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[V.i.a] part first: Of the Expence of Defence - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 2b An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. 2 
An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. I and II, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. II of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981).
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[V.i.a] part first
Of the Expence of Defence
1The first duty of the sovereign, that of protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies, can be performed only by means of a military force.1 But the expence both of preparing this military force in time of peace, and of employing it in time of war, is very different in the different states of society, in the different periods of improvement.2
2Among nations of hunters, the lowest and rudest state of society, such as we find it among the native tribes of North America, every man is a warrior as well as a hunter.3 When he goes to war, either to defend his society, or to revenge the injuries which have been done to it by other societies, he maintains himself by his own labour, in the same manner as when he lives at home. His society, for in this state of things there is properly neither sovereign nor commonwealth, is at no sort of expence, either to prepare him for the field, or to maintain him while he is in it.4
3Among nations of shepherds, a more advanced state of society, such as we find it among the Tartars and Arabs, every man is, in the same manner, a warrior.5 Such nations have commonly no fixed habitation, but live, either in tents, or in a sort of covered waggons which are easily transported from place to place. The whole tribe or nation changes its situation according to the different seasons of the year, as well as according to other accidents. When its herds and flocks have consumed the forage of one part of the country, it removes to another, and from that to a third. In the dry season, it comes down to the banks of the rivers; in the wet season it retires to the upper country.6 When such a nation goes to war, the warriors will not trust their herds and flocks to the feeble defence of their old men, their women and children; and their old men, their women and children, will not be left behind without defence and without subsistence. The whole nation, besides, being accustomed to a wandering life, even in time of peace, easily takes the field in time of war.7 Whether it marches as an army, or moves about as a company of herdsmen, the way of life is nearly the same, though the object proposed by it abea very different. They all go to war together, therefore, and every one does as well as he can. Among the Tartars, even the women have been frequently known to engage in battle. If they conquer, whatever belongs to the hostile tribe is the recompence of the victory. But if they are vanquished, all is lost, and not only their herds and flocks, but their women and children, become the booty of the conqueror. Even the greater part of those who survive the action are obliged to submit to him for the sake of immediate subsistence. The rest are commonly dissipated and dispersed in the desart.
4The ordinary life, the ordinary exercises of a Tartar or Arab, prepare him sufficiently for war. Running, wrestling, cudgel–playing, throwing the javelin, drawing the bow, &c. are the common pastimes of those who live in the open air, and are all of them the images of war. When a Tartar or Arab actually goes to war, he is maintained, by his own herds and flocks which he carries with him, in the same manner as in peace. His chief or sovereign, for those nations have all chiefs or sovereigns, is at no sort of expence in preparing him for the field; and when he is in it, the chance of plunder is the only pay which he either expects or requires.
5An army of hunters can seldom exceed two or three hundred men. The precarious subsistence which the chace affords could seldom allow a greater number to keep together for any considerable time.8 An army of shepherds, on the contrary, may sometimes amount to two or three hundred thousand. As long as nothing stops their progress, as long as they can go on from one district, of which they have consumed the forage, to another which is yet entire; there seems to be scarce any limit to the number who can march on together. A nation of hunters can never be formidable to the civilized nations in their neighbourhood. A nation of shepherds may. Nothing can be more contemptible than an Indian war in North America.9 Nothing, on the contrary, can be more dreadful than a Tartar invasion has frequently been in Asia.10 The judgment of Thucydides,11 that both Europe and Asia could not resist the Scythians united, has been verified by the experience of all ages.12 The inhabitants of the extensive, but defenceless plains of Scythia or Tartary, have been frequently united under the dominion of the chief of some conquering horde or clan; and the havock and devastation of Asia have always signalized their union. The inhabitants of the inhospitable desarts of Arabia, the other great nation of shepherds, have never been united but once; under Mahomet and his immediate successors. Their union, which was more the effect of religious enthusiasm than of conquest, was signalized in the same manner. If the hunting nations of America should ever become shepherds, their neighbourhood would be much more dangerous to the European colonies than it is at present.
6In a yet more advanced state of society; among those nations of husbandmen who have little foreign commerce and no other manufactures, but those coarse and houshold ones which almost every private family prepares for its own use; every man, in the same manner, either is a warrior, or easily becomes such.13 They who live by agriculture generally pass the whole day in the open air, exposed to all the inclemencies of the seasons. The hardiness of their ordinary life prepares them for the fatigues of war, to some of which their necessary occupations bear a bgreatb analogy.14 The necessary occupation of a ditcher prepares him to work in the trenches, and to fortify a camp as well as to enclose a field. The ordinary pastimes of such husbandmen are the same as those of shepherds, and are in the same manner the images of war. But as husbandmen have less leisure than shepherds, they are not so frequently employed in those pastimes. They are soldiers, but soldiers not quite so much masters of their exercise. Such as they are, however, it seldom costs the sovereign or commonwealth any expence to prepare them for the field.
