The plan for recruiting the forces for the East Indies, March 1771

From The Scots Magazine, ed. James Boswell, Vol. 33.

SIR, London, March 8.

It gives me pleasure to send you the following plan now adopted for recruiting the military forces of the India Company; which avoids the unconstitutional system formed for passing a law to establish a regular standing army in Great Britain for a longer period than twelve months.

The India Company are to pay £60,000 to government, to build barracks for 2,300 men, in the islands of Guernsey and Jersey; where a regiment of recruits is to be formed for the India service, consisting of three battalions of 700 men each; one battalion of Irish Catholics, one battalion of Germans, and one battalion of Swiss; and one battalion of artillery, of 400 men. For the latter the Company are to pay government £10,000 annually, as it is to be formed by draughts from Woolwich, and will necessarily occasion an additional battalion to the Royal corps of artillery; consequently a great additional expence. Yet this will give the India Company the advantage of the best artillery in Europe. The King's Lieutenant-Governor in Guernsey¹ is to command these troops; to whom the outward-bound Indiamen are to bring the order of the Secretary of War, for the embarkation of any number of recruits for India not exceeding 1400 men, and a detachment of 200 from the artillery; which leaves a fund for the regiment of 700 men, and 400 for the artillery regiment. The money for the payment of the troops is to be remitted from the Pay-office; where, at commencement of each year, the full charge of these troops is to be paid by the Company. The Commissaries Paymaster of these corps are to be commissioned by the King, and recommended by the Company, as well as the other Commissioners. By this plan, only 100 men are annually sent from England; no detriment is done to the recruiting service; there is a saving of 1800 men, by the present method; a strong garrison is formed for the defence of Guernsey and Jersey; and no loss accrues to the Company by desertion. The engaging Irish Catholics will effectually ruin the Irish regiments in the service of our inveterate enemies, France and Spain.

The regiment is to be formed in the following manner : 1 Colonel, 1 Lieutenant Colonel, 1 Major of Brigade.

First battalion, Irish Catholics: 1 Major, 7 Captains, 8 Lieutenants,7 Ensigns, 1 Adjutant, 28 Cadets, 3 Surgeons, 8 Lieutenants, 21 Serjeants, 31 Corporals, 30 Drums & Fifes, 1 Quartermaster, 700 Private Men. Second battalion, Germans, Protestants; Third battalion, Swiss, Protestants; Of the same numbers.

¹ Jeffery, Lord Amherst was appointed Governor of Guernsey in 1771, and lieutenant-general of the ordnance the following year.