Of the Protestants diligent retrait in the last troubles: also of the Lord of Martigues braue resolution when he came to Saumure.
HUmane affaires are subiect to many al∣terations, * for the better representing of the inconstancie whereof, the Ethnikes haue figured a turning whéele whereon things are sometime vp and sometime downe: and who so list well to note the dissimilitude of the ground of this warre with the former, shal perceiue the same. For in the former the Protestants did preuent and proudlie assayle, where in this they were preuented, and retired vpon shamefull necessitie, abandoning those Prouinces and Townes which before had serued for their preseruation. When they see tenne companies of footmen brought vnto Orle∣leance, they well knew that their businesse went amisse: but most of all were they moued to departe the Prouinces about Paris be∣cause the Prince had like to haue beene besette in his owne house by sundrie companies of men of armes and footemen that easily ap∣proched towarde him. Himselfe also hauing giuen aduice heereof to the Admirall and other his neerest neighbors, did together with them and their families retire to Rochel by wading through the riuer of Loyre at an vnaccustomed foode. Likewise he warned the Protestants farther off to take armes, and sauing themselues so well as they might to drawe towarde him, seeking passage ouer the riuer by foord or boate: The Catholikes scoffinglie tolde him that he néeded not haue taken so hotte an allarum, also that they had practised nothing agaynst them, whereto he answered, that hee had Page 412 rather leaue them the neasts than they shold haue caught the birds: also that if he had wel remembred their promise to be reuenged for Meaux, like wise that they would make the brethren ru〈…〉e when theyr turne came, he wold haue departed sooner that he might haue gone an easier pace. These were their common speeches: for the grauer matters on either 〈◊〉 are written in the histories: I know that warre is miserable and with all bringeth many mischiefes: but this vile small peace that lasted but sixe monethes was farre worse for the Protestants, who being murthered in their houses, durst not defende themselues. These and other matters prouoked and disposed them to seeke theyr safetie in assembling together.
The Lord of Andelot being in Britaine was aduised to assem∣ble all the power that he might, and to march into Poictou: where∣vppon he gaue them order to meete him in Anieow, which was * done: and when all were come together, his troope consisted of no lesse than a thousand good horse and two thousand harquebuziers, wherewith hee turned his head to the riuer of Loyre, to the end to seeke some commodious passage. But the same daie that bee came to the shoare therof, there fell out an vnlooked for aduenture wher∣fro the Catholikes escaped with honour. Hee was lodged verie scatteringly, as hauing no greate allarum of enemies, and had gi∣uen the Captaines of his troopes charge, after they were ariued in their quarters, to seeke for some foorde or wadeable place, but two houres after they were lodged the Lord of Martigues who was going to the Duke of Montpensier at Saumure, was aduer∣tised that a number of Protestantes (without naming of anie) were come to lodge in his way.
Now hee hauing alreadie passed a small riuer called Sorgne by boat, thoght it to late to retire, & therfore yt it was requisit he make way with the sword whatsoeuer sh〈…〉ld happen, his cariages he had sent awaie on the other side of Loire and his troop consisted of three hundred speares, and fiue hundred harquebuzieres. Also in as much as hee was driuen to march a long a banke of earth which kept in the riuer, where there coulde but tenne men or sixe horses passe in front, hee placed at his head an hundred Gascogne harquebu∣ziers of his garde, and two bundred others: his horsemen in the the middest, then the rest of his footmen behinde, and fiftie speares for scourers.
This done he sayde vnto them: Companions and friendes, the Protestants are vppon our waie: wee must eyther goe ouer them or Page 413 bee lost: for flie wee cannot: Let euerie man therefore prepare to fight well with his arme and march gallantlie with his feete to winne Sanmure, wee haue but eight small leagues thether, and shall not bee in safetie before we come there.
