Onnekink on Glozier, 'The Huguenot Soldiers of William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution of 1688: The Lions of Judah'

Matthew Glozier. The Huguenot Soldiers of William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution of 1688: The Lions of Judah. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2002. xi + 228 pp. $75.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-902210-82-7.

Reviewed by David Onnekink (Department of History, Utrecht University)
Published on H-Albion (February, 2004)

French Protestant Soldiers in Dutch Service

French Protestant Soldiers in Dutch Service

This book by Matthew Glozier on the Huguenot soldiers' role in the Dutch army of the late-seventeenth century is long called for. Military history has never been popular in a country that boasts a glorious naval past rather than successes in continental warfare. The Dutch Republic has thrived because of her maritime commerce and naval expansion, and, faced with aggressive monarchies that surrounded her vulnerable territory, considered military enterprise a necessary evil for defensive purposes only. Still, the Dutch did make an important contribution to the military revolution during the late-sixteenth century under Maurice of Nassau. But only recently have Dutch historians become more interested in military enterprise in a less glorious age than the Revolt and its aftermath: the University of Amsterdam started a research project on seventeenth-century Dutch military enterprise, and the Amsterdam historian Olaf van Nimwegen has already published two voluminous works on the Dutch army in the eighteenth century. It is perhaps indicative that it is an Australian historian who has embarked on a study of perhaps the most successful Dutch military enterprise in the seventeenth century. Glozier, who lectures at the University of Western Sydney, wrote his dissertation on Scottish regiments in the Dutch army and is therefore familiar with Dutch military history.

His book studies the role of Huguenot soldiers in the Dutch invasion of England in 1688 which preceded and initiated the Glorious Revolution. Many Huguenots emigrated to England, Brandenburg, and the Dutch Republic during the seventeenth century, but migration accelerated during the 1680s and particularly from 1685 after the Edict of Nantes, resulting in an exodus of refugees fleeing religious persecution. An estimated 100,000 French Protestants came to the Dutch Republic to rebuild their lives and find new means of existence. In this modest book of less than 150 pages Glozier focuses on one segment of the immigrants, the soldiers. Although initially they had difficulty finding work, during the Nine Years War (1688-97) many were accommodated with posts in the Allied armies. The experienced Huguenot veterans played an important role during the Glorious Revolution, but also during the Irish campaigns of 1689-91, when the armies of the King-Stadholder William III defeated the French-Jacobite enemy.

If historiography on Dutch military history is modest, until recently it was also rather traditional. The monumental, standard work on the Dutch army by J. W. Wijn, Het Staatsche Leger, focuses on describing rank, size, battles, and strategy. Only recently have historians began to integrate purely military with social and economic history. Marjolijn 't Hart studied the connection between the success of the Dutch financial system and the strength of the army, whereas her pupil Griet Vermeesch is now working on a doctoral dissertation on the impact on society of building and maintaining fortifications. Olaf van Nimwegen located the sophisticated logistics as a key to understanding the success of the Dutch army as late as during the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-13). Glozier's study contributes to the advance of Dutch military historiography by studying the social stratification of the Dutch army.

Indeed, Glozier's study is most impressive in its reconstruction of the Huguenot community. His book has a prosopographical approach and contains a treasury of biographical information, based upon which the author analyzes the social and religious background of the soldiers. Many of them, especially the officers, were recruited from the lower nobility, for whom military enterprise was a natural choice of employment. On the other hand, Glozier concludes that the "Lions of Judah" were also driven by religious motivation. The victory of William III at the Boyne in 1690 safeguarded Protestantism in Ireland. Many Huguenot refugees founded settlements and built churches in Ireland, whereas a stream of Irish-Jacobite migrants fled to France. The Anglo-Dutch regiments (in Dutch service, mostly consisting of Scots and English dissenters) had become a breeding place of protestant sentiments, attracting many Huguenots. At the same time James II was appointing Catholic officers in the English army. Religious loyalty of Protestant officers to the Protestant cause of William III appeared an important factor in the disintegration of James's army when William marched to London in the winter of 1688.

Glozier mainly concentrates on the organization of the Huguenot regiments. Using officers' lists, he concludes that immigrants in the Dutch Republic did not enlist in the Dutch army in 1685, but only during the augmentations in 1687-1688 with the threat of war looming large. Hundreds participated in the invasion. Only in 1689, however, were separate Huguenot regiments formed, which participated in the Irish campaign. After the Nine Years War the regiments were dismantled as a result of the grand-scale demobilization. The last Huguenot regiment operated during the War of the Spanish Succession. William III made an effort to relocate Huguenot soldiers to Ireland and provide them with land and pensions.

The strength of Glozier's book is its broad approach; the author is not interested in purely military, but also social and religious, aspects, and adequately analyzes migration streams and the social and religious stratification of the refugees. Moreover, he balances Dutch, French, and British literature and archive material. It is a pity, however, that Glozier mainly uses secondary sources and very few manuscripts. Moreover, the rich biographical material leads him to insert long descriptive sections now and then, which, however fascinating, lapse into anecdotal history when a deeper analysis was sometimes more desirable. Glozier may be forgiven for not always describing the Dutch political situation very well (the Stadholder is referred to as "a kind of ... prime minister" [p. 41]). Nevertheless, Glozier's modest but fascinating book is an important and innovative contribution to Dutch military historiography as well as Huguenot studies and may prove an important incentive to study this topic in more depth.

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Citation: David Onnekink. Review of Glozier, Matthew, The Huguenot Soldiers of William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution of 1688: The Lions of Judah. H-Albion, H-Net Reviews. February, 2004.
URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=8928

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