Guest Question: Subsidies and Mercs

Keep voting if you haven’t already. I’ll also keep the comments open on previous posts – the right-hand Recent Comments list will indicate … … the most recent comments.

But Wienand Drenth of British Army lineages fame writes in with the following question that may be of use to discuss more broadly:

“Whilst studying the 17th century, I noted a slight change regarding the ‘use’ of foreign troops by the various states, and the nature of these troops. In the first part of the 17th century they seem to be of the mercenary or military entrepreneurial type: some guy with influence and martial ambitions signs a contract with a foreign king. With (or without) the consent of his own sovereign he recruits a regiments and becomes famous. Notable examples are of course the many Scots regiments in Swedish service.
Later, it seems that foreign troops employed by another state were mostly drawn from that (first) state’s (standing) army, with the prince/king acting as entrepreneur. As such, it seems that contract were signed between states, and not between a states and an entrepreneur. Examples are found in the many many German regiments serving the Maritime Powers between 1688 and 1713. Also, the nature of the English and Scots regiments in Dutch service changed over the years. When I understood correctly, the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1678 redefined these regiments as being part of the English army, on permanent loan to the Dutch. And could be recalled if desired.

What I was curious about, is if there is a relation between this (vague) shift from (old style) mercenaries to contracts between states, the formation of standing armies, the rise of nation states and control over finances, etc etc. I do understand this is a bit of a mixed question, probably not easy to answer. But I would be happy to hear your opinion on this. If you happen to know literature on this subject, I would be pleased to hear this too.”

Post your thoughts in Comments. I’ll start it off with a few bibliographical suggestions.



25 responses to “Guest Question: Subsidies and Mercs”

  1. jostwald says :

    Just to start off, I’ll mention a few sources relating to the topic. There are quite a few overall.

    A classic work that has been superseded is Kiernan, V., “Foreign Mercenaries and Absolute Monarchy,” in T. Aston, Crisis in Europe 1560-1660. London, England, 1965. The changing conceptualization of absolutism, from conflict to consensus, will necessarily require a rethink of how useful mercenaries were for maintaining law and order.

    Another classic look at the Italian condotierre is in Mallett, Michael. Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1974. (there’s a new 2009 edition out).

    A broad attempt to distinguish stages of army “styles” according to paradigmatic armies can be found in Lynn, John, “The Evolution of Army Style in the Modern West, 800-2000,” The International History Review, 18 (3) (1996): 505-545.

    There have been several modern works on mercenaries, particularly for Germany, Ireland, Scotland and recently the Huguenots.

    -Wilson, Peter H. War, State and Society in Württemberg, 1677-1783. Cambridge University Press, 1995.
    -Wilson, Peter H., “The German Soldier Trade of 17th and 18th Centuries: A Reassessment,” International History Review, 18 (4) (1996).
    -Wilson, Peter H. German Armies: War and German Society, 1648-1806. London: UCL Press, 1998.
    -Ingrao, Charles. The Hessian Mercenary State: Ideas, institutions and reform under Frederick II, 1760-1785. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003 reprint of 1987.
    -Potter, David, “The international mercenary market in the XVIth century: Anglo-French competition in Germany (1543-50),” English Historical Review, 111 (440) (1996): 24-58.

    -Murtagh, Harman, “Irish soldiers abroad, 1600-1800,” in T. Bartlett, ed. A Military History of Ireland. Cambridge, 1996.
    -Stradling, R.A.. The Spanish Monarchy and Irish Mercenaries: The Wild Geese in Spain, 1618-1668. Blackrock: Irish Academic Press, 1994.
    -McGurk, John, “Wild Geese: the Irish in European armies (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries),” in P. O’Sullivan, The Irish World Wide: Patterns of Migration. Leicester, 1992.
    -Henry, Gráinne. The Irish Military Community in Spanish Flanders, 1586-1612. Blackrock: Irish Academic Press, 1992.
    -O’Neill, James, “Conflicting Loyalties: Irish Regiments in the Imperial Service, 1689-1710,” Irish Sword: Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, 17 (67) (1987): 116-119.

    SCOTTISH and the Protestant international:
    -Glozier, Matthew. Scottish Soldiers in France in the Reign of the Sun King: Nursery for Men of Honour. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2004.

