The politicke and militarie discourses of the Lord de La Nouue VVhereunto are adioyned certaine obseruations of the same author, of things happened during the three late ciuill warres of France. With a true declaration of manie particulars touching the same. All faithfully translated out of the French by E.A.
La Noue, François de, 1531-1591., Aggas, Edward.
Page  198

Foure Militarie Paradoxes.

The 18. Discourse.

The first Paradoxe.

That a Squadron of Reistres should beate a Squadron of Speares.

THE learned do knowe that Paradores are sentēces or propositions repugnant to common opinion, and in ould time there were Philosophers which pro∣pounded some that they had gathered in the doctrine of the Stoickes, were it to shewe that men might gather fruite of that which seemed vnfruitfull, or for exercise of their wittes. Howsoeuer it is, I haue thought good, imitating their examples (to set downe to sundrie braue Captaines matter whereon to discourse) to pro∣pound these, thinking that when they haue bene well examined, some may peraduenture giue as much credite to them as to com∣mon opinion. Among those that professe armes, it is so assured a principle that a troope of Speares should beate and ouerthrowe a troope of Pistols, that who so seemeth to doubt thereof is taken to be but a meanly practised souldier. The Spanyards & Italians doe also make lesse doubt thereof then the French. And although they be such men as with iudgement can alowe or disalowe whatsoeuer is set before them, yet doe I thinke that herein they leane rather to some small experience, then to any other ground of reason. But in this as in many others matters, it oftentimes manifesteth such ef∣fects, that when we haue throughly considered their causes we find that they should fall out otherwise. The Reistres should rather thē any other, be the defenders hereof, for yt their reputation consisteth herein: & peraduenture if they had at all times shewed themselues firme and diligent to doe it with their hands, they might now with lesse difficultie haue defended it with their tongues.

Page  199 We must yet grant them the honor of being the first yt brought * the Pistols into vse, which when a man can well handle I take to be very daungerous. They are a discent come from the harquebu∣ziers, and to say as it is, all these instruments are deuilish, inuented in some mischieuous shop to turne whole realmes and kingdomes into desolatiō, & replenish the graues with dead carcases. Howbeit mans malice hath made them so necessarie that they cannot be spa∣red. To the end therfore to profite by them it is requisite to haue a merueisous care, which no nation doth approach any thing so nere vnto, I meane for Pistols, as the Germaines, & that is the cause that I wil speake of thē, as of those who amōg all sorts of horsmen that vse this weapon, do carie away the prize. I will not stand per∣ticulerly to describe al the sorts which the Reistres vse, for they are but too well knowne. It is enough to say that the offensiue are as good as the speare mens, but the offensiue do farre passe them. For the man of armes vseth his speare but for one blow, where ye Rei∣stre carieth 2. pistols wherwith he may shoot 6. or 7. times, which if he doe it in season, doth great hurt. Euery man likewise carieth his sword, whose effects may be equal. Sith then ye pistol can pierce the defensiue armes, which the speare cannot, we may cōclude that the Reistre hath ye aduantage in the offensiue & is equal in ye defensiue.

In fauour of the speare man, it may be said that he is better hor∣sed, * and hath his seate surer then the other: also yt the speare, when it is seene a farre of with the banderoll wauing & shaking, doth ter∣rifie: whereto I aunswer, that the massiue & close order of the Rei∣stres doth supplie the weaknesse of their horse & stayes. As for the terror of the speare, it is not of so great efficacie as is the astonish∣ment that the pistoll bringeth at the cracke. Let vs, will some man say, bring these two champions to fight one against an other, and he that getteth the better shall teach which of the two Squadrons shall so be. This obiection beareth some faire shewe, but it may be false. For herein perticuler reasons doe differ from the generall. It is as if a man should say, that because in the field one harquebuzier may kill a pike man armed with his corcelet, it followeth that in pitcht fieldes the harquebuziers should ouerthrow the battailes of pikes: which neuerthelesse falleth out cōtrarie, for it is certaine that for the most part those battailes do giue the victorie. But admit the speare man and the pistoll doe ioyne, the issue will be doubtfull, al∣though I thinke if the pistoler can keepe himselfe frō ioyning head to head with the speare man he may haue the aduantage of him, by Page  200 reason of the great offence growing of his weapon. If any man re∣ply, that among the gentrie it is houlden for a principle, that a good man of armes may easely beate a Reistre, I will aunswer, that the Germaines thinke the contrarie: namely, that a braue Reistre should say the man of armes that commeth to assaile him, and ca∣rie away his horse: for they must still catch at somewhat. Thus we see that on both sides euery one will keepe his honor, yea euen to priuate combats.

Howbeit, the principall poynt consisteth in shewing what the e∣uents * of them in grosse should be. For the better iudgement wher∣of, we are first to consider of the valour of the men. Herevpon the speares will say, that their companies being better furnished of Gentrie then the others, must likewise be more valiant: but withall wee must note, that in the cornets of Reistres there bee some fewe gentlemen and a number of trayned souldiers: and for the Cap∣taines, because they haue bene often employed by diuers Princes, they must needes bée skilfull in the arte of warre. Wherefore to make the quicker dispatch, I presume that in courage, experience and number both the squadrons are equall. Let vs then see which of them best keepeth order: for that obserued as it ought at the go∣ing to charge giueth a great gird to the victorie. Herein wee must say, that the Germaines exceede all other nations, because they seeme to bee not onely close, but euen glewed each to other: which proceedeth of an ordinarie custome that they haue to keepe alwaies in bodie, as hauing learned as well by naturall knowledge, as by profe, that the strong alwaies carie away the weake. Also the more to testifie that they sieldome fayle in this, whensoeuer they be bro∣ken, in their retire and flight they still remaine vnseperate and ioy∣ned together: which the speares do not, but rather for the most part euen in the shocke doe bring themselues out of aray, which procéed of that that they must haue some small carrier to strike with their speares: but they take it too long, especially the Frenchmen, whose heate is such, that when he commeth within 200. paces he begin∣neth to gallop, and within 100. to runne amaine, which is an ouer∣sight, for they neede not so much ground. Sith therefore that it is one principle that squadrons doe breake with the vyolent shocke which they susteyne, may we not therevpon inferre, that those that keepe themselues closest and doe strike with the whole bodie con∣ioyned, doe worke the greatest effect: It is hard to denie it: and who doe better practise those rules then the Reistres?

