual sums appropriated by the latter act, have been directed to the encouragement of private factories of arms, and contracts have been entered into with individual undertakers to nearly the amount of the first year’s appropriation.
…to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics–that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe;
To secure us against these dangers our coast and inland frontiers should be fortified, our Army and Navy, regulated upon just principles as to the force of each, be kept in perfect order, and our militia be placed on the best practicab le footing. To put our extensive coast in such a state of defense as to secure our cities and interior from invasion will be attended with expense, but the work when finished will be permanent, and it is fair to presume that a single campaign of invasion by a naval force superior to our own, aided by a few thousand land troops, would expose us to greater expense, without taking into the estimate the loss of property and distress of our citizens, than would be sufficient for this great work. Our land and n aval forces should be moderate, but adequate to the necessary purposes—the former to garrison and preserve our fortifications and to meet the first invasions of a foreign foe, and, while constituting the elements of a greater force, to preserve the s cience as well as all the necessary implements of war in a state to be brought into activity in the event of war; the latter, retained within the limits proper in a state of peace, might aid in maintaining the neutrality of the United States with dignity in the wars of other powers and in saving the property of their citizens from spoliation. In time of war, with the enlargement of which the great naval resources of the country render it susceptible, and which should be duly fostered in time of peace, it would contribute essentially, both as an auxiliary of defense and as a powerful engine of annoyance, to diminish the calamities of war and to bring the war to a speedy and honorable termination.
But it ought always to be held prominently in view that the safety of these States and of everything dear to a free people must depend in an eminent degree on the militia. Invasions may be made too formidable to be resisted by any land and naval force which it would comport either with the principles of our Government or the circumstances of the United States to maintain. In such cases recourse must be had to the great body of the people, and in a manner to produce the best effect. It is of the highest importance, therefore, that they be so organized and trained as to be prepared for any emergency. The arrangement should be such as to put at the command of the Government the ardent patriotism and youthful vigor of the country. If formed on equal and just principles, it can not be oppressive. It is the crisis which makes the pressure, and not the laws which provide a remedy for it. This arrangement should be formed, too, in time of peace, to be the better prepared for war. With such an organization of such a people the United States have nothing to dread from foreign invasion. At its approach an overwhelming force of gallant men might always be put in motion.
SEC. 23. Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defence of himself and the State.
SEC. 24. No standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the General Assembly; and, in that case, no appropriation of money for its support shall be for a longer term than one year; and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.
SEC. 1. The General Assembly shall provide, by law, for organizing and disciplining the militia of this state, in such manner as they shall deem expedient, not incompatible with the constitution and laws of the United States in relation thereto.
SEC. 2. Any person who conscientiously scruples to bear arms shall not be compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal service.
SEC. 3. The Governor shall have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the state, to suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.
The next day (13th.) the assembly pressed on the king to send away the troops, to permit the Bourgeoisie of Paris to arm for the preservation of order in the city, and offer to send a deputation from their body to tranquillize them; but their propositions were refused.
The news of this change began to be known at Paris about 1. or 2. o’clock. In the afternoon a body of about 100 German cavalry were advanced and drawn up in the Place Louis XV. and about 200. Swiss posted at a little distance in their rear. This drew people to the spot, who thus accidentally found themselves in front of the troops, merely at first as spectators; but as their numbers increased, their indignation rose. They retired a few steps, and posted themselves on and behind large piles of stones, large and small, collected in that Place for a bridge which was to be built adjacent to it. In this position, happening to be in my carriage on a visit, I passed thro’ the lane they had formed, without interruption. But the moment after I had passed, the people attacked the cavalry with stones. They charged, but the advantageous position of the people, and the showers of stones obliged the horse to retire, and quit the field altogether, leaving one of their number on the ground, & the Swiss in their rear not moving to their aid. This was the signal for universal insurrection, and this body of cavalry, to avoid being massacred, retired towards Versailles. The people now armed themselves with such weapons as they could find in armorer’s shops and private houses, and with bludgeons, and were roaming all night thro’ all parts of the city, without any decided object. The next day (13th.) the assembly pressed on the king to send away the troops, to permit the Bourgeoisie of Paris to arm for the preservation of order in the city, and offer to send a deputation from their body to tranquillize them; but their propositions were refused. A committee of magistrates and electors of the city are appointed by those bodies to take upon them it’s government. The people, now openly joined by the French guards, force the prison of St. Lazare, release all the prisoners, and take a great store of corn, which they carry to the Corn-market. Here they get some arms, and the French guards begin to form & train them. The City-committee determined to raise 48.000. Bourgeoise, or rather to restrain their numbers to 48.000. On the 14th. they send one of their members (Mons. de Corny) to the Hotel des Invalides, to ask arms for their Garde-Bourgeoise. He was followed by, and he found there a great collection of people. The Governor of the Invalids came out and represented the impossibility of his delivering arms without the orders of those from whom he received them. De Corny advised the people then to retire, and retired himself; but the people took possession of the arms. It was remarkable that not only the Invalids themselves made no opposition, but that a body of 5000. foreign troops, within 400. yards, never stirred. M. de Corny and five others were then sent to ask arms of M. de Launay, governor of the Bastile. They found a great collection of people already before the place, and they immediately planted a flag of truce, which was answered by a like flag hoisted on the Parapet. The deputation prevailed on the people to fall back a little, advanced themselves to make their demand of the Governor, and in that instant a discharge from the Bastile killed four persons, of those nearest to the deputies.
