“I Carry a Serpent in My Bosom, Which Devours Me”: Finance, Morality and the Public Service in the Nine Years War, 1688–1697

  • Aaron Graham
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance book series (PSHF)


Finance and morality were closely connected in the early modern world, but the growing demands of public service also posed new and contradictory demands. During the Nine Years War in the 1690s, British military officials found themselves caught between these dilemmas, as the problems of keeping the army in the field forced them to lie, cheat and deceive lenders in order to maintain the flow of money. The shifting nature of finance, warfare, politics and the state at the end of the seventeenth century therefore posed new and urgent moral problems for those involved.


Corruption Morality Public service Warfare Finance 



I am indebted to Hannah Smith, Stephen Conway, David Parrott, Guy Rowlands and others for their comments on this chapter, and the original research on which it was based. I am grateful to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and the Baker Library, Harvard, MA, for permission to cite material. The research for this chapter was funded by a Doctoral Scheme Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and it was written up during an Early Career Fellowship supported by the Leverhulme Trust and University College London.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Graham
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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