Sin—The present mode of raising the militia by means of the ballot, in other words by lottery, is a very tedious process, requiring several weeks to
carry it into effect. Classification according to age, as is the case in would enable the Government to embody this constitutional force in a
ram shorter time.
I propose, therefore that the male population of the United Kingdom who are capable of bearing arms be divided into contingents from the age of twenty years upwards.
The first contingent should consist of men between twenty-five and thirty years of age ; the second contingent of men between thirty and forty years of age ; the third contingent of men between twenty and twenty-five years of age ; and the fourth contingent of men of forty years of age and upwards. The first contingent, consisting of men who may be presumed to have com- pleted their education either for a profession, trade, or calling, should be re- quired to hold themselves in readiness to join their regiments on the shortest notice, and to do duty as militia soldiers, should the exigencies of the country require it, for any length of time during the period of the five years ending when they shall have attained the age of thirty. The second contingent should be held liable to be called upon to act as a reserve to the first contingent. The third contingent should be embodied only in such an extreme case as a threatened invasion; bearing in mind that the young men composing this contingent may be otherwise profitably engaged in their professional studies, or in learning their respective trades; and also with respect to the fact that the regular army is exclusively recruited from men between the age of eighteen and twenty-five, and that young men of that period of life would probably be the most willing to supply the substitutes required to fill up vacancies in the militia.
The fourth contingent should be embodied in the ease alone of an invasion actually taking place. The clergy, however, of all recognized denominations of religion should be exempt from militia service, as well as all persons belonging to the regular Army or to the Navy, or in the civil service of the Crown, and all those who may find proper substitutes. Merchant sailors and fishermen on the coast, including other seafaring men, should be likewise exempt from the militia, seeing that a distinct and specific law should regulate their liability to be called upon to serve their country in the Royal Navy.
In conclusion, I will observe that the militia should not be drilled except when embodied for permanent duty, when they may be instructed suffi- tiently well in six or eight weeks time to enable them to cope with the enemy in the field ; taking into consideration that the United Kingdom is almost everywhere intersected by hedges and ditches or by stone walls. The first contingent, nevertheless, should be mustered once every year to the end that it may be properly organized and divided into companies and battalions. Prizes should at the same time, be awarded to the men who make the best shots at a target amongst those who may be willing to com- pete for them.
Volunteer cavalry and infantry, at all times ready armed and equipped for service would, no doubt, in case of sudden emergency form the vanguard of the militia.W. B. C.