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Observations On The Treaty
by [?]

These arguments are admitted by some, and by others rejected. But even those that admit them, can admit them only as pleas of necessity; for they consider the reception of mercenaries into our country, as the desperate “remedy of desperate distress;” and think, with great reason, that all means of prevention should be tried, to save us from any second need of such doubtful succours.

That we are able to defend our own country, that arms are most safely entrusted to our own hands, and that we have strength, and skill, and courage, equal to the best of the nations of the continent, is the opinion of every Englishman, who can think without prejudice, and speak without influence; and, therefore, it will not be easy to persuade the nation, a nation long renowned for valour, that it can need the help of foreigners to defend it from invasion. We have been long without the need of arms by our good fortune, and long without the use by our negligence; so long, that the practice, and almost the name, of our old trained bands is forgotten; but the story of ancient times will tell us, that the trained bands were once able to maintain the quiet and safety of their country; and reason, without history, will inform us, that those men are most likely to fight bravely, or, at least, to fight obstinately, who fight for their own houses and farms, for their own wives and children.

A bill was, therefore, offered for the prevention of any future danger or invasion, or necessity of mercenary forces, by reestablishing and improving the militia. It was passed by the commons, but rejected by the lords. That this bill, the first essay of political consideration, as a subject long forgotten, should be liable to objection, cannot be strange; but surely, justice, policy, common reason, require, that we should be trusted with our own defence, and be kept, no longer in such a helpless state as, at once, to dread our enemies and confederates.

By the bill, such as it was formed, sixty thousand men would always be in arms. We have shown how they may be, upon any exigence, easily increased to a hundred and fifty thousand; and, I believe, neither our friends nor enemies will think it proper to insult our coasts, when they expect to find upon them a hundred and fifty thousand Englishmen, with swords in their hands.