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Mobility between risk and opportunity

The military profession in the eighteenth century
La mobilité entre le risque et l’occasion : l’armée (xviiie siècle)
Hanna Sonkajärvi
p. 49-56

Résumés

Cet article traite des risques et des opportunités que les soldats ont pu rencontrer au cours de leurs déplacements entre différentes armées en France et dans le sud des Pays-Bas. L’enquête porte sur les choix individuels et les limites de leurs engagements militaires ainsi que sur les risques et les opportunités qui se présentaient aux vétérans. L’article montre comment les individus ont sciemment profité d’opportunités offertes par la faible organisation des armées et par les conflits entre les diverses autorités. Certes la mobilité entraînait le risque de ne pas revenir dans la localité d’origine ou d’être exclu du monde de travail ou familial originel, mais elle offrait aussi à de nombreux individus la possibilité d’assurer leur subsistance quotidienne et – pour l’élite d’entre eux – de réelles perspectives d’avancement dans la carrière.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 C. L. (comte de), Saint-Germain, Mémoires, s . l . [Switzerland], 1779, p. 150-151.

La désertion est prodigieuse dans les armées de France ; d’où vient cela ? D’abord de la légèreté d’esprit, ensuite du libertinage, & enfin de ce que le paysan français n’a rien que son corps. Tout homme qui n’a ni maison ni propriété, n’a point de patrie. [...] Il est certain qu’un Soldat qui a quelque bien chez lui, ne désertera pas.1

  • 2 On Saint-Germain, see notably K. J. V. Jespersen, Claude-Louis, Comte de Saint-Germain, Professione (...)

1In these words, the French Secretary of War (1775–1777) Claude Louis, comte de Saint Germain, points to the connection, which was already recognised by his contemporaries, between the lack of property and desertion as a means of survival. However, desertion was only one form of mobility employed by military personnel in order to make their living in the eighteenth century. The very same French Secretary of War also illustrates, in his own career path, an example of military mobility in the upper echelons of the military: Saint-Germain (1707– 1778), served in the French, Electoral Palatinate, Austrian, Bavarian and Dutch armies before becoming a Danish Field Marshal charged with wide-ranging army reform (1762–1767). After his return to France, he became French Secretary of War (1775–1777)2

  • 3 See P. Bourdieu, Ökonomisches Kapital – Kulturelles Kapital –Soziales Kapital, in F. Baumgart (ed.) (...)
  • 4 The case of an unknown soldier, during the Thirty Years War, provides an extreme example of mobilit (...)
  • 5 R. Pröve, Unterwegs auf Kosten der Kriegskasse. Formen des sozialen Kulturtransfers im Europa des 1 (...)

2Geographical mobility could thus provide both simple soldiers and noble officers with the possibility of accessing and accumulating economic, cultural and/or symbolic capital.3 In early modern Europe, soldiers were continuously migrating, either temporarily or permanently, as a result of their military service. Soldiers and ex-soldiers boosted both internal and external migration.4 The German historian Ralf Pröve accordingly speaks of a ‘flourishing European-wide labour market’ that had been expanding since the seventeenth century and which led to millions of soldiers moving across Europe at the armies’ expense.5

  • 6 See M. Asche, Krieg, Militär und Migration in der Frühen Neuzeit – einleitende Beobachtungen zum Ve (...)
  • 7 See notably E. A. Lund, War for every day. Generals, knowledge and warfare in early modern Europe 1 (...)

3Even though numerous studies have addressed war and armies as a source of migration,6 studies on the military’s role in providing individuals with opportunities for geographical mobility are still rare. In fact, the same applies for these individuals’ role as brokers for cultural, technological or organisational knowledge.7 Military knowledge did not circulate with printed media only, but was equally transmitted from one army organisation to other through individuals who served in more than one army.

  • 8 See B. De Munck, S. L. Kaplan and H. Soly (eds.), Learning on the shop floor: historical perspectiv (...)
  • 9 R. Pröve, Unterwegs auf Kosten... cit., p. 342-343.

4Early modern armies provided for a mobility that could hardly be matched by even such large movements as travelling journeymen’s tours.8 By 1700, almost every European state was in possession of a standing army, but this did not mean that to serve in the army was a durable occupation for the majority of soldiers. On the contrary, soldiers were highly mobile and flexible in their occupational activities. Many individuals served only for a few years and would then pursue other professions. On average, soldiers made up 7–8% of the total state population. Approximately one-third were married, and, if one includes their wives and children, it is clear that military personnel represented an important population group in eighteenth century.9

5The military and migration, as well as the risks and opportunities linked to mobility, form the subject matter of this paper, which is based on archival sources relating to France and the Southern Netherlands as well as on my reading of German military history. Obviously, the purpose of the paper is not to enumerate all possible risks and opportunities linked to military engagement in the eighteenth century, but to provide some examples that illustrate the complexity of the phenomenon. In doing so, I would like to draw attention to two different problems, which present fundamental questions for research on eighteenth-century armies. The first of these has already been alluded to in the article title, which speaks of the military profession in the eighteenth century. This century represents an era of professionalization for the army, but it is still a moot point as to whether a soldier could claim the same professional status as a shoemaker or baker, for example. Contemporaries’ view of the army links with the second problem that concerns the individual soldiers’ choices and options: could a military career be planned, and if so, how did changes inherent to the army as an institution affect individual soldiers’ survival strategies? This article deals with both ends of military engagement; that is, joining and leaving the army. It demonstrates how individuals dealt with the army in a given context and how mobility played an important role in individuals’ lives, both while they were in the army and after they had left the army.

