James M A Gunn

It was to help the Dutch against Spain that the 'Anglo-Dutch' Brigade was formally created in 1585,and it consisted of three English and three Scottish regiments. In the 16th Century there were no 'national' armies as such, and wars were fought by troops hired for the purpose. Some of these were individual mercenaries, and others were 'hired out' as formed bodies by their rulers. Apart from the fact that no country could afford to keep a standing army in time of peace, as their fiscal systems were incapable of raising the taxation to pay for them, royal troops were seen as oppressive by many subjects, particularly in England.

It therefore suited the Stuart Kings of England and Scotland, who were always short of money, to allow their Dutch friends to keep and pay for 5,000 well trained soldiers upon whom they could call in time of emergency. Indeed much of the Royal army during the Civil War of 1640-47 was led by officers from the Anglo-Dutch Brigade. It suited the Dutch too; they could carry on the trade at which they excelled and, unlike all other countries, were able (but not always very willing) to pay other people to provide permanent forces to defend them. It was in the safe haven of the Hague that Charles II spent his years of exile.

The Brigade had played an important part in the fighting that gained independence for the Netherlands and they enjoyed a high reputation. The Scottish regiments were, however, 'Dutchified' during the period between the second and third Anglo-Dutch wars of 1665-7 and 1672-4, but reconstituted when they were over. (The three English regiments were recalled and were part of the new standing army of Charles II from 1665 to 1674.) These wars concerned commercial rivalry between the two leading trading countries and were fought abroad and at sea-the famous Admirals being Blake, Tromp and de Ruyter.