7Agriculture, even in its rudest and lowest state, supposes a settlement; some sort of fixed habitation which cannot be abandoned without great loss. When a nation of mere husbandmen, therefore, goes to war, the whole people cannot take the field together. The old men, the women and children, at least, must remain at home to take care of the habitation.15 All the men of the military age, however, may take the field, and, in small nations of this kind, have frequently done so. In every nation the men of the military age are supposed to amount to about a fourth or cac fifth part of the whole body of the people. If the campaign too should begin after seed–time, and end before harvest, both the husbandman and his principal labourers can be spared from the farm without much loss. He trusts that the work which must be done in the mean time can be well enough executed by the old men, the women and the children. He is not unwilling, therefore, to serve without pay during da shortd campaign, and it frequently costs the sovereign or commonwealth as little to maintain him in the field as to prepare him for it. The citizens of all the different states of antient Greece seem to have served in this manner till after the second Persian war; and the people of Peloponesus till after the Peloponesian war.16 The Peloponesians, Thucydides observes,17 generally left the field in the summer, and returned home to reap the harvest.18 The Roman people under their kings, and during the first ages of the republick, served in the same manner.19 It was not till the siege of Veii, that they, who staid at home, began to contribute something towards maintaining those who went to war.20 In the European monarchies, which were founded upon the ruins of the Roman empire, both before and for some time after the establishment of what is properly called the feudal law,21 the great lords, with all their immediate dependents, used to serve the crown at their own expence. In the field, in the same manner as at home, they maintained themselves by their own revenue, and not by any stipend or pay which they received from the king upon that particular occasion.
8 In a more advanced state of society, two different causes contribute to render it altogether impossible that they, who take the field, should maintain themselves at their own expence. Those two causes are, the progress of manufactures, and the improvement in the art of war.22
9Though a husbandman should be employed in an expedition, provided it begins after seed–time and ends before harvest, the interruption of his business will not always occasion any considerable diminution of his revenue. Without the intervention of his labour, nature does herself the greater part of the work which remains to be done. But the moment that an artificer, a smith, a carpenter, or a weaver, for example, quits his workhouse, the sole source of his revenue is completely dried up.23 Nature does nothing for him, he does all for himself. When he takes the field, therefore, in defence of the publick, as he has no revenue to maintain himself, he must necessarily be maintained by the publick. But in a country of which a great part of the inhabitants are artificers and manufacturers, a great part of the people who go to war must be drawn from those classes, and must therefore be maintained by the publick as long as they are employed in its service.24
10When the art of war too has gradually grown up to be a very intricate and complicated science, when the event of war ceases to be determined, as in the first ages of society, by a single irregular skirmish or battle, but when the contest is generally spun out through several different campaigns, each of which lasts during the greater part of the year; it becomes universally necessary that the publick should maintain those who serve the publick in war, at least while they are employed in that service. Whatever in time of peace might be the ordinary occupation of those who go to war, so very tedious and expensive a service would otherwise be by far too heavy a burden upon them. After the second Persian war, accordingly, the armies of Athens seem to have been generally composed of mercenary troops; consisting, indeed, partly of citizens, but partly too of foreigners;25 and all of them equally hired and paid at the expence of the state. From the time of the siege of Veii, the armies of Rome received pay for their service during the time which they remained in the field. Under the feudal governments the military service both of the great lords and of their immediate dependents was, after a certain period, universally exchanged for a payment in money, which was employed to maintain those who served in their stead.
11The number of those who can go to war, in proportion to the whole number of the people, is necessarily much smaller in a civilized, than in a rude state of society. In a civilized society, as the soldiers are maintained altogether by the labour of those who are not soldiers, the number of the former ecan nevere exceed what the latter can maintain, over and above maintaining, in a manner suitable to their respective stations, both themselves and the other officers of government, and law, whom they are obliged to maintain. In the little agrarian states of antient Greece, a fourth or a fifth part of the whole body of the people considered themselves as soldiers, and would sometimes, it is said, take the field.26 Among the civilized nations of modern Europe, it is commonly computed, that not more than one hundredth part of the inhabitants of any country can be employed as soldiers, without ruin to the country fwhich pays the expence of their service.f
12The expence of preparing the army for the field seems not to have become considerable in any nation, till long after that of maintaining it in the field had devolved entirely upon the sovereign or commonwealth. In all the different republicks of antient Greece, to learn his military exercises, was a necessary part of education imposed by the state upon every free citizen.27 In every city there seems to have been a publick field, in which, under the protection of the publick magistrate, the young people were taught their different exercises by different masters. In this very simple institution, consisted the whole expence which any Grecian state seems ever to have been at, in preparing its citizens for war. In antient Rome the exercises of the Campus Martius answered the same purpose with those of the Gymnasium in antient Greece. Under the feudal governments, the many publick ordinances that the citizens of every district should practise archery as well as several other military exercises, were intended for promoting the same purpose, but do not seem to have promoted it so well. Either from want of interest in the officers entrusted with the execution of those ordinances, or from some other cause, they appear to have been universally neglected; and in the progress of all those governments, military exercises seem to have gone gradually into disuse among the great body of the people.
13In the republicks of antient Greece and Rome, during the whole period of their existence, and under the feudal governments for a considerable time after their first establishment, the trade of a soldier was not a separate, distinct trade, which constituted the sole or principal occupation of a particular class of citizens. Every subject of the state, whatever might be the ordinary trade or occupation by which he gained his livelihood, considered himself, upon all ordinary occasions, as fit likewise to exercise the trade of a soldier, and upon many extraordinary occasions as bound to exercise it.
