Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Conscription (Lat. conscribo, to enrol), a word used to describe the varying conditions of compulsory military service. England, owing in a great measure to its insulated position and its small army, has for a long time had little practical knowledge of conscription, but it may have to be adopted eventually, though at present our "voluntary" army is a standing wonder to Europe. A modified conscription existed earlier in the century in the shape of the pressgang for the navy and the ballot for the militia. By a law of 1860 there is still theoretically conscription for the militia, but the law is in abeyance. In Germany and France, where universal service, with a few exceptions, is obligatory, the practice weighs heavily, and though French patriotism makes it tolerable, German patriotism does not prevent many from avoiding their obligation by foreign residence. Conscription in theory seems just and reasonable, but practically it has many drawbacks, and may do much to hinder the trade of a country and the prospects of the conscripts.