How Souldiers ought to bee recompenced after that they haue doone good seruice: with the Author his ex∣cuse.
Chap. 5. To the Lord Constable.
FOr asmuch as the lawes that doe concerne Militarie discipline, where vnto souldiers that doe exercise the warres are bound and subiect, are so rigorous that it cannot bee possible that they should bee more: it is reason on the other parte, to institute certaine Priuiledges, Ho∣nors, Authorities, Dignities, Gifts, and profits, to recompence those that haue honostly acquited them selues of their dueties: Page 300 and which haue patiently borne the burden of the warres, du∣ring the time that the king his pleasure was to bee serued by them. For there is nothing more iust then where offenders are greatly punished, that wel deseruers should be well rewar∣ded: if so be that we would haue men to hope, and feare all at once. For which cause the Romans did ordaine a certaine recompence for euery vertuous acte: to weete, for him that sa∣ued any citizens life, fighting against his enemies: likewise, vnto him that got vp first vpon a wall, or that entred first at a breache, or into his enemtes Forte: likewise, for him that in a∣ny sally out of a towne besieged, did first passe his