    -Glozier, Matthew. The Huguenot soldiers of William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution of 1688: The Lions of Judah. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2002.
    -Glozier, Matthew, ed. War, Religion and Service: Huguenot Soldiering, 1685-1713, (Aldershot, 2007) – including Childs, John, “Huguenots and Huguenot Regiments in the British Army, 1660-1702: ‘Cometh the moment, cometh the men’.”
    -Trim, D. J. B., “The Huguenots and the European wars of religion, c.1560-1697: soldiering in national and transnational context,” in Trim, ed. The Huguenots: History and Memory in Transnational Context: Essays in Honour and Memory of Walter C. Utt. Leiden, 2011.

    -Rowlands, Guy, “Foreign Service in the Age of Absolute Monarchy: Louis XIV and His Forces Étrangères,” War in History, 17 (2) (2010): 141-165.

    -Stüssi-Lauterburg, Jürg, “Swiss Military System and Neutrality in the Seventeenth century as seen by contemporary Europe,” War and Society, 2 (2) (1984): 19-26.
    I don’t know of too many others on the Swiss, oddly-enough. Although I did attend an exhibition on 500 Years of the Pope’s Swiss Guards that I’ll post about eventually.

    Off hand, I can’t think of many that discuss subsidy troops in any detail, although undoubtedly some German and even Swiss works discuss the topic.

    • Wienand Drenth says :

      Thank you for compiling this list, with many titles and papers I will need to add to my reading list!

      I have consulted various of Glozier’s work. On my blog I wrote something on the early history of what was to become the Royal Scots (i.e. Hepburn’s/Douglas’/Dumbarton’s Regiment), based on Glozier. And I noted that though Dumbarton had a contract with Louis XIV, the Restoration proved to be a test for Dumbarton’s loyalty. Perhaps this is an indication of a shift towards state-supplied troops from the entrepreneurial kind?

      I liked the 1996 paper by Wilson on the German soldier trade as it gave a welcome re-interpretation of the subject.

      As for the Huguenot’s, I am a bit in doubt if calling them mercenaries or subsidy troops is entirely correct. The three Huguenot regiments of foot had their relative rank amongst the other English regiments. Perhaps we can compare them with the Irish in French (and Spanish) service after 1691? During the Napoleonic period one sees reference for so-called emigree or refugee corps. Perhaps this might be a proper description?

    • jostwald says :

      Should also add
      Millar, G.J.. Tudor Mercenaries and Auxiliaries, 1485-1547. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980.

      • Wienand Drenth says :

        There is another book that might be related to this discussion:

        J.E. Thomson, Mercenaries, Privates & Sovereigns. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1994

        The author provides an analytical framework for the question of how non-state violence evolved into state violence, in particular in an international setting. The role of mercantile companies and privateers is also considered. And I think from a theoretical point of view, the author does a good job.

        At the same time, that is the drawback. Anything that we might call ‘foreign troops’ from before 1800 is lumped onto the big ‘mercenary’ pile. Also the author’s definition of foreign is vague: does it mean foreigners (non-subjects) or foreign regiments. Which is, I think, quite crucial for our discussion.

  2. John Stapleton says :

    You might also mention Fritz Redlich’s The German Military Enterpriser and His Workforce, particularly the second volume which examines the period from roughly 1650 to 1789. In my own research on the Dutch Army of the latter 17th century, I was exploring this very subject. Peter Wilson links the shift to subsidy troops rather than mercenaries to the emergence of permanent standing armies which began to appear within the HRE in the second half of the century. I know the first Dutch subsidy agreement dates to the Dutch War, but even these troops did not enjoy the same relationship with the States Army as they would during the Nine Years’ and Spanish Succession wars. In fact, some officers in subsidy regiments received commissions in the Dutch army during those latter conflicts. I’m still trying to determine why some subsidy officers received Dutch commissions while others did not. In any case, this is a very interesting subject!

  3. Wienand Drenth says :

    John, Thanks also for the title.

    It is interesting you mention that some subsidy officers received Dutch commissions, and others not. That is something I noted in ‘Het Staatse Leger’ volume 3 of part VIII (WSS) that deals with the genealogy of regiments. Could state politics have played a role? Meaning that the republic tried to extend its sphere of influence this way across the border? I don’t recall the German states, and their regiments, that followed this habit of their officers having Dutch commissions. (But if they were German states bordering the Republic, or otherwise deemed important from an economic point of view, that may explain?)