14The art of war, however, as it is certainly the noblest of all arts, so in the progress of improvement it necessarily becomes one of the most complicated among them. The state of the mechanical, as well as of some other arts, with which it is necessarily connected, determines the degree of perfection to which it is capable of being carried at any particular time. But in order to carry it to this degree of perfection, it is necessary that it should become the sole or principal occupation of a particular class of citizens, and the division of labour is as necessary for the improvement of this, as of every other art. Into other arts the division of labour is naturally introduced by the prudence of individuals, who find that they promote their private interest better by confining themselves to a particular trade, than by exercising a great number. But it is the wisdom of the state only which can render the trade of a soldier a particular trade separate and distinct from all others.28 A private citizen who, in time of profound peace, and without any particular encouragement from the publick, should spend the greater part of his time in military exercises, might, no doubt, both improve himself very much in them, and amuse himself very well; but he certainly would not promote his own interest. It is the wisdom of the state only which can render it for his interest to give up the greater part of his time to this peculiar occupation: and states have not always had this wisdom, even when their circumstances had become such, that the preservation of their existence required that they should have it.
15A shepherd has a great deal of leisure; a husbandman, in the rude state of husbandry, has some; an artificer or manufacturer has none at all. The first may, without any loss, employ a great deal of his time in martial exercises; the second may employ some part of it; but the last cannot employ a single hour in them without some loss, and his attention to his own interest naturally leads him to neglect them altogether. gTheseg improvements in husbandry too, which the progress of arts and manufactures necessarily introduces, hleaveh the husbandman as little leisure as the artificer. Military exercises come to be as much neglected by the inhabitants of the country as by those of the town, and the great body of the people becomes altogether unwarlike. That wealth, at the same time, which always follows the improvements of agriculture and manufactures, and which in reality is no more than the accumulated produce of those improvements, provokes the invasion of all their neighbours. An industrious, and upon that account a wealthy nation, is of all nations the most likely to be attacked; and unless the state takes some new measures for the publick defence, the natural habits of the people render them altogether incapable of defending themselves.29
16In these circumstances, there seem to be but two methods, by which the state can make any tolerable provision for the publick defence.
17It may either, first, by means of a very rigorous police, and in spite of the whole bent of the interest, genius and inclinations of the people, enforce the practice of military exercises, and oblige either all the citizens of the military age, or a certain number of them, to join in some measure the trade of a soldier to whatever other trade or profession they may happen to carry on.
18Or, secondly, by maintaining and employing a certain number of citizens in the constant practice of military exercises, it may render the trade of a soldier a particular trade, separate and distinct from all others.
19If the state has recourse to the first of those two expedients, its military force is said to consist in a militia; if to the second, it is said to consist in a standing army.30 The practice of military exercises is the sole or principal occupation of the soldiers of a standing army, and the maintenance or pay which the state affords them is the principal and ordinary fund of their subsistence. The practice of military exercises is only the occasional occupation of the soldiers of a militia, and they derive the principal and ordinary fund of their subsistence from some other occupation. In a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer, or tradesman, predominates over that of the soldier: in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates over every other character; and in this distinction seems to consist the essential difference between those two different species of military force.
20Militias have been of several different kinds. In some countries the citizens destined for defending the state, seem to have been exercised only, without being, if I may say so, regimented; that is, without being divided into separate and distinct bodies of troops, each of which performed its exercises under its own proper and permanent officers. In the republicks of antient Greece and Rome, each citizen, as long as he remained at home, seems to have practised his exercises either separately and independently, or with such of his equals as he liked best; and not to have been attached to any particular body of troops till he was actually called upon to take the field. In other countries, the militia has not only been exercised, but regimented. In England, in Switzerland, and, I believe, in every other country of modern Europe, where any imperfect military force of this kind has been established, every militia–man is, even in time of peace, attached to a particular body of troops, which performs its exercises under its own proper and permanent officers.
21Before the invention of fire–arms, that army was superior in which the soldiers had, each individually, the greatest skill and dexterity in the use of their arms. Strength and agility of body were of the highest consequence, and commonly determined the fate of battles. But this skill and dexterity in the use of their arms, could be acquired only, in the same manner as fencing isi at present, by practising, not in great bodies, but each man separately, in a particular school, under a particular master, or with his own particular equals and companions. Since the invention of fire–arms, 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 aukward 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.
22Regularity, 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 antient 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 antient 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.
23A 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.31
24The 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 antient 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.
25The 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.
26Those 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.32
27A 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.33 What they were before they took the field, is of little importance. They necessarily become in every respect a 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 jthe valour appeared, in the last war,j at least not inferior to that of the hardiest veterans of France and Spain.34
28This 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 kak militia.
29One of the first standing armies of which we have any distinct account, in any well authenticated history, is that of Philip of Macedon. His frequent wars with the Thracians, Illyrians, Thessalians, and some of the Greek cities in the neighbourhood of Macedon, gradually formed his troops, which in the beginning were probably militia, to the exact discipline of a standing army. When he was at peace, which he was very seldom, and never for any long time together, he was careful not to disband that army. It vanquished and subdued, after a long and violent struggle, indeed, the gallant and well exercised militias of the principal republicks of antient Greece; and afterwards, with very little struggle, the effeminate and ill–exercised militia of the great Persian empire. The fall of the Greek republicks and of the Persian empire, was the effect of the irresistible superiority which a standing army has over every sort of militia.35 It is the first great revolution in the affairs of mankind of which history has preserved any distinct or circumstantial account.36
30The fall of Carthage, and the consequent elevation of Rome, is the second. All the varieties in the fortune of those two famous republicks may very well be accounted for from the same cause.
