MILITIA. In Great Britain and Ire land the term is applied particularly to those men who are chosen by ballot to serve for a certain number of years within the limits of these realms. The regulations of the militia service differ widely from those of the conscription on the Continent: under the conscription the troops become members of the regular army, and may be marched beyond the frontiers of the state; whereas the Bri tish militia is enrolled only for home service, and may be said to constitute a domestic guard. [CoNsealprioN.] The military force of this country in the time of the Saxons was formed by a species of militia, and every five hydes of land were charged with the equipment of a man for the service. The ceorles, or peasants, were enrolled in bodies and placed under the command of the Raider men or chiefs, who were elected by the people in the folkmotes. After the Nor man conquest of the country the pro prietors of land were compelled, by pro viding men and arms in proportion to their estates, to contribute to the defence of the realm in the event of a threatened invasion. The troops were raised under the authority of commissions of array, which were issued by the crown ; and the command was sometimes vested in the persons to whom the commissions were granted ; though frequently the high constables, or the sheriffs of the counties, commanded in their own dis tricts. This militia seems, at first, to have been liable to be marched to any part of the kingdom at pleasure, but in the reign of Edward III. it was declared by a statute that no man thus raised should be sent out of his county, except in times of public danger. From the reign of Philip and Mary the lords-lieu tenants have had the charge, under the king, of raising the militia in their re spective counties.
Charles I. having, by the Petition of Right,' been deprived of the power of maintaining a disposable body of troops in the country, found himself in 1641 unable to suppress the rebellion then raging in Ireland ; and was in conse quence induced to commit the charge of restoring peace to the care of the parliament. The parliament immediately
availed itself of the circumstance to get into its own hands all the military force of the nation ; and in the following year the two houses passed a bill iu which it was declared that the power over the militia, and also the command of all forts, castles and garrisons, should be vested in certain commissioners in whom they could confide. The king having refused his assent to the bill, the parliament made a declaration that it was necessary to put the nation in a posture of defence, and immediately issued orders to muster the militia ; on the other hand, the king issued commissions of array for a like purpose to some of the nobility, and thus com menced the war which desolated the country for several years.
When Charles II. ascended the throne, the national militia was re-established on its former footing, and the chief com mand was vested in the king. The lords lieutenants of counties were immediately subordinate to the king, and granted commissions (subject however to the king's approbation) to the field and regi mental officers who commanded under them. New regulations respecting the amount of property which rendered per sons liable to the charge of providing men and arms were then established; and at that time no one who had less than 20e1. yearly income or less than 2400/. in goods or money could be compelled to furnish a foot-soldier ; nor could one who lid not possess 5001. per annum or an es tate worth 60001. be made to provide a man for the cavalry. Persons having Less property were required, according to their means, to contribute towards finding foot or a horse soldier. The militia was then mustered and trained, by regi ments, once a year and during four days ; hut the men were mustered and trained, ay companies, tour times in the year, and luring two days each time. At the periods of mustering, every man was obliged to provide himself with his own ammunition.