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

By Roger B. Manning | Go to book overview

10
The Civil Wars in Ireland and Scotland

… Every nation no matter how barbaric, has the right to defend itself against
a more civilized one that wants to conquer it and take away its freedom. And,
moreover, it can lawfully punish with death the more civilized as a savage and
cruel aggressor against the law of nature.

Bartolomé de Las Casas, In Defense of the Indians,
trans. S. Poole (1992), 47.

‘Tis not the least misfortune of this country that the younger sons of the
nobility and gentry have in all times had their inclinations debauched to an
idle, for the most part criminal, and almost always unprofitable sort of life;
I mean that of a soldier of fortune. Their talents might have been better
employed in trade and husbandry to the improvement of their county, and
increase of their patrimony.

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, Two Discourses concerning the Affairs of
Scotland
(1698), in Political Works, ed. J. Robertson (1997), 46.

… Through the whole country there were daily musters; and young soldiers,
who lately had been accustomed with the plough, were now called out
and taught every day to handle their arms, with no little noise and quarter-
keeping….

John Gordon, parson of Rothiemay, History of Scots Affairs, 3 vols.,
SC 1, 2, 4 (1841), ii. 207–8.

The Wars of the Three Kingdoms were a complicated mixture of civil wars, wars of conquest or colonial wars, and wars of national liberation.1 The wars in Ireland and Scotland also demonstrated how the affairs of the Three Kingdoms had become inextricably linked together. The first standing army in the British Isles was raised in Ireland by Sir Thomas Wentworth, first earl of Strafford, as lord deputy. Although many of the soldiers were veterans of the Spanish Army of Flanders and other armies of Catholic Europe, Strafford maintained good discipline while he remained in Ireland. When Strafford was called to England, the Irish

1 B. Donagan, Atrocity, War Crime and Treason in the English Civil War’, AHR 99 (1994), 1139.

-231-

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