Instructions for the warres. Amply, learnedly, and politiquely, discoursing the method of militarie discipline. Originally written in French by that rare and worthy generall, Monsieur William de Bellay, Lord of Langey, Knight of the order of Fraunce, and the Kings lieutenant in Thurin. Translated by Paule Iue, Gent.
Fourquevaux, Raimond de Beccarie de Pavie, baron de, 1509-1574., Ive, Paul., Du Bellay, Guillaume, 1491-1543,

How a Generall may helpe himselfe in the warres with di∣uers policies

The 1. Chapter.

IN this third booke shall bee shewed what meanes a Lieutenant Generall may vse to bring his warrs to an end in short time. Suppose that after he hath ouerthrown his enemies in bat∣taile (as is aforesayd) that there doth yet remaine a certaine number in the field, or that there are certain townes who do stand vpon their guard like e∣nemies, or others which are not to bee trusted: the meanes how to haue an end of the one, & to bee assured of the other, are these. First of all, if there were any part of the countrie to be suspected to reuolt, if so be that it should be left in it intier: the Lieutenant General must excogitat some practise that may be for his profit, and domageable vnto those whome he doth suspect: as to com∣maund them to beate downe the walles of their townes, and to banish certaine of their citizens: (I meane those whom he doub∣teth most) and this commaundement must be giuen in such sort, that no towne so commaunded might thinke this charge to con∣cerne others then themselues perticularly: and therefore the said commaundement & charge must be giuen in all the said townes at one instant, to the intent they might immediatly obey, & not haue respit to cōferre & take counsaile one of another. And as for the banishment of those whom he thinketh might make any cō∣motion or rebelliō in a towne, they must be deceiued in some ma∣ner, as to bee made to beléeue they shall bee imployed in some Page  213 busines, wherein the Lieutenant will do them good, in giuing them commission to do certaine affayres farre of, in some such place where they should haue no meanes to trouble him: which commission might stand in stead of an honest and couered ba∣nishment. And as for those townes that are of great power, and so inclined to disobey, that for euery litle occasion they might refuse the commaundement of the Generall, there is no better meanes then to assure himself of them, assaying to surprise them at vnwares. And to colour his pretence, he must make a rela∣tion vnto them of some enterprise like a trueth: for the execution whereof he is to vse their helpes, and must make shewe that he reposeth great trust in them, and that his intent is to some other purpose then to deceiue them. And in mine opinion, they will be perswaded without any great difficultie: and being once entred into this opinion, they will giue any such nūber of their townes men as he will require. And if the Generall do but sometimes smile a little vpon some of the principalls, they will bee forward enough to leuie the greatest part of their people to do him ser∣uice: of whom he may make his profite afterwards, as if they were giuen him for pledges. Furthermore, to bee assured of a towne, of whose loyaltie there is no good opinion to be had, the remedie that I see, whether it bee before the battaile, or after, is to imitate Pompei and others, which heretofore haue had the like busines: for Pompei hauing some doubt of a towne which is in Spayne, prayed the inhabitants that they would lodge the sicke men of his armie in their towne: which request being con∣sented, he sent them vnder colour of sicke men, part of the most valiantest Souldiers that he had: who when they were entred, made themselues maisters of the sayd towne incontinent, and so constrayned them to continue in his aliance. Publius Vale∣rius in like case to assure himselfe of the Epidaures, caused (as we would say) a generall pardon to be brought from the Pope into a Church without the towne, and at the day appoynted for them to obtaine the sayd pardon, all the people went out of the towne, and left but fewe in it to defend it, but the sayd Publius and his men: who seeing themselues to be strongest, did shut the gates, and would not suffer afterwards any man to enter, but those of whom they were well assured. Some say that he cau∣sed Page  214 all the chiefest men to bee giuen for pledges, before he would suffer any of the inhabitants to enter. Alexander the great, when he made his voyadge into Asia, foreseeing that the people which he left behind him should not rebell after his departure, (specially the Thracians whom he had newly subdued) tooke all the principal of the countrie, and the flower of the fighting men, and gaue them many honorable offices in his armie, and all the places of credite, and carried them in his companie: in whose places at home he established ouer the people of Thrace certaine men of small qualitie: in which doing, he contented first of all the Princes of the countrie by vsing them well, as I haue sayd: afterwards he vnfurnished the countrie of the best Souldiers they