Page  201 Many there are that will not graunt this, but doe obiect that if * there had bene so great vertue in the Reistres order, they would not haue suffered themselues to haue bene so often beaten. Hereto I say, that the fault proceeded not of their order, but rather of some euill demeanour which some of them, comming to the combate, haue vsed. The first is, that comming within twentie paces of the enemie they haue turned their flanckes to them, and so discharged their volee of Pistols vppon them: for thus (say they) more may shoote then if they runne on front: And then if the enemie turneth his backe, vndoubtedly they vse him badly: but if he abide it, they fetch about a great circuite either to charge a newe, or to take newe Pistols. Whereof it hath often come to passe, that they haue not had leisure so much as to turne their heads: for their turnes and returnes haue bene taken for a flight: wherevpon they haue bene so hotly pursued that they haue taken their carrier out right. This * euill inuented maner is more fit to play at base then to fight. And I merueile that their leaders could neuer remember that the Pi∣stoll worketh almost no effect, vnlesse it bée discharged within three paces: as also that the troopes doe neuer breake vnlesse they bee sharply assailed. An other custome by them obserued is, that when the first ranckes of the squadron begin to shoote, all the rest doth likewise discharge, and most of them in the ayre. Peraduenture they imagine their great noyse should terrifie the enemie, which perhaps it would doe if they were sheepe or crowes. But French men and Spanyards are not so easely daunted. The inconuenience that riseth hereof is this, that the last ranckes which should thrust forward the first, seeing that they haue discharged in vayne, doe in liew of going forward, stand still, and are sooner amazed then they that be at the head and in all the daunger: wherefore it is nothing straunge that these euill kindes of fight haue engendred euill suc∣cesse. But who so list to marke the other Reistres that haue ioyned as they ought, shall finde that they haue made slaughters and ouer∣throwne the speares, whereby their Captaines haue learned wit, and doe now make them to keepe better orders.

Now let vs speake of the meeting of two squadrons: whervpon * I will say, that although the squadron of Speares doe giue a va∣liant charge: yet can it worke no great effect: for at the onset it kil∣leth none, yea it is a miracle if any be slayne with the speare: onely it may wound some horse, and as for the shocke it is many times of small force, where the perfect Reistres doe neuer discharge their Page  202 Pistols but in ioyning, and striking at hand they wound, ayming alwaies either at the face or thigh. The second ranck likewise shoo∣teth of so as the forefront of the men of armes squadron is at the first meeting halfe ouerthrowne and maymed. Also although the first rancke may with their speares doe some hurt especially to the horse, yet the other ranckes following cannot doe so, at the least the second and third, but are driuen to cast away their speares & helpe themselues with their swordes. Herein wee are to consider two things which experience hath confirmed: The one, that the Rei∣stres are neuer so daungerous as when they bee mingled with the enemie, for then be they all fire. The other, the two squadrons mee∣ting, they haue scarce discharged the second pistoll but either the one or the other turneth away. For they contest no lenger, as the Romaines did against other nations, who oftentimes kept the field two houres fighting face to face, before either partie turned backe. By all the aforesaid reasons I am driuen to aduowe that a squadron of pistols, doing their dueties, shall breake a squadron of speares.

It may hereto bee replied, that the man of armes carieth also one pistoll which he vseth when his speare is broken. It is soone sayd, but coldly practised: for the most of them scarce caring to charge, doe referre that to their men, who haue no greater vse of it then themselues, and when they come to fight the one halfe doe faile, as hath bene oft enough tryed, or at the least through euill charging doe no hurt. He that will haue any vse of those weapons, must bee as carefull of them as of a horse: whereto it is hard to bring other nations, which accompt this a base and seruile occu∣pation. Some man may in the fauour of the men of armes say, that they may in such sorte ioyne the squadron of Reistres that they may ouerthrowe them. That is, that comming within 80. paces they may sende foorth their three last ranckes of speares gallantly to assaile their flancke, so shall they open it, breake the force therof, and bring such a feare vpō them that-the squadron of speares may the better deale with them. Hereto I aunswer, the obseruation is good, though not greatly in vse. Neuerthelesse, it is a matter com∣mon as well to the one as to the other. For teach it to the Reistre, and he will pay you in the same coyne, by sending foorth parte of his troope to strike into your sides: so shall your inuentions be a re∣medie to him, and peraduenture he shall preuaile more therewith then your selues. Now, notwithstanding whatsoeuer I haue here∣in Page  203 discoursed, my entent is not to bring the French nation in dis∣like with the speare, which I take to be wonderfull proper wea∣pons for them so long as their mindes are no otherwise disposed then yet they bee. And vntill they haue learned more stedfastly to keepe order, and to be more carefull of their weapons, they will ne∣uer worke the like effects with the pistoll, as the Reistres. Such as imagine the pistoll to bee such a terrible and offensiue weapon, are not greatly deceiued: neither will I gainsay them, in case it come in valiant hands.

The ende of the first Paradoxe.

The second Paradoxe.

That 2500. Corcelets and 1500. Harquebuziers may more easely retire three French leagues in a plaine fielde then 2000. Speares.

