3 APRIL 1852, Page 13


Or all parties in Parliament, the opponents of any Militia Bill at all seem to be the most hardy—they are the only folks who retain their equanimity unbroken, equally before the fear and the oppor- tunity of war. The Duke of Wellington, Mr. Fox Malik, and Mr. Walpole, Lord JOhnlRussell, Lord Palmerston, and Mr. Disraeli, are all cowards, who stand in dread of invasion; while Mr. Hume laughs such a shadow-fear to scorn, and Mr. Cobden chivalrously relies on the honour of French officers. Talk of augmenting the Militia rather than the Standing Army ! Although you may have ten militiamen for the same cost as one soldier, the economists despise that cheap kind of force, and stand out for the handsomer form.

Now the public at large does not go along with that view; and, for the sake of the gentlemen in question, we fear that they are destined to witness a considerable change in the fashions of the day. The sense of gratification in the preparatives for a national force has by no means evaporated. If the petitions are mostly on the other side, it is because the advocates of defence have mostly preferred action to petition ; or await to see the resolve of that Government, whichever it may be, that shall carry a Militia Bill —for it is rite clear that a Militia Bill, from the Government for the time being, we are destined to have. But whenever such a measure shall come into practical operation, its working will inevit- ably give occasion to a new spirit in the bulk of the public. Of course those who are charged with its administration will not ne- glect to improve the spirit ; the public exercises will strengthen it; and every report from abroad which may lend an aspect of reality or imminent bearing to the threat of aggression will give a new impulse to the spirit. Experienced politicians can hardly be blind to the chance that such a spirit may take possession of the land ?

What then are the ultra-economists doing, except placing them- selves in the minority ; taking pains to be at issue with the great facts of the day—to put themselves on the losing side? In short, are they not doing their very best to avoid retaining any influence to themselves ?