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Family Notices

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NATIONAL DEFENCE. Peace holds the civitized world on the borders only, in bar- barous or savage region*, is peace interrupted. Yet men talk and act as if war were imminent. France and England, conser- vators of the peace in Europe, keep on measuring their swords from time to time each to see that the other do not have an advantage if there should be war. A French paper, understood to be published uiuh r the sanction of the Prince De Joinville, and to represent hi1, views, has a long comparative account of the two navies; whence the writer deduces the general conclu- sions, that the English efceel the French in the construction of the smaller vessels of war, though not in frigates or ships of the line; that they also excel in the number of the larger ships and that 00 the whole the strengthqfthe French navy is about one- third 4hat of the- English nivy. The writer calculates that Fram^could at short notice send to sea 17 ships' (7 three- deckec) and 23 frigates, to oppose 43 English ships (1 "2 thr-T- deckers} and 21 frigates the French having further in. reserve 25 ships and 17 frigates; the English, 22 ships (7 three-deckers) and 11 frigates. In the class of three-deckers, the French would oppose 74 or 80 guns to 120. Hence the writer would have Erance bestir hersftlf in strengthening the larger class of her navy. This view indicates some change of counsel since the Prince de Joinville demanded an efficient steam-marine as the way to steal apon England in the night; but no change in the animus which keeps watch upon French means to do Eng- land an injury on opportunity. There are in fact two classes in France against whom we, and the French nation also, have to guard,—those who are iuflated with some of the higher notions of military- ''glory," and would gladly convert the world into one theatre of war in order to the display of national or personal prowess and those possessing a meaner spirit of nationality, which cowoisttl in hating other countries, and would b" content merely to do England Although war js Cor the pre- sent at a discount in France, both those classes keep the embers alive for times more fovourable to their passions. '• And truly, our coasts, as every body has seenformanva year, are defenceless enough. Once they were defended bv our wooden walls—our navy but that was when no nation could contend with us at sea: now France has her floating forts and running bridges. The Channel has come to be merely a great river, and it can no longer rest for defence on a moveable force going up alid down: its bank must be fortified. "fhe Govern- ment, urged by the general sense of our exposure to unfureseen malevolence, has just begun to take steps for putting our coasts in that, state that they might always to exhibit; and the French are displeased! "Some displeasure," says the Time" "-was expressed in Paris at the orders given by the English Government far defensive wórks on the coast: the labours on the fortifications of Cherbourg are unceasing; while, by means of floating break- waters and other works, Havre and nearly every other port in France is to 1)6 strengthened. This is a monstrous exaction— that. we should manifest our friewlship for France by remaining inert even while she collects arms and holds the sword suspended in air'. It is due to the peaceable and judicious part of the French nation that we should be prepared to cheek the un-' peaceable. A war wou1-1 he nearly as bad for France as for England, even at the outset; but while the exposed condition of our coasts teemt to invite aggression and to insure victory to the aggressors, the peaceable and judicious will nut always be able to keep" la gloire" under control. Especially it behoves UI to be upon our guard while we have domestic traitors—the unrepudiated leaders of the Irish, who boast that they have at our rear seven. millions of constructive allies for any enemy-that'we may have abroad—a multitude within our lines fermenting with the leaven oT treason. It is not surprising, therefore, that the most peaceable among us talk of strengthening our position-that our light reading is invaded by papers on the delensible state of the country." and the Go- vernment respond with a modicum of tardy preparation. If we are to trust the words of hatred flung at us East and West, our coast should be made a rampart, our people an army. Our people an army Aye for no lifeless works can keep out hordes of eager spoilers, anù it is the presence alone of a brave people—strong and skilled as well as brave—that can vin- dicate our soil against violation. We remember, alas that the habits of the English people are not what they once were. The spirit of money-getting has toiled the strength out of our towns- folk archery once borrowed its terms from the weaver's craft as well as from the field, because the weaver was familiar with the national weapon, was one of the band that handled it, and named the missile after the cloth-yard of his own trade. What knows he now of the bow's substitute, the musket or rifle—pent up for all his waking time in a factory ? Even among our rus- tics, poverty and ceaseless iudustry" have cramped the facul- ties and the" better observance of the Sabbath" has forbidden manly sport in the only remaining time of leisure. We allude to the effect with regret, though with no desire to reproach the conscientious whose exhortations have been attended by a de- plorable and unintended incident. We may call to mind that while the Sunday was still a holiday, England was not less vir- tuous than she is now. not less Christian, not less even Pro- testant—for she had protested before the sway of the Puritans began. Statistics have been laboured to show that the condition of the poor has not deteriorated in modern times. Perhaps not -statistically. But the poverty of a young country, with its wild lands—the precarious existence of a ruder people, now full. now starving, half lawless—is a very different thing from the level low wages amI short commons of an enclosed Country with its workhouse. Our good taste has even put down prize- fighting-the odious, corrupt remnant of manly sports and we have given nothing instead. Are the people so ready, so quick as they once were—so handy with quarter-staff or single-stick— so fierce ? We believe not. Yet we need them to be readier and fiercer on occasion; for the progress of knowledge has brought the stranger nearer to ,lIS in the proportion of one day to a month, and has not yet tiSight the stranger to desire only peace. There is, no doubt, still the English spirit-call it "bottom," pluck." "grit, or what you will-which would make even the Manchester weaver a "tough customer:" but the object is to put the whole race of men once more in possession of all their bodily faculties of which long hours and better observ- ance" have been the chief means to deprive them. A people thus trained would furnish materials for a formidable militia whom a magazine tactician* would call out again now, and keep to their standards for a six months drill. The people, it is said, do not like soldiering'' Let it be done in a more, intelligent spirit than it has been make it more of a pastime, less of an irksome burden; equalise the duty over all classes couple it with holidays and honours and political privileges; let the people be hught that it is needful, honourable, and not unpleasant; and, although they may never arrive at thè per- petual military ardour of the French, they may furnish a national guard as well appointed, efficient, and bold. as the million that are in possession of France. But, it is said, if", the people" are armed and drilled, the authorities cannot keep them down." Wby, they do not keep them down as it is. It was not soldiery, but returning pros- perity and hope, that put down the Manchester rioters. If any- real attempt were made to keep down" the people by force, it would be-a mere provocative to the- irrepressible rising of the whole nation. Armies may fight battles, invade, and injure; it is the people that must defend the soil: and that Government will always be the strongest" which derives its strength from the strongest people. Till war be abjured by other races and classes as well as English merchants and shopkeepers, we should like to sce a ride and a sword in every house. with leisure to exercise them, and encouragement for hardy games—something rougher than cricket-even on the Sunday green; the plain serviceable urtiferm of a militia more familiar than the work- house costume; every cliff and every strand fortified against sudden intrusion.-Spectator. Fraier's Magazine, November 1845: The Defensible State of the Country."

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