31 From the end of the first to the beginning of the second Carthaginian war, the armies of Carthage were continually in the field, and employed under three great generals, who succeeded one another in the command; Amilcar, his son–in–law Asdrubal, and his son Annibal; first in chastising their own rebellious slaves, afterwards in subduing the revolted nations of Africa, and, lastly, in conquering the great kingdom of Spain. The army which Annibal led from Spain into Italy must necessarily, in those different wars, have been gradually formed to the exact discipline of a standing army. The Romans, in the mean time, though they had not been altogether at peace, yet they had not, during this period, been engaged in any war of very great consequence; and their military discipline, it is generally said, was a good deal relaxed. The Roman armies which Annibal encountered at Trebia, Thrasymenus, and Cannæ, were militia opposed to a standing army. This circumstance, it is probable, contributed more than any other to determine the fate of those battles.
32The standing army which Annibal left behind him in Spain, had the like superiority over the militia which the Romans sent to oppose it, and in a few years, under the command of his brother, the younger Asdrubal, expelled them almost entirely from that country.
33Annibal was ill supplied from home. The Roman militia, being continually in the field, became in the progress of the war a well disciplined and well exercised standing army; and the superiority of Annibal grew every day less and less. Asdrubal judged it necessary to lead the whole, or almost the whole of the standing army which he commanded in Spain, to the assistance of his brother in Italy. In lhisl march he is said to have been misled by his guides; and in a country which he did not know, was surprized and attacked by another standing army, in every respect equal or superior to his own, and was entirely defeated.
34When Asdrubal had left Spain, the great Scipio found nothing to oppose him but a militia inferior to his own. He conquered and subdued that militia, and, in the course of the war, his own militia necessarily became a well–disciplined and well–exercised standing army. That standing army was afterwards carried to Africa, where it found nothing but a militia to oppose it. In order to defend Carthage it became necessary to recall the standing army of Annibal. The disheartened and frequently defeated African militia joined it, and, at the battle of Zama, composed the greater part of the troops of Annibal. The event of that day determined the fate of the two rival republicks.
35From the end of the second Carthaginian war till the fall of the Roman republick, the armies of Rome were in every respect standing armies. The standing army of Macedon made some resistance to their arms. In the height of their grandeur, it cost them two great wars, and three great battles, to subdue that little kingdom; of which the conquest would probably have been still more difficult, had it not been for the cowardice of its last king. The militias of all the civilized nations of the antient world, of Greece, of Syria, and of Egypt, made but a feeble resistance to the standing armies of Rome. The militias of some barbarous nations defended themselves much better. The Scythian or Tartar militia, which Mithridates drew from the countries north of the Euxine and Caspian seas, were the most formidable enemies mwhomm the Romans had to encounter after the second Carthaginian war. The Parthian and German militias too were always respectable, and, upon several occasions, gained very considerable advantages over the Roman armies. In general, however, and when the Roman armies were well commanded, they appear to have been very much superior; and if the Romans did not pursue the final conquest either of Parthia or Germany, it was probably because they judged, that it was not worth while, to add those two barbarous countries to an empire which was already too large. The antient Parthians appear to have been a nation of Scythian or Tartar extraction, and to have always retained a good deal of the manners of their ancestors. The antient Germans were, like the Scythians or Tartars, a 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.
36Many 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.37 The fall of the western empire is the third great revolution in the affairs of mankind, of which antient 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.38 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.
37The 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,39 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 neighbours 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.
38The 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.
39When 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 ndemonstratesn 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 country can be perpetuated, or even preserved for any considerable time.
40As it is only by means of a well–regulated standing army that a civilized country can be defended; so it is only by means of it, that a barbarous country can be suddenly and tolerably civilized. A standing army establishes, with an irresistible force, the law of the sovereign through the remotest provinces of the empire, and maintains some degree of regular government in countries which could not otherwise admit of any. Whoever examines, with attention, the improvements which Peter the Great introduced into the Russian empire, will find that they almost all resolve themselves into the establishment of a well–regulated standing army. It is the instrument which executes and maintains all his other regulations. That degree of order and internal peace, which that empire has ever since enjoyed, is altogether owing to the influence of that army.40
41 Men of republican principles have been jealous of a standing army as dangerous to liberty.41 It certainly is so, wherever the interest of the general and that of the principal officers are not necessarily connected with the support of the constitution of the state. The standing army of Caesar destroyed the Roman republick. The standing army of Cromwell turned the long parliament out of doors.42 But where the sovereign is himself the general, and the principal nobility and gentry of the country the chief officers of the army; where the military force is placed under the command of those who have the greatest interest in the support of the civil authority, because they have themselves the greatest share of that authority, a standing army can never be dangerous to liberty. On the contrary, it may in some cases be favourable to liberty.43 The security which it gives to the sovereign renders unnecessary that troublesome jealousy, which, in some modern republicks, seems to watch over the minutest actions, and to be at all times ready to disturb the peace of every citizen. Where the security of the magistrate, though supported by the principal people of the country, is endangered by every popular discontent; where a small tumult is capable of bringing about in a few hours a great revolution, the whole authority of government must be employed to suppress and punish every murmur and complaint against it. To a sovereign, on the contrary, who feels himself supported, not only by the natural aristocracy of the country, but by a wellregulated standing army, the rudest, the most groundless, and the most licentious remonstrances can give little disturbance. He can safely pardon or neglect them, and his consciousness of his own superiority naturally disposes him to do so. That degree of liberty which approaches to licentiousness can be tolerated only in countries where the sovereign is secured by a well–regulated standing army. It is in such countries only, that the publick safety does not require, that the sovereign should be trusted with any discretionary power, for suppressing even the impertinent wantonness of this licentious liberty.