    Perhaps related to this ‘anomaly’ may be the following. In 1688 the republic signed a contract with Wurtemberg for three regiments of horse. However, it appears these regiments were incorporated as part of the army, and not considered as subsidy troops. In the 18th century you also see that the republic took over some German regiments onto their own establishment. (Well, the Scots Brigade makes also a fine example).

    As for your reference to Wilson and the shift to subsidy troops, in which of his publications does he mention it?

    (To add to the list of litereature: Other works on mercenaries I consulted were of the kind ‘Bayonets for hire’ by Mark Urban (bit of a mixed bag) and ‘Swords for hire’ by James Miller (on Scots mercenaries).)

    • John Stapleton says :


      He mentions it in German Armies (I don’t have the book in front of me now so I can’t give you the full title) early on in the book. I’ll give you an exact page shortly.

      As for the subsidy regiments, believe most of those in question were north German (ie directly across the border) so it is certainly possible that granting officers in these formations Dutch commissions was political, but I can’t say for sure yet. The Wurtemburg regiments during the Nine Years’ War that you mentioned may fall into this same category, as well.

      I just picked up the Mark Urban book but it didn’t help me much with the subsidy troop issue. I still think Peter Wilson’s German Armies is the best book on the subject, at least from a broad perspective, and obviously Het Staatsche Leger for the Dutch perspective.

      Does anyone write on subsidy troops in British service?

      • Wienand Drenth says :

        Hello John,
        The university library happened to have Redlich’s! His chapter on the downfall of military entrepreneurship gives some very useful ideas on the transfer from mercenary to subsidy.

        I took a look at Het Staatsche Leger for the Dutch commission issue. Officers mentioned to receive Dutch commissions are those from Brandenburg-Anspach, Hessen-Kassel, Holstein-Gottorp, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Ost-Friesland and Osnabruck.

        Of these, only Ost-Friesland is bordering the Republic immediately, and has been considered the backyard of the Republic. Regarding Holstein and Mecklenburg it might be argued these states were of importance for influence in the Baltic area, and trade on that region. Except for Hessen-Kassel, it are the smaller states and perhaps they did’t have that much weight and prestige at negotiations for a subsidy treaty?

        Subsidy troops are notoriously absent in literature on the British army. Fortescue makes mention of them as mercenaries. Chandler calls them mercenaries too. Both focus more on Marlborough obviously … So, apart from a few references I guess that’s what has been written on subsidy troops in British service. Childs is a notable exception and pays more attention in one of his work on the NYW. Well, the ‘Hessians’ during the AWI get at lot of negative attention, but probably more due to propaganda than anything else.

        The Calendar of Treasury Books gives loads of details however, for the more quantitative and financial minded. For example, for 1705,

  4. jostwald says :

    I think we need to have (develop?) a clear typology of unit types to fit all these specific situations into. Chandler makes a start in one of his articles with a general tripartite division of native, subsidy, and mercenary.
    It seems like we need to take into account the following criteria:
    1. who pays for the unit (may change over time, and even have split pay in case of Anglo-Dutch)
    2. who raises the unit (military entrepreneur vs. government vs. foreign head of state; plus for the colonel we would like to know place of origin, service, and whether he was naturalized or not)
    3. who serves as officers (native officer corps, mixed-nationality officer corps…)
    4. who mans the unit (even native units can have lots of foreigners in them)

    Other complications of greater and lesser importance:
    5. The origin of the unit vs. it later being brought into another’s service, witness William III’s shuffling of units on and off different establishments.
    6. How exactly were deserters (e.g. evacuating garrison soldiers) incorporated into the besieger’s army? Was this formalized, or did they just replenish the ranks of their depleted units?
    In short, how fluid was the ‘national’ composition of any regiment given the frequency of desertion, capture, amalgamation, heavy casualties, disbandment…? (Barry Lyndon comes to mind)

    Depending on what you want to explore, you may need to use different measures. For example, if you’re talking about who pays for the war, #1 is most important (#2 & 3 will help with elucidating how much the government pays vs. the officers themselves footing the bill). If, on the other hand, you’re interested in the ‘fighting spirit’ of a people, you need to look at 3 & 4 primarily…

    Has anybody spelled out a basic typology like this?

    • jostwald says :

      Should also add:
      7. who commands? To what extent are units incorporated under the overall authority of the army commander, or do they maintain their independence? This would be relevant to army history, administrative history, and how a coalition army operated in the field.