AMong all militarie actions accompted notable, this * hath the first place as one of the most difficult, as also it is a great testimonie of the sufficiencie of the. Cap∣taine that can compasse it. And as there are fewe willing to vndertake it, for feare of fayling: so perad∣uenture shall we finde fewer that will beleeue that it may be done, because it is a thing that happeneth so sieldome. Neither would I reproue their opinion if they ment that in the weakenesse wherein our infantery now cōsisteth it were vnpossible to attaine to yt effect. For hauing no vse of the pike & voyd of discipline, I do not thinke that 10000. harquebuziers taken frō thence durst shew themselues in the plaine before 600. speares. But with the 4000. men of whō I meane to speake, all of our owne nation and of no other, reduced into good order and obedience, and in their auncient armes, I will vphould that the retraict propounded may be performed.

Such as will gainsay (of whome there are many) will pro∣pound * an argument gathered of experience, saying, that no Histo∣riographer setteth downe any such example, at the least none of those that haue written of the warres happened since the yeere 1494. hetherto, which haue bene very notable: also that these proofes appeared only in the time of the Romaines. Whereto for my aunswer, sith they beate me with experience, I will defend my selfe by the same and say, that it maketh no more against me, then with me. For regarding what is past, we may note such happes as Page  204 verifie my proposition not to bee vnpossible. First I will alleadge * the braue retraict of Don Aluares of Sande in Afflicke. He had, as I haue heard, 4000. Spanyards, souldiers of great valour, and to come where he purposed, he was to passe a plaine of foure or fiue miles, which (trusting to his men) he aduentured to doe. But he was not so soone set forward, but eightéene or twentie thousand horse of the Moores were at his heeles, who coueted to catch him in this bad aduantage. He then hauing ordered his battaile and ex∣horted his men, went forward on his way where all these horse did fiue or sixe times set vpon him, but he bare their brunt and so braue∣ly repulsed them, that with the losse of 80. men at the most he brought the rest into safetie, and slew seuen or eight hundred of the enemies. Some will say, that they wanting armour did not pearce so sharply as do the Christian horsemen, who doe farre passe them in courage. I graunt ours are more valiant, but theirs did not as∣saile very slackly, or els they had not lost so many. And by this ex∣ployt it appeareth, that footmen resolute and well led may passe a∣ny where. Guicciardine also in his historie reporteth a gallant re∣traict * of 2000. Spanyards after the Frenchmen had broken their armie at Rauenna: for being ioyned againe into their bodie, al∣though the horsemen did follow and charge them, yet did they saue themselues, yea and slewe Gaston de Foix the conquerour that pursued them.

In these retraicts here do appeare great determinatiō but small * arte, which neuerthelesse is very necessarie in such affayres: wherto I will also adde the instruction of the souldiers. For when all these three things shall concurre in one troope, I doubt not but it may worke greater meruailes then the former. Some will say, that the Frenchmen can at this day hardly helpe themselues with the pike, which is true, neither do I merueile thereat: for in deliuering both it and the corcelet to any man, men looke to no more, but whe∣ther he hath good shoulders, as if it were to carie some coffer like a moyle: and as for the gentrie they haue quite giuen it ouer. This is the reason why I wish the restoring of martiall discipline, as al∣so that they would againe practise the pike, wherewith to fight at hand and open, and to leaue to the youth and poore Souldiers the handling of the harquebuze, because that therewith they ordinarily fight a farre of and in couert: for the one is farre more honorable then the other. Captaines in ould time, venturing vpon some dif∣ficult enterprise, wished to haue their Souldiers not only well or∣dered, Page  205 but also old beaten warriours, because their assurance is the greater. For it were but an ouersight to attempt any perillous ad∣uenture with newe men. Now will I come to Instruction, which is (as I haue sayd) merueilously requisite in extraordinary mat∣ters. And yet we now see that the Souldier contemneth it: and the Captaine careth not for it. But admit a Souldier bee valiant, and that wheresoeuer he be placed he will doe his duetie: thinke you he will not doe it much better, or that he will not fight more resolutly, when before he hath by good reasons bene perswaded that the horse cannot force a battaile in the face: likewise that for the flancke they must vse such fortification as I will hereafter set downe, then if he were vtterly ignorant and wist not what might happen? I thinke no man will denie it: for certainly ignorance is in parte cause of the feare that many men of warre doe oftentimes conceiue: For that seeing the enemie in their faces, they thinke they should, ac∣cording to the prouerbe, euen eate yron charets. I know that prac∣tise teacheth to knowe the true from the false, but there is much time spent therein, vnlesse it bee holpen by familier and ordinarie documents, which those captaines that seeke to haue the best com∣panies doe diligently giue to their souldiers.

Hauing thē the num∣ber of Footmen afore * mentioned, readie tray∣ned and instructed, they should be arāged in this maner. I would make two battailes of them each of 1250. corcelets, & 750. Harquebuziers: If any man aske why two rather then one, I say, to the ende the one to fauour the other, as may bee seene in the fi∣gure hereto adioined for the better cōprehending thereof.


The ordering of the footmen asorenamed to withstand the hotse in the fielde.

Page  206 For marching but 80. paces asunder and coasting each other, it followeth that the head of the battaile marked A can hardly bee charged, because the side of the battaile marked 3 doth flancke it, as likewise the sayd head doth as much for the sayd flancke: by the same reason also one of the heads of the battaile marked 2. and the flancke of the other marked D doe also succour each other by their harquebuziers, so as it is very daungerous for the horse to assayle in such places which enterflancke each other. But may some man say, although the two battailes cannot be assaulted but each vpon two sides, why is it not as good to make but one onely, which cannot be assailed in any more places? For it seemeth the resistance would bee more gallant, because that force vnited is much greater then deuided. I am of opinion that in these actions, it is not so re∣quisite to looke to the greatnesse or smalnesse of the battailes, as to the difficultie and hinderance when they finde themselues assay∣led on euery side. For it is a great aduenture but there will growe some disorder when one bodie must make defence in foure places: but when they neede not to looke but to two sides, the men doe frame themselues thereto with greater ease and much better order. This reason shall content me for the verifying of my speech, not∣withstanding I could alleadge others.

