Toward the end of 1861 another war scare further impressed upon the minds of the people of Canada the importance of military preparedness. The British steam-ship Trent had been stopped on the high seas by the U.S.S. San Jacinto under Commodore Wilkes, and Messrs. Mason and Slidell, Commissioners of the Con-federate Government to London and Paris, forcibly taken off. The Trent Affair, as it was called, brought Britain and the United States to the verge of war, and Canada would necessarily have been involved. Many new militia corps were organized, and the entire force was brought up to a state of at least comparative efficiency.
Another result of the Trent Affair was the creation in 1862 of a Royal Commission, to report upon a scheme for the effective reorganization of the militia. This commission consisted of four political members, Georges 1. Cartier, John A. Macdonald, A. T. Galt, and Sir Allan MacNab; two representatives of the provincial forces, Colonel Campbell, C.B., and Colonel Cameron; and an Imperial officer, Colonel Daniel Lysons, C.B. They re-commended an active force of 50,000 men, with a reserve of the same number, and that the former should have twenty-eight days' training each year. The annual expenditure was estimated at over a million dollars. John A. Macdonald introduced into Parliament a Bill em-bodying the recommendations of the Commission. The Bill was supported by Cartier, Galt, and other members of the Government, but strong opposition developed. It was defeated on the second reading, and the Government went with it. The fate of this progressive Militia Bill drew from British statesmen and newspapers very frank warnings that Britain could not be expected to undertake the defence of Canada if Canadians refused to shoulder even a moderate share of the cost.
A Militia Bill introduced in 1863 enjoyed a better fate. A Militia Department was established, to be pre-sided over by a member of the Cabinet. The militia was divided into three classes: first class service men, second