Practically all the company's servants were traders in their private capacity, and as they claimed various privileges and exemptions this system was detrimental to the interests of the native princes and gave rise to an enormous amount of corruption.
In 1904, under the old system of three-years service with numerous total and partial exemptions, 324,253 men became liable to incorporation, of whom 25,432 were rejected as unfit, 55,265 were admitted as one-year volunteers, 62,160 were put back, 27,825 had already enlisted with a view to making the army a career, 5257 were taken for the navy, and thus, with a few extra details and casualties, the contingent for full service dwindled to 147,549 recruits.
These officials originally consisted of an obedient and devoted militia of mendicant friars, both Franciscans and Dominicans, who took their orders from Rome alone, and whose efforts the papacy stimulated by lavishing exemptions, privileges, and full sacerdotal powers.
In place of the old system of privileges and exemptions were set equality before the law, universal liability to taxation, abolition of serfdom, security of person and property, liberty of conscience and of the press.
The principle of personal service has been strongly opposed by the Catholics and conservatives, but became the law of the land in 1898, though exemptions were conceded in favour of ecclesiastics and certain classes of students.