Individual choices and their limits regarding the military engagement

  • 10 See J. Lindegren, The Swedish military state, 1560-1720 in Scandinavian Journal of History 10, 1985 (...)
  • 11 See J. Glete, War and the state in early modern Europe. Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as fis (...)
  • 12 See O. Büsch, Militärsystem und Sozialleben im alten Preußen, Berlin, 1962 (Veröffentlichungen der (...)
  • 13 O. Vanderhaeghen, La diplomatie belgo-liégeoise à l’épreuve. Étude sur les relations entre les Pays (...)

6Eighteenth-century standing armies provided states with a growing need of binding individuals into military service. Where as France continued to rely on an army of mercenaries, states like Sweden,10 the Netherlands11 and Prussia12 drafted their own subjects into military service. However, even these states continued to engage mercenaries. Putting aside impressment, false promises made to recruits, the engagement of criminals and prisoners of war, there existed a fierce competition between the states for individuals willing to engage in military service. This competition was especially virulent in border regions or in smaller states that provided a transit zone between different armies. For instance, the Southern Netherlands constituted a huge recruitment market, with soldiers not only from the Southern Netherlands itself but with soldiers from the Dutch garrisons stationed there and incoming French soldiers. The State of Liège provided an even more fertile recruiting ground, enabling the Netherlands, Prussia and Spain to engage men, and often deserters, into their respective armies.13

  • 14 On the economic interactions between soldiers and the inhabitants, see notably J. Chagniot, Paris e (...)
  • 15 On early modern desertions, see P. Burschel, Die Erfindung der Desertion. Strukturprobleme in deuts (...)
  • 16 On these cartel treaties, see M. Sikora, Disziplin und Desertion. Strukturprobleme militärischer Or (...)

7The motivations that led an individual to join the army were diverse. For those who could not earn enough by other means, the army provided a simple means of survival. In peacetime, many soldiers worked in ‘civilian’ professions.14 However, recruitment could take place on an even more short-term basis. Numerous individuals would engage in the army, get their advance money paid at the moment of recruitment and run off with it.15 Obviously, the armies would try to prevent such actions by trying to make sure that the recruits were escorted in groups to their companies. States also concluded bilateral treaties to ensure the restitution of deserters and tried to prevent desertions by threatening deserters and anyone helping them with rigorous penalties.16 However, many soldiers made careers as deserters, moving from one army to another.

  • 17 Nationaal Archief [NA], Den Haag, 1.02.17, Legatie. Oostenrijkse Nederlanden, no 10, Mémoire de l’a (...)
  • 18 Ibid.

8The value of a deserter is well illustrated by the example of a soldier who was subject of the Southern Netherlands and who in 1735 deserted form the Dutch.17 On his arrival in the surroundings of the city of Ghent he was immediately pointed out to a sergent of the Régiment de Ligne (Southern Netherlands regiment) by a peasant who was rewarded for this information. The deserter was then recruited by the Régiment de Ligne in a cabaret and received an advance payment. His transfer to the troops was paid for by the army, but the sergeant finally decided not to keep the man, considering him ‘trop haute de taille, qu’il deguiseroit la bataillion, qu’il navoit presque pas des dents dans la bouche, qu’il etoit aussi trop vieux’.18 However, given that much money and effort had been put to recruiting the deserter, the sutler (cantinier) of the regiment proposed selling him to the Prussians. The man was escorted to Liège by the son-in-law of the sutler and by a corporal in civilian clothes. He was bought in Liège by a Prussian recruiter and the benefits of this trade were shared by the sergeant and the persons involved in the transfer. This example shows how various people were able to draw monetary profit from one single deserter.

  • 19 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères [AE], Paris, Correspondance politique, Pays-Bas espag (...)
  • 20 AE, Correspondance politique, Pays-Bas espagnols et autrichiens, 166, fo 281, Copie de la lettre du (...)

9Regardless of general amnesties issued in times of war, desertion could also mean permanent exile from the state of birth. This was the case for a group of French artisans who in 1766/1767 turned to the French envoyé in Brussels in order to be allowed to return to France.19 In 1767 the king issued an amnesty, but only on condition that the deserters should rejoin the army or settle in the colonies.20

  • 21 See A. Mertens and H. Sonkajärvi, Das Verbot der fremden Dienste in den Österreichischen Niederland (...)