    • Wienand Drenth says :

      Making classifications and formalizing terminology is always a good idea! In Chandler’s contribution to “The Oxford’s History of the British Army” refers to foreign mercenaries, and differentiates between those ‘in pay’, what we would call subsidy troops, and, confusingly, ‘subsidy troops’. The latter were not on the Dutch or English payroll, but were kept in the field by giving the sovereign a lump sum of money. Perhaps it can be called a bribe too? As illustration from the introduction to the Calendar of Treasury Books for 1705:

      The Treaty between the Queen and the States General and the Elector of Treves dated the Hague 6 May 1702 provided that the Elector should maintain during the war 8 Battalions to garrison Ehrenbreitstein, Coblenz and Treves. The Queen and the States General were to pay him a yearly subsidy of 50,000 crowns, one half by the Queen and the other by the States General : the first quarterly payment to be made on ratification and the money to be paid at the Hague or at Amsterdam.

      As to making a classification, taking and adopting the viewpoint from one state, let’s say Britain, will be convenient as a start and what troops did Britain pay for at some point in time. So let’s give it a try, and please correct me if I make things overly complicated.

      First, that state boasts a standing army. This can contain both native (i.e. ‘national’, raised in the state itself (points 2 and 5)) and non-native troops (like the Scots regiment in the Dutch army, or Irish in French army). The state pays for all of them.
      Secondly, non-national troops paid for by that state but not part of the standing army. These can be subsidy troops (not Chandler’s definition!) that serve under a treaty between states (‘Hessians’ during the AWI), refugee and emigree troops (Huguenots, James II Irish army in France between 1691 and 1698), deserter units, and mercenaries in the old sense (like Hepburn’s regiment in France in the 1630s).
      A third layer, what Chandler refers to as ‘subsidy troops’, are the troops raised and maintained by one state, but for which that state received money from another state as a lump sum. I think Savoy received lots of gold just to keep them in the war. I have also noted that subsidy troops (our definition) and subsidy payments went together (I guess the various princes needed some pocket money).

      I think Jamel’s points 1, 2 and 5 are accounted for (who pays, who raises and origin). The question of who officers and who mans the unit is something I haven’t dealt with that closely (points 3 and 4). Didn’t officers tend to be quite flexible with their loyalty (Schomberg?), and did this change during the 18th century? As for filling the ranks, I know that after the Treaty of Rijswijk English parliament resolved to make the English (and Irish) army exclusively English.

  5. Glenn Williams says :

    I have always found trouble with the characterization of many of these troops as “mercenaries,” particularly the German “auxiliaries” who served their sovereign, who in turn sent to fight on behalf of his ally the king of Great Britain, at a price.

    Similarly, Irish and Scottish ex-patriots who joined units in the armies of the king of France, I do not believe, could be classed as “mercenaries” either, as they opted to fight in national organizations for a king allied to a king in exile to whom they paid allegiance, such as the Stuarts; and/ or to serve in an army of co-religionist Roman Catholics when they were prohibited from public worship and/ or denied many civil rights “at home,” a la the “Test Act,” due to their faith or other “matters of conscience.”

    • jostwald says :

      Good point. It begs the question of why exactly we are using such terms: mercenary, auxiliary, ally, confederate, subsidy, refugee, emigre, deserter… These seem to mix together a variety of different ‘levels,’ and answer different questions. Are we using these terms to describe recruitment motivation? If so, whose? Motivation for refugee/emigre regiments might be relatively uniform and easy to establish, but for the rest, it’s pretty difficult. A German peasant might enlist in a royal regiment for idealistic reasons (or money, or boredom, or allegiance to a lord, or escaping from the law…), yet his prince could rent this regiment out for the cash – is this then a mercenary regiment or not? Not from the enlistee’s perspective perhaps, but possibly from the officer’s perspective (military entrepreneur that he is), and possibly from the prince’s perspective as well. Do we need to establish why the prince is loaning the regiment, and declare it ‘auxiliary’ if it matches that prince’s foreign policy goals, but ‘mercenary’ if it is primarily for the cash? Saying the prince is obligated because of a treaty only begs the question of why the prince entered that treaty in the first place – maybe his foreign policy consists of revenue enhancement.

      • John Stapleton says :

        I wonder what role patronage played in this. Many of the Dutch officers, particularly from the Houses of Orange and Nassau, also had possessions beyond the Dutch border (like Orange in the south of France and Nassau in the Holy Roman Empire/Germany). From my own archival research, I know that the Friesian Stadholder’s Guards largely were recruited in Germany, probably Siegen. I suspect that the foreigners in the national army can be mostly accounted for in this way. In the Dutch case, I also wonder how many of the subsidy armies had some sort of patronage ties to either the Stadholder or to the States General/Dutch Republic or if they were connected in some other way beyond simply cash.

