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laid aside. There are, however, several French military books, written about the time of the regency, (1720), in which the lance is called La Reine des arms, (the qneen of arms), and in which Louis XIV. is blamed for having laid it aside with too little consideration, and too hastily.
The probability, however, is, that the able politicians and generals who surrounded Louis, perceived the advantage which the adoption of fire-arms gave the French; and, as France led the
in the military art, other nations fell into the plan without foreseeing the consequences.
About sixty years elapsed, during which the use of the lance was completely laid aside, and France, notwithstanding a national bankruptcy, and a most improvident government, continued to increase in power;
of the Netherlands had been added to the possessions of old France; and Spain, which after the death of Charles IX. held France in subjection, had gradually sunk into an acquiescent and subservient ally,
Such was the situation of affairs when the French revolution began, (of the nature of which it is not here necessary to speak), which soon took a turn which endangered the safety of all the neighbouring nations,
The French jacobins, or, in other terms, those anarchists who boasted of establishing liberty and equality in France, laid a plan to destroy all monarchies, and extend their system all over Europe.
This led the way, necessarily, to hostilities, and in 1792 armies took the field.
The old armies were disorganized in France by the new change, and their ranks thinned by desertion and mutiny: but when danger pressed, the rulers of France raised numerous armies, of raw troops, who, by means of enthusiasm, and learning to use the musket expeditiously, and their great numbers, first repulsed the invaders, then became assailants, and soon after conquerors.
To those who saw the stout athletic regular troops of Germany, and the half-clothed and halfdisciplined regiments of the French, in the early part of the revolution, it seemed quite inconceivable that victory should remain with the latter; but so it generally did. Their numbers, their quick movements, and expert use of the musket, gained
It is not said with any disrespect to the French as a nation, but as an illustrative comparison, that "the French, in using their fingers, and in the plia
bility of their limbs, are more like monkies than like men; and as the expert use of the musket only requires this monkey-like talent, the raw French troops are enabled to engage with advantage the veteran troops of other nations.
On every occasion where the bayonet has been used, the French have been found inferior to their opponents; but within these few last months, this has been found to be more the case than ever it was before. The youths, torn from their parents by conscription, have been found good soldiers so long as they fired at a distance, but when they approached to close quarters, they have been unable to stand against their stout opponents.
For the above reasons, it would be of the greatest advantage for the powers of Europe to encourage this mode of fighting, thereby' wresting from the French that superiority which has enabled them to overrun Europe, and which it is so essential to prevent them from ever being able to do again.
The world has never seen so bloody or so terrible a war as the present. Never before were nations dragged into hostilities with so much injustice, attacked with so much ferocity, or, when overcome, treated with so much cruelty,
Though the advantage of employing the bayonet against the French is evident, yet the superiority of the lance or pike over the bayonet at close quarters is not less so. The Polish lancers at the battle of Talavera shewed the superiority of the lance very distinctly, if indeed it were necessary to shew, by experiment, that a crooked, heavy, awkward, and short lance, (that is, a bayonet), must be inferior to one of which the length is greater, the weight less, the grasp more easy, the form straight, and more manageable in every way.
The pike or lance is like a pitch-fork, a weapon that every one can wield according to his strength. It may be termed a natural weapon; and what is desirable, is to have a weapon where the lance is combined with the fire-arm, in another way, making the lance the first object, and the fire-arm the second, in place of making, as now, the lance, (that is, the bayonet), the second object, and the musket the first.
There was last year delivered to his Royal Highness the Duke of York, a fire-pike, on this construction_One that can be more quickly loaded than a musket, that can be pointed with more certainty, and that weighs one-fourth less, though it is two feet longer*. It is highly desirable to try this weapon on a few regiments, as it met with great praise from General Sir Robert Wilson, who in handling it repeatedly exclaimed, « It is an admirable wea“ pon.” All the powers of Europe are interested in ascertaining the merits of this weapon, and in adopting it if found to answer as expected, and as indeed it scarcely can fail to do.
There is one observation to make_The bayonet has answered so well, that there is a great bias in its favour; and bayonet against bayonet it is excellent, as a short dagger against another short dagger would be; but against the lance it is a very infe
If this is adopted then, in the words of General Graham, the coalesced powers may give the French
His Royal Highness examined the weapon with the most bei coming and praise-worthy attention. He trailed and handled the pike like a soldier; but when the artillery officers at Woolwich had it to inspect, they only looked at it. They were quite above trying its merits, and they acted as they did on a similar occasion to Sir Sidney Smith, who on retiring said, with much good humour, that “ He had long navigated the North Sea, but he never saw so much * cold water as in Woolwich Warren"