10In most states, engaging in service of a foreign prince was regarded as an act of lèse majesté and potentially sanctioned by death or by banishment and confiscation of property. This was also the case in the Southern Netherlands, where the inhabitants, as subjects of the Austrian Emperor, were required to attain permission if they wanted to serve the Spanish, the French or the Dutch. However, a closer look at the petitions addressed to the Stathouder (the representative of the Emperor in Brussels) reveals that the petitions were mainly written by members of the nobility or local administration elites. Simple soldiers continued to serve in foreign armies without permission. The confiscations proved to be an unsatisfactory method of punishing individuals who had no property. In addition, there were legal loopholes, as in the province of Hainaut where legal cases could not be heard in absence of the accused.21

  • 22 Archives Générales du Royaume [AGR], Brussels, Conseil Privé, ‘cartons’ de la période autrichienne, (...)

11The requests for dispensation and reports by provincial courts addressed to the Stathouder and the Conseil Privé in Brussels contain numerous references to desertion and re-engagement. An example is provided by the case of three men from the Southern Netherlands, who were caught in the city of Mons, in the province of Hainaut, in 1778.22 They were accused of serving French and Dutch troops without permission. One of the men, Jean-Baptiste Marot, native of the city of Mons, had joined a Scottish regiment that was in Dutch service and stationed in Ypres. He deserted the army in 1772 after having served only four months, but returned to the regiment and served for another four months. After a period of leave from his regiment, during which he returned to Mons, he rejoined his regiment in Nijmegen and served there for ten months, after which, in 1777, he again deserted. Another native of Mons, Corneille De Lattre, joined the same regiment in Tournai and served for fourteen months before deserting.

12Charles-Joseph Ottin, who was 22 years of age at the time of his arrest, came from the town of Antoing. He went Paris in order to work there as a baker. Unable to find work, he decided to join a French régiment de Dragons in 1776. He served for nine months, after which he returned to Antoing on leave, which had been conceded to him because of his bad health.

13The Council of Hainaut, which was a provincial court, stated in its report to the Conseil Privé that the men had committed the crime of enrolling in a foreign army. Ottin was to be pardoned because of his bad health whereas the two others were to be sentenced. However, the Council of Hainaut stated that the sentence should follow economic logic, and the two men considered as resources in service of the prince:

  • 23 AGR, 967/A, sans f., minutes of the Conseil Privé, 19 June 1778.

Cependant, eû-egard que les deux premiers [Marot and De Lattre] ont quitté le service de Hollande, qu’ils sont revenus l’un et l’autre à Mons lieu de leur naissance, et qu’en les soumettant à la peine comminée par L’Edit qui est celle de Bannissement, ce seroit perdre deux sujets, le Conseil estime, que prenant cette circonstance en consideration, il pourroit plaire à S.A.R. de leur faire grace de la peine qu’ils pourroient avoir encouruë, moiennant qu’ils paient les frais et mises de Justice, en agréant l’offre qu’a faite le nommé De Lattre de servir pendant six ans dans les Troupes de S.M. [...].23

  • 24 Ibid.

14The Conseil Privé followed this reasoning, ‘sentencing’ Marot and De Lattre to enrol in the imperial army. However, the Council of Hainaut received instructions to enforce the sentence without making it public.24

  • 25 See J. Ruwet, Soldats des régiments nationaux au xviiième siècle, notes et documents, Brussels, 196 (...)
  • 26 A. Mertens, Nobles into Belgians. The Brabant estate nobility between the Ancien Régime and the nat (...)
  • 27 Ibid., p. 77. The reorganisation of the spanish troops under Philipp V Bourbon (1700-1746) created (...)

15At the higher end of the social scale, the Habsburgs did not succeed in binding the elites of the Southern Netherlands to the army of that country or to the Austrian army.25 The nobility and the sons of local administrative elites continued to serve the Spanish army, as well as the French and Dutch. This was because the Habsburg regiments could not provide enough officers’ posts and because advancement – except for the imperial nobility – in the Austrian army was slower than in the Spanish army in particular.26 Entry into foreign service often implied already existing or future familial or patronage ties, which in turn could lead to permanent emigration. Paradoxically, there were probably more Southern Netherlands nobles in Spanish service in the eighteenth century than there had been during the period of Spanish rule.27

  • 28 On the company economy, see the classic study by F. Redlich, The German military entrepriser and hi (...)
  • 29 A.-L. Head, Intégration ou exclusion: le dilemme des soldats suisses au service de France, in P. Ba (...)

