strength and agility of body, or even 
extraordinary dexterity and skill in the use of 
arms, though they are far from being of no 
consequence, are, however, of less consequence
The nature of the weapon, though 
it by no means puts the awkward upon a 
level with the skilful, puts him more nearly 
so than he ever was before. All the dexterity 
and skill, it is supposed, which are necessary 
for using it, can be well enough acquired by 
practising in great bodies
Regularity, order, and prompt obedience to 
command, are qualities which, in modern 
armies, are of more importance towards determining 
the fate of battles, than the dexterity 
and skill of the soldiers in the use of their 
arms. But the noise of fire-arms, the smoke, 
and the invisible death to which every man 
feels himself every moment exposed, as soon 
as he comes within cannon-shot, and frequently 
a long time before the battle can be 
well said to be engaged, must render it very 
difficult to maintain any considerable degree 
of this regularity, order, and prompt obedience
even in the beginning of a modern 
battle. In an ancient battle, there was no 
noise but what arose from the human voice
there was no smoke, there was no invisible 
cause of wounds or death. Every man, till 
some mortal weapon actually did approach 
him, saw clearly that no such weapon was 
near him. In these circumstances, and 
among troops who had some confidence in 
their own skill and dexterity in the use of 
their arms, it must have been a good deal 
less difficult to preserve some degree of regularity 
and order, not only in the beginning
but through the whole progress of an ancient 
battle, and till one of the two armies was 
fairly defeated. But the habits of regularity
order, and prompt obedience to command
can be acquired only by troops which are 
exercised in great bodies
A militia, however, in whatever manner it 
may be either disciplined or exercised, must 
always be much inferior to a well disciplined 
and well exercised standing army
The soldiers who are exercised only once a-week
or once a-month, can never be so expert 
in the use of their arms, as those who are 
exercised every day, or every other day; and 
though this circumstance may not be of so 
much consequence in modern, as it was in 
ancient times, yet the acknowledged superiority 
of the Prussian troops, owing, it is said, 
very much to their superior expertness in 
their exercise, may satisfy us that it is, even 
at this day, of very considerable consequence
The soldiers, who are bound to obey their 
officer only once a-week, or once a-month
and who are at all other times at liberty to 
manage their own affairs their own way, 
without being, in any respect, accountable to 
him, can never be under the same awe in his 
presence, can never have the same disposition 
to ready obedience, with those whose whole 
life and conduct are every day directed by 
him, and who every day even rise and go to 
bed, or at least retire to their quarters, according 
to his orders. In what is called discipline
or in the habit of ready obedience, a 
militia must always be still more inferior to a 
standing army, than it may sometimes be in 
what is called the manual exercise, or in the 
management and use of its arms. But, in 
modern war, the habit of ready and instant 
obedience is of much greater consequence 
than a considerable superiority in the management 
of arms
Those militias which, like the Tartar or Arab 
militia, go to war under the same chieftains 
whom they are accustomed to obey in peace
are by far the best. In respect for their 
officers, in the habit of ready obedience, 
they approach nearest to standing armies
The Highland militia, when it served under 
its own chieftains, had some advantage of the 
same kind. As the Highlanders, however, 
were not wandering, but stationary shepherds
as they had all a fixed habitation, and were 
not, in peaceable times, accustomed to follow 
their chieftain from place to place; so, in 
time of war, they were less willing to follow 
him to any considerable distance, or to continue 
for any long time in the field. When 
they had acquired any booty, they were eager 
to return home, and his authority was seldom 
sufficient to detain them. In point of obedience
they were always much inferior to 
what is reported of the Tartars and Arabs
As the Highlanders, too, from their stationary 
life, spend less of their time in the open air
they were always less accustomed to military 
exercises, and were less expert in the use of 
their arms than the Tartars and Arabs are said 
to be. 
A militia of any kind, it must be observed
however, which has served for several successive 
campaigns in the field, becomes in 
every respect a standing army. The soldiers 
are every day exercised in the use of their 
arms, and, being constantly under the command 
of their officers, are habituated to the 
same prompt obedience which takes place in 
standing armies. What they were before 
they took the field, is of little importance
They necessarily become in every respect
standing army, after they have passed a few 
campaigns in it. Should the war in America 
drag out through another campaign, the 
American militia may become, in every respect
a match for that standing army, of 
which the valour appeared, in the last war at 
least, not inferior to that of the hardiest veterans 
of France and Spain. 
This distinction being well understood, the 
history of all ages, it will be found, bears 
testimony to the irresistible superiority which 
a well regulated standing army has over a