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A PLEI FOR THE MILITIA.
BY TWO MILITIAYEN.
A S Canadians, we are proud of our stand the crucial test of war; we have .
no manufactories for warlike material, is not on the surface, and possibly re- and no internal resources for their imquires the positive stimulus of a mediate creation. We have not even * Trent Difficulty,' or the negative in- arms and ammunition enough to supfluence of a Times article, before its ply a single army corps in the field latent depths are stirred. But the and to organize its reserve, should hosnational feeling exists. We are justly tilities commence now. Nothing could proud of our position as the first be done, therefore, without Britain's colony of the Empire, and of our com- aid, save to submit peacefully to the mercial rank among the nations of first power that attempted forcible the world. It is our boast that we annexation. have a commercial marine only sur- Now, is this a condition that should passed in numbers and tonnage by be acquiesced in by a free people, acfour of the leading nations of the customed to the exercise of the fullest earth. We have a territory richer in civil and religious liberty? The mervegetable and mineral wealth, and chant who will not insure his life larger in area, than any of the king against accident, or his property against doms of Europe. We have a hardy fire, is blameworthy, should he suffer and intelligent population, and the loss by these means. The nation which freest institutions on the face of the declines or neglects to protect its globe. How should we maintain those liberties in not providing for their derights, protect our liberties, and retain fence by all means within its power, is our possessions, were Great Britain's equally reprehensible. naval and military assistance withheld Contrast our position with that or withdrawn? We have no navy to of some of the smaller European protect our ships ; we have developed Powers : no sufficient military organization to
3,727,000 3,967,263 2,669,147 4,393,291 1,817,237 1,910,400 1,457,864 3,580,310 sq.m. 13,680 sq. m. 15,991 sq. m. 171,750 sq.m. 122, 280 sq.m. 15,504 sq. m 19,941 sq. m.
£4,500,000 £3,642,556 £1,580,640 £4,340,000 £2,177,200 £2,584,000 £1,358,971 £290,000 £1,541,909 £586,237 £925,000
£1,114,000 £336,757 61,947 men 84,369 7,885
12,750 peace 37,000 14,061 *50,069
131 18,000 war
291 9, 200 men
• 3 classes.
From these figures it appears that,
accustomed to ask the question, Why with a population almost equal, and a expend money to support a militia revenue half as large as the Nether- that in peace is not required, and in lands, we spend less than one-seventh war would be inadequate as a protecas much for military and naval pur- tion against invasion?' Let our hisposes, and train for such services less tory answer this question. than one-fourth the number of men. Barely twelve years after the strugWe have no ships of war; she has gle which terminated in the cession of sixty-seven, some of first-class power ; Canada to the British, the arms of the and yet her mercantile marine only rebellious American colonies were dinumbers 1,835 vessels, of 526,527 rected against Canada. At that time tonnage, while we have 6,952 vessels, there were only about 500 British of 1,205,565 tons burden! Denmark, troops in the colony, but General with about half our population and Carleton embodied some 1,800 militia revenue, trains annually double the and garrisoned Quebec, defeating the number of men that we do, and has a attempt of the enemy to carry the small and well appointed navy.
fortress by storm on the 30th DecemAnother striking comparison may ber, 1775, and holding it until the arbe made in the amount paid for mili- rival of British reinforcements on the tary purpose per head of population 6th May, 1776.
All the country, annually in different countries. For west of Quebec, had been overrun by example, in Great Britain the people the Americans, and had not the miliare taxed $6.86 per head per annum, tia proved loyal, in spite of the tempin France $4.50 per head, in Prussia tations offered them by the various $2.20 per head, and in the United proclamations of the American GeneStates (exclusive of the cost of the rals, it is probable that, at the present State Militia) $1.39 per head, while in time, Canada would have been one of Canada we only burden ourselves with the States of the Union. This time, the trifling tax of 14 cents per head therefore, the steady valour and loyof our population for militia purposes. alty of the Canadian militia, preserved Certainly no Canadian would object to Canada to the British Crown. that tax being doubled or quadrupled. In 1812 the Americans attacked
It is not necessary to force these Canada with two corps, numbering comparisons to an application. There 13,300 men. The British troops in are many circumstances which prevent the Province were but 4,500 strong, a comparison with the states of Eu- nearly 3,000 of whom were in garrirope. It is merely to point the fact, son at Quebec and Montreal, only that other nations having small popu- 1,500 being in Upper Canada. From lations and resources, do more to en- the capture of Michilimacinac, the sure their national rights and liberties first blow of the campaign, down to its than we do. And it is beyond the close, the militia took their share in power of the most prophetic soul to every military operation. Of the force say that our rights and liberties may that captured Detroit with its garrinot be invaded.
son of 2,500 men, scarcely 300 were The question is, how are our means regular troops. Brock had but 1,200 of defence to be developed at the least men to oppose 6,300 Americans on the cost to a young and struggling people, Niagara frontier, and more than half both in the matter of money, and of were militia ; yet he confronted the time? There is only one way by which enemy, and in the gallant action in a defensive organization can be main
which he lost his life, left an imperishtained, adequately and inexpensively, able record of the steady valour with and that is by means of a militia. which Canadians can defend their But many of our fellow-citizens are country.
At that time the population
of Upper Canada, capable of bearing arms, did not exceed 10,000 men, yet the Province supplied 5,455 officers and men as its contingent for service during the war.
In 1813, Canada was menaced by three separate armies, numbering over 30,000 men. The British force consisted of 13,000 regulars, and 15,000 militia, scattered over a frontier a thousand miles long. The Americans overran Upper Canada for a while, but by the end of the campaign had been driven across the border. At Chateauguay, Col. de Salaberry showed of what stuff our militia was made. The American force consisted of 7,000 infantry, 10 guns, and 250 cavalry. The Canadian force, under de Salaberry, was about 1,000 strong-nearly half of whom took no part in the battle- and yet he totally defeated and drove back a force eight times his strength. Of this action, General Sir James Carmichael Smyth says: * The affair upon the Chateauguay River is remarkable as having been fought, on the British side, almost entirely by Canadians. The Republicans were repulsed by a very inferior number of Canadian militia, and of troops raised in Canada, thus affording a practical proof of the good disposition of the Canadians, and the possibility, to say nothing of the policy, of improving the Canadian militia, so as to be fully equal in discipline and instruction to any American troops that may be brought against them at any future opportunity. He also says, 'Not a single Canadian militiaman was known to desert to the enemy, during the three years the war continued. the end of the war, the Americans had gained no foothold upon Canadian territory, and were forced to postpone that conquest of Canada, originally undertaken as a military promenade.' Yet at that time the entire population of Canada did not exceed 300,000, while that of the United States was over 8,000,000,-an odds of 27 to 1 against us.
For the second time,
therefore, the efforts of the Canadian militia largely contributed to the preservation of Canada to the Crown.
During 1837, in Upper Canada alone, with a population of 450,000, there were 40,000 militia enrolled, in the expectation of a war being provoked by the action of the too active sympathisers with the Rebels. Of this number there were 16 battalions and 35 companies of cavalry, artillery, and riflemen, placed on active service, several of whom did military duty for some years
afterward. In 1862, when the Trent difficulty' rendered a war with the United States a matter of extreme probability, the alacrity with which the Canadian militia sprung to arms, resolving to abide by all consequences rather than that their dearly loved flag should be insulted with impunity, no doubt had its influence in securing the submission and apology that was made by the American Government.
In 1865, it became necessary, in order to restrain the Southerners resident in Canada from making our territory a basis for warlike operations, to place corps of observation at certain points on the frontier. These battalions were formed from the elite of our militia and they became, after a few months' duty, equal to any soldiery in the world. How could we at that time have sustained our International obligations, had we no militia ?
From 1866 to 1870 came the Fenian raids. How serious would these small matters have become had we not had our militia ready to repel such attacks! Those who now cavil at the expense, and argue against the necessity of the Force, were in those days the first to recognize their usefulness, and to seek to place the militia between themselves and the enemy. In twenty-four hours from the call for active service, 33,754 militiamen had come forward, upwards of 8,000 in excess of the quota allowed by the Militia Act, and 13,000 more than had been on the
strength of companies in the preced- Every male subject, at the age of ing year.
22, has to assemble in his military In 1869, our militia took a part in district for the purpose of conscripthe expedition to Red River, and, by tion. They are then sorted for the their soldierlike qualities and cheerful various arms—the smallest or weakest endurance, won such high considera- never being called upon for duty in tion from their gallant commander time of peace, and the physically inthat in the wilds of Ashanti he wished capable being rejected altogether. for those two corps of Canadian mili- About 40 per company are selected tiamen, when the picked regiments of for active service, and are, to all in. Imperial troops were at his disposal. tents and purposes, regular soldiers
Since 1870, have not the Guibord for sixteen months, and after that riots and the 12th of July outrages in time are incorporated with those men Montreal; the Grand Trunk riot at of their year, not called upon for serBelleville and elsewhere on the line ; vice, as a reserve, to be called upon in the pilgrimage riots in Toronto, and case of need. These reserves half a dozen other occasions in which formed into battalions, of which it military aid has been invoked to en- will be seen forty per cent are drilled force the civil power, proved suffi- ' men. When a man has been in the ciently the imperative necessity for reserve for ten years, he goes into the the maintenance in our midst of a second reserve, and is not called upon for body of armed and disciplined mili- | duty, unless the first reserve is drained tia, who regard their duty as soldiers by war. Officers obtain commissions first, and their prejudices and feelings only upon examination, and are prolast?
moted by seniority,--promotions in Suppose that we take it for granted the Artillery and Engineers being that a militia is a necessary adjunct based upon the number of marks to Government, even in a country gained by those who are entitled to where the people have an hereditary compete, and appointments being respect for the majesty of the law. made to the Staff from those who pass l'pon what principle, and what de- the best examinations. In some cases, tail, shall we render that constitu- however, these promotions are made tional force at once inexpensive and by merit. Non-commissioned officers efficient? There are three ways af- above the rank of corporals enlist for forded us by precedent. First, the eight years, after which time they are old feudal system, making the land, entirely exempt from military service. through its owners, responsible for Corporals are selected from among the the forthcoming of a certain force. recruits of the year, and are kept on This was the system in Canada prior duty for two years, by which time the to the conquest, and which, singularly new non-commissioned officers are fairenough, was engrafted upon British ly able for duty. law by the Quebec Act. Second—the
The Danish army is composed of: ballot, which is the law of this coun
Cavalry-1 Regiment Life Guards. try, though suspended in its opera
Hussars. tion by the present system of volun
Dragoons. tury enlistment. The nearest approach to our system
Artillery—30 Batteries (8 guns each.) as defined by law, is that in force in Engineers---18 Companies. Denmark, which is based upon the
Infantry_1 Battalion Life Guards. liability of all able-bodied men to
22 Battalions (4 Compan
ies each.) serve, but adopts the ballot as a practice. Let us glance at its working
Or a total of 37,000 of all ranks. and results.
The third system is that wherein the
entire male population takes it in turn it will neither shrinknor give way under to serve, as in Switzerland, a country the pressure of war.
Therefore we apwhich has for centuries presented the peal to our legislators, and to our edifying spectacle of a nation deter- countrymen at large, to give the matmined to be independent, but never to ter serious and instant consideration. interfere with its neighbours—an ex- To have an efficient militia, sufficient ample it would be well for us to fol- funds must be provided to carry on low.
the work regularly. It will not do to With exception of the clergy and spend two millions in one year, and certain civil functionaries, every Swiss half a million in the next. The vote is a soldier. From the age of 19 to should be a standing sum, and not that of 44 he may be at any time subject to legislative caprice, or cheesecalled upon for military service. But paring administration. Let the counpractically a man passes into the re- try decide, once for all, what it can serve or Landwchr, at about 28 to 30, afford to spend annually for defensive serving his time in the elite or first purposes, and then hold those persons line, before that age. As soon as a responsible for its proper expenditure
, youth attains the age of 19 he is at- who are also responsible for the tached to a battalion in his canton and efficiency of the Force. there undergoes 28 days' drill for the It is difficult to understand on what first year, and eight days' drill in the grounds the successive Governments succeeding years.
If he is suitable he have been so parsimonious in reference is placed in the engineers or artillery, to militia expenditure. There is no and then undergoes 42 days' training item in the Public Accounts less for the first and 14 days in the suc- grudged by the masses of the people ceeding years.
Riflemen are trained than that devoted to the support of the for 35 days the first, and 14 the follow- militia ; there is no outlay that is dising years.
tributed so evenly over the countryStaff officers are obliged to pass and there is little doubt but that any through the military school at Thun, Government would be liberally supas are also the officers of engineers and ported in a generous policy towards artillery. Regimental staff officers the force. also pass examinations on promotion. Members of Parliament have said The military college at Thun is self
that the country would not submit sustaining
to an increased expenditure for miliThe élite or first line, numbers 84,
This is either found369 of all ranks, the reserve or second ed on ignorance of the real feelings of line 50,069, of all ranks, and the the Canadian people, or is but a shalLandwehr or third line, 65,981 of all low pretence. Have we not seen year ranks; the first two (in round num- after year Municipal Councils all over bers 140,000 men) being armed and the country voting large sums to their equipped.
local volunteer corps to supplement Thus we see what can be accom- the Government Grants? Do not the plished in the way of defensive organi- Municipalities meet the Government zation, by smaller nations, with lesser half way and build handsome drill revenues than our own.
What are sheds, of which they pay a large porwe to do towards the same end ? No tion of the cost ? The municipal bodies hurried extension of our present sys- are not bound to expend these sums, tem is necessary or would be prudent. it is no part of their duty any more Armies are not made in a day, nor can than that they should give grants to the a military system be perfected in a year. customs and the post office, or for the But the framework must be built in time erection of light-houses. This liberalof peace, npon such solid foundations that ity is the most conclusive proof that