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.
Of the reasons that mooued the Prince of Condées armie to breake vp after the taking of Boisgencie: also how he con∣uerted that necessitie into profite. And of the purposes of the King of Nauarre.

THE principall Captaines and such as were best practised in worldly affayres, * did well for esee that their armie would not long continue whole, because they did in parte want the necessarie founda∣tions thereof, so as they feared this dis∣sipation, as men feare least the fall of some great Dake shaken with ye windes should light vpon some wall and cast it downe, or vpon a number of small plantes bearing fruite: which caused them to giue counsaile while it was in force to hazard th fielde, whereof they missed. Now after the taking of Boisgencie, when they see the contrary power placed at Bloys which standeth vpon the riuer of Loyre, and that the warre grewe long, their first heate began to coole, as also at the same time began their treasure wherewith to wage Souldiers (who had alreadie consmed all Page  369 that they had gathered as well aOrleance as els where) to faile.

This necessitie opened the gates to diuers discontentmens, whereof the most parte had but simple foundations, albeit the prin∣cipall motion proceeded of the naturall impatiencie of the French nation, which if it by and by see not the imagined effects, doe grow out of liking and murmureth. Neither will I conceale but that some euen of the chiefe of the Nobilitie, too much affected to their goods, either endued with somwhat an ambitious hope, or els ouer delicate and tender, endeuouring to hide these defaults, did call the equitie of the warre into question. This being knowne, they were requested to departe, least their speeches should alienate the minds of others. As for the greater parte of the Nobilitie and Gentrie, which could not bee maintained or placed in the neerest Garrisons and might serue els where, it was thought good to employe them in their owne countries, where debate began to breake foorth be∣tweeene the Protestants and Catholickes, especially in Poictou, Xaintogne, and Angolesme. Thether sent they the Earle of Ro∣chfoucault: to Lyons the Lord of Soubize: and to Bourges the Lord of Iuoy with his regiment. Also seeing the Germaines, Suizers and Spanyards, did alreadie enter into France in fauour of the Catholickes, they sent the Lord of Andelot into Germa∣nie, and the Lord of Briquemaud into England to seeke for helpe and succour: By this meanes did the towne of Orleance remaine freed and safe from that which would most haue mole∣sted it: forreine negotiation well established: and the preseruation of those Countries, from whence they had succour prouided for. Thus were the difficulties that happened among the Prin∣ces partie, determined, so as the hope of the successe of this warre was not much deminished, whereof I doe not much meruaile. For sith in extremities, wise and valiant persons can finde reme∣dies, why should they dispayre in such as are not so farre growne▪ In the meane time in matter of warre, want of money is no small inconuenience, neither is it any losse to haue to deale with volun∣tarie persons; which is a burden of it selfe hard to be borne, where∣by a man is soone oppressed, and this doth none so well knowe as he that hath proued it.

The King of Nauarre and his assotiates considering that it was not good to lose time, which ought to be precious to those that * haue power at commaunde, encreased their campe as well with French men as Straungers, and besought the Queene to bring Page  370 the King into the armie, to the ende the Huguenos, who 〈…〉ned it the King of Nauarres, or the Duke of Guizes, might be forced to call it the Kings campe, as also the more to 〈…〉horise the warre that was prosecuted in his name, which she did: And they met at Chartres where they resolued to set vpon Bourges, before it were fortified: for, sayd they, so mightie a citie, not past twentie leagues distant from Orleance, did but too much benefice the Princes af∣fayres. Thether they marched and assaulting it found no such resi∣stance as was looked for, whereby it fell into their hands. Then be∣ing with this so sudden victorie, which, sayd they, was the cutting off of one of the Protestants armes, puffed vp and very ioyfull, they entered deliberation of their affayres. Many were very ear∣nest to besiege Orleance, whose reasons were these. That the two chiefe heades that moeued all this bodie, namely the Prince of Condé and the Admirall were there, so the same being taken they might ea∣sely make the rest of the bodie immoueable. That the strangers that looked vp and euen tickled to come into France, when they should but heare of the siege thereof, would not bee very willing to set forward. That they had men enowe to begin the siege: for placing and fortifying two thousandmen in the little gate to bridle the towne on that side, they should still haue tenne thousand footmen & three thousand horse, who might suffice vnto the ariuall of other their power that was mar∣ching. Finally, that the towne was but weake, as being neither well flancked, nor well diched, and hauing no counterscarpe: Onely there was a rampier wherein thirtie Canons would in sixe daies make a breach of two hundred foote. But, sayd they, if ye giue those Hugue∣notes any respite to finish their fortifications, wherein they labour al∣readie, wee shall not bee possibly able to winne it. That they should re∣member that that towne was no small thorne in the foote of France, but euen a very great darte which pierced the bowelles thereof and kept it from breathing.

Others of the contrary opinion did thus replie. That by their in∣telligences*in Orleance they were assured that the two regiments of Gascogns and Prouincials amounting to aboue 3000. souldiers were in it: Also fiue or sixe hundred other souldiers of those that had bene in Bourges and were now retired thether. Moreouer foure hundred gentlemen: Then the townsmen able to beare armes being no lesse then three thousand persons. All together aboue seuen thousand men, be∣sides such as hearing of the siege, drawing thether, would likewise enter thereinto. That a towne furnished with so many men and great store Page  371 of victuals was not easie to be taken. That in consideration aforesayd, it were to no purpose with twelue thousand men to pitch their campe against it, considering how many seuerall campes for the well enclosing thereof they must make. Moreouer, that to vndertake such a peece of worke without at the least two hundred thousand of poulder, twelue thousand bullets, and two thousand Pyoners, all which the Kings whole power was not able to gather together in one moneth, were as a man should say, to take shipping without Biscuit. That they had else∣where more easie worke which was requisite to be prouided for: name∣ly, to take from the enemies the towne of Rcan whilest it were yet weake, for that the Englishmen being by them drawne thether might there frame a great armie, to goe afterward where they list, in respect whereof that arme must be speedily cut off. As for whatsoeuer power the Lord of Andelot might bring in, if they would send there against 1500. horse and 4000. shot, the same vnder the fauour of the countries, townes and riuers might suffice either to stoppe or cut them in peeces. Then hauing atchieued al this, they should haue a very fit time, with∣out daunger of empeachment to plant a notable siege before Orleance, wherewith to winne it either speedily by maine force, or at the length, by mynes and sappe, or finally by building fortes round about it. This last counsaile tooke place and was followed, and to bee plaine with you, I take it was the better: for in the towne there were for the defence thereof aboue fiue thousand straungers, besides the enha∣bitants: store of munition: the Rauelines begunne and the fortifi∣cations of the Iles almost finished. True it is the Lord Constable sayd that he would haue nothing but sodden Apples to beate them downe withall, but when he was brought to see them he confessed that he had bene misenformed. Our Captaines did often growe into cōmunication of the siedge: but the Lord Admirall laughed at them, saying, that to a towne able to furnish three thousand men for an issue they could not approach without daunger, much lesse bring their artillerie. Likewise that the examples of Mets & Pa∣doa where two mightie Emperours in assayling such bodies as were too strong from them, had the foyle, were goodly mirrours to all such as would goe about to besiedge places well furnished.