This sayde, they all promised not to fayle in theyr dueties, and in this resolution they marched on. The two first troopes that hee mette were two companies of horsemen that were taking their lodgings, whome hee easilie scattered, and Captaine Bois∣uert was slayne in the fight: There hee hearde that the Lorde of Andelot was at hande, wherevppon hee hasted the more to preuent him: But not withstanding whatsoeuer his diligence, hee founde him horsed with a fewe men, as hauing had the allarum by some runawayes. There was giuen a braue charge, wherein the Lord of Martignes lieuetenaunt was slayne, and the Lorde of Ande∣lot forced to permitte him free passage. He suffered not his soul∣diours to spoyle the carryages that stoode in the waies, but made them to march on. Within one league of the same place hee mette a companie of Captaine Cognees horse marching, whome with harquebuze shotte hee sent backe a pace: agayne a quarter of a league from Rosiers there mette him two hundred harquebu∣ziers whome the Lorde of la None sent towarde the allarum to succour the rest: but the Lorde of Martigues footemen beeing all olde souldiours and the others newe, did so disorder them as they were forced to abandon the village, and leaue him free pas∣sage.
Finallie, within two leagues of Saumure hee founde yet another companie of footemen lodged in a Church, whome hee forced and tooke theyr Ensigne, and so at the shutting in of the euening came safe with his men well wearyed with fighting and marching, hauing lost but twentie of them, but slayne foure times as many of his enemies, and scarred aboue a thou∣sande.
This exploit did I thinke good to sette downe, as seeming to bee replenished with a braue determination: albeit it was •o meruayle that the Lorde of Andelots troopes entered not within them: for they were sodainelie surprised, beeing all scat∣tered a sunder, besides that the horsemen were in too straight a roome to fight well, and although they had beene gathered agayne together▪ yet were the enemies alreadie in safe∣tie. Page 414 Thus do we see how much it standeth a body in hand both to march in order and to be well determined: and this is it that causeth those small troopes that are willing in valour to supplie their weaknesse, ordinarily to ouercome.
Notwithstanding this checke, yet was not the Lord of Andelot past hope of passage ouer the riuer: hauing therfore closed his men in two bodies, he caused them to trye euery where: In the ende they found a foord as it were miraculously, where no man had in mans memorie passed: and the next morning both he and all his being very glad that they had met that which they hoped not of, he passed ouer vnto the other side. Remaining in these vncerteynties, I could him that it were good for vs to consider what wee had to doe if our passage were stopped: wherevpon he aunswered. What can wee el• doe but take some extreeme partie, either to dye as Soul∣diers, or to saue our selues as Souldiers? My opinion is, sayd he, that wee all ioyne and so retire seauen or eight leagues hence into the open countrie, and thence to aduertise the Lordes of Montpensier and Martigues that we be fled & are scattered, euery man seking to escape the daunger, which they will soone beleeue. In the meane time we will encourage and prepare our men to ouercome: Then if they approach neere vnto vs, as vndoubtedly they will (rather to spoile than to fight) let vs valiantlie set vppon them, so shall we b•eake them, and after∣warde will no troope for one moneths space bee so bolde as to come before vs, thus maye wee easilie gette into Germanie, or vp the ri∣uers.
This readie and couragious counsayle of so gallant a knight, is no more (in my opinion) to bee concealed than the braue determina∣tion of the Lord of Martigues, two personages vndoubtedly wor∣thie the best militarie offices. The last wo•ne farre greater honour in his passage, and the first much more profite, as getting him and his into safetie: For within eight dayes after hee ioyned with the Prince of Condie, which was a greate strengthening vnto him. This the Protestants so badde a beginning and en∣terie into the warre by such headelong retreates was a foreto∣ken, that they would vse these remedies in the continuation there∣of, which also came to passe, albeit in the former they had but verie seldome had anie such happe, whereof if there bee anie that desire to knowe the causes, I will set them downe.
It proceeded of the contempt of discipline, and the multi∣plication of vice, the which dooth breede greate disorder, and Page 415 engendreth bouldnesse in many (not in all) who vnder colour of ne∣cessitie doo take vpon them too much libertie.