Boundless Fields of Enterprise

The increased facilities which each year affords for moving from one place to another, and the boundless fields of enterprise which the new countries in modern times have thrown open to the active and energetic, have naturally converted a large portion of the youth of this age into ‘seekers of their fortunes,’ so that in commerce knight-errantry is now looked upon, not only as a pardonable but a praiseworthy thing, and the term adventurer has lost much of its former odium; but with ‘military’ prefixed to it, it is probably as opprobrious as ever. Yet it is only very recently that it has become disreputable to rove about the world in search of employment for one’s sword. Down to the end of the last century it was very common and very creditable for a young gentleman to serve one or two campaigns under a distinguished commander, though neither he nor his country had the smallest interest in the quarrel.

Military Adventurers, 1858

September 2, 2014