Concerning the ordering of the battailes, I would wish euery * rancke to conteyne fiftie Corcelets, whereof there should be seauen at the head, which would make three hundred and fiftie, then tenne ranckes of harquebuziers, and in the middest of them the rancke of Ensignes, afterward for the tayle sixe ranckes of Corcelets, which in all make sixe hundred and fiftie Corcelets and fiue hundred har∣quebuziers placed in foure and twentie rankes. For the flanckes, wherein al the difficultie doth consist, they should be ordered in ma∣ner following. I would neuer place there any harquebuziers as hath hetherto bene vsed, but make sixe rankes of three hundred Corcelets, in each fiftie men which should serue to make head on those sides. The enemies being néere, they should march otherwise then the rest, namely close and carying their Pikes vpright leaning against their shoulders, which is now sufficiently in vse. Whereas at the heads of the battaile, when any thing is to be done, in their march they trayle them, which maketh much distance betweene their rankes,

Now, these sixe ranckes when the charge is offered, after they stand shall doe nothing but make halfe a turne, and so continue in Page  207 their array with their face to the enemie, and by my aduice, they should take but threescore common paces in length, which properly should bee the same which the battaile being closed to fight, may haue open by the flanckes. Thus should they bee armed to with∣stand the horsemen, which cannot bee well done but with Pikes: for the harquebuze shot without couert wil easely be ouerthrowne. There remaine yet two hundred and fiftie harquebuziers to bee placed in the battaile, counting the Muskets whom I would wish to bee distributed into foure partes, in each threescore and some∣what more to stande as it were loose before the Pikes, and at the charge to arange themselues vnder those of the first ranckes on the foure sides of the battaile.

Some will mislike I should make the heades so weake and * only of sixe ranckes of Corcelets, thinking them too fewe to beare the brunt of a whole hande of horse. To whom I may say, that if there were tenne it were the better, but I haue cut my coate after my cloath: howbeit, I thinke such frontes sufficient to resist the horse, which may easely bée done, if the men haue courage and will be sure to stand strongly, and fewe battailes haue wee seene ouer∣throwne by any assault of the horse at the head. As for the flankes which I haue described in such sorte as before, they be as strong as the heades, so long as they can keepe their order. And this order I would wish them to keepe in their fight. First, while the horse were farre of, it were good the battailes did goe forwarde, but seeing them readie to charge, to stay to the ende the better to settle themselues in order and with good footing to beare their first brunt.

The first rancke of Corcelets to plant the endes of their Pikes * sure in the ground, and not to stirre though a horse should goare himselfe thereon: also to hould them about the middest, and vnder the foreends should the threescore Muskets and Harquebuzes ap∣poynted, arange themselues, with one knee on the ground to shoote the surer, as also to be somewhat defended. The other ranckes of Corcelets to stande vpright almost close with the first rancke and to make the bodie of the battaile. Then the horsemen comming to charge, I doubt not but they shall finde themselues shrewdly a∣noyed by the Harquebuziers, which shooting within twentie pa∣es, iust in the face of the horse, in my opinion will mayme the whole first rancke of the squadron: but if any thinke them in small suretie there; I will aunswer, that they can no where bee better Page  208 placed at the head then here: for they must bee where they may anoye at the first brunt, and although the Speares or breastes of the horse doe ouerthrowe some foure or fiue on a side, it were but a small losse. For it is most certaine that when a Squadron of horse shall see nine or tenne horse fall downe at the first comming, such as followe will haue an eye to their consciences. Thus after the Squadron shall haue borne this sharpe welcome, it must like∣wise strike vppon the Pikes of the first rancke, or els moderate the first heate, as also because the first gored horses shall bee forced to stande, and so stay the rest that followeth. And although this defence might somewhat yeeld, yet should they still finde the bo∣die of the battaile readie to beare their brunt, wherein consi∣steth the principall force. And in trueth I should thinke it vnpos∣sible (if the Souldiers would not bee afeard) to ouerthrowe such a barre: for we must thinke that though the horses runne with great force, yet a small thing letteth them, the smoake and noyse of the Harquebuziers scarreth them, hurtes stoppe them, mens conceiued feares doe make them to pull backe, and the crye of the battaile hath some effect, notwithstanding the greatest of all pro∣ceedeth of the resistance of the Pikes. Besides all this, some rancke of Harquebuziers placed in the middest of the battaile might likewise shoote ouer the heads of the Pikes, who bending themselues to the fight doe somewhat stoope, whereby parte of the horsemans bodie may be seene.

Some peraduenture will scorne hereat and say, that all these * small obseruations were more fit to bee practised in Dances and Maskes rather then in the warre, likewise the ould custome haue alwaies bene best, though wee trouble not our selues with so ma∣ny impractiseable nouelties. But I am not of their mindes, for they put me in remembrance of many of our fathers that laughed at so many inuentions for the fortifying of the Houlds, tearming them Italian deuises, affirming that one good great Rampier would suffice to warrant men from the force of the Canon, vp∣pon the which they might defende themselues Pike to Pike. And yet experience hath taught vs that then townes were taken within eight daies, where now we cōsume almost a whole season, so often must wee fight before wee can winne a Raueline, then the ditch, then the Rampier, then the inwarde trench. For if in the should there bee one ingenious person and a Souldier withall, such a one as was Captaine Bastian in Maistrict, he maketh them Page  209 that are without to sweate water and blood. I would thinke that that which I require in our battell, should not be so hard to practise, sith our newe Souldiers when wee traine them, doe make many more turnes and returnes for pleasure. Why then should not the olde Souldiers labour to learne any thing that may breede their honor and safegard.

