Expeditions were dispatched to Spain, to France, and to Germany - six expeditions in four years, and every one a miserable failure! Years of unpreparedness and neglect told their story. It always has taken England a considerable time to recover from the military stagnation of a long peace; for the Englishman engaged in civilian pursuits is quite unwarlike. There was no rush to arms; press gangs had to recruit by forced draft. Few communities allowed their better men to be rushed from their homes to what, in a time of unpreparedness, meant probable death by starvation or disease, if not on the battlefield. The army was composed of riffraff; the navy had been allowed to decay.
(From A History of England and the British Empire. This describes Britain in the early years of Charles I (1624-1628) when the country was under the control of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.)