About 60.000 citizens of all forms and conditions, armed with the muskets of the Bastile and Invalids, as far as they would go, the rest with pistols, swords, pikes, pruning hooks, scythes &c. lined all the streets thro’ which the procession passed, and with the crowds of people in the streets, doors & windows, saluted them everywhere with cries of “vive la nation,” but not a single “vive le roy” was heard.
As soon as the war had terminated, the nation, admonished by its events, resolved to place itself in a situation which should be better calculated to prevent the recurrence of a like evil, and, in case it should recur, to mitigate its calamities. With this view, after reducing our land force to the basis of a peace establishment, which has been further modified since, provision was made for the construction of fortifications at proper points through the whole extent of our coast and su ch an augmentation of our naval force as should be well adapted to both purposes. The laws making this provision were passed in 1815 and 1816, and it has been since the constant effort of the Executive to carry them into effect.
The advantage of these fortifications and of an augmented naval force in the extent contemplated, in a point of economy, has been fully illustrated by a report of the Board of Engineers and Naval Commissioners lately communicated to Congress, by which it appears that in an invasion by 20,000 men, with a correspondent naval force, in a campaign of six months only, the whole expense of the construction of the works would be defrayed by the difference in the sum necessary to maintain the force which would be adequate to our defense with the aid of those works and that which would be incurred without them. The reason of this difference is obvious. If fortifications are judiciously placed on our great inlets, as distant from our cities as circumstances will permit, they will form the only points of attack, and the enemy will be detained there by a small regular force a sufficient time to enable our militia to collect and repair to that on which the attack is made. A force adequate to the enemy, collected at that single point, with suitable preparation for such others as might be menaced, is all that would be requisite. But if there were no fortifications, then the enemy might go where he pleased, and, changing his position and sailing from place to place, our force must be called out and spread in vast numbers along the whole coast and on both sides of every bay and river as high up in each as it might be navigable for ships of war. By these fortifications, supported by our Navy, to which they would afford like support, we should present to other powers an armed front from St. Croix to the Sabine, which would protect in the event of war our whole coast and interior from invasion; and even in the wars of other powers, in which we were neutral, they would be found eminently useful, as, by keeping their public ships at a distance from our cities, peace and order in them would be preserved and the Government be protected from insult.
…that the military should be kept in strict subordination to the civil power;
The great features of its policy, in general concurrence with the will of the Legislature, have been to cherish peace while preparing for defensive war; to yield exact justice to other nations and maintain the rights of our own; to cherish the principles of freedom and of equal rights wherever they were proclaimed; to discharge with all possible promptitude the national debt; to reduce within the narrowest limits of efficiency the military force; to improve the organization and discipline of the Army; to provide and sustain a school of military science;
Considering standing armies as dangerous to free governments in time of peace, I shall not seek to enlarge our present establishment, nor disregard that salutary les son of political experience which teaches that the military should be held subordinate to the civil power. The gradual increase of our Navy, whose flag has displayed in distant climes our skill in navigation and our fame in arms; the preservation of our forts, arsenals, and dockyards, and the introduction of progressive improvements in the discipline and science of both branches of our military service are so plainly prescribed by prudence that I should be excused for omitting their mention sooner than for enlarging on their importance. But the bulwark of our defense is the national militia, which in the present state of our intelligence and population must render us invincible. As long as our Government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of person and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending; and so long as it is worth defending a patriotic militia will cover it with an impenetrable aegis. Partial injuries and occasional mortifications we may be subjected to, but a million of armed freemen, possessed of the means of war, can never be conquered by a foreign foe. To any just system, therefore, calculated to strengthen this natural safeguard of the country I shall cheerfully lend all the aid in my power.
It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.
THOUGHTS ON FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL DEFENSE
While I am thus endeavoring to press upon your attention the principles which I deem of vital importance in the domestic concerns of the country, I ought not to pass over, without notice, the important considerations which should govern your policy toward foreign powers. It is, unquestionably, our true interest to cultivate the most friendly understanding with every nation and to avoid by every – honorable means the calamities of war; and we shall best attain object by frankness and sincerity in our foreign intercourse, by prompt and faithful execution of treaties, and by justice and tialitv in our conduct to all. But no nation, however desirous of can hope to escape occasional collisions with other powers; and soundest dictates of policy require that we should place a condition to assert our rights if a resort to force should necessary. Our local situation, our long line of seacoast, numerous bays, with deep rivers opening into the interior, as our extended and still increasing commerce, point to the natural means of defense. It will, in the end, be found to be the cheapest and most effectual; and now is the time, in a season of peace, and with an overflowing revenue, that we can, year after year, add to its strength without increasing the burdens of the people. It is your true policy. For your navy will not only protect your rich and flourishing commerce in distant seas, but will enable you to reach and annoy the enemy and will give to defense its greatest efficiency by meeting danger at a distance from home. It is impossible by any line of fortifications to guard every point from attack against a hostile force advancing from the ocean and selecting its object; but they are indispensable to protect cities from bombardment, dock yards and naval arsenals from destruction; to give shelter to merchant vessels in time of war, and to single ships or weaker squadrons when pressed by superior force. Fortifications of this description cannot be too soon completed and armed and placed in a condition of the most perfect preparation. The abundant means we now possess cannot be applied in any manner more useful to the country; and when this is done and our naval force sufficiently strengthened and our militia armed, we need not fear that any nation will wantonly insult us or needlessly provoke hostilities. We shall more certainly preserve peace when it is well understood that we are prepared for war.