Two other obiections may yet be here made. The first: that the * flankes of the battell shall still be much weaker then the heads: be∣cause the couer that I haue giuen them, consisting in so difficult an order, it is easie to bee disordered. I confesse that the saide flanks should be too weake to assaile, because the battelles doe still march forwarde and not sideling: but strongly to beare a brunt I thinke that obseruing the same which I haue set downe, they shall be able to doe it, as well as the heades. To the ende likewise the conduct may be the better, I would wish to each flanke two Capteynes, with the pike; and of the notablest souldiers. The second obiection is that the fower corners of the battell, though closed, doe yet re∣maine somewhat open and weake, as it were for the space of seuen or eight steppes, where the horse may get entrie. Truely this con∣sideration is not amisse, and for the remedie hereof it were requisite in these corners to place seuen or eight of the brauest Harquebu∣ziers, who should not discharge but vpon great necessitie, as also to appoynt the Corcelets of the 4. 5. and 6. rankes that should be née∣rest thereto to turne their Pikes that way to beare the brunt when they see the enemie approach. The greatest daunger to all the sayd footmen consisteth in the two first charges of the horse, which it is to be presumed, will bee braue: but being borne out, they may con∣ceiue great hope, in that they haue quenched the first heate of the e∣nemie, and so march forward ouer the field, casting forth some lose mosquets to keepe the horsemen a loofe, but when they see it come vpon them then wholy to close. And bearing themselues thus, I am verely perswaded they may make a gallant retraict.

The better to comprehende this matter, the Colonels who in * their regiments haue many Pikes, should sometimes proue in fay∣ned things how this order standeth with reason, and peraduenture they shall finde them selues the better satisfied, when they see a pic∣ture and liuely representation thereof concurre with that which they may haue imagined, according to this reporte. Some man will replye that the horsemen may so vndiscreetly assaile the foot∣men, that they may indeede saue themselues before them, but if Page  210 they would charge them in small troopes (namely of one squadron of 300. to make 3. each of 100. which might followe one after an other) it would much shake the battaile. For the Harquebuzery ha∣uing discharged vpon the first (as it cannot bee denyed, but it will greatly endomage them) the two other squadrons following shall haue great aduantage, in being exempt from that daunger, and so there is some likelihoode that they may shake them. Truely this kinde of charge is very good, but it may be prouided for: for some of those Harquebuziers that should lye vnder the first rancke of the Pikes, may haue charged againe before the second troope commeth vpon them, also from the two sides that are not charged, or from the one, the harquebuzers may be brought to succour that which may bee in daunger, as also some of those in the middest may like∣wise shoote which being handsomely performed, the Corcelets shall still haue succour from their Harquebuzerie▪ for without this their defence would be but colde. To conclude, I rather feare that wee shall want occasion to attempt so braue a retraict, either that wee shall scarcely finde any Captaine that will be the first to proue it, then that I doubt but it may be put in execution.

The third Paradoxe.

That it is expedient for a Captaine to haue susteyned an ouer∣throwe.

PLutarke among his small workes in a * treatise intituled, Of profite to be taken of enemies, doth somewhat verifie this pro∣position, where with great arte and elo∣quence he generally sheweth the same which I pretend to describe perticulerly, though rudely: but this opinion of myne I thinke many Captaines (blinded per∣aduenture with the apparance of things which by nature are hurtfull) will gainesay: howbeit when I haue discouered the fruites there vnder hidden, they shall, as I suppose, though not wholy, yet in parte be satisfied. And therefore without farther circumstance of words I wil come to the principall matter. * Such as attaine to militarie offices doe ordinarily climbe thereto by two waies: The one called merite or desert: and the other fa∣uour.Page  211 Some of those that haue trodden the first path, seeing them∣selues in authoritie do grow proude: and others that haue come by the second I doe imagine to be ignorant, which are very great im∣perfectiōs, as easie to bee knowne in others, as hard to be espied by those that are possessed with them. And as to diseases engendred in mens bodies, the remedies must bee applyed according to the rules of Phisicke: the like doe these that are of the minde stande in neede of. But many times neither arte nor counsaile can preuaile, but the accident, which more properly seemeth to bee hurt and de∣struction, then remedie. Howbeit, if any doe meruaile how any pro∣fite can be found in things hurtfull, let them consider the Scorpion who carieth in her both the sting & poyson that infecteth the deadly wound, and the medicine that cureth the same. So also may wee say, that militarie mishaps doe sometimes worke the like effects. For by bringing vpon vs an apparant calamitie, they doe thereby serue for an instruction to heale the hidden euill that bred the other. This inward euill whereof I purpose to speake, is Pride, which ordinarily breedeth in those that are endued with sufficiencie and valour, and bringeth their soules as farre out of fashion as the Dropsie doth the bodie: wherof ensueth an vnreasonable selfe-esti∣mation and contempt of others, which are two such errors as oftentimes doe cast those that followe them into most manifest de∣structions. And as all men ought to beware of stumbling vpon such great inconueniences, so must they take in good part the vnloo∣ked for corrections, which make thē wise, to take héed another time.

The first example that I will alleadge of such as I thinke to * haue gayned thereby, shall be of Gonsales Fernando a Spanyard and most notable Captaine, who hauing bene vnder Ferdinand of Arragon the chiefest instrument to tame and driue the Moores out of Granado, was sent into the Realme of Naples, which that King chalenged against the French men. Comming thether with an armie against them, he thought peraduenture that the French, men of armes, would as easely haue bene broken as the Moores Genetairies, also that his fame alreadie obteyned, would terrifie them. But he was deceiued, for they ouerthrewe his troopes: And himselfe losing that field, which the Lord of Aubigny wonne, he afterward shewed that he had gathered instruction by such an ouer∣throw: for he guided himselfe with such arte and discretion that he ouerthrewe the Frenchmen in sundrie encounters, and finally ex∣pelled them the Realme.

