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I PROPOSE to write the early history of the British STANDING Army. There have been innumerable military works published in England within the last thirty years, and yet this is still a new theme (a). Histories of battles and of campaigns there have been in abundance, but narrations of battles and sieges are no more the history of an army than is a record of the public acts of kings or emperors the history of a nation.
To too many the history of the gradual growth of the vast organisation (the active military organisation, as well as the mere paper system of a War Office), by which a million of armed men are moulded into that powerful and harmonious machine termed an Army, is absolutely unknown. But as no consecutive and exhaustive history of our Standing Army has yet been produced, it is the less surprising that so great ignorance prevails; it is the less surprising that we possess so comparatively few able military administrators, or that the army is confessedly (6) in danger of falling into ruinous chaos for lack of competent and thorough legislation. There is scarcely an error on the part of our political and military administrators which may not be immediately traced to inadequate historical knowledge; for which, however, there would be less excuse did
(a) I do not overlook the publication of even so valuable a work as that of Sir Sibbald Scott, who indeed did me the honour of proposing to amalgamate our histories. Excellent and reliable as his work is, however, it did not seem to me to be sufficiently inclusive and exhaustive.
(6) « Confessedly.” This was written in 1867 ; and see the Blue-books of the Committee on the Supply and Transport services, 1858; of the Committee on Recruiting, 1867 ; of the Royal Commission on Transport and Army organisation, 1867. Since that time, and notably within the last four years (this note being added in 1890), much has happily been accomplished towards improvement, but still only in certain directions and seldom with completeness.
there exist a faithful and complete record from which the lessons of the past might be readily gleaned. An intelligent and unbiassed study of those lessons would undoubtedly conduce to greater continuity and finality in our organisative measures.
Should I be successful in filling a gap in our national literature—even if it be roughly and crudely, yet truthfully and effectually—I shall have attained my object in putting forth this volume. I shall feel amply rewarded for much toil should I live to see my labours in the smallest degree beneficial to that Arny, to which (with all its failings) I am proud to belong.
I appear before my readers simply as a diligent compiler of bye-gone history, a faithful recorder of well-sifted facts. What was begun for my own amusement I have been induced to continue and to amplify for the use of others. Had my professional duties admitted of my remaining constantly in England this volume might doubtless have been rendered more perfect. And I trust readers will be the more indulgent when they learn that I am not only a self-taught artist (as will, I fear, be but too evident from the illustrations themselves), but that also, during the ten years in which this work was executed, I was quartered for only about eighteen months in England, and not at all in London ; while I had to move to fourteen different stations, seven of those moves being across foreign seas.
To acquire material, to satisfy subsequent doubts, to write a book at all, even to preserve the multitude of papers that grow around an intending author, are tasks of no small difficulty to a man who has thus, as it were, to carry his house on his back. Nevertheless, I trust it may not be deemed presumptuous to offer the result to brother antiquarians and to those more fortunate students who may be able to improve upon it.
My endeavour has been to quote ORIGINAL AND CONTEMPORARY AUTHORITIES for every statement in the text (c),
(c) I cannot forbear impressing upon writers on subjects of military history, that works devoid of quotations of original and contemporary authorities (of which so many annually appear) serve only to perpetuate errors and misstatements, and are therefore worse than valueless.
however comparatively insignificant, and for every slightest detail in the illustrations.
The arrangement of the order of narration so as to avoid needless repetition, and yet render each branch of the subject complete in itself, has been a chief difficulty. In the arrangement ultimately adopted the first twenty chapters have been confined to continuous historical narrative, and separate chapters have been devoted to special subjects, in which each is chronologically treated and remains unmixed with extraneous topics.
For full information on any detail in text or illustrations, reference should be made to the Index as well as to the chapter which treats of that particular.
II. Progress of the Army, 1666 to 1684 ...
XXV. Drill and Exercises, during the period 1660 to 1700 ... ...
XXXII. Civil or Bureaucratic Administration, during the period 1660 to
1700 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 766