nation of wandering shepherds, who went to 
war under the same chiefs whom they were 
accustomed to follow in peace. Their militia 
was exactly of the same kind with that of the 
Scythians or Tartars, from whom, too, they 
were probably descended. 
Many different causes contributed to relax 
the discipline of the Roman armies. Its extreme 
severity was, perhaps, one of those 
causes. In the days of their grandeur, when 
no enemy appeared capable of opposing them, 
their heavy armour was laid aside as unnecessarily 
burdensome, their laborious exercises 
were neglected, as unnecessarily toilsome
Under the Roman emperors, besides, the 
standing armies of Rome, those particularly 
which guarded the German and Pannonian 
frontiers, became dangerous to their masters
against whom they used frequently to set up 
their own generals. In order to render them 
less formidable, according to some authors, 
Dioclesian, according to others, Constantine
first withdrew them from the frontier, where 
they had always before been encamped in great 
bodies, generally of two or three legions each, 
and dispersed them in small bodies through 
the different provincial towns, from whence 
they were scarce ever removed, but when it 
became necessary to repel an invasion. Small 
bodies of soldiers, quartered in trading and 
manufacturing towns, and seldom removed 
from those quarters, became themselves 
tradesmen, artificers, and manufacturers. 
The civil came to predominate over the military 
character; and the standing armies of 
Rome gradually degenerated into a corrupt
neglected, and undisciplined militia, incapable 
of resisting the attack of the German and 
Scythian militias, which soon afterwards invaded 
the western empire. It was only by 
hiring the militia of some of those nations to 
oppose to that of others, that the emperors 
were for some time able to defend themselves. 
The fall of the western empire is the third 
great revolution in the affairs of mankind, of 
which ancient history has preserved any distinct 
or circumstantial account. It was 
brought about by the irresistible superiority 
which the militia of a barbarous has over 
that of a civilized nation; which the militia 
of a nation of shepherds has over that of a nation 
of husbandmen, artificers, and manufacturers. 
The victories which have been gained 
by militias have generally been, not over standing 
armies, but over other militias, in exercise 
and discipline inferior to themselves. Such 
were the victories which the Greek militia 
gained over that of the Persian empire; and 
such, too, were those which, in later times
the Swiss militia gained over that of the Austrians 
and Burgundians. 
The military force of the German and Scythian 
nations, who established themselves upon 
the ruins of the western empire, continued 
for some time to be of the same kind in their 
new settlements, as it had been in their original 
country. It was a militia of shepherds 
and husbandmen, which, in time of war, took 
the field under the command of the same 
chieftains whom it was accustomed to obey in 
peace. It was, therefore, tolerably well exercised
and tolerably well disciplined. As 
arts and industry advanced, however, the authority 
of the chieftains gradually decayed, and 
the great body of the people had less time to 
spare for military exercises. Both the discipline 
and the exercise of the feudal militia
therefore, went gradually to ruin, and standing 
armies were gradually introduced to 
supply the place of it. When the expedient 
of a standing army, besides, had once been 
adopted by one civilized nation, it became 
necessary that all its neighbors should follow 
the example. They soon found that their 
safety depended upon their doing so, and that 
their own militia was altogether incapable of 
resisting the attack of such an army
The soldiers of a standing army, though 
they may never have seen an enemy, yet have 
frequently appeared to possess all the courage 
of veteran troops, and, the very moment that 
they took the field, to have been fit to face 
the hardiest and most experienced veterans
In 1756, when the Russian army marched 
into Poland, the valour of the Russian soldiers 
did not appear inferior to that of the 
Prussians, at that time supposed to be the 
hardiest and most experienced veterans in 
Europe. The Russian empire, however, 
had enjoyed a profound peace for near twenty 
years before, and could at that time have very 
few soldiers who had ever seen an enemy
When the Spanish war broke out in 1739, 
England had enjoyed a profound peace for 
about eight-and-twenty years. The valour 
of her soldiers, however, far from being corrupted 
by that long peace, was never more 
distinguished than in the attempt upon Carthagena, 
the first unfortunate exploit of that 
unfortunate war. In a long peace, the generals
perhaps, may sometimes forget their 
skill; but where a well regulated standing 
army has been kept up, the soldiers seem never 
to forget their valour
When a civilized nation depends for its 
defence upon a militia, it is at all times exposed 
to be conquered by any barbarous nation 
which happens to be in its neighbourhood. 
The frequent conquests of all the 
civilized countries in Asia by the Tartars
sufficiently demonstrates the natural superiority 
which the militia of a barbarous has 
over that of a civilized nation. A well regulated 
standing army is superior to every 
militia. Such an army, as it can best be 
maintained by an opulent and civilized nation
so it can alone defend such a nation against 
the invasion of a poor and barbarous neighbour
It is only by means of a standing 
army, therefore, that the civilization of any