Why quality control is a good idea

From Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquess of Ormonde, preserved at Kilkenny Castle, New Series, Vol. VIII (London, 1920), 162.

Abstract of a letter from John Cutts to the Duke of Ormonde:

Concerning the test of the firearms of the troops at the camp. The Major of the Artillery began with the writer’s regiment of dragoons, supposed to be the best armed. Out of the first 130 that were proved 53 burst, upon which they stopped. Then they proceeded with Lord Orrery’s regiment, in which 195 burst. Major-General Langston then put a stop and sent the writer an express to know if he would have them go any farther; he replied that to do so would be to expose the weakness of the army and make half the troops go to quarters without arms in their hands. Tells his Grace in plain English that here Majesty’s forces there are in effect unarmed, since arms that will not bear firing are worse than none. Proposes steps to be taken in order that the soldiers may have good arms.

John Stapleton (soon to be a book!) notes that the weapons sent with English forces to Flanders in 1689 were sub-par and required replacement with more reliable Dutch models. Shoddy English manufacturing?

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