The 16. Discourse.
Of the vse of Camarades, which among the Spanish foot∣men are of great account.
THe Lord of Langey in his hooke of martiall * discipline maketh mention of Camarades, which in our French speech he tearmeth Chā∣berers, making them to confist of ten soldiors a peece, giuing to one the preheminence ouer the rest, and him hee nameth Captaine of the Chābre. Wherin he imitateth the Romaines, who in their bands tearmed Cohortes, wherof ten made a legion, had their Decurions, yt is to say, their Tens with their Captaines ouer ten, which as I thinke they vsed for three causes. First for or∣der, which should be obserued euen in the least matters. Secondly, by their small rudiments to instruct the soldiours in their comman∣dements. And thirdly, that by this continuall conuersation & par∣ticipation in the same fire, table, and bed, they might ingender faith and loue. Now the Spaniards do not erect these small societies for Page 191 anie of the two first reasons, but for the third onely, so as that which the L. of Langey willeth to be done especially for order, they prac∣tise for the commoditie onely which therein they reap. And I think that this kind of footmen, which is vsually 150. or 200. leagues out of their owne Countrie, was brought to that custome through such great necessities, as they are sometimes forced to fight against, for some remedie whereof they inuented this fit meane, which in truth is verie good, for certainly there is no better, or more assured suc∣cour, care, or comfort, than of a perfect friende or loyall compa∣nion.
It had bene peraduenture more mee•e in speech to haue deliue∣red * such ordinarie, and (as a may may saie) childish things, than to set them downe in writing. But the cause that moued me heereto, is my owne knowledge of the greate want that our footmen haue of the vse heereof among them: for the bringing of them in liking whereof, I thought good to make this small description, which I wish should not vanish awaie with the sound. For if some at the least by the contemplation thereof could well perceiue the goodly fruite springing out of these militarie societies, I should not thinke these my vnperfect labours (which haue bene the hidden pastimes of my long miseries) to haue bene altogether vnprofitable.
Among the Spanish footmen there be (so far as I can learne) two * sorts of Camarades. The first are they whom the chiefe officers of the companies do associate with themselues, whom they doe defray with their seruants and horse, if they haue any, so as costing them nothing, they haue their whole pay come freely in, and commonlie a Captaine wil haue 5. or 6. whom he termeth his Camarades, (for such are the customes of Spain) which do in the armies seke meanes to maintaine themselues worthily, & to grow to preferment. These through their daily conuersatiō with the Captains, who are graue, modest, & discrete, doe learne so wel that in short space a man would deeme them worthie not onely to beare the corcelet or harquebuze, but also to commaund, as my selfe haue thought of some of those whome I haue seene. Their loue and regard to him that maintai∣neth them, is verie great: as also for his part hee esteemes of them almost as well if they were his owne kinsmen. To bee briefe, they alwaies keepe the Captaine honourable companie in his lodging, and serue and stand to him in his affayres, beeing accounted as Shelmes, if they shoulde abandon him. Their Serieauntes, who among them are in farre greater estimation than ours haue Page 192 also for their Camarades, some couple of braue souldiours whome they chose, who like wise doe giue them the third part of their paie to helpe toward their owne maintainance: and although they seeme thereby to be but as pencioners, yet do they beare them loue & ho∣nour as they ought.
The second sort of Camarades is the same which is practised * among the souldiours, a matter so vsuall among them, that he that kepeth himself long out of such assotiations is accounted as a stub∣burne iade that cannot abide among his fellowes. The least con∣sist of two, and the greatest of sixe, in euerie whereof wee may see the goodly images of brotherhood to shine. And this is so much the more to be esteemed as it happeneth among souldiours, who might seeme to seeke discord rather than concord. Thus in the middest of the generall amitie which the souldiours beare to their Captaines and companions, is formed this particular heere spoken of, which is more liuely than the other: the originall whereof proceedeth of their mutuall knowledge, and increase of ordinarie conuersation, & the stedfastnesse and confirmation thereof, of mutuall benefits. And for my parte I thinke it no small strength to a companie to haue therein some duzen of societies of friends, or more, that haue care each of other. Plutarke discoursing vpon the sacred bond of ye yong Thebans, which was otherwise called The band of friends, did iudge it therefore to be the more valiant. And in deede they all died one after another in the battell.