16Beyond the risk of death and physical injury, soldiers had to put up with other disadvantages linked to military service, which could make such service unattractive in the long run. Bad treatment by superior officers, low or irregular payment and the prohibition to marry were among such inconveniences. Credit relations between members of a unit28 or between soldiers and local inhabitants could both prevent and provoke desertions. However, there existed further risks that might have been difficult for the future soldiers to calculate before enlistment. For instance, did the Swiss soldiers who engaged in foreign service take into account that, during their absence, they might lose their local residency rights in their community of their origin? On their return they had to pay reception fees in order to reintegrate into their village or city. An even more severe consequence of enlistment would be experienced by the soldier who married a woman of different confession, which could lead to total exclusion from local citizenship.29

  • 30 Where as for instance the treaty between the French King and the Swiss cantons of 1663 clearly stat (...)
  • 31 In Strasbourg, the Swiss regiments were only allowed to judge those soldiers, who were of Swiss ori (...)
  • 32 See R. Atwood, The Hessians: mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution, Cambridge/N (...)

17Equally, on the inter-state level, the terms of mercenary treaties could change. In the second half of the eighteenth century the French Crown withdrew a number of privileges previously granted to the Swiss. Did soldiers engaging in the Swiss regiments in the second half of the eighteenth century count on being shipped to Corse or to America, given that the treaties between the French Crown and the Swiss cantons prohibited the use of Swiss troops at sea?30 And did members of Swiss regiments count on being tried in French civilian courts in cases where they were of non-Swiss origin and engaged in a conflict with local inhabitants?31 Or did ordinary Hessian soldiers who were sold by the Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel to serve as auxiliary troops for the British during the American War of Independence (1776–1783) know what to expect on the other side of the Atlantic?32 Probably they did not, but these examples show how the army as an institution continuously evolved and how such changes could affect an individual’s life.

Long-term military service and the risks and opportunities for retired soldiers in eighteenth-century France

  • 33 J.-P. Bois, Les anciens soldats dans la société française au xviiiesiècle, Paris, 1990, p. 115-116. (...)

18An area where the French army was continuously changing during the second half of the eighteenth century was over the question of ancient soldiers. This issue illustrates, not only how the institution of the Hôtel des Invalides and the pensions system evolved, but also how different individuals reacted to these changes and profited from them, sometimes using existing regulations to their advantage. The case of retired soldiers is also highly relevant in relation to the question of labour and the development of the military profession. The recognition of retired soldier and the development of the pension system gradually changed contemporaries’ perception of the military career from that of a passage transitoire to that of a permanent occupation, in which individuals could remain for twenty or more years. However, the changes in the French army during the eighteenth century were by no means characterised by a continuous amelioration of the plight of the veteran. According to Jean-Pierre Bois, only about 8% of retired soldiers were provided with pensions at the end of the ancien régime. At the same time, the number of retired soldiers reached 300,000, while the number in active service was only 200,000. About one-third of foreign soldiers stayed in France after having left the army, and, similarly, one-third of soldiers of rural origin settled in cities.33

  • 34 See J.-P. Bois, Les anciens soldats... cit.; A. Corvisier, L’armée française... cit., vol. 2, p. 90 (...)
  • 35 ‘sans bien’ and ‘sans moeurs’, AMS, AA 2368, no 1, Copied’une lettre de MM les Préteurs consuls et (...)
  • 36 ‘sans éducation, abandonnés à la mendicité’, AMS, AA 2368, no 1, Copie d’une lettre de MM les Préte (...)
  • 37 H. Sonkajärvi, Die Unerwünschten Fremden. Ehemalige Söldner in Straßburg in der zweiten Hälfte des (...)
  • 38 See H. Sonkajärvi, Un groupe privilégié de domestiques dans la ville de Strasbourg au xviiie siècle (...)

19The risks and opportunities related to soldiers’ mobility can be demonstrated through the example of Swiss mercenaries in French service. In 1787 the Strasbourg Magistracy turned to the Director of the Hôtel royal des Invalides34 and to the minister of war complaining about the great number of retired soldiers that had settled in the city. The magistracy informed the gouverneur des invalides about 300 retired soldiers without any income. They would marry women, who were foreigners to Strasbourg and introduce themselves into the city with their families. The magistracy stated that in 1786 alone 212 ‘undecent’35 wives of retired soldiers as well as 260 children ‘without education and left to mendicity’ had entered the city.36 The problem for the city was that retired veterans were considered civilians and would therefore, if they needed assistance, need to be taken care of at the expense of the city. It seems, indeed, that numerous members of the Swiss regiments settled in Alsace after having left the army,37 and one might ask why this was the case. Several reasons can be adduced: the difficulty of reintegration into their community of origin; the simple difficulty of financing the journey back home; the fact of having become used to urban life or having established social relationships in garrison town. However, the main reason for the popularity of Alsace among the Swiss was that the soldiers could continue to enjoy Swiss privileges in France after having left the military. They were relieved from the taille and paid no indirect taxes on wine or meat.38 As a compensation for the Swiss troops the French king had accorded generous privileges to Swiss merchants. They could move and exercise their commerce freely in France. The Swiss could accumulate property, since they were able to bequeath and to inherit: the Swiss were not subjected to the droit d’aubaine, the king’s right to confiscate the property of foreigners who had died on French soil. Alsace – and especially Strasbourg – as a German-speaking and multi-confessional city also provided an alternative for all non-Catholic retired soldiers, who could not be admitted to the Hôtel des Invalides.

