"A Foot Soldier is commonly a Man, who for the sake of wearing a Sword, and the Honour of being term'd a Gentleman, is coax'd from a Handicraft Trade, whereby he might Live comfortably, to bear Arms for his King and Country, whereby he has the hopes of nothing but to Live Starvingly...The best end he can expect to make, is to Die in the Bed of Honour; and the greatest Living Marks of his Bravery, to recommend him at once to the World's Praise and Pity, are Crippled Limbs, with which I shall leave him to beg a better Lively Hood."
-Excerpt from The London Spy (Ashton 399)
Daily Rates of Pay: (1685-1780's)
In shillings (s) and pence (d)
The British Army understands your needs, and is of course willing to pay you just recompense for your service to the Queen! We have an excellent system for distributing payment run by our esteemed payaster-general, who only keeps a small amount of the sum (a shilling per pound or so) to himself and generously hands the rest down through his regimental agents.
Under the Mutiny act, as a new private foot man you will be guaranteed your 8 pence a day, and 6 extra pence once every two months. Most of your uniform is also provided, but you can expect a new coat every two years, gloves every year or so, and new boots and spurs every once in a while.
We hope you're not turned off by the rumors of inconsitent payment of substinence, as the company captains are sure to hand it out once or twice a week. And sure, you might be making a little less in foreign service, and might not get paid quite so often, but with all the great sights to see who even notices!
Of course, your captain may want to keep some of your pay to purchase for some of your other necessities, usually no more than, say, two pence a day. But you will be grateful when you get your new knapsack or belt buckle (and probably forget all about fact that your captain is keeping some of it to himself!) Chances are this held-back pay - we like to call it "arrears" - will only come out to about 5 shillings in a month, so that leaves you plenty of money to pay for whatever your heart desires, and food and drink to boot!
And don't worry about the extra expenditures you might have if you're in the Cavalry. The Army has instituted a new system where the money we save during the summer months when your horse feeds on grass is credited right to you! You'll have plenty to pay, of course, for those extra little items that help keep your horse alive. And the Government will of course take care of the saddles.
(Rogers, Turberville, Scouller)
Enlist Today! - Salary
and Benefits - Learn about Redcoat History -
Arms and Equipment
Bibliography - Eighteenth-century England Home