42The first duty of the sovereign, therefore, that of defending the society from the violence and injustice of other independent societies, grows gradually more and more expensive, as the society advances in civilization. The military force of the society, which originally cost the sovereign no expence either in time of peace or in time of war, must, in the progress of improvement, first be maintained by him in time of war, and afterwards even in time of peace.
43The great change introduced into the art of war by the invention of fire–arms, has enhanced still further both the expence of exercising and disciplining any particular number of soldiers in time of peace, and that of employing them in time of war.44 Both their arms and their ammunition are become more expensive. A musquet is a more expensive machine than a javelin or a bow and arrows; a cannon or a mortar, than a balista or a catapulta. The powder, which is spent in a modern review, is lost irrecoverably, and occasions a very considerable expence. The javelins and arrows which were thrown or shot in an antient one, could easily be picked up again, and were besides of very little value. The cannon and the mortar are, not only much dearer, but much heavier machines than the balista or catapulta, and require a greater expence, not only to prepare them for the field, but to carry them to it. As the superiority of the modern artillery too, over that of the antients, is very great; it has become much more difficult, and consequently much more expensive, to fortify a town so as to resist even for a few weeks the attack of that superior artillery. In modern times many different causes contribute to render the defence of the society more expensive. The unavoidable effects of the natural progress of improvement have, in this respect, been a good deal enhanced by a great revolution in the art of war, to which a mere accident, the invention of gun–powder, seems to have given occasion.
44In modern war the great expence of fire–arms gives an evident advantage to the nation which can best afford that expence; and consequently, to an opulent and civilized, over a poor and barbarous nation.45 In antient times the opulent and civilized found it difficult to defend themselves against the poor and barbarous nations. In modern times the poor and barbarous find it difficult to defend themselves against the opulent and civilized. The invention of fire–arms, an invention which at first sight appears to be so pernicious, is certainly favourable both to the permanency and to the extension of civilization.46
[1 ]LJ (A) i.1 argues that ‘The first and chief design of every system of government is to maintain justice; to prevent the members of a society from incroaching on one another’s property, or seizing what is not their own.’ Smith goes on to add that ‘it must also be necessary to have some means of protecting the state from foreign injuries’.
[2 ]LJ (A) i.27 comments that ‘There are four distinct states which mankind passes thro . . . 1st, the Age of Hunters; 2ndly, the Age of Shepherds; 3rdly, the age of agriculture; and 4thly, the Age of Commerce.’ A similar statement occurs in LJ (B) 149, ed. Cannan 107. The Anderson Notes (1–3) mention three ‘states of perfection in society’ which correspond very closely to the stages of hunting, shepherds, and agriculture. The idea of a division of economic stages was widespread. See especially, Kames’s Sketches (1774), I.ii, and the same author’s Historical Law Tracts (1758), especially Tract II, on ‘Promises and Covenants’. See also Adam Ferguson’s History of Civil Society (1767), II.ii, iii and Steuart’s Principles, ed. Skinner lxiii–lxxii. The ‘stadial’ thesis is also the organizing principle behind John Millar’s Origin of the Distinction of Ranks (1771). A similar thesis can also be found in Mirabeau’s Philosophie rurale (1763), in R. L. Meek, The Economics of Physiocracy, 60–4. In addition to Rousseau’s essay on the Origin of Inequality (1755), the thesis also features in two discourses written by Turgot which were unpublished at the time. These were ‘A Philosophical Review of the Successive Advances of the Human Mind’ and his ‘Plan of the Discourses on Universal History’. These passages in Turgot were translated by W. Walker Stephens in his Life and Writings of Turgot (London, 1895); see, for example, pp. 161–2 and 176–80. The same essays are now included in R. L. Meek, Turgot on Progress, Sociology and Economics. Turgot also makes use of a distinction between hunting, pastoral, and agrarian stages in the Reflections, LIV. Cf. Montesquieu, Esprit, I.iii.14, where it is stated that laws ‘should be in relation to the climate of each country, to the quality of its soil, to its situation and extent, to the principal occupations of the natives, whether husbandmen, huntsmen, or shepherds’. Montesquieu also considered the relationship between population and the means of ‘procuring subsistence’ in XVIII.x.
[3 ]It is stated at II.iii.34 that the inhabitants of Great Britain at the time of Julius Caesar’s invasion were virtually in this state. The American Indians are stated to be still in the hunting stage, ‘the most rude and barbarous of any’, at LJ (A) ii.97. In LJ (A) iv.5 Lafitau and Charlevoix are cited as the authors who ‘give us the most distinct account of the manners of those nations’.
[4 ]Cf. LJ (B) 19, ed. Cannan 14; ‘In a nation of hunters there is properly no government at all.’ The argument is developed more fully in the second part of this chapter.