20A memorandum addressed by the Strasbourg magistracy to the ministry of war in 1765 states that the Swiss officers were attracted to the city by the geographic proximity to the Swiss cantons and by the confessional setting:

  • 39 AMS, AA 2616, fo 47-51, Mémoire sur la prétention des officiers suisses à des exemptions de charges (...)

La proximité qu’il y a entre la Suisse et l’Alsace a établi de l’une à l’autre, des relations continuelles et donne lieu à ce que des officiers de cette nation, au service du Roy, s’établissent dans la province. Quelques uns y font des mariages avantageuses avec des filles du pays qui possèdent des biens fonds, c’est ce qui arrive aussi dans la ville de Strasbourg, ou ils trouvent un avantage de plus sur le fait de la religion.39

  • 40 AMS, AA 2616, Mémoire sur la prétention des officiers suisses à des exemptions de charges et d’impô (...)
  • 41 A register dating from 1781 mentions six Swiss officers, and two other Officers, of which two were (...)
  • 42 AMS, AA 2616. Extrait d’une lettre du contrôleur général, M. Bertin, à M. de Lucé, 4 May 1761. It i (...)

21An example of how Swiss soldiers would take advantage of the privileges accorded to them by the Crown is provided by the case of officers who married into the local town elite. The Strasbourg Magistracy complained, in 1781, to the contrôleur général des finances about a number of women who had married Swiss officers.40 These marriages provided the Swiss with the means of accessing property through their wives. Given that the officers were not citizens (Bürger) of the town, they could not have obtained this property otherwise, since – as a general rule – the acquisition of immovable goods was reserved for the citizens. Subsequently, their wives would renounce to their town citizenship and no longer pay the taxes coupled with the local citizenry rights. Furthermore, the magistracy noted that they even refused to pay the Realschirmgeld, a tax paid on property by a growing number of privileged non-citizens (royal officers, nobility, clergy). Some wives also rejected participation in the billeting system.41 The magistracy was ordered by the Crown to demand neither the vingtième nor capitation from the Swiss, so long as they had no other income than their salaries. Instead, a line was drawn between persons born on Swiss soil and those who had merely taken up residence in a Swiss canton. The order explicitly stated that Alsatians who had become members of a Swiss canton could not claim privileges.42 It is telling that the magistracy only began to complain about these marriages – which were notably entered by the daughters of the magistrate’s leading members – after it realised that the city was loosing a significant amount of revenue.

Conclusion

22The army provided an important factor of mobility in the early modern period. Soldiers and ex-soldiers bolstered both internal and external migration, moving from one state or province to another, but also moving from rural areas into the cities. The examples given in this article point to the risks and opportunities faced by individuals who moved with and between different armies. Individuals would consciously take advantage of the possibilities provided by the army’s institutional weaknesses, such as the incomplete systems of recruitment and control of desertion. They would also employ their military privileges for economic purposes against civilian authorities, such as the magistracy of Strasbourg. Whereas mobility carried the risk of never being able to return to one’s place of origin or being alienated from the original working or family context, it also provided a considerable number of individuals with possibilities of survival on a day-to-day basis and – with regard to the elites – with better prospects of career advancement. In order to broaden our understanding of the eighteenth century army it is therefore worth studying the mobility inherent in military service in relation to individual soldiers’ strategies of survival and profit-making.

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Notes

1 C. L. (comte de), Saint-Germain, Mémoires, s . l . [Switzerland], 1779, p. 150-151.

2 On Saint-Germain, see notably K. J. V. Jespersen, Claude-Louis, Comte de Saint-Germain, Professionel soldat, dansk militær eformator og fransk krigsminister. Et essay om en fransk officers rolle i moderniseringen af 1700-tallets Danmark, in Scandia, 49, 1, 1983, p. 87-102; L. Mention, Le Comte de Saint- Germain et ses réformes, 1775-1777, d’après les archives du Dépôt de la guerre, thèse présentée à la Faculté des lettres de Paris, Paris, 1884; L. B. Struwe, Claude Louis de Saint Germains rolle ved overgangen til en national værnepligtig hær, in Militært tidsskrift 132, 2003, p. 425-448. On the noble involvement in early modern armies, see C. Storrs and H. M.Scott, The military revolution and the European nobility, in War in History, 3:1, 1996, p. 1-41.

3 See P. Bourdieu, Ökonomisches Kapital – Kulturelles Kapital –Soziales Kapital, in F. Baumgart (ed.), Theorien der Sozialisation, Bad Heilbronn, 1997, p. 217-231.

4 The case of an unknown soldier, during the Thirty Years War, provides an extreme example of mobility: the soldier served for 25 years in various armies and wandered 25,000 kilometers during this period. See J. Peters (ed.), Ein Söldnerleben im dreißigjährigen Krieg. Eine Quelle zur Sozialgeschichte, Berlin, 1993.

