The French Encirclement
This chapter explores the development of a system of home defence based on civilian service, the interchange of forces between Britain and Ireland, and, in Ireland, a military infrastructure intended to meet internal as well as external threats. The European tradition of militia did not look towards conscription or some form of universal service since its focus was on defence without jeopardizing social and political privilege. Britain's strategic circumstances, however, pulled the country towards an armed populace, as was first powerfully evident in Scotland in 1797 when a mass volunteer movement was a response to weak British naval defences in the North Sea. The following year, the same happened with respect to England on the appearance of the ‘Army of England’ on France's Channel coast.
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