Page  212 That great Iulius Caesar, who in the arte of warre surpassed all * Capteynes that euer were, after he had driuen Pompey out of I∣taly, & enclosed him in Dirachium, waxed proud & cōtemned him, so as vndertaking to entrench a great countrie wherby to close him vp the straighter, Pompey knowing his aduantage, came forth and flew the chiefe part of his armie, and had like to haue wonne a full victorie. This shrewd blowe made Caesar so warie and diligent, that he neuer after gaue Pompey any oportunitie against him, but with his 〈…〉ted pollicies brought him to the same poynt that he required, and so ouercame him.

These two examples, the one olde and the other newe, may suf∣fice * to giue to vnderstande that the greatest, giuing themselues euen to the least pride, doe sometimes encurre an ouerthrowe by this imperfection: but withall they haue this good thing in them, that hauing receiued of their enemies some chastisement for their negligence or rashnesse, they will soone amend. Many Cap∣teynes therefore now liuing must not bee ashamed to confesse that in prosperitie they may bee ouer seene, sith those that haue bene en∣dued with such modestie haue so farre ouershot themselues.

The first cause of this mischiefe consisteth in our selues, and is * our had inclination, which corroborated by custume tēdeth to exalt vs aboue measure, so as if an occasion falleth out of a quarter long, it stretcheth it to an ell. Which appeareth in all professions of arte and knowledge, but chiefly in the arte of warre, the professors whereof doe make great account of themselues, because they exer∣cise the actions of Fortitude and Magnanimitie. Many times a∣mong the Spanish bands you shall heare a newe Souldier of three crownes pay, say, I am as good as the King: let vs then thinke what a Capteyne that hath bene in sundrie assaults and battailes will doe: He will straight way say, I am better then the Pope. Thus doe wee see militarie presumption swell euen aboue the thing it selfe. The commendations of friends are an other cause that helpe to * encrease it: for they not able to forbeare praysing those whom they loue, who also doe deserue the same, by powring plentie of this li∣quour vpon them, doe sometimes make them drink so much ther∣of that they be halfe giddie therewith. Herein they that are too free in attributing doe ouershoote themselues at vnawares, and they that are so curious in the receipt thereof are willingly ouertaken.

Flatterers also which followe such as are in authoritie as the * shadowe doth the bodie, doe greatly helpe to giue to Pride her true Page  213 shape. For with their deciptfull and windie words they puffe vp the soule like a bladder. If a yong Lord doth any valiant act, they straight compare him to Gaston de Fax. If he be an expert Cap∣taine, they tell him he passeth Bertrande du Glesquin. And if they haue any better hap, they make him equall with Scipio and Mar∣cellus. To him whom in hope of profite they would allure, they say, he must proceede in his good fortune, sith the mightie doe e∣stéeme of him, the Souldiers doe loue him and the people haue him in admiration. Hereto they adde also that his fame is so dispersed among his enemies, that when they knowe him to be in the fielde, they feare him as the Shepheards in Barbary doe the mightie Lyon when he commeth out of the woods. And that for their parts they are glad to see him in so good a way to atchiue most worthie tryumphes and meanes whereby to recompence those that are his seruants.

By this sweete harmonie of speech, this man who peraduenture * before presumed enough of himselfe, now coueteth to presume too much, and so to seeke nothing but warre and battaile. Yea the most modest who mislike flatteries, euen in the reiecting of them, do still swallowe downe some small portion, wherewith to feede that little vanitie that dwelleth in them. It is not to bee enquired what dis∣courses they make in themselues, what they shall doe, or how high they shall climbe, but to take these for extrauagants. In this dispo∣sition nothing seemeth vnpossible, and the more boldnesse and ex∣perience they haue the more doe their presumption encrease, wher∣by they disdaine their friends, contemne their enemies, and refuse all others counsaile in whatsoeuer they vndertake. These bee the bad humours which this windie collick of Presumption and Flat∣terie doe engender in a Captaine.

I thinke no man dare denye but it were necessarie to see them * purged. Howbeit, diuers doe finde my remedies to be very bitter and troublesome: but say what they will, they are most conuenient. For these humours being too deeply rooted, the remedies where∣with to plucke them vp must be very strong. These medicines are of an other sorte, then those that are vsed against diseases of the bo∣die, whose propertie is to worke to the good of the partie vpon whō they be ministred: For being considered in their owne nature, they are as hath bene sayd méere ruines of the bodie: but considered ac∣cidentally, they may bee termed drugges that heale the astonish∣ment of the minde. The Phisitions also that minister these medi∣cines, Page  214 may be compared to him whom Plutarke maketh mention * of, who thinking to haue slaine his enemie, by thrusting his sword into him, pearced an Impostume which he had within him, and so saued his life, that he should soone after haue lost through his se∣crete sicknesse, if the other mishappe had not happened, which was to him a healthsome remedie.

