An Apprenticeship in Arms: The Origins of the British Army 1585-1702

By Roger B. Manning | Go to book overview

8
Raising and organizing standing armies

We see the face of war and the forms of weapons alter almost daily; every
nation striving to outwit each other in excellency of weapons.

Donald Lupton, A Warre-like Treatise of the Pike (1642), 131.

Another error may happen, especially where a free state is founded in arms,
by conceding too great a power to the soldiery, who like the spirits of
conjurers, do oftentimes tear their masters and raisers in pieces for want of
employment.

Francis Osborne, Advice to a Son (1656), 112.

Whatever the constituent parts of a government are, if a strong army be in
being, and it be headed by a Cromwell or a Lambert, the government may
well be reckoned to consist of army as well as king, lords and commons; for
brutish power will soon rank itself with reasonable and legal authority.

Sir Philip Warwick, Memoirs of the Reign of King Charles I (1813), 438.

The return of English, Irish and Scottish swordsmen from the mainland European armies upon the outbreak of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms introduced the influence of the military revolution, which necessitated more technically advanced weapons, larger and more permanent military forces as well as improved sources of finance and supply. There existed also by this time a large body of writings in English for those who wished to learn more about the increasingly technical aspects of war.1 Experienced veterans and competent novices competed for positions of command and other military offices as the civil wars persisted; amateur gallants and grandees lost some of their briskness, and found it difficult to accept discipline and approach war as a corporate rather than an individual effort. Nostalgia for archaic weapons and individual displays of martial prowess persisted even among the military writers who were supposed to be advocating military innovation.2 Officers who were willing to learn by experience and reading came to appreciate that an expert knowledge of military affairs and

1 Carlton, GW 8; B. Donagan, ‘Halcyon Days and the Literature of War: England’s Military Education Before 1642’, P&P, no. 147 (1995), 98–9.

2 Manning, Swordsmen, ch. 4.

-180-

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