The decay of the militia
The reception of Machiavellian thought in the Three Kingdoms exercised a powerful influence on the concept of a civic militia. Only in the British Isles did politically articulate people still seriously view a militia as an alternative to a standing army in the latter part of the 17th century. Despite the widespread hatred and mistrust of standing armies as instruments of absolutism and tyranny, the county militias of England were in decline as effective military forces for the defence of the realm, while the militias of Ireland and Scotland were only sporadically activated and lacked continuity. As the militia ceased to be a tactical military arm, it continued to function as a kind of constabulary and was employed for breaking conventicles, disarming papists, and keeping order in urban areas. Despite the general decay of the militia, the later Stuart monarchs thought that it was important to control the trained bands of London and the Honourable Artillery Company. The Irish militia was full of Old Cromwellians and nonconformists, and James II regarded it as disloyal. The Scottish militia served the Presbyterian interest in riding down religious dissidents.
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