        Just more food for thought…

        John Stapleton

      • Wienand Drenth says :

        Regarding patronage, I have been looking a little into the pedigrees of the various noble families. And there were several marriages between the houses of Orange/Nassau, Brandenburg and Hessen. I think that the Hanover/Celle also played a role. So family bonds may have played a role in some way regarding subsidy troops.

        To illustrate this, several of the Brandenburg house were colonel-proprietor of a Dutch regiment (of Brandenburg origin, but nevertheless considered a Dutch regiment). Also, Wilhelm VIII of Hessen-Kassel was colonel-proprietor of the Dutch regiment of Garde Dragonders from 1702.

        Furthermore, sharing the same religious faith may have played a role as well. The above mentioned German states were all Protestant if I am not mistaken. We should not forget that William sailed to Torbay in 1688 and put himself forward as the guardian of Protestantism. I know that was for a large part propaganda, but still it may be important.

        Few more thoughts to add to the list!

  6. jostwald says :

    Good discussion. From a brief search through Google Books published pre-1750, “auxiliary” seems to have been a general term for ‘foreign ally’, but it’s not clear what exactly this means as far as pay and overall command is concerned. It could also refer to taking a subsidiary position in a conflict (as an auxiliary rather than a principal combatant). In one case, it even seems to refer to volunteers. The contemporary dictionaries that I have don’t bother defining any of these terms.
    Terms to examine:
    mercenary, auxiliary, subsidy, refuge/emigre regiment, deserter regiment, confederate, ally/allies, volunteer…
    It’s possible some of these terms have rather specific contemporary meanings, and we are trying to expand them beyond how they were used at the time. Alternatively, we might be trying to create distinctions that are useful for analysis, but that weren’t very evident to contemporaries.

    • John Stapleton says :

      Hello again!

      The full cite for Wilson is: Peter H. Wilson, German Armies: War and German Politics, 1648-1806 (London: UCL Press, 1998). The possible connection between the emergence of permanent armies in the states of the HRE and the German soldatenhandel is discussed in Chapter 2, especially pages 26-35. He notes that the first subsidy treaty was concluded between Munster and England during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (pp. 33-34) for the Elector of Munster to open a front against the Dutch. The Dutch don’t seem to hire subsidy troops until the Dutch War, at least not in the way they would do during the Nine Years’ and Spanish Succession wars.

      I would be surprised if patronage did not play some role in the decision to grant Dutch commissions to subsidy officers but more research in needed to prove this. In any case, if you don’t already know of it, a good source for Dutch officers’ backgrounds is J.H. Hora Siccama, Aanteekeningen en Verbeteringen op het in 1906 door het Historisch Genootschap uitgegeven Register op de Journalen van Constantijn Huygens den Zoon (Amsterdam, 1915). It contains biographic entries for all of the personalities mentioned in Huygens’ diary.

      John Stapleton

  7. Wienand Drenth says :

    Thank you for the reference. I have a copy of the first few chapters so I will read it. The use of subsidy troops during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (or First Munster War when looking at the overlapping Dutch-Munster conflict) seems to of the more indirect kind: a lump sum paid for a ruler to levy an army and put it in the field.

    So, after reading all the comments, there are I think several factors that might be considered when entering a discussing on mercenaries, subsidy troops and the like. Factors depending on what is to be discussed and how broad the scope is to be.

    1. What, or who’s, perspective is used in the discussion. As was mentioned, for the German peasant viewed things differently than his ruler who hired out his regiment. For the state hiring the regiment it was probably something else. And from the distant and future bystander it appeared probably all the same.
    2. What underlying mechanisms let to this contract. Was it a marriage, a treaty or other obligations, need for prestige, money, fear for powerful neighbors, alliances.
    3. What kind of treaty was it? Were the troops remodeled to match the establishment of the hiring state, were the troops organized as a corps within a bigger (con)federation. The question on commissions enters here as well.
    4. How were the subsidy troops levied, embodied, mobilized, etc? Taken from the standing army, raised for a specific treaty, hired from another state etc.

    I feel that I may have overlooked something, so I would be happy to hear.

