Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

URING the infancy of a nation, every member depends on his own industry for procura ing the necessaries of life i he is his own mason, his own tailor, his own physician ; and on him. self he chiefly relies for offence as well as defence. Every favage can say, what few beggars among us can say, Omnia mea mecum porto ; and hence the aptitude of a savage for war, which makes little alteration in his manner of living. In early times accordingly, the men were all warriors, and VOL. II.


every known art was exercised by women; which continues to be the case of American savages. And even after arts were so much improved as to be exercised by men, none who could bear arms were exempted from war. In feudal governments, the military spirit was carried to a great height : all gentlemen were soldiers by profession; and every other art was despised, as low, if not contemptible.

Even in the unnatural state of the feudal system, arts made some progress, not excepting those for amusement ; and many conveniencies, formerly unknown, became necefsary to comfortable living. A man accustomed to manifold conveniencies, cannot bear with patience to be deprived of them: he hates war, and clings to the sweets of peace. Hence the necessity of a military establishment, hardening men by ftri&t discipline to endure the fatigues of war.' By a standing army, war is car. ried on more regularly and scientifically than in a feudal government; but as it is carried on with in. finitely greater expence, nations are more reserved in declaring war than formerly. Long experience has at the fame time made it evident, that a nation feldom gains by 'war ; and that agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, are the only folid foundations of power and grandeur. Thefe arts accordingly have become the chief objects of European governments, and the only rational Gauses of war. Among the warlike nations of Greece and Italy, how would it have founded, that their effeminate defcendents would employ foldiers by profession to fight their battles! And yet this is unavoidable in every country where arts and manufactures flourish ; which, requiring little exercise, tend to enervate the body, and of course the mind. Gain, at the fame time, being the fole object of industry, advances selfishness to be the ruling paffion, and brings on a timid anxiety about property and self-preservation. Cyrus, though enflamed


hervate the han requiring live and manu.

with resentment against the Lydians for revolting, listened to the following advice, offered by Crasus, their former King. *66 Cyrus, destroy s6 not Sardis, an ancient city, famous for arts and « arms; but, pardoning what is part, demand so all their arms, encourage luxury, and exhort $them to instruct their children in every art of 6. gainful commerce. You will soon see, King, so that instead of men, they will be. women.” The Arabians, a brave and generous people, conquered Spain ; and drove into the inaccessible mountains of Biscay and Asturia, the few natives who stood out. When no longer an enemy appeared, they turned their swords into ploughshares, and became a rich and flourishing nation. The inhabitants of the mountains, hardened by poverty and fituatia on, ventured, after a long interval, to peep out from their strong holds, and to lie in wait for ftraggling parties. Finding themselves now 'a match for a people, whom opulence had betrayed to lt. xury and the arts of peace to 'cowardice; they took courage to difplay their banners in the open field; and after many military atchievements, succeeded in conquering Spain. The Scots, inhabit. ing the mountainous parts of Caledonia, weré an overmatch for the Piếts, whoroccupied the fertile plains, and at last fubdued them*.

ijo Benjamin de Tudele, a Spanish Jew, who wrote in the twelfth century, obferves, that by luxury and -; rel . *.B 2: The

B e atles effeminady

* Before the time that all Scotland was brought under one king, the highlanders, divided into tribes or clans, made war upon each other; and çonti. nued the fame practice irregularly many ages after they fubmitted to the king of Scotland. Open war was repreffed, but it went on privately by depredations and reprisals, The clan-fpirit was much depressed by their þad success in the 'rebellion 1915; and totally crushed by the like bad fuccess 'in the rebellion 1745. The mildness with which the highlanders have been created of late, and the pains that have been taken to in. troduce industry among the i,' have totally extirpated depredations and reprisals, and have rendered them the 'moft peaceable people in Scotlands hut have fat the same time reduced their military fpirit to a low ebb. To train them for war, military discipline has now become no lers' necefny than to others,

effeminacy the Greeks had contracted a degree of softness, more proper for women than for men ; and that the Greek Emperor was reduced to the necessity of employing mercenary troops, to defend his country against the Turks. In the year 14534 the city of Constantinople, defended by a garrison not exceeding 6000 men, was besieged by the Turks, and reduced to extremity; yet not a single inhabitant had courage to take arms, all waiting with torpid despondence the hour of utter extirpation. Venice, Genoa, and other small Italian states, became for: efferninate by long and fuccessful commerce, that not a citizen ever thought of; serving in the army; which obliged them to employ mercenaries, officers as well as private mer, These mercenaries, at first, fought conscientiously for their pay; but reflecting, that the victors were no better paid: than the vanquished, they learned to play booty. In a battle particularly between the Pisans and Florentines, which lasted from sun-rising to sun-setting, there was but a single man lost, who, having accidentally fallen from his horse, was trodden under foot.. Men at that time fought on chorseback, covered with iron from head to heel. Machiável nientions a battle between the Florentines and Venetians which lasted half a day, neither party giving ground; some horses wounded, not á man flainat. He observes, that such cow: ardice, and disorder was in the armies of those times, that the turning of a single horse either to charge or retreat, would have decided a battle. Charles VIII. of France, when he invaded Italy, anno 1498, understood not such mock battles, and his men were held to be devils incarnate, who seemed to take delight in shedding human blood.' The Dutch; who for many years have been reduced to mercenary troops, are more indebted to the mutual jealousy of their neighbours for their independence, than to their own army. In the year

t. 1672, 1672, Lewis of France invaded Holland, and in forty days took forty walled towns. That country was faved, not by its army, but by being laid - under water. Frost, which is usual at that sea. son, would have put an end to the seven United Provinces.

The small principality of Palmyrą is the only instance known in history, where the military fpirit was not enervated by opulence, Pliny delcribes that country as extremely pleasant, and blessed with plenty of springs, though surrounded with dry and fandy deserts. The commerce of the Indies was at that time carried on by land; and the city of Palmyra was the centre of that commerce between the East and the West. Its territory being very small, little more than fuffi. cient for villas and pleasure-grounds, the inhabitants, like those of Hamburgh, had no way to einploy their riches for profit but in trade. At the same time, being situated between the two mighty empires of Rome and Parthia ; it required great address and the most affiduous military discipline, to guard it from being swallowed up by the one or the other. This ticklish situation preserved the inhabitants from luxury and effeninacy, the usual concomitants of riches. Their superfluous wealth was laid out on magnificent buildings, and on em: bellishing their country-seats. The fine arts were .. among them carried to a high degree of perfection. The famous Zenobia, their Queen, being led captive to Rome after being deprived of her dominions, was admired and celebrated for fpirit, for learning, and for an exquisite taste in the fine arts.

Thus, by accumulating wealth, a manufacturing and commercial people become a tempting object for conquest; and by effeminacy become an easy conquest. The military spirit seems to be at a low ebb in Britain : will no phantom appear, eyen in a dream, to disturb our downy rest ? For.


« AnteriorContinuar »