5 R. Pröve, Unterwegs auf Kosten der Kriegskasse. Formen des sozialen Kulturtransfers im Europa des 18. Jahrhunderts, in T. Fuchs and S. Trakulhun (eds.), Das eine Europa und die Vielfalt der Kulturen. Kulturtransfer in Europa 1500-1850, Berlin, 2003 (Aufklärung und Europa 12), p. 347.

6 See M. Asche, Krieg, Militär und Migration in der Frühen Neuzeit – einleitende Beobachtungen zum Verhältnis von horizontaler und vertikaler Mobilität in der kriegsgeprägten Gesellschaft Alteuropas im 17. Jahrhundert, in M. Asche, M. Herrmann, U. Ludwig and A. Schindling (eds.), Krieg, Militär und Migration in der Frühen Neuzeit, Berlin, 2008 (Herrschaft und soziale Systeme in der Frühen Neuzeit 9), p. 11- 36; M. E. Ailes, Military Migration and the State Formation: The British Military Community in Seventeenth-Century Sweden, Lincoln-London, 2002.

7 See notably E. A. Lund, War for every day. Generals, knowledge and warfare in early modern Europe 1680-1740, Westport (Conn.)-London, 1999 (Contributions in Military Studies 181); E. Anklam, Wissen nach Augenmaß, Militärische Beobachtung und Berichterstattung im Siebenjährigen Krieg, Berlin, 2007 (Herrschaft und soziale Systeme in der Frühen Neuzeit, 10).

8 See B. De Munck, S. L. Kaplan and H. Soly (eds.), Learning on the shop floor: historical perspectives on apprenticeship, New York, 2007 (International Studies in Social History 12) ; M. Sonenscher, Journey’s migration and workshop organization in eighteenth-century France, in S. L. Kaplan and C. J. Koepper (eds.), Work in France: representations, meaning, organization, and practise, Ithaca (N.Y.), 1986, p. 74-96; S. Wadauer, Die Tour der Gesellen. Mobilität und Biographie im Handwerk vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, Frankfurt am Main/New York, 2005.

9 R. Pröve, Unterwegs auf Kosten... cit., p. 342-343.

10 See J. Lindegren, The Swedish military state, 1560-1720 in Scandinavian Journal of History 10, 1985, p. 305-336; M. Roberts, The military revolution 1560-1660, Belfast, 1956.

11 See J. Glete, War and the state in early modern Europe. Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as fiscal-military states. 1500-1660, London, 2002.

12 See O. Büsch, Militärsystem und Sozialleben im alten Preußen, Berlin, 1962 (Veröffentlichungen der Berliner Historischen Kommission 7); M. Winter, Untertanengeist durch Militärpflicht? Das preußische Kantonsystem in brandenburgischen Städten im 18. Jahrhundert, Bielefeld, 2005 (Studien zur Regionalgeschichte 20).

13 O. Vanderhaeghen, La diplomatie belgo-liégeoise à l’épreuve. Étude sur les relations entre les Pays-Bas autrichiens et la principauté de Liège au xviiie siècle, Brussels, 2003, p. 45-46 (Études sur le xviiie siècle 30). See, for smaller German states living on the trade of deserters, J. Nowosadtko, Stehendes Heer im Ständestaat. Das Zusammenleben von Militär – und Zivilbevölkerung im Bistum Münster, 1650-1803, Paderborn (forthcoming).

14 On the economic interactions between soldiers and the inhabitants, see notably J. Chagniot, Paris et l’armée au xviiie siècle, étude politique et sociale, Paris, 1985, p. 438-447; R. Pröve, Stehendes Heer und städtische Gesellschaft im 18. Jahrhundert: Göttingen und seine Militärbevölkerung, 1713-1756, Munich, 1995.

15 On early modern desertions, see P. Burschel, Die Erfindung der Desertion. Strukturprobleme in deutschen Söldnerheere des 17. Jahrhunderts, in U. Bröckling and M. Sikora (eds.), Armeen und ihre Deserteure, Göttingen, 1998, p. 72-84; A. Corvisier, L’armée française de la fin du xviie siècle au ministère de Choiseul: Le soldat, Paris, 1964, esp. vol. II, p. 714-747; M. Sikora, Disziplin und Desertion. Strukturprobleme militärischer Organisation im 18. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1996; S. Kroll, Soldaten im 18. Jahrhundert zwischen Friedensalltag und Kriegserfahrung. Lebenswelten und Kultur in der kursächsischen Armee 1728-1796, Paderborn, 2006, p. 503-570; N. Seriu, Le regret d’avoir déserté: une posture du soldat au xviiie siècle (France), in Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos, Coloquios, 2006, URL: http://nuevomundo.revues.org/2008 [consulted 14 April 2011].