had, giuing them to vnderstand that he would be serued by them in his enterprise (although that that was not only the end of his intent) and moreouer he tooke from the common people all their hope of rebelling, by taking from them all their good Chiefes and good Souldiers. We see then by these policies af∣ter what manner a Generall may assure himselfe of those whom he doth suspect. As for the taking of the townes which holde strong of themselues, or which haue garrison of enemies, is a matter that shall be spoken of hereafter. At this present I will continue these matters of policie and foresight: for they may stand our Generall in some stead in time and place. If so bee he should haue any suspition in any of his counsaile, to weete, that he did discouer his secrets and his estate vnto his enemies, he cannot vse a better policie, then to helpe himselfe with the fraud of this traytor, in imparting that vnto him that he hath no in∣tention to do, and fayning that he hath doubt of things that he feareth nothing at all, and that he desireth that his enemies should do those things which he would in no case yt they should do, and this may be an occasion that his sayd enemies may take some enterprise in hand, thinking assuredly that they do knowe his secrets, and thereby he may surprise them at his aduantage, hauing deceiued them voluntarily. Ventidius helped himselfe with this policie agaynst the Parthians. If the Generall haue determined, or if he be constrained to send part of his people out of ye Camp to succour any man, as I haue said, Claudius Nero succoured his companion, and that they both were lodged very Page  215 néere vnto their enemies; if ye sayd Generall would that his sayd enemies should not perceiue that his Campe were weakned of people, he must leaue the lodgings of those that are departed in the same state that they alwaies were in, and the Ensignes like∣wise and the same number of fiers that were there accustomed to be made: and furthermore, the watch must be made as strong as euer it was. On the other part, he vnto whom the succour is sent, if he would deceiue his enemies, ought to take heed not to enlarge his Camp, nor to suffer any newe lodgings to be made, nor to make shew of any other Ensignes then those which were accustomed to bee seene, but those which come last must lodge with the first: to weet, Captaines with Captaines, Lieutenants with Lieutenants, Ensigne-bearers with Ensigne-bearers, and consequently officers with officers, and simple Souldiers with their like, like as those of the sayd Nero did with those of Sali∣nator. If our Generall desire at any time to knowe sure newes of the enemies busines, he may imitate Scipio, who being in Af∣frica against the Carthagenians, sent certain of his men in Am∣bassage vnto Siphax, fayning to treate of an agreement betwixt them; with whose seruants he mingled certaine Captaines of his of the most expertest he had, who were simply apparelled like vnto seruants, expresly for to spie the state of his enemies fully: when as the sayd Ambassadours were ariued before Siphax, and doing their charge, the spies in the meane while tooke occa∣sion to do their busines by one of their horses which they did let scape, to the intent to followe him throughout the hoast, and to marke all things at their pleasure: whereof they made their re∣port vnto the sayd Scipio; who being aduertised of all, surprised two mightie Camps in one morning. A Generall might like∣wise banish some one of his familiars, and fayne some great dis∣pleasure against them, which might retire vnto his enemies, and from thence giue aduertisement of their estate: he may like∣wise sometimes vnderstand their secretes by prisoners, and by spies that he sendeth into their Campe, vnder colour of bring∣ing victualls, or to serue there for some other turne. And some∣times some of the chiefest of the sayd enemies armie may bee corrupted, in suche sort that they may giue aduertisement. Page  216 For what is it that couetousnesse will not do amongst men? True it is, that for to maintaine these spyes and traytors, the Generall ought to spare nothing, because that the want of not hauing ofttimes newes of enemies procéedings, doth make vs sometimes to feele the smart of it: whereas onely good ad∣uertisement might bee the occasion of the winning of a whole warre. For to prooue what trust a man may haue in a towne, or in a whole countrie, he may helpe himselfe with the policie of Marius, who being occupied in the wars against the Cimbres, and willing to make proofe of the faith of the Gaules, which dwelt in the parts of Italie, which we call Lumbardie at this day, and who were in aliance with the Romanes at that time, he sent them two packes of Letters, the one open and the other sealed: In the open Letters it was forbidden them, that they should by no meanes open the sealed Letters, but at a certaine day: but they could not so long forbeare but did open them be∣fore their terme: and therevpon the Letters being demaunded againe by the said Marius, he perceiued manifestly that he ought not to trust them no more then needed.

