there is no dissembling the fact, that its efficiency has been greatly impaired by the progress of steam, rendering it extremely difficult, in case of a war, effectually to guard our long line of coast. And although Europe seems now as disinclined for war as a long experience of the blessings of peace can render her, this happy state cannot, in the nature of things, last for ever. Let us suppose a general war, and a large body of French troops thrown upon our shores in a night, whilst our armies were absent on the battle fields of the Continent, or of America. The supposition is startling, but cannot be viewed as absurd; many looked upon its realization as certain when circumstances were far less favourable to it than they would now be. How far would volunteers and militiamen, hastily raised, unaccustomed to services in the field, and many of whom had never fired a ball-cartridge in their lives, be able to cope, with any chance of success, with fifty thousand French soldiers? And admitting that they did su
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