16 On these cartel treaties, see M. Sikora, Disziplin und Desertion. Strukturprobleme militärischer Organisation im 18. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1996, p. 119-127; G. Macours, Ne crimina impunita maneant. De 18e - eeuwse Frans - Zuidnederlandse uitleveringspraktijk, Kortrijk-Heule, 1996, p. 87-88.

17 Nationaal Archief [NA], Den Haag, 1.02.17, Legatie. Oostenrijkse Nederlanden, no 10, Mémoire de l’auditeur général de Beelen à Marie Élisabeth d’Autriche, gouvernante des Pays-Bas du sud, Bruxelles, le 4 mai 1735

18 Ibid.

19 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères [AE], Paris, Correspondance politique, Pays-Bas espagnols et autrichiens, 166, fo 42, Copie de la lettre de M. le Comte de Lupcourt Drouville à M. le Duc de Choiseul, le 2 février 1766; fo 50-53, Copie de la lettre écrite a M. le Duc de Choiseul par M. le Comte de Lupcourt Drouville, le 10 février 1766.

20 AE, Correspondance politique, Pays-Bas espagnols et autrichiens, 166, fo 281, Copie de la lettre du M. le Duc de Choiseul à M. le Comte de Lupcourt Drouville, le 17 novembre 1767.

21 See A. Mertens and H. Sonkajärvi, Das Verbot der fremden Dienste in den Österreichischen Niederlanden: Mittel zur Herrschaftsvermittlung und zur Kontrolle von lokalen Eliten (forthcoming).

22 Archives Générales du Royaume [AGR], Brussels, Conseil Privé, ‘cartons’ de la période autrichienne, 967/A, Servicemilitaire à l’étranger (1739-1787), sans f., Report of the Conseil d’Hainaut to the Conseil Privé, 17 July 1778; minutes of the Conseil Privé, 19 June 1778; minutes of the Conseil Privé, 6 June 1778.

23 AGR, 967/A, sans f., minutes of the Conseil Privé, 19 June 1778.

24 Ibid.

25 See J. Ruwet, Soldats des régiments nationaux au xviiième siècle, notes et documents, Brussels, 1962.

26 A. Mertens, Nobles into Belgians. The Brabant estate nobility between the Ancien Régime and the nation state, 1750-1850, Ph.D. thesis, European University Institute. Florence, 2007, p. 91-94.

27 Ibid., p. 77. The reorganisation of the spanish troops under Philipp V Bourbon (1700-1746) created new possibilities, see, T. Glesener, ¿Nación Flamenca o elite de poder? Los militares ‘flamencos’ en la España de los Borbones, in A. Álvarez-Ossorio and B. J. García García (eds.), La Monarquía de las Naciones. Patria, nación y naturaleza en la Monarquía de España, Madrid, 2004, p. 701-719. On the Spanish system in general, see F. Andújar Castillo, El sonido del dinero. Monarquía, ejército y venalidad en la España del siglo XVIII, Madrid, 2004.

28 On the company economy, see the classic study by F. Redlich, The German military entrepriser and his workforce, II, Wiesbaden, 1964/1965 (Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Beihefte 47 and 48).

29 A.-L. Head, Intégration ou exclusion: le dilemme des soldats suisses au service de France, in P. Bairoch and M. Körner (eds.), La Suisse dans l’économie mondiale (15e-20e s.), Geneva, 1990, p. 37-55.

30 Where as for instance the treaty between the French King and the Swiss cantons of 1663 clearly stated that the Swiss were not to be shipped [‘qu’ils seront seulement employez par terre et non sur mer’], the French Crown began, towards the end of the eighteenth century, eroding this practise (still confirmed in the Treaty of Soleure in 1764), by considering that shipping Swiss soldiers to Corse would not mean employing Swiss mercenaries at sea, P. Gern, Aspects des relations franco-suisses au temps de Louis XVI. Diplomatie, économie, finances, Neuchâtel, 1970, p. 33. See for the 1663 treaty: Bündnis der eidgenössischen Orte und ihrer treaty: Bündnis der eidgenössischen Orte und ihrer Zugewandten mit der Krone Frankreich, Solothurn, 24 September 1663, in: Die Eidgenössischen Abschiede aus dem Zeitraume von 1649 bis 1680: Herrschafts – und Schirmortsangelegenheiten, Beilagen, Anhang und Register (1867), vol. 6-1,2, Lucerne, p. 1641-1658, citation p. 1648, art. 7.

31 In Strasbourg, the Swiss regiments were only allowed to judge those soldiers, who were of Swiss origin. When this was not the case, the local magistracy had the right to judge the soldier in question, Archives Municipales de Strasbourg [AMS], VI 644, n 7, Pièce relative au conflit entre le Magistrat et la justice militaire des Suisses à l’occasion du crime de profanation commis par un soldat du régiment de Salis, 1758; Archives départementales du Bas-Rhin, Strasbourg [ABR], C 543, no 67-70, Conflits entre le Magistrat de Strasbourg et des officiers, octobre – décembre 1758. On the Swiss military justice, see G. Salerian-Saugy, La justice militaire des troupes suisses sous l’Ancien Régime, Lausanne, 1927.

