Tag Archive | recruitment

New article on recruitment in Elizabethan England

Younger, Neil. “The Practice and Politics of Troop-Raising: Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex, and the Elizabethan Regime.” English Historical Review 127 (2012): 566-591.

The Oxford website doesn’t have an abstract, but here’s the first page to give you a flavor:

“BY the mid-1590s, Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex, had emerged as the leading military figure in England’s war with Spain—a war entering its second decade with no end in sight. After beginning his military career under his stepfather Robert, earl of Leicester, in the Netherlands in 1585–6 and participating in the ‘Portugal voyage’ of 1589, he rapidly advanced to more senior positions. First given command of an army in Normandy in 1591–2, he led major amphibious naval attacks on Spanish territory in 1596 and 1597, and was ultimately given command of the unprecedentedly large English army sent to repress rebellion in Ireland in 1599.1

Unlike most of Elizabeth’s ministers, especially during the latter part of her reign, Essex was a genuine military enthusiast. He was interested in the science and practice of warfare, enjoyed both campaigning and the company of soldiers, and was increasingly recognised as the nation’s leading patron of soldiers.2 He also believed that aggressive prosecution of the war was in England’s interests, and that it might lead not merely to a settlement which would safeguard England’s security, but even to the ‘utter ruine’ of the tyrannical Spanish enemy.3 Thus, although Essex’s military exploits were expressions of service to the Queen and the country, Essex also had deep personal interests in them: they advanced his vision of the war, furthered his career and supplied the means to develop and sustain his personal clientele.

Essex’s ambitions, then, rested to no small degree on his military successes. Yet, in order to pursue them, he needed resources, and here he was dependent on the military supply systems put in place long before his emergence as a leading political figure. Despite the almost twenty years’ duration of the wars with Spain (1585–1604), England never established a standing…”


Wisdom of the Early Moderns: Don’t piss off your relatives

Advertisement in the Flying Post newspaper of June 2-4, 1702 O.S.

The Flying Post, June 2-4, 1702

“Whereas one John Clark, aged 21 Years, went away clandestinly from his Relations in London, having imbezzel’d some valuable Goods of theirs, and has sculk’d ever since August last about Exeter, Plymouth, Tavistoke, Barnstable, and other Parts in the West, leading a vagrant and inaccountable Life: His said Relations, who have always found him incorrigible, desire that the said John Clark may be compelled to serve Her Majesty at Sea, he having been already several Voyages, and fit to serve only in Sea Affairs.”

Now that’s what you call an intervention. Note as well the skulking reference.