The first printed use of the word freelance  stems from Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe written in 1819.  

"I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment". 

So take pride fellow freelancers, you are descendants of a long proud line of sell swords, cut-throats, and mercs. 
-Free Lancer-
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-Free Lancer-

Personal work exploring the origins of the word Freelance
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