[5 ]Cf. LJ (A) i.47: ‘The introduction of shepherds made their habitation somewhat more fixed but still very uncertain.’ It is remarked in LJ (A) iv.47–8, however, that partly owing to the nature of the terrain certain shepherd nations ‘generally have no fixt habitations. The Tartars live in a sort of waggons, or rather houses set upon wheels; their country is altogether plain and void of wood or stones to interrupt them; not a tree nor hill over the whole country, so that they have nothing to interrupt them in their progress. A people in this state have no attachment to their particular spot where they have taken up their habitation.’ Smith also refers at p. 48–9 to families being transported in waggons covered with a ‘sort of felt’, and added that ‘the severall nations in Germany have all been in this state, though they are now removed out of it’ (50).
[6 ]Smith considers what he calls ‘stationary’ as distinct from ‘wandering’ shepherds at § 26.
[7 ]Cf. LJ (A) iv.77: ‘In a nation of shepherds everyone without distinction goes to war. This was the case amongst the Children of Israel, and is so at present amongst the Arabians and Tartars.’ The same point is made in LJ (B) 37, 335, ed. Cannan 26 and 261, cf. LJ (A) iv.13.
[8 ]Smith compared the numbers of hunters and shepherds in FA: ‘In a savage tribe of North Americans, who are generally hunters, the greatest number who can subsist easily together seldom exceeds one hundred, or one hundred & fifty persons.’ By contrast: ‘In a tribe of Tartars or wild Arabs, who are generally shepherds, a greater number can live conveniently in one place. They do not depend upon the precarious accidents of the chace for subsistence, but upon the milk & flesh of their herds & flocks, who graze in the fields adjoining to the village.’ Smith also pointed out in this connection that the larger social groupings gave greater scope to the division of labour, citing the authority of Peter Kolben in support. See above, IV.vii.c.100. Montesquieu also comments on ‘population in the relation it bears to the manner of procuring subsistence’ and states that peoples who do not cultivate the earth ‘can scarcely form a great nation. If they are herdsmen and shepherds, they have need of an extensive country to furnish subsistence for a small number; if they live by hunting, their number must be still less, and in order to find the means of life they must constitute a very small nation.’ (Esprit, XVIII.x.2.) Cf. Cantillon, Essai, 90–1, ed. Higgs, 69, where the limitation on population growth among the tribes of North America is also attributed to the mode of earning subsistence. Sir James Steuart developed a rather similar argument, Principles I.iii–v, ed. Skinner lxiii–lxvi, lxxi.
[9 ]Cf. LJ (A) iv.38–9: ‘hunters cannot form any very great schemes, nor can their expeditions be very formidable. It is impossible that 200 hunters could live together for a fortnight . . . So that there can be no great danger from such a nation. And the great astonishment our colonies in America are in on account of these expeditions, proceeds intirely from their unacquaintedness with arms, for tho they may plague them and hurt some of the back settlements they could never injure the body of the people.’ Cf. LJ (B) 28, ed. Cannan 20.
[10 ]LJ (A) iii.41 remarks that the ‘Tartars, a savage nation, have overrun all Asia severall times, and Persia above twelve times.’ Smith also refers to the power of the nomadic hordes in LJ (B) 29–30, 288, ed. Cannan 20–1, 224. In LJ (A) iv.40 he refers to the exploits of Mahomet and Tamerlane who invaded Asia with ‘above 1,000,000 of men’ and credited Ghengis Khan with even greater numbers. He added however that the ease with which the Tartars combined together was related to the nature of the terrain, which was lacking in ‘mountains or rough ground . . . barriers or woods’. Cf. Montesquieu, Esprit, XVIII. xi.2. See also XVIII.xix, where he comments on the ‘liberty of the Arabs and the Servitude of the Tartars’.
[11 ]‘Not only are the nations of Europe unable to compete, but even in Asia, nation against nation, there is none which can make a stand against the Scythians if they all act in concert.’ (Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, ii.97, translated by C. F. Smith in Loeb Classical Library (1919), i.446–7.) It is stated in LRBL ii.25, ed. Lothian 90, that there is ‘no author who has more distinctly explained the causes of events than Thucydides’. It is also stated at ii.49, ed. Lothian 102, that Thucydides’ ‘was a proper design of historicall writing’. Smith also says in LJ (A) iv.65 that this author together with Homer, had provided ‘the best account which is to be had of the ancient state of Greece’. Hume shared Smith’s enthusiasm for Thucydides in remarking in his essay ‘Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations’ that ‘the first page of Thucydides is, in my opinion, the commencement of real history’ (Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Green and Grose, i.414).
[12 ]See also § 44 where it is pointed out that modern arms have redressed the balance between civilized and primitive peoples.
[13 ]Cf. LJ (A) i.29: ‘We find . . . that in almost all countries the age of shepherds preceded that of agriculture. The Tartars and Arabians subsist almost entirely by their flocks and herds. The Arabs have a little agriculture, but the Tartars none at all. The whole of the savage nations which subsist by flocks have no notion of cultivating the ground. The only instance that has the appearance of an objection to this rule is the state of the North American Indians. They, tho they have no conception of flocks and herds, have nevertheless some notion of agriculture.’ The same point is made in LJ (B) 150, ed. Cannan 108.
[b–b]good deal of 1
[14 ]See below, V.ii.a.15, where it is pointed out that retainers in the feudal period were also generally fit for war by virtue of their occupations.
[15 ]It is also remarked in FA that: ‘By means of agriculture the same quantity of ground not only produces corn but is made capable of supporting a much greater number of cattle than before. A much greater number of people, therefore, may easily subsist in the same place.’