The wise Captaine therfore that seeketh to profite in the know∣ledge * of armes, when he incurre any mishaps, hauing disgesed the first bitternesse thereof, must seeke to vse the rest as the expulsiue vertue of some Easterly roote, to expell out of his minde the proud vapours thereinto ascended: and the greater operation that this worketh in any, ye lesse neede hath he of any other medicine. As for the Captaines that are furnished with ignorance, they likewise do growe into presumption, whereto the good clawbacks, that follow thē (as wel as the former) are a great helpe. But for the others, be∣ing better guided by vertue, their losses doe happen after a more valiant sorte; where these ignorant men doe fall into mishappes ac∣companied with shame: Now to speake of the estate as well of the one as of the other, they that amend, be happie in mishap: but most vnhappie are those that will neuer acknowledge their error, but impute it either to others or to fortune, and so continue their pride in the middest of their miserie. For in ye ende they remaine engaged vnder the burthen of some great blowe whether their want of dis∣cretion hath led them: which the first doe shunne by finding their imperfection in time, after they haue receiued some smal one. Here∣by may wee easely iudge that the aduersities which bring vs into the path of wisedome, are better then the prosperities that trans∣port vs therefro. I could alleadge the domesticall examples of sun∣drie of our Capteynes, who to their friends haue not denyed but that they haue reaped commoditie out of these extraordinarie cor∣rections. But sith I imagine that such as followe the warres may haue tryed somewhat, or heard others speake thereof, I will for∣beare: only I will admonish them both sooner and neerer to looke to their owne faultes then to other mens: for so shall they learne to ouershoote themselues but seeldome.

Page  215

The fourth Paradoxe.

That daylie experience haue taught such meanes to fortifie Holds, as are most profitable in respect of the small charge thereof, and no lesse defensible then such stately ones as the Ingeniors haue aforetime inuented.

THE Italians deserue the commenda∣tion * of being the first inuenters of di∣uers sortes of gallant fortifications, which since they haue reduced into such an arte as hath bene esteemed honora∣ble, neither hath it bene of lesse profite to those that haue delt therein. And per∣aduenture this last poynt hath partly bene the occasion that they haue per∣swaded Princes that such and so many things were requisite to bring a peece of worke to perfection and worthie them. Wherein they haue not bene altogether vntoward: for through great & long expences the water is come to their mil. I know it beseemeth great Princes to doe great workes, because they haue great meanes and therefore the small will not content them; but withall they should prize them in the ballance of commoditie, least the dearenesse of the one hinder the setting hand to the other. I seeke not herein that * which is seemely for a fewe, but that which may bee commodious and profitable to all: Especially for their sakes who being weake, had neede for their owne fafetie to fortifie themselues, and yet through pouertie are driuen to spend but little. I take that to be a fruitfull peece of worke which is performed quickly, easely, and with small cost, and yet in goodnesse doth counteruaile an other whereto they cannot attaine without contrary meanes. I meane not in this my treatise to comprehend such places as are strong by nature, but only those which may be so made by arte.

The first place that here I will bring to view, shall be the Cita∣dell of Antwerpe, wherein wee may say that nothing hath bene *Page  216 forgotten, either in wealth, diligence, inuention or plentie of stuffe: so as in all Christendome a goodlier peece of worke for fortifica∣tion hath no man seene. But on the other side if wee consider that the building thereof cost 1400000. Florins, and yet, had it bene assaulted, would not peraduenture haue held out much better then Oudenarde or Maestricht which were fortified but with earth, it will make men somewhat curious to examine these matters more exactly. Especially small Potentates and little townes are to looke very néerely hereto: for if they should measure their defence by the ell of these great Princes, they should bee peraduenture empouri∣shed, yea vtterly ouerthrowne before they could bee halfe fotified. The Citadell of Mets cost aboue a million of Franks, and I sup∣pose that that of Turin drewe néere to 300000. Crownes. Which I speake not as misliking that these great Princes should employ so much vpon these small Castles: for they wast much more vnpro∣fitably: but only to the ende to let men see that for the fortifying of such a towne as Malines or Orleance, which in greatnesse are a∣like, after that order the charge would amount vnto aboue fiue millions of Florens: also that for the furnishing of money they should bee driuen either to sell one of their Estates or make peace for a hundred yeeres with their neighbours, that they might worke at leisure.

Some man may say, it is but a small matter for the Kings, who * in the ciuill warres of Flanders and France, haue each of them spent aboue 70. millions of golde. But I will to the contrary con∣clude by the same reason: for hauing wasted such innumerable summes, a little will be found to be a great deale. If we shall looke all France ouer, I thinke wee shall scarcely finde (except a fewe Castles) any towne halfe finished after the engeniors rules. Some doe beare themselues herein like vnto certaine Brides, who being perswaded that a gowne of cloath of golde will make them more beautifull then one of taffatie; doe thereby force their husbands to consent that half their dowrie be consumed in beautifull ornaments for their mariages: but afterward they haue sower sauce to their sweete meate, as being driuen to a long pennance for their sumpte∣ous vanitie. It were much more profitable for both to know what were méete, and to goe no farther. When I compare the townes that were besieged in the time of King Frances & his sonne Hen∣rie, with those that haue bene assaulted in our ciuill warres, I am forced to confesse that these last haue bene better defended, not∣withstanding Page  217 they haue bene assayled with greater arte, and yet most of them were neuer furnished with any of these stately fortifi∣cations: which sheweth that so many great expences are super∣fluous, sith they bring foorth no better fruite then those that are lesse.