If a Prince were assayled in his owne countrie that would not attend at home for the warres, he may enter vpon another part of his enemies countrie, and by that meanes constraine him to returne for to defend his owne: I meane, if the sayd Prince haue his townes stronger and better prouided for, or his coun∣trie stronger and more difficile then his enemies. If our Gene∣rall do find himselfe to bee besieged by his enemies in any parte that he could not escape without shame, or losse, in this case he may practise to agree with them, and to take truce: for in mine opinion they will then become so negligent, that easely he may escape their hands, or in the meane time while such agree∣ments are in hand, or whilest he hath truce, he might practise to do his enemie a mischiefe: for it is then that the scourge will be giuen better then at any other time: and when the mischiefe is once happened, he may say: I haue been deceiued vnder shadow of true meaning: but to thinke that an armie ouerthrowne, or a place gotten, whilest the entercourse doth continue, should bee repayred or restored by the deceiuer, is a vayne hope: for I know Page  217 not what we would do our selues if it were so that we should at any time haue the like aduantage of our enemies. When the Generall should find himselfe at any time in that danger not to depart out of a place without vsing some pollicie, he must exco∣gitate all the inuentions that may serue his turne, and proue them all one after another, vntill such time as some one may do him good. Amongst others he may proue these two, the one is to assayle his enemies on the one side with a small number of souldiers, and the most resolute men: and with the others in the meane time to do all indeuour to open the passage on the other side, whilest the enemies are busied to resist their assaults; the other manner is to inuent some new thing to amaze his ene∣mies, to cause them to kéepe themselues close vpon their gard, doubting that this noueltie hath some dangerous taile after it, and this must be done by night to amaze them the more. Anni∣ball escaped the hands of Fabius by that meanes, causing fag∣gots to be made fast vnto the hornes of a great multitude of Oxen that he had in his Campe, which being set on fire, he cau∣sed them to be driuen towards Fabius his hoast, and this sight was thought to be so wonderfull and strange vnto the said Fa∣bius, that he doubted to be surprised, specially being in a darke night, he durst not start out of his fort vntill it was day. The said Generall ought to studie by all meanes possible to make his enemies to be iealous, and to suspect and mistrust one ano∣ther, and beare as great an enuy one to another as might be possible: and this may he do, by preseruing the goods and pos∣sessions of some of them, and by spoiling all that may be found of the others: and moreouer, by restoring their children, pa∣rents, and friends, that he hath taken in the warres, vnto their owne fathers and parents, without taking any raunsome of any of them: and it cannot be possible but that this good déede will proffit either to winne the hearts of those vnto whome the good hath bin done, or make dissention amongst them that haue re∣ceiued it, and others which will mislike it. He may likewise cause diuers persons to be ill thought of by certaine faigned let∣ters, which may be made to fall into ye enemyes hands directed vnto certaine of ye principallest amongst them: by which letters Page  218 there may be shewe made of the handling of some practize with them, which may be an occasion that those vnto whom ye letters were directed, should no more be credited as they were before, or at the least be looked at ouer the shoulder: of which mistrust this profit will procéede, that ye chiefest which are most estéemed, shalbe holden suspect, and therefore there will be but little credit giuen vnto their opinions, which is one of the chiefest goods that may happen vnto a Generall: and peraduenture it may be that those that shalbe so wrongfully suspected may be of that nature that they will thinke to reuenge the wrong that is offered them, or may cause them to absent themselues from counsaile. Their Prince might likewise be so suspitious, that he might reiect thē from his person, or might cause them to be slaine, as Iugurtha did cause ye chiefest of his Counsaile, because of the letters that Metellus did write vnto them, albeit they were nothing in fault. Anniball after that he was ouerthrowne by Scipio, reti∣red vnto King Antiochus, with whome he was alwayes well entertained, vntill the comming of the Ambassadors frō Rome, who frequented him so often, and after so many manners, that the said Antiochus thought they had intelligence together, and