    Just as an aside. I have compiled an overview of the subsidy troops that were in English (British) pay since 1660 until 1714. 99.9% is of course on the NYW and WSS. The focus is on lineages of the regiments. An introduction, to be improved by this discussion, should embed thing a bit. When interested, please let me know and I can make a pdf.

    • jostwald says :

      If you want to draft something up, that would be great. Can you make it a jpg or tiff graphic file? I can check and see about posting pdf’s – worst case scenario, I should be able to convert PDF to image if I need to.

  8. Wienand Drenth says :

    Actually, it is a bit more complicated. As part of my project on the ‘British’ army and her regiments between 1660 and 1714, I thought a chapter dealing with the subsidy/foreign/mercenary regiments might be of added value. As that is grossly lacking in literature.

    However, I soon found out that neglecting the regiments in Dutch pay would present only half the picture. In particular in combination with a discussion on the strength and contribution of the Brits to the Flanders TOE during the WSS. Hence it grew to quite a sizable chapter … with the greater part devoted to the various principalities and the regiments they hired out.

    I would be happy to email a pdf of this chapter of course.

    • jostwald says :

      Ah I see. If it’s something you’d like posted here, I could look into it. Or you could post it to your site and I could link to it. Email me if you want to work something out.

  9. jostwald says :

    Another book to add to the bib (a few chapters deal with the 16C):
    France, John, ed., Mercenaries and Paid Men: The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages, (Leiden, 2008).

  10. Tiberius Clausewitz Drusus Nero Germanicus says :

    Hmm. What do you make of considerations for para-state entities like the VOC and the EIC, then? These companies were definitely agents in the military-political exchanges of the era, but I’m not quite sure about how to shoehorn them into the discussion. Which is too bad, since I’m collecting materials on the VOC armies and the exchange of military practices/knowledge between them and the armies of native principalities in Java….

    • Wienand Drenth says :

      That is an interesting observation that also popped up elsewhere. I am not sure if this fits in completely, but I am tempted to think that violence, as something the privilege of the state, is something of a later period. In our age we also we the rise of the private military contractors (like Blackwater and DynCorp for example), and of course the numerous private security companies. The book I mentioned somewhere earlier (Mercenaries, Pirates and Sovereigns by Thomson) should give some analytical framework.

      My original question that made it into this guest question (thanks Jamel!) is a more concrete one probably and more related to the European arena. I am not sure if the following is somehow logical or sane, but perhaps the more distant a region was from the capital, the more military entrepreneurial the nature of the armed forces tended to become.

      But I must admit it is mere guessing. I know about the EIC and VOC, but don’t know how for example the French were working in their overseas territories. Their government was much more centralised than the English and Dutch ones, to start with.

    • jostwald says :

      Indeed, the State’s monopolization of military force is something that doesn’t take hold (even in Europe) until probably c. 1700 – later if you count the regiments as being the property of the colonels. One of John Lynn’s students wrote on paramilitaries in a more theoretical vein, but I can’t remember who – Pradeep Barua perhaps? (South Asian focus)
      You might also look at another of Lynn’s students, Roy McCullough. He doesn’t set out an explicit typology, but he does mention the variety of ways in which militaries, paramilitaries and other agents worked on behalf of Louis XIV – tax collecting, revolt suppression, even counterinsurgency…
      McCullough, Roy. Coercion, Conversion and Counterinsurgency in Louis XIV’s France. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2007.

      Regardless of how one defines the different groups, I would expect that there were a lot of individuals shifting back and forth between different paymasters. Of course you have this from army to army and regiment to regiment, but I’m sure the same happened between ‘state’ service and private service. Just as you see with sailors who could be seamen in the navy, serve on board a dedicated privateering vessel (sometimes a loaned royal vessel, maybe even with a navy officer as captain), serve on an armed merchantmen which had a letter of marque issued by the government, or just be a pirate. I know there was plenty of competition between seamen for the merchant fleet vs. the navy, and there was ‘rolling’ at sea just like when men would sign up for the bounty money in a regiment and then desert to repeat the process. Sometimes seamen would serve with the navy during the summer campaign months and then work off-season with the ‘civilians.’ I’d expect a fair amount of that in the pre-modern period.

      Perhaps, since the VOC et al were state-granted monopolies, there was some term in the charter discussing the matter? Makes me think of Captain John Smith and the Virginia Company… And we should always remember the quote from an East India (?) executive that Parker cited in The Military Revolution: ‘We’re about making money, and war is bad for the bottom line.’

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