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[254] to profit by his wants, volunteered to procure the
Chap. LVII.}
levies he might need. He had scruples about accepting their offers, saying: ‘The giving commissions to German officers to get men, in plain English amounts to making me a kidnapper, which I cannot think a very honorable occupation;’ but he consented that a contract should be made with a Hanoverian lieutenant colonel for raising four thousand recruits in Germany without loss of time; he granted also the use of his electoral dominions and that ‘assistance and support of his field marshal which was indispensably necessary to the execution of the undertaking.’

In those days no reciprocal comity restrained the princes from tempting each other's soldiers to desert; and a larger bounty, higher wages, and the undefined prospect of amassing spoils in the ‘el dorado’ of America, readily attracted the vagabond veterans of former wars to the British standard. The kings of France had long been accustomed, with the consent of the cantons, to raise troops in Switzerland, and had used the permission so freely, that the total sum of their Swiss levies in three hundred years, was computed at more than a million of men. The German diet had prohibited the system; the court of Vienna was obliged, for the sake of appearances, to write to the free cities and several of the states of the empire, that ‘Great Britain had no more connection with the empire than Russia or Spain, neither of which powers was permitted to recruit within its limits;’ but she was only required to throw gauze over her design; her contractor was very soon ready with a small instalment of a hundred and fifty men; and promised rapid success when the enterprise

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