The ingeniours will say that notwithstanding men fortifie but * with earth without any of their supporters of Stone or Bricke, (which are no lesse beautifull then necessarie) yet still they followe their precepts. Wherto I aunswer that in many things men may helpe themselues therewith: howbeit they are rather to sticke to newe experiences which haue taught very good kindes of fitting and defending themselues. The first is the same that I haue alrea∣die mentioned, namely fortification with earth: which cost tenne times lesse then great Masondrie, and is neuer a whit worse. For proofe hereof I will alleadge the towne of Gaunt, which in two yeeres was finished and furnished with Rauelins, ditches & coun∣terscarpes, (although it be of as great circuite as Paris within the walles) and cost not aboue 300000. Florins: But if the King of Spayne should haue made this fortification according to the writ∣ten rules, he must haue spent aboue sixe millions and twentie yeres at the least. In diuers places the townes haue bene taken, before they haue bene a quarter fortified after these great platformes. The second thing which experience hath made many to allowe of, is to losen the Bastions from the Courtines, yea and to carie them without the ditch. For although they be not defended with the Ar∣tillerie from any lowe Casemates, yet doe the Harquebuzery suf∣ficiently shield them from the Curtines which is a continuall a∣noyance that cannot bee taken away, where the flankes of the Ba∣stions may bee pearced or broken when the shoulders are weake. Also if one of those rarelines that I speake of should chaunce to bée taken, yet is not the place therefore so lost, but that the enemie may very well be put backe, where contrariwise it is a necessarie conse∣quence to those that haue ioyned them to the Rampiers. The third is the vse of intrenching, which is a marueilous profitable remedie, though smally practised in times past, but in our ciuill warres, men haue learned to vse it very well. Though they bee weake and but ill made, yet doe they preserue from being forced on a sudden, and procure some reasonable composition. But if they be large and well made, either they wholy preserue or at the least doe giue a mo∣neths respite (which is a soueraigne purchase to the besieged, when Page  218 the enemie must winne it by little and little) during which time they may light vppon some fauourable accident for themselues. Hereto will I adde one sleight which practise hath taught, namely, to striue for a drie ditch after the Counterscarpe is wonne, and so to defend a Rampier a fewe daies, though the enemie be lodged in the Parapet. For with sundrie pollicies haue men learned to fight each with other, some more, some lesse: as hath bene seene in diuers Sieges both in the Lowe countries and in France. All which in∣uentions doe consist as much in remouing the earth, as in any o∣ther manuall defence.

Now will I shewe how I would the place which I propound * should be prouided for, presupposing ye situation to be in ye plaine as are the situatiōs of most of the townes in Flanders. First I would not haue the Rampier raised too high: For such as are so vnreaso∣nable high, as they are in most places about Bruxelles, Tournay, Orleance, and Rochell, are rather Mountaines then Rampiers, and bee within as I thinke thirtie foote high. For herein they be hurtfull, that being wonne, there is no more meanes to defende, because the defendants cannot entrench behinde to any purpose, when their trench shall bée so ouer awed. As for the ditch, I would wish it to bée full of water if it might bée, so to eschue surprizes, as also that it is more troublesome to the assailant then the drye. Counterscarpes doe after a sorte serue, and the couert way to them should bée large.

Likewise I would thinke an other pathe to be profitable, which should be behinde or vnder the first, being sixe foote broade and as many high: Which should serue to the ende that when the Coun∣terscarpe chaunced to bee wonne by vyolence (as was that of Vul∣pian in Piedmont, where all the Souldiers were drowned and slaine) the defendants might saue themselues. As for the Rauelins they would be fitly placed without the ditch, and made so large that they may beare a good entrenching. For so shall the enemie, al∣though he haue wonne the poynt, haue a fortnights worke. But the inner ditch, if it were possible, should be drye, to the ende the Souldiers might in the beginning of the Siege bee kept there for issues: which I thinke to bée necessarie for the besieged, as well to the encrease of their courages, as in respect of ye great hurts which the enemie shall thereby receiue. For these are meetly safe enter∣prises for a cunning Captaine, and will amaze the assailants when they shall finde themselues assailed.

Page  219 Whosoeuer vndertaketh to assault such a place, must of neces∣sitie * begin with the Rauelin, which is a most assured warning that he will beate the Courtine on that side. Wherefore omitting all other matter they must fall to entrenching, whereby in time they may make as it were a newe towne, in case they haue people enow and a skilfull Ingeniour.

I suppose that in a place where there are Souldiers a Rauelin should hold out one month at the least, yea euen against the Prince of Parma, who is the skilfullest assaulter of townes that I know. The rampier and passage of a ditch full of water will be as long: and the inner trench, being almost equall with the heigth of the rampier that is beaten downe may be kept as long or longer, pro∣uided alwaies, that it be made 60. or 80. foote from the Courtine. Now I take this at the worst: for there bee such weake assailants of Houlds, as shall labour two moneths about the winning of a Raueline. There are that thinke it an easie matter to keepe them from passing the ditch, but for my parte I thinke it harde, for they will enter either by night or day. Thus when a frontier towne shal haue stopped a mightie armie so long as I haue sayd, it shall haue quit it selfe well (for there bee fewe townes inpregnable) and the Prince that may haue lost it shall haue this comfort: That as the fencing of it had cost him little, so his enemie shall haue spent much time, many men, and money enough in the winning of it.

Some Ingeniour may say that water vndermindeth the foun∣dations * of a Rampier, and that from tenne yeeres to tenne yeeres they runne out: which they do not if they be walled within. It is so indeede where the water is a running water: but the repairing cost little, as also doe the props that beare vp nothing but earth. How∣beit, I say that a man may fortifie a whole small towne with earth with the charges of one enclosure to a Bastion made of bricke or stone with the countermynes thereof. This maner do I here alow for an other respect: which is, that Potentates & Commonwelths are better able to prouide for the inward fortifications, which must accompanie the outward, & do consist in al kinds of necessarie pro∣uision that want in many townes, though not in whole, yet in parte. And as many are lost through this default as for lack of Ba∣stions. They may likewise spare great sommes, which are spent in these great workes, and with the same maintaine a sufficient ar∣mie, through want whereof the strongest places are taken, as hath bene seene in Flanders. Many thinges more may bee obiected Page  220 to beate downe this our Bulwarke, which is much more profitable to the weake then beautifull to the mightie Monarkes. In the meane time such as shall followe this construction, shall not finde themselues the worse thereby: as the future experience peraduen∣ture will teach better then the passed.