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The Scottish Soldiers of Fortune
Their adventures and achievements in the armies of Europe by James Grant (1889)


IT is intended to give, in this work, as far as possible, a faithful record of the worth and valour of those military adventurers, the "Quentin Durwards" and "Dugald Dalgettys" of other days, who carried the name of Scotland with honour under every European banner, from the earliest period; but more particularly of those who, in the seventeenth century, by the force of circumstances such, for instance, as the union of the Crowns, which brought temporary peace at home were enabled to offer their swords and services to the monarchs of other countries.

The number of these Scottish Soldiers of Fortune was very great, and in detailing their adventures and achievements during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, not only individuals, but in some instances entire regiments, almost armies of them, will have to be dealt with; as there were fully 13,000 under Gustavus Adolphus, "the Lion of the North" (as Dugald Dalgetty has it). About the same number went at various times to Denmark, 3,000 were in Russia, some 6,000 in Holland, 3,000 in France at least, and others in Prussia, Spain, and Italy, making more than 40,000 Scottish soldiers on the Continent, exclusive of 3,000 sent to the Isle Rhe under the Earl of Morton.

Their achievements will form, it is hoped, a stirring addition to our military annals, omitted in Scottish history, and will further show how our people, in whatever land they are cast, rise above those by whom they are surrounded, as surely as oil rises above water, to quote a writer who certainly was no friend to Scotland or her fame; and how many of them won the highest honours, civil and military honours which many of their lineal descendants hold in the lands of their adoption.

It will be shown how Scotsmen trained the armies and founded the fleets of Russia; how for generations the old Scots Brigade of immortal memory was the boasted "Bulwark of Holland"; while second to none in war and glory were the Scottish Guard of the French Kings that Guard of which only four were left alive when Francis I gave up his sword on the field of Pavia. Moreover, in this new mine of Scottish history, many, it is hoped, may discover the names of ancestors, relatives, and clansmen hitherto unknown to them.


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