therefore would neuer after be counsailed by him, and so poore Anniball lost his credit through the subtletie of the Romans. It shall likewise not be amisse for the Generall to imploy his care to deuide the forces of his enemies, if the assembly be of di∣uers sorts of people, specially hauing meane to make a course vpon some of their countreys, for in sending thither a sufficient number of souldiers, those which are left in the countrey will quickly call their men backe againe for to defend their owne countrey. The Spanyards vsed this pollicy against our people, while the King was at Pauy: for knowing the number of the Grysons that were there (the which wanting, our campe was greatly weakened) for they sent the Castelein of Mur then be∣ing, or otherwise the Marquesse Mortane, to runne into the countrey of the said Grysons, for which occasion, they did a∣bandon vs at our néede, to goe to defend their owne countrey, yet they might haue done well inough without going, if they had willed, considering ye force of the countrey where they dwel, Page  219 which in my iudgemēt is one of ye most strongest & hardest that may be séene: and besides, so well peopled, that the number of ye people which the Castelein cōducted vpon their frontiers, were not to feare them in that manner that they made shew: neither for the losse of one Castell ought they to haue abandoned vs as they did: notwithstāding it is one of the tricks that strangers do play ordinarily with those which ground themselues too much vpon ye waging of other people, then their owne proper nation. If the Generall should be in camp so néere his enemies yt those of both parts did looke for the battaile from time to time, & that there were other people cōming vnto his assistance, if he feared that his enemies would goe & méet them vpon the way to fight with them, to cut them off before they should ioine with him, he might make the brute to runne throughout his hoast, that euery man should be ready by an houre, or the next day to enter into battaile, and might let scape some prisoner that might aduertise his enemies of this determination: and in mine opinion this will be a meane to kéepe them together within their Campe, without sending any body out, nor diminishing their forces, ma∣king their accoumpt to be fought withall at the houre spokē of, & by that meanes the bands which are to come, might ariue safe & whole. To giue an enemy an occasiō to weaken his army, the best way were to let thē to come far into the countrey, and to a∣bandon all the townes vnto him that could not be kept out of his hands: and it is to be thought, that to kéepe thē all, he would put garrison into them, and by that meanes his forces would be deminished, & then he might be fought withall vpon the letting goe of his people, to imbrace more things then he could well defend. And furthermore, a Generall may sometimes vse dissi∣mulation in his enterprises: as whē he is determined to go into one countrey, to make the brute to run that he pretendeth to as∣sayle another, & must vse extreame diligēce to conquer the same said countrey which looked in no manner of wise for his cōming before they might be prouided for to defend thēselues, or before his enemies might be transported thither for to kéepe it. If a Generall do vnderstand that his enemies are oppressed by fa∣mine, or by any other necessitie, that for this cause they are as it Page  218〈1 page duplicate〉Page  219〈1 page duplicate〉Page  220 were desperate, and offer battaile in this rage: he ought to kéepe himselfe within his fort, and to defer the combat as long as he may: and it may be that within few daies he shall haue them all at his mercy without striking stroke. A Generall may some∣times haue to do with people ill practised, and too couragious: who so much abandon themselues to pursue those that flye, that oftentimes there is no meane to retire them, vntill such time as they are fouly beaten, so that if the said Generall wil looke to his busines, he may easily find an oportunity to do thē a maruellous damage in a small time, for as much as he may lay his ambush∣es on yt part of his enemies camp yt séemeth to be most strōgest, and where at no time there hath bin any fight or skirmish offe∣red, so that the place be fit to hide his people: and ordaine his skirmishes towards the other part where they are accustomed to be fought withall, and must entice them so cunningly, that they may come all out of their Camp if it be possible: or at the least that the watch on that part that his men are hidden might come to sée the pastime: wherein there is no doubt that they will kéepe themselues from running out, so that the said Gene∣rall his men do retire sometime to entice them out