BRECKNOCKSHIRE'S MAIMED SOLDIERS WHEN the Restoration finally put an end to hostilities one of many problems which had to be faced was provision for the needs of wounded soldiers-a legacy of the conflict which started eighteen years before. During the Commonwealth and Protectorate an attempt was made by the Government to grapple with this serious issue. Though the result was inadequate it represented an improvement on the days when the reward of a soldier or sailor wounded in battle was a permit enabling him to beg without being apprehended as a masterless man. The Long Parliament comments Sir Charles Firth1 was the first English government to recognise its duty to care for those who suffered in its service. In 1659 Lord Fairfax presented a petition to Parliament from 2,500 maimed soldiers and 4,000 widows and orphans praying for regular payment of pensions.2 This philanthropic endeavour came to an abrupt end at the Restoration. The situation was peculiar and complex. Across the Channel in Flanders six regiments of Oliver's red-coats garrisoned Dunkirk and Mardyck, while Charles II had five royal regiments there in Spanish service. These had to be reconciled and amalgamated. There were Parliamentary forces in Ireland; in England there were still under arms the horse and foot raised by Lambert to suppress the Booth Rebellion in 1659; also those veterans who followed Monck down from Scotland; all of them with pay in arrears and in not too sweet a temper on that account. These warriors were an immediate problem requiring a solution before a thought could be spared for decrepit unfortunates wounded on battlefields of long ago. Years were to pass before the Cavalier Parliament faced up to its obligations and when it did so it was evasive. In fairness it might be mentioned that the government had more momentous issues to contend with in 1665 the Second Dutch War at sea and the Plague, to be followed the next year by the Fire of London. Little wonder that the war casualties had a tedious wait. As many of their hurts were received back in the time of Naseby, many wounded men languished unrelieved for a quarter of a century. Hope must have burned low. The term often used 'a poore maymed souldier' is poignantly descriptive. An Act of Elizabeth's reign made each county responsible for the care of its wounded. This Act was revived. The provision of pensions became the duty of the Justices of the Peace meeting in Quarter and General Sessions. The maimed soldiers fund was administered by a Treasurer, annually appointed, though a special sub-committee was appointed should need arise. Many Quarter Sessions records of this period have disappeared. In two of Wales's counties only have the actual petitions of maimed men survived to tell their piteous tale.
This text was generated automatically from the scanned page and has not been checked. Typical character accuracy is in excess of 99%, but this leaves one error per 100 characters.
The National Library of Wales has created and published this digital version of the journal under a licence granted by the publisher. The material it contains may be used for all purposes while respecting the moral rights of the creators.