[d–d]so short a 1
[16 ]Cf. LRBL ii.143, ed. Lothian 144: ‘The Battle of Platea, where by the advice of Pericles the soldiers first received pay from the publick, gave the first beginning to the democraticall government; and the commerce which followed it strengthened that change.’ LJ (B) 308, ed. Cannan 238, comments that ‘every one of the Athenians went to war at his own expence. The same was the case with our feudal lords, the burthen of going to war was connected with the duty of the tenant or vassal.’ Cf. V.ii.a.14, 15.
[17 ]‘For before this summer the enemy’s invasions, being of short duration, did not prevent the Athenians from making full use of the land during the rest of the year; but at this time, the occupation being continuous . . . the Athenians were suffering great damage.’ (Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, vii.27, translated by C. F. Smith in Loeb Classical Library (1923), iv.48–9.)
[18 ]Cf. LJ (A) iv.77–8: ‘In this state the campaigns were only summer ones. They continued but three or four months in the middle of the summer, after the spring and before the harvest work. They could easily be absent in the intermediate time, as the corn grows and the crop comes on, if the season favours, as well as if they were at home. A shepherds flock feeds tho he is not with it. Nothing therefore detains them. This was the case with the Peloponesians at the time of the Peloponnesian war, and had been so some time before at Athens, as Lysias mentions . . .’ See also LJ (B) 38, ed. Cannan 26.
[19 ]‘As the Roman generals hoped more from a siege than from an assault, they even began the erection of winter quarters—a new thing to the Roman soldier—and planned to carry the campaign on, straight through the winter . . . the young men . . . were no longer free, even in winter and the stormy season, to see to their homes and their affairs.’ (Livy, v.2, translated by B. O. Foster in Loeb Classical Library (1924), iii.4–7.)
[20 ]‘. . . the senate . . . granted the people the most seasonable boon which has ever been bestowed on them by the chiefs of state, when they decreed, without waiting for any suggestion by the plebs or their tribunes, that the soldiers should be paid from the public treasury, whereas till then every man had served at his own costs.’ (Livy, iv.59, trans. Foster, ii.450–5.)
[21 ]Allodial is distinguished from feudal at III.iv.8.
[22 ]In LJ (A) iv Smith cited two causes of decline in military effectiveness: manufactures and improvements in the art of war. The thesis is illustrated by reference to Greece and Rome at pp. 75–87 and 87–104. See also LJ (B) 37–43, ed. Cannan 26–30. It is noted at 335, ed. Cannan 260–1, that in the early stages of society war was thought of as an honourable occupation, and therefore as suitable for the higher classes: ‘But when arts and manufactures encreased and were thought worthy of attention, and men found that they could rise in dignity by applying to them, and it became inconvenient for the rich to go out to war, from a principle of avarice, these arts which were at first despised by the active and ambitious soon came to claim their whole attention.’ As a result, Smith suggested, military duties fell to the ‘meanest’ classes, ‘our present condition in Great Brittain.’
[23 ]Cf. LJ (A) iv.79: ‘Every hour a smith or a weaver is absent from his loom or the anvill his work is at a stop, which is not the case with the flocks of a shepherd or the fields of the husbandman.’
[24 ]See above, II.iii.2.
[25 ]LJ (A) iv.84–5 comments that ‘This effect commerce and arts had on all the states of Greece. We see Demosthenes urging them to go out to battle themselves, instead of their mercenaries which their army then consisted of.’
[e–e]never can 1
[26 ]It is stated in LJ (A) iv.78–80 that advance in arts and improvement must diminish the military power of the state by reducing the number of people fitted for war. In the case of Greece the proportion available was stated to be one in four, falling to one in a hundred as the society progressed economically. The same figure is cited for Britain, 81. Similar points are made in LJ (B) 38, ed. Cannan 26–7. Smith discusses a related issue at 331–2, ed. Cannan 257–8, in commenting on the decline of martial spirit which is consequent on economic advance. He cites the inroads made by the savage Highlanders during the Rebellion of 1745 as evidence in support of his general contention.
[f–f]at whose expence they are employed 1
[27 ]Public education in Greece and Rome is described at V.i.f.39–45.
[28 ]See above, § 18.
[g–g]Those 1, 5–6
[29 ]Smith comments below, V.i.f.59, on the problem presented by a decline in martial spirit which generally follows ‘improvement’.
[30 ]In LJ (B) 337, ed. Cannan 263, Smith discusses two kinds of standing army: ‘The first is when the government gives offices to particular persons and so much for every man they levy. From such a standing army as this, which is the model of our own, there is less danger than from the second kind, when the government makes a stump bargain with a general to lead out a certain number of troops for their assistance, which is the model of the standing armies in some little states of Italy.’
[31 ]In Letter 154 addressed to Smith, dated 18 April 1776, Adam Ferguson expressed himself as quite happy with Smith’s provocative remarks on the Church, the merchants, and the universities, ‘but you have likewise provoked the militia, and there I must be against you’. See also Letter 208 addressed to Andreas Holt, dated 26 October 1780, where Smith also commented that:
[32 ]In LJ (A) iv.38–9 Smith comments on the small size of war bands found among hunting communities, and points out that this is also true of ‘stationary shepherds’ such as the Scottish Highlanders. Cf. V.i.a.5.