Moreouer, there groweth great commodity in ordinarie expense by liuing together: for foure souldiours may honestly maintaine themselues with a small matter, according to their callings, where one yonker hauing his seuerall table shall spend more than all they and not fare so well.
The Spaniards doe vse in their Camarades to allowe to each his * weeke to prouide and keepe account of charges, and hee that best husbandeth it, is thought the wisest, which is the thing that they most studie for. For they gape after praise euen in the smallest mat∣ters as well as in the great. Seldome doe they incurre any want, for still one of them either by hooke or crooke catcheth somewhat, which he liberally imparteth to the rest, neither can they abide that anie of them should be badly clothed, rather will they faste to appa∣rell him. But one of the chiefest fruites of these societies appeareth when one of them is sicke, for such is theyr charitie, that they will one helpe another as brethren to their power. Thus much I will Page 193 say more, that this small priuat life is almost alwaies pleasant, be∣cause of their domesticall conuersation which findeth them pastime enough. Neither is it cause of lesse honestie, for one alwaies seeing another, euery man brideleth his affections as wel as he may, from doing any infamous deede, for feare least he should growe into contempt and so be banished the companie of those that esteeme of honor. And to say the truth, I finde solitarinesse to bee hurtfull to many Souldiers, who resemble Apes, which when no man seeth them, are alwaies about some mischiefe: and so doe they imagine to doe. Whereto is to be added, that if any of the sayd Spanyards be ignorant in this or that, the rest will instruct him with as good will as hee will receiue not onely their instructions but also repre∣hensions. This is in briefe the benefite that they reape of their Ca∣marades.
Now let vs see how wee may so practise the like custome, that * we may gaine any profite therein, wherof others do finde so much. Concerning the first sorte, I iudge our Captaines cannot so well fit themselues therein as the Spanyards, in respect that they must then breake an other custome, which hath taken so deepe roote that it would hardly be extinguished. And that is, that they haue vsed to haue their tables furnished according to their abilities, sometimes for one and sometime for an other of their Souldiers, who would thinke themselues contemned, if with that and such other like fa∣miliarities they should not be enterteyned. For the French Soul∣diers are perswaded that their Captaine must not debarre thē ei∣ther his table or good countenance, sith they spend their bloods for his sake, and he who for sparing sheweth himself slack herein is ac∣compted a Chicheface or niggard: for wel for to discharge himself herein, he must not spare expences. So as if our Captaines should finde three or foure Camarades aboue their other charges, they were not able to performe it without stealing from the Souldier vnreasonably, which would redound to their shame. The Spanish Souldier do not goe so freely to his Captaines table, except vpon great necessitie, or that he be inuited: as hauing discretion enough to consider that they haue other charge sufficient, as in deede they haue. For such there are among them as haue in their families a∣boue twentie mouthes, and thirteene or foureteene horses. But their best comfort is, that their King as they say, will neuer leaue them poore. Thus we may see things fit for one, which in diuers respects that make the difference will not serue an other. But con∣cerning Page 194 the second, I am not of the same minde: for I thinke it re∣quisite that our Souldiers should put it in practise, yea that they should bee earnestly perswaded thereto, as well for the respects a∣fore mentioned, as also to accustome them to grow more tollerable each to other. Besides, that in some one of our companies we shall finde that ordinarily the third part of our souldiers shall in the first weeke haue eaten vp their whole moneths pay, where if they were thus assotiate together they would learne one of an other to line, and withall each enstruct his companion to shuune braules, where∣with our Regiments are so sore infected that in some one day you shall haue three or foure, whereas contrariwise the Spanyards doe detest it among themselues. I haue heard some of the Captaines of that braue Tertio, wherein Peter de Passe doth commaund, af∣firme, that in eighteene moneths they haue not had one, whereof neuerthelesse they were not exempt through any want of stomack, for they haue as much as any men, but they are endued with mo∣destie, and doe knowe that their swords ought to bee employed in fighting against their enemies, and not in murdering one another.