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Possible 18th-century origin

Posted by Masakim on September 08, 2001

In Reply to: Possible 18th-century origin posted by R. Berg on June 28, 2001

: : : : : Can anyone tell me about the origins of this saying?

: A little time on Google showed that the saying is often treated as an anonymous proverb. The number of pressed men varies: 2, 3, 10, 20. A writer at one site (link below) called it an "18th-century antidraft military adage" but offered no documentation:
: archive/articles/0699draftdodge.htm

[Seymour] rose up, and told them, Gentlemen; you have got a Low Church man; but pray remember that 100 Voluntiers are better than 200 press'd men. (T. Hearne, Journal [31 Oct 1705])

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