chapter  2
22 Pages

Training for Management: a Historical View

Miss Marrable’s old-fashioned ideas in Trollope’s nineteenthcentury novel neatly summarize the attitude of the gentry towards trade and commerce at a time when the Industrial Revolution in Britain was gaining momentum. Civil engineering might have been a dubious occupation, but no doubt existed about the respectability of military engineering. Commissions in the Army, like administrative posts in the Civil Service, were reserved for acceptable gentlemen capable of purchasing them. Nevertheless, the purchase system had its limitations. Reporting on the Flanders campaign of 1794, the adjutant-general to the Duke of York wrote:

‘Out of the fifteen regiments of cavalry and twenty-six of infantry which we have here, twenty-one are commanded literally by boys or idiots . . .’