THE SIXTE CHAP. Treatinge of the Office of a Captaine generall of an Army.
THis office beinge of so high dingnitie and degree, the Kinge doth chuse and electe it be the advice of his prudente counsell of state and warr; and in this ele∣ction greate consideration oughte to by had, for bien∣ge the office of higheste degree in the fielde; which of all reason oughte to by comended to the care and chardge of a per∣sonadge indued with the befitinge partes for the executinge of so ho∣norable a chardge: Therfore he oughte not onely to have the per∣fection and aproved partes of all other officeres under his comaun∣de; but to excell them all in experience, gravitie, policie, secrecie, temperance, valour constancie, vigilance, care liberalitie, and to by of brave and resolute determinations, preventinge and executinge in due time with care and prudence all thinges apertaininge to his chardge: To relate of all the goode partes in him it were tedious, for he is to by of suche perfecte judgemente of all thinges which hath and shall by writen of this arte, so that the goode partes in him requi∣red are infinit.
He is not onely to by of perfecte judgemente in excellinge all the Page 166 reste, but alsoe to by of a verteouse life in givinge goode examples, as apateerne lighte and lanterne of all the army (soe that they may imi∣tate him) for moste comonlie averteouse prudente and valiante ge∣nerall will chuse valiante verteouse and prudente Captaines and Of∣ficeres; prudente and valerouse Captaines oughte to estime ver∣teouse valiante and skilfull souldieres.
The accidentes of warr are so many that it altherethe the hou∣more of some professores of this arte, excepte they by indued with singular vertue and constancie, which are founde but in verie feowe. Very many dificulties doe offer in the daylie ocurrantes of warr, but greate abilitie is requiered to see them prudently ordered; and har∣dely can any master be had of suche perfection, but that some times he muste err.
To relate in particular of the partes required in a generall it were tediouse, Wherfore i will name the foure princlpal partes the Gree∣kes and Romaines desired to occurr in such personages; firste to be skillfull in the arte of warr, to be valiante and of brave and prudente resolution, to sheowe him selfe with greate gravitie and auctoritie, and to be fortunate in his sucesses. If he be acompanied with the par∣tes and proprietie before declared it is inough. Nevertheless he hase inoughe to learne.
For the better securitie and success of his army it is necessarie that his person be still well garded in all plases where he marches with his army. (And trough his valeoure and mangnanimitie) findinge that he is inclined to presente him selfe the firste in all dangeres, his con∣sell of warris not to permitt him for many respectes, for bienge kilth or taken prisoner it were no smale matter. That besides it is an oca∣sion to animate the enemie, and to disanimate oures, wherof greate consideration oughte to be taken.
The Greekes and Romaines for the defence and repose of theire re∣publike have chosen theire Captaine generalles of souldieres of grea∣te and longe experience in martiall actiones, wherby they mighte prudentlie governe and comaunde with full auctoritie and due re∣specte. And therfore they alwaies did chuse thies personadges of men of longe practice, greate experience in warr, and of reepe yeares and judgement.
It is true that Alexander Magnus, beinge but of yonge yeares begon to governe and comaunde an Army, and conquered all Asia and did put the worlde in amace. Somtimes it is moste conveniente that Page 167 Kinges and Princes in person be presente withe theire armies for many respectes, thouge theire experience be not greate; but when suche ocasiones do presente they carie with them the moste ancien∣te and experimented Captaines they finde as did Alexander of those Captaines whiche Kinge Philip his father had for his Counseleres and conductores of warr. And as did Kinge Philipe of Spaine when he elected don Juan de Austria for his Captaine generall, he a poin∣ted for his Lieutenante don Luis de Suniga the gran comendador of castilla.
And to the contrarie who infortunate hapened to don Sebastian Kinge of Portugall not to imitate thies renoomed examples of per∣perpetuall memorie, in his infortunate and disastred journey made into barbarie, he beinge yonge and vnexperimented in warr whiche was cause of his and his armies perdicion, so that yonge Princes in warres oughte to have for theire Counseleres grave and experimen∣ted Captaines, none can denay but this Kinge was of a high conceite and of amoste brave and valerouse determinasion but by reson of his yonge yeares and lesse experience in warr, he wanted prudence for the due conduction of such an honarble action.