so much the more, and to drawe them the farther from their fort. Which being done, the said Generall may giue a signe by certaine shots of the Ordnance, or by some other meane, vnto those that are in the ambush: at which signe, they must charge vpon their ene∣myes camp so swift & fiercely, without being perceiued of their enemies, or of very fewe, that fort may be gotten before the said enemies do sée into their owne errour. It shall be necessary sometimes when two armyes are lodged neere one to another, that the said Generall should send out certaine of his people to ouerrunne & pillage the countrey that is in his subiection vnder collour of enemies, to make his aduersaries to thinke them to be their souldiers, or new succour that doth come vnto them, & so running to méete them in hope to haue their part of the pray, may be endomaged and surprised. A Generall may also make great destruction of his enemies, in giuing thē occasion to eate and drinke disordinatly, I meane, hauing to do with those nati∣ons that are subiect vnto Wine. He might make shewe that he Page  221 dare not abide them: and for a collour abandon his Campe, which he might leaue in as great disorder as might be possible, to the intent to dissemble his pretence the better, and might leaue his bagage, tents, and all the rest in their estate, and his Campe as well furnished with Wine, and meates ready drest, as he might possible, to the intent that his enemyes entring after his departure, might fill their bellyes with the victuals that his men had left: and when as the said Generall shall thinke his said aduersaryes to be ouercome with Wine, and sléeping like Beasts, he may returne vpon them, and ouerthrow them: for it is to be presumed that hauing them at that point, he might haue of them as good a market as he would himselfe. Grimault, King of the Lombards did once ouerthrowe the Frenchmen at Ast by this pollicie, and many others haue vsed it. For to deceiue the enemyes, we ought oftentimes to change our manner of doing, or if not often, at the least sometimes: I speake not of the order of the Battailes, nor of the lodging of a Campe, nor of other generalties: but I speake of little small things, which haue but small shewe a farre off, and at hand do serue more then we thinke for: as this of a certaine Captaine, who to haue it signified that his enemyes marched through the countrey, caused a signe to be made with fire by night, and with smoke by day, and knowing that his enemyes were aduertised of these signes, and therefore were the more wary, knowing that they were discouered: wherefore to take them in the snare, he was driuen to vse some pollicy, which he did after this man∣ner: that is, he appointed his people to make fire and smoke as well by day as by night, without ceasing, whether they sawe enemy or none: and that when as they did sée the enemyes ar∣mye, they should make neither the one, nor the other. This be∣ing ordained as I haue said, was executed from point to point by those which had the charge, and when as his enemyes were in the fildes, the signes ceassed, and thereby the Captaine of whome I make mention at this present, knewe that his ene∣myes approched: the which on the other part séeing the accus∣tomed signes to faile, thought they were come the watches not knowing, and therefore they were so much the lesse carefull Page  222 to march in good order: whereas the said Captaine was whol∣ly prouided, and comforted in his busines, waighting to charge vpon his enemies, which he did, ouerthrowing them quite, and destroying thē vtterly. Mennon of Rhodes finding no meanes to drawe his enemyes out of a most strong place that they were in, to cause them to come to the Combat in an open place; sent vnto the Camp of his aduersaries one of his houshold ser∣uants, vnder collour of a fugitine, who gaue them to vnderstand that the people of the said Mennon were mutined together, & that for that cause the greatest part went away at that instant: and to the intent that there might be the greater credit giuen vnto his words, there were sent away certaine bands, whome they sawe to depart from the said Campe: and so vnderstoode that there was a great tumult, which was done of purpose: and being perswaded by the said fugitiue to take that opportu∣nitie, and moued through the disorder that they thought for a certaintie to be in the Campe of the said Mennon, they were so euill aduised, that they issued out of their strong place to as∣sayle those who afterwards ouerthrew them. There are many other pollicies to be vsed then these that I haue spoken of héere∣before, that haue bin put in practise to hurt an enemy, which I might haue inferred in this place, as well as those that I haue spoken off.