[33 ]Cf. LJ (A) iv.169: ‘An army composed of gentlemen has occasion for very little discipline; and their sence of honour and character will make them do their duty. But when the army comes to be compos’d of the very meanest of the people, they must be formed into a standing army and a military discipline must be established: that is, the soldiers must be put in such a condition as to fear their officers, who are still gentlemen, more than the enemy; in this case they will fight, but not otherwise: then they will follow them rather than flie from the enemy.’ A similar point is made in LJ (B) 336, ed. Cannan 262.
[j–j], in the last war the valour appeared 1
[34 ]The Seven Years War, 1756 to 1763. This remark about the growing expertise of the militia may be relevant to a comment made at IV.vii.c.75 where Smith noted that the colonies were unlikely to be subdued ‘by force alone’.
[k–k]every sort of 1
[35 ]It is pointed out in LJ (A) iv.86–7 that improvements in the art of war, and especially in seige techniques, also contributed to the Macedonian success. In this place he refers to Philip as a ‘very great engineer’ and to the improvements made by Alexander which served to make ‘every state of this kind’ hold ‘its liberty by a precarious tenure’. Cf. LJ (B) 41, ed. Cannan 28.
[36 ]It is remarked in LRBL ii.146, ed. Lothian 145, that payment for public services made the Athenians ‘idle and inactive’, since the people ‘received the same pay for sitting at home and doing nothing but attending the publick diversions as they did for serving their country abroad, and the former was without question the easiest duty.’ Smith added that the Athenians were in this state ‘when Philip of Macedon arose’. Cf. V.i.a.10, V.i.f.43.
[37 ]The fall of Rome as a result of using barbarian forces is considered in LJ (A) iv.99–104, and LJ (B) 46–9, ed. Cannan 32–4. Smith uses the same argument in explaining the decline of the Saxons, Caliphs, and the Italian Republics, while pointing out that both Britain and France paid heavy subsidies to their allies for military support.
[38 ]See above, § 15. The analysis of III.ii. begins with the collapse of the western empire and proceeds to discuss the transition from the allodial to the feudal state, and thence to the commercial system.
[39 ]See above, III.iv. for an analysis of this process.
[40 ]It is pointed out in LJ (A) iv.178 that the army was less dangerous in Britain than elsewhere, since: a ‘system of liberty’ had been established before the standing army was introduced, which was not the case with other countries.
[41 ]Smith comments at V.i.f.59 on the ‘real or imaginary’ dangers which arise from a standing army.
[42 ]Cf. LJ (B) 338, ed. Cannan 263: ‘on some occasions a standing army has proved dangerous to the liberties of the people, when that question concerning the power of the sovereign came to be disputed, as has been the case in our own country, because the standing army generaly takes the side of the king.’ Smith also made the interesting point at 62, ed. Cannan 44, that: ‘A peculiar advantage which Brittain enjoyed after the accession of James 1st was, that as the dominions of Brittain were in every way bounded by the sea there was no need for a standing army . . .’ Cf. LJ (A) iv.168. The danger which a standing army presented to liberty in Rome is considered in LJ (A) iv.88–90. A parallel with Cromwell is drawn in LJ (B) 42–3, ed. Cannan 29, and in LJ (A) iv.94–5 where his rise to power through the use of the army is likened to that of Marius, Sulla, and Caesar. Smith cites Hannibal and Dionysius in much the same vein. The development of a situation where the soldiers were loyal to generals such as Marius, Sulla, or Caesar, rather than to the city was cited by Montesquieu as one of the factors which contributed to the decline of Rome; the second, was the change in the laws governing citizenship. Considerations, 91–3, 120–1; cf. IV.vii.c.75.
[43 ]Cf. LJ (B) 337, ed. Cannan 263: ‘a standing army like ours is not so apt to turn their arms against the government, because the officers are men of honour and have great connections in the country.’ A similar point is made in LJ (A) iv.179. LJ (A) iii.43 makes a related point in stating that an hereditary nobility is that which ‘chiefly supports the liberty and freedom of the people’ while LJ (B) 116, ed. Cannan 84, makes the same point. Smith argued in this connection that the nobility would serve as a focus for resistance in the event of defeat or invasion, and that in the absence of such a nobility, if the standing army is beaten ‘the people can never after make any opposition’. It is also remarked, in ‘Thoughts on America’, that the ‘principal security of every government arises always from the support of those whose dignity, authority and interest, depend upon its being supported’ (§ 10, AHR 716).
[44 ]In LJ (B) 350, ed. Cannan 274, Smith ascribes a change in modern manners to the use of fire–arms: ‘Modern armies too are less irritated at one another because fire–arms keep them at a greater distance. When they always fought sword in hand their rage and fury were raised to the highest pitch, and as they are mixed with one another the slaughter was vastly greater.’
[45 ]See above, § 14, where Smith describes the improvements in the art of war. It is pointed out at V.ii.a.14 that in modern states, war and the preparation for war ‘occasion the greater part of the necessary expence’. It is also shown at V.iii.4,5 that the institutions of the modern economy also generate the means of meeting such large and sudden expenses for military purposes.
[46 ]‘Even to the present times, improvements have been continually making on this furious engine [artillery], which, though it seemed contrived for the destruction of mankind, and the overthrow of empires, has in the issue rendered battles less bloody, and has given greater stability to civil societies.’ (Hume, History of England (1778), ii.432.)