In the honorable journey made by the famouse and renoomed conquerour Kinge Edward the thirde into France, sendinge his eyl∣dest son the Prince of wales for generall, Naminge for his Counse∣lers and Captaines the valiante prudente and renoomed Earles of oxforde warwick, suffolk and salisbury, where at the battell of Poy∣tieres they made knowen theire vndeniable prudence and greate va∣lour, that at lenghte they overthrewe the whole power of france, and theire Kinge Iohn and his son Philipe were taken prisoneres, with very many of the frence nobilitie, to the Inglish is perpetuall glorie and fame.
Aniball that renoomed Captaine of perpetuall memorie was but very yonge when he began to governe an army, but he had for his Counseleres anciente and prudente Captaines, and was ruled and governed by them till he came to understandinge, givinge many fa∣mouse battelles and overthrowes to the Romaines, till at the ende he was overcome with Cipio Africano that renomed Captaine of the re∣maines.
The Captaine generall oughte to informe him selfe well of the forces qualitie and condiciones of his enemy, if bisonos or rawe men, or oulde and experimented souldiers, alsoe to be well informed of Page 168 the cituation strenghte and forme of theire citties townes, fortes, and stronge houldes, and of the convenienteste plases to passe over thire riveres. Alsoe to informe him selfe of the situation of their cam∣pes, so that he mighte be the better prevented when ocasion shall of∣fer, alsoe to be well informed of persones of goode judgemente and truste of all the dificulties that maie hinder him, so that in due time he may prevente all necessarie prevenciones, and specially see that he trusteth the relatinge of thies and many more ocasiones to persones of greate fidelitie and truste and of goode understandinge.
When the Captaine generall shall inter to conqueste aforaigne country he is to indevoure with speede to put him selfe in pocession of the principaleste pasadges of riveres casteles and stronge plases, and with speede see them well provided with all necessaries, that the∣reby he may put the country under subiection, and that his amuni∣tiones and all other necessaries may be transported with the more securitie from one place to another, and withe speede to see all places fortified in as muche as can posible, where any parte of his army bein∣ge constrained trough extreame necessitie may safelie repaire unto. For it faleth oute often times that the ocurrantes of warlike affaires are subjecte to many disgrases, and may be when we leshe feare. Wherfore aprudente comaunder oughte in due time to prevente su∣che dificulties, which is the kea and securitie of his army, and special∣ly to see thies plases well provided with all sorte of amunitions, and to see that they be recomended to the care and chardge of carefull vigi∣lante prudente and valerouse Captaines.
When resolution is taken to scale any towne forte or stronge place, firste information oughte to be taken by skillfull and trustie persones of al dificulties which mighte be suspected or feared, as alsoe of the juste heighte of the walles that ladderes may be made for that purpo∣se, and not to be overlonge for bienge dangerouse for cause that the enemy may easilie turne them up side downe. Thies ladderes are not to be so shorte but that they may reache to the place of theire execu∣tion (for thies executiones moste comonlie are firste imploied pike∣men of chosen and valerouse souldieres) to make way till the shott followe to socoure them, duringe whiche time they are to man∣taine the place with greate valeoure till all the shott do ioyne, and then with speed goe forwarde, well and prudently ordered, and with abrave and resolute tetermination til they come in poces∣sion and master the place, and strongeste watche they finde. In thies Page 169 and other semblable ocasiones there is no lookinge after, still goe for∣warde with greate couradge and valeoure, whiche execution oughte to be recomended to the care and chardge of prudente and valerouse Captaines and chosen souldiores, which bienge so hitted uppon, grea∣te expectasiones mighte be hoped of theire goode sucesse. And or∣der oughte to be given that in paine of death no souldier shall stir oute of his order till the enemy be wholie vanquised and all thinges dulie ordered and prevented.
Goode successes are often times optained by meanes of military prudence care and diligence, wherfore it is necessarie the Captaine generall be verie industriouse in knowinge who to invente neowe oc∣casiones of warr to diverte and intertaine the enemy when ocasion shall require, and to corupte them with money, for many ocurantes in warr it is necessarie to have many trustie spies whiche serve for ma∣ny purposes, it is moste necessarie that thies persones by knowen for men of truste and fidelitie; for otherwise beinge of double dealinge they are moste dangerouse. In all ocasiones he shall atempte he is to be verie carefull and diligente, and to knowe the qualitie and condi∣sion of the enemyes comaunder wheader he be raish and inconsiderat or prudente and reposed in his actiones, and wheader he be a man of a high minde to come to the facte of armes, and to knowe the quali∣tie of his counseleres conductores and officeres, and of whate deter∣minasiones, and to be well informed if his army be of bisones or rawe men or of anunciente skillfull and practised souldiores, and of whate nasiones and of whate desingnes. A generall can helpe him selfe in many matteres havinge goode and trustie spies, whiche are to be verie well rewarded and paied for be their, meanes often tymes mat∣teres of greate momente is prevented in due time, and to the con∣trarry for wante of suche trustie and carefull persones greate disgra∣ces doe happen, and brave interprises loste, thies persones beinge of confidente truste care and abilitie is agreate repose of minde to the generall.
Moste necessarie it were that some Captaines and Alferises refor∣med of longe practice and experience in warr shoulde still asiste ne∣xte his person, to informe of many matteres which doe occurr un∣knowen to the Generall, and of greate importance to his majesties service, and which shoulde by prevented in due time. Thies persones for cause of there longe experience and a proved fidelitie in materes of warr shoulde rather by imploied then otheres ordinarily sente Page 170 with comisiones in visitinge frontieres, fortificasiones amunisiones magasenes or storehouses, and of verie many more ocasiones of im∣portance to the furtherance of his majesties service, and in givinge true relasion of the extreame necessities of souldiores for wante of the ordinary and inescusable necessaries ordained for them be the Prince in theire garisones as lodginges bedes, &c. And seinge that none do procure nor pittie them they run away from theire coloures which mighte be prevented in due time be meanes of faithfull and trustie relatores, to the better performance of his majesties service and re∣pose of the comon wealth and poure inhabitances, it were verie ne∣cesary he shoulde have trustie persones of good skill and understan∣dinge in warr who shoulde in due time advertice him of many mat∣ters which doth ocurr unknowen to him or his counsell, and verie necessary for his majesties service.
To by prevented in due time againste the poysonous designes and practises of the enemy, it were moste necessary to get faithfull and trustie spies to knowe the intentes of the enemy, and to whate ende they aspire, and to see thies spiees well rewarded, so that with the greater care they acomplish the truste emputed in them, so that matteres of greate importance may by discovered and prevented withoute facte of armes, onely with military prudence. His ceasless care and high conceite, ought never to be weery in toylinge after vertue, and to attaine with travaile care and military prudence the gloriouse issues of his deepe designes.
In thies oure later warres for the moste parte all electiones goes by favor frindshipp or affection to the greate discomoditie of his majesties service; wherfore the Captaine generall as a supreame iusti∣ce over a whole army shoulde have aspeciall care in informinge him selfe well in due time, to see amatter of so greate importance pruden∣tely prevented. It alsoe falethe oute that when the Generall Caules for arelasion of the Master de campes to reforme so many Captaines of eache regimente of eache nasion to reforce other companies. In such and semblable ocasiones, the Generall shoulde take aspeciall care to by well informed, for cause that by dayly experience wee see thies afaires sinesterly handled; Reforminge those of greate service suficiency and valoure, which is manifeste, and to no smale discomo∣dity to his majesties service, in the atemptes of many honorable in∣terprises and incounteres, and to the greate decay of military disci∣pline. So that for wante of prudente conductores, many honorable Page 171 ocasiones are dayly loste. And that resultinge of the litle perfection of many officeres in military discipline. To see thees ocasiones and many more duly prevented, the Captaine generall for many wour∣die respectes oughte to informe him selfe well, in as much that favou∣re frindshipp nor affecsion may take place, but rather forwarde and advance those of longe and faithfull service, prudente cariadge, re∣noomed actes and valoure. So that in the administrasion of justice he shall by reputed for one inclined to minister equitie and righte, as alsoe for one of greate disgression and wisedome, And soe moste co∣monly by all reason the sucesses of military discipline shall prosper, to the greate renoome of the Prince, repose and furtherance of the comon wealthe. Happy is the Prince and renoomed is the Generall who in his electiones doe imitate the Greekes and Romaines, in ele∣ctinge the conductores of theyr armyes of men experte and skillfull in the arte of warr, and moste comonly wise vertuese and valiante Generalles, will chuse wise valiante and vertuese Captaines, of longe practice renoomed actes and goode examples; So with the asistan∣ce of the divine powere (greate hopes oughte to by expected of thei∣re happie successes) as Alexander the greate, Scipio Africano, Ani∣ball, and many more renoomed warrieres lefte in writhinge sufi∣ciente examples of the same.