32 See R. Atwood, The Hessians: mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution, Cambridge/New York, 1980; C. W. Ingrao, The Hessian mercenary state. Ideas, institutions, and reform under Frederick II., 1760-1785, Cambridge, 1987; D. Krebs, The King’s soldiers or continental servants? German captives in American hands, 1776-1783, in M. Asche, M. Herrmann, U. Ludwig and A. Schindling (eds.), Krieg, Militär und Migration in der Frühen Neuzeit, Berlin, 2008 (Herrschaft und soziale Systeme in der FrühenNeuzeit 9), p. 117- 140.

33 J.-P. Bois, Les anciens soldats dans la société française au xviiie siècle, Paris, 1990, p. 115-116. Tracing veterans or soldiers exercising other occupations alongside their soldiery poses difficulties in terms of sources. Mostly, only deviant behaviour is registered and the administrative records mention soldiers only in negative contexts. In such sources, ex-soldiers also rarely identify themselves as such, but rather give their ‘civilian’ occupation to the authorities. It is therefore difficult to generalise on the basis of these sources, see J.-P. Bois, Les anciens soldats de 1715 à 1815. Problèmes et méthodes, in Revue Historique, 265, 1981, p. 81-102

34 See J.-P. Bois, Les anciens soldats... cit.; A. Corvisier, L’armée française... cit., vol. 2, p. 901-947; I. Woloch, The French veteran from the Revolution to the Restoration, Chapel Hill, 1979

35 ‘sans bien’ and ‘sans moeurs’, AMS, AA 2368, no 1, Copied’une lettre de MM les Préteurs consuls et Magistrats de la ville de Strasbourg à M. de Sombreuil, Gouverneur de l’hôtel royal des invalides, le 10 mai 1787.

36 ‘sans éducation, abandonnés à la mendicité’, AMS, AA 2368, no 1, Copie d’une lettre de MM les Préteurs consuls et Magistrats de la ville de Strasbourg à M. de Sombreuil, Gouverneur de l’hôtel royal des invalides, le 10 mai 1787.

37 H. Sonkajärvi, Die Unerwünschten Fremden. Ehemalige Söldner in Straßburg in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts, in M. Asche, M. Herrmann, U. Ludwig and A. Schindling (eds.), Krieg, Militär und Migration in der Frühen Neuzeit, Berlin, 2008 (Herrschaft und soziale Systeme in der Frühen Neuzeit 9), p. 105-115.

38 See H. Sonkajärvi, Un groupe privilégié de domestiques dans la ville de Strasbourg au xviiie siècle: Les ‘Suisses portiers d’hôtels’, in B. Bernard and X. Stevens (eds.), La domesticité au siècle des Lumières: une approche comparative, Brussels, 2009 (Archives et bibliothèques de Belgique), p. 15-23.

39 AMS, AA 2616, fo 47-51, Mémoire sur la prétention des officiers suisses à des exemptions de charges et d’impôts, 1765.

40 AMS, AA 2616, Mémoire sur la prétention des officiers suisses à des exemptions de charges et d’impôts, 1765; AMS, AA 2528, États indicatifs des personnes qui, par suite de leur anoblissement, d’acquisition de charges ou des mariages avec des privilégiés, se sont soustraites aux charges et impôts, 1781. Similar marriage strategies were followed by the Swiss in Lyon,where they were exempted from the taille, see H. Lüthy, Die Tätigkeit der Schweizer Kaufleute und Gewerbetreibenden in Frankreich unter Ludwig XIV. und der Regentschaft, Aarau, 1943, p. 194-195.

41 A register dating from 1781 mentions six Swiss officers, and two other Officers, of which two were noble and one was, according to the magistracy, ‘pretending to be noble’, AMS, AA 2528, sans f., État des personnes qui par des marriages avec des privilégiés ou prétendus tels, se sont soustraites aux rôles de la ville, soit pour la capitation, soit pour la taille ou le droit de protection, soit pour le logement de gens de guerre depuis 1740 jusqu’à ce jour, 1781.

42 AMS, AA 2616. Extrait d’une lettre du contrôleur général, M. Bertin, à M. de Lucé, 4 May 1761. It is important to note that not every member of a foreign regiment was a foreigner in France. Subjects of the French King, and especially the Alsatians, also served in Swiss regiments.

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Hanna Sonkajärvi, « Mobility between risk and opportunity », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Italie et Méditerranée modernes et contemporaines [En ligne], 123-1 | 2011, mis en ligne le 12 mars 2013, consulté le 20 août 2017. URL : http://mefrim.revues.org/592 ; DOI : 10.4000/mefrim.592

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University od Duisburg-Essen, Hanna.Sonkajaervi@uni-due.de

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