The 17. Discourse.
Of the rewards ordinarily bestowed vppon the Spanish soul∣diers when they haue done any notable peece of seruice: which they tearme their Aduantages.
I Am not of the opinion of those men, who per∣aduenture * flattering their Princes, do vphold that ye rewards which they vse to giue to their souldiers doe proceede of their meere liberali∣tie, and that thereto they are no way bound. And their reason is: for that he hath his pay for his good seruice, so as whatsoeuer he get∣teth more proceedeth of fauour. Truely they peize the ballance •o much to the one side, which I would faine bring to stand equall: and that may easely bee done by putting as much waite to the me∣rite Page 195 of the inferiour as to the goodwill of the superiour. But if we consider the martiall lawes and customes, we shall find that in such actions there is more of duetie then of grace. And I hould that rule good which willeth that as the pay goeth before the seruice, so the reward must followe the merite. Truely if any men in the world doe labour and encurre great hazards in seruice, the souldiers do it. They must not therefore be defrauded of the rewards which euen the meanest doe hope for and the greatest cannot be denied of. For their valour shewed hath a certaine attractiue power which wre∣steth praise and garlands out of the mouthes and hands euen of the ignorant, of the couetouse, and of the vnthankfull.
Now, these Aduantages whereof I purpose to speake do con∣sist * in coyne, and are small recōpences, which the Catholicke King or his Lieutenants generall doe distribute to those that haue done any valiant exployt: The least are two crownes, and the greatest eight. Also this is moreouer to bee noted, that if a souldier once re∣warded doth againe any extraordinarie seruice, he is againe re∣compenced. And my selfe doe remember that I haue seene sundrie that at sundrie times had so gotten some twentie, some fiue and twentie crownes Aduantage, besides their ordinarie pay, which in my opinion is both a good helpe to the maintenance of a Soul∣dier and a honest token of his valour. Yet some doe set downe these rewardes vnder the title of profite and not of honor. But if they marked the cause which purchased them as well as the quali∣tie of the thing purchased, they should perceiue them to bee as ho∣norable as profitable. Commonly the General doth assigne them, because that being in place he better knoweth those yt are worthie then the King who is farre of. Likewise when any hath giuen his ordinance, he may goe where he will so he serue among ye bands of footmen which are deuided into diuers parts of his Empire, still he shall haue his pay: for such debts are woonderfully priuiledged.
I could neuer learne when this custome began, but I gesse the * Emperour Charles was the author therof: for he being personally in many armies & exployts, thought them necessarie for the main∣tenance and encrease of his souldiers valour: & by the fruites which both haue and doe yet appeare, wee may iudge them to haue bene grounded vpon good reason. Wherin is verified the saying of one that sayd, that where much honor was sowne, great vertue springeth vp. For the souldier that seeth his assured reward as it were before his eyes, neuer feareth, if occasion serue, to hazard himselfe to all Page 196 perilles, thereby to shewe his courage and desire of fame: whereof it also followeth that he is the better affected to forme his life well. I haue heard that honorable olde man Peter de Pas report, that to his Tertio or regiment, which cōsisteth of 23. Spanish En∣signes, there were giuen monthly aboue 1200. crownes in Ad∣uantages, which well testifieth that the same was replenished with valiant men.
It may be some seuere Censor will herevpon exclaime and say. Is it not an excessiue prodigalitie to giue away 14000. crownes by yere*extraordinarily vnto one regiment? Might not 250 good souldiers be maintained therewith? My friend, what standest thou so much vpon the number? I graunt thou maist haue souldiers, but good ones I deny. For to the ende to make them such, they must be well vsed. I meruaile thou canst cast thy niggardly eyes so farre into the lawfull rewardes of other mens so long labours, and yet turne them from thy selfe. For what els doest thou but liue delicately, taking no payne but to stuffe thy cof∣fers with the riches of the Commonwealth, which doe farre surmount that which thou thinkest superfluous, and which thy selfe wouldest faine catch? Hould thy peace I pray thee, or els my counsaile shall be to send thee to view the first breach that shall be made. But if any man shall thinke that I would seeke out among forreine nations onely all that is well ordered, to the ende thereto to giue due commenda∣tion and proceede no farther, he is much deceiued. For hauing set downe that which so deserueth, I will stirre vp our great men to imitate the order that yéeldeth such fruite to others, thereby to encourage our footmen, who being wel ordered and vsed, doth giue place to none in the world.
When I call to mind the small order obserued in the rewarding * of our French souldiers, I am ashamed that so much wisedome as we haue among vs could neuer perceiue that it was requisite to do more then we haue done. I know that he which sheweth forth his valiancie may climbe to the degrees of the companies. Likewise haue I sometime seene that when some had done any notable act, he was rewarded with tenne or twentie crownes at a time, though but sieldome. Wherefore it were good either to establish some more firme and continuall order, or els to accuse our recompencers of in∣gratitude. But dare I speake of the ingratitude often seene when there is any question of the poore maimed, or such as haue growne ould in our warres, which craue that we should take some compas∣sion of them? If tenne of the hundred be gratified, it is all, and yet Page 197 how is that? With the roume of a lay Monck in an Abbay, where after the poore souldier is come in, before he hath bene a fortnight among them, the most of the Monckes (as scorners of labour, dan∣ger, and stripes, and louers of idlenesse, and bellie cheere) doe so crosse and molest him, that he is driuen to compound for some fiftie or sixtie Frankes pention, and so get him some other where. These examples doe discourage our souldiers and bring them to take bad waies, which would not so often fal out, if the order here propoun∣ded might be established among our bands.
But because our France hath not at this day any such yeerely * fléetes out of both the Indies, as this great Empire which threaten it, it were meet, though we cannot do so much, yet to do some parte of that which were requisite, so to make those that beare the pike and the harquebuze to defend it more brauely and willingly. If to a regiment of ten Ensignes we should assigne only 4000. crownes by yere for Aduantages, which should not bee giuen but vpon no∣table seruice, and in tenne regiments would amount vnto 40000. crownes, were it so euil husbandrie for the time of warre? I think, to some small Duke it were too much, but to a King of France, such a charge were to bee accompted small, in respect of the good that would redound thereof, which would appeare in that the soul∣dier should growe both the better warriour and the better liuer, when he should see his labour and diligence recompenced. It is hard to thinke what a bad opinion strangers haue conceiued of our French Souldiers, seeing them in their iorney into Flanders and warres in France; so disordered in the fielde, & sometimes to fight so faintly, which although it hath in part procéeded of giuing them the bridle too much and their bad pay, yet may wee withall say that the small recompence which they hoped for and hath bene giuen them, haue discontented them and caused them by all meanes to seeke their profite, sith they were denied the rewards of honor. Let vs therfore growe more readie to amend our faults, and knowing our passed negligence followe good order, shewing to those that being commanded doe so liberally hazard their liues that we hould them in some estimation: so shal we both conquer others and keepe our owne. I might here say somewhat of the great rewards and o∣ther honorable apparant tokens that appertaine to those braue Captaines and gallant Knights which atchieue braue enterprises: But I will forbeare, because my selfe am forced here to disgest the bitter pilles of an apparant likelihood of perpetuall emprisonment.