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on many inland hills, were still seen tall posts, surmounted by barrels. Once tlmse barrels had been filled with pitch. Watchmen had been set round them in seasons of danger; and, within a few hours after a Spanish sail had been discovered in the Channel, or after a thousandScottish mosstroopers had crossed the Tweed, the signal fires were blazing fifty miles off, and whole counties were rising in arms. But many years had now elapsed since the beacons had been lighted; and they were regarded rather as curious relics of ancient manners than as parts of a machinery necessary to the safety of the state.‘
The only army which the law recognised was the militia. That force had been remodelled by two Acts of Parliament passed shortly after the Restoration. Every man who possessed five hundred pounds a year derived from land, or six thousand pounds of personal estate, was bound to provide, equip, and pay, at his own charge, one horseman. Every man who had fifty pounds a year derived from land, or six hundred pounds of personal estate, was charged in like manner with one pikeman or mus_ keteer. Smaller proprietors were joined together in a kind of society, for which our language does not afford a special name, but which an Athenian would have called a Synteleia; and each society was required to furnish, according to its means, a horse soldier or a foot soldier. The whole number of cavalry and infantry thus maintained was popularly estimated at a hundred and thirty thousand men. 1'
The King was, by the ancient constitution of the realm, and by the recent and solemn acknowledgment of both Houses of Parliament, the sole Captain General of this large force. The Lords Lieutenants and their Deputies held the command under him, and appointed meetings for drilling and inspection. The time occupied by such meetings, however, was not to exceed fourteen days in one year. The J ustices of the Peace were authorised to inflict slight penalties for breaches of discipline. Of the ordinary cost no part was paid by the crown: but, when the trainbands were called out against an enemy, their subsistence became a charge on the general revenue of the state, and they were subject to the utmost rigour of martial law.
* Chamberlayne's State of Car. II. c. 4. Chamberhiyne’s
England, 1684. State of England, 1684. 1' 13 8c 14 Car. II. c. 3.; l5
There were those who looked on the militia with no friendly eye. Men who had travelled much on the Continent, who had marvelled at the stern precision with which every sentinel moved and spoke in the citadels built by Vauban, who had seen the mighty armies which poured along all the roads of. Germany to chase the Ottoman from the gates of Vienna, and who had been dazzled by the well ordered pomp of the household troops of Lewis, sneered much at the way in which the peasants of Devonshire and Yorkshire marched and wheeled, shouldered muskets and ported pikes. The enemies of the liberties and religion of England looked with aversion on a force which could not, without extreme risk, be employed against those liberties and that religion, and missed no opportunity of throwing ridicule on the rustic soldiery."i Enlightened patriots, when they contrasted these rude levies with the battalions which, in time of war, a few hours might bring to the coast of Kent or Sussex, were forced to acknowledge that, dangerous as it might be to keep up a permanent military establishment, it might be more dangerous still to stake the honour and independence of the country onthe result of a contest between ploughmen oflicered by Justices of the Peace, and veteran warriors led by Marshals of France. In Parliament, however, it was necessary to express such opinions with some reserve; for the militia was an institution eminently popular. Every reflection thrown on it excited the indignation of both the great parties in the state, and especially of that party which was distinguished by peculiar zeal for monarchy and for the Anglican Church. The array of the counties was commanded almost exclusively by Tory noblemen and gentlemen. They were proud of their military rank, and considered an insult offered to the service to which they belonged as offered to themselves. They were also perfectly aware that whatever was said against a militia was said in favour of a standing army; and the name of standing army was hateful to them. One such army had held dominion in England; and under that dominion the King had been murdered, the nobility degraded, the landed gentry plundered, the Church persecuted. There was scarcely a rural grandee who could not tell a story of wrongs and insults suffered by himself, or by his father, at the hands of the parliamentary soldiers. One old Cavalier had seen half his manor house blown up The hereditary elms of another had been hewn down. A third could never go into his parish church without being reminded by the defaced scutcheons and headless statues of his ancestry, that Oliver’s redcoats had once stabled their horses there. The consequence was that those very Royalists, who were most ready to fight for the King themselves, were the last persons whom he could venture to ask for the means of hiring regular troops.
" Dryden, in his Cymon and Iphigenia, expressed, with his usual keenness and energy, the sentiments which had been fashionable among the sycophants of James the Second: —
“The country rings around with loud
slurmh And nw In fields the rude militia swarm"
Mouths without hands. maintained It vast expense,
In peace I charge. in war a weak defence.
Stout once u month they march, a blustering band,
And ever, but in time of need, I! humi.
This was the mom when. isming on the guard.
Drawn up in rank and file, they stood prepared
0! seeming arms to make a short any.
Then hasten to be drunk, thl business til the My."
Charles, however, had, a few months after his restoration, begun to form a small standing army. He felt that, without some better protection than that of the trainbands and beefeaters, his palace and person would hardly be secure, in the vicinity of a great city swarming with warlike Fifth Monarchy men who had just been disbanded. He therefore, careless and profuse as he was, contrived to spare from his pleasures a sum sufficient to keep up a body of guards. With the increase of trade and of public wealth his revenues increased; and he was thus enabled, in spite of the occasional murmurs of the Commons, to make gradual additions to his regular forces. One considerable addition was made a. few months before the close of his reign. The costly, useless, and pestilential settlement of Tangier was abandoned to the barbarians who dwelt around it; and the garrison, consisting of one regiment of horse and two regiments of foot, was brought to England.
The little army formed by Charles the Second was the germ of that great and renowned army which has, in the present century, marched triumphant into Madrid and Paris, into Canton and Candahar. The Life Guards, who now form two regiments, were then distributed into three troops, each of which consisted of two hundred carabineers, exclusive of officers. This corps, to which the safety of the King and royal fa— mily was confided, had a very peculiar character. Even the privates were designated as gentlemen of the Guard. Many of them were of good families, and had held commissions in the civil war. Their pay was far higher than that of the most favoured regiment of our time, and would in that age have been thought a respectable provision for the younger son of a country squire. Their fine horses, their rich housings, their cuirasses, and their buff coats adorned with ribands, velvet, and gold lace, made a splendid appearance in Saint James’s Park. A small body of
VOL. I x
grenadier dragoons, who came from a lower class and received lower pay, was attached to each troop. Another body of household cavalry distinguished by blue coats and cloaks, and still called the Blues, was generally quartered in the neighbourhood of the capital. Near the capital lay also the corps which is now designated as the first regiment of dragoons, but which was then the only regiment of dragoons on the English establishment. It had recently been formed out of the cavalry which had returned from Tangier. A single troop of dragoons, which did not form part of any regiment, was stationed near Berwick, for the purpose of keeping the peace among the mosstroopers 0f the border. For this species of service the dragoon was then thought to be peculiarly qualified. He has since become a mere horse soldier. But in the seventeenth century he was accurately described by Montecuculi as a foot soldier who used a horse only in order to arrive with more speed at the place where military service was to be performed.
The household infantry consisted of two regiments, which were then, as now, called the first regiment of Foot Guards, and the Coldstream Guards. They generally did duty near Whitehall and Saint J ames’s Palace. As there were then no barracks, and as, by the Petition of Right, it had been declared unlawful to quarter soldiers on private families, the redcoats filled all the alehouses of Westminster and the Strand.
There were five other regiments of foot. One of these, called the Admiral’s Regiment, was especially destined to service on board of the fleet. The remaining four still rank as the first four regiments of the line. Two of these represented two brigades which had long sustained on the Continent the fame of British valour. The first, or Royal regiment, had, under the great Gustavus, borne a conspicuous part in the deliverance of Germany. The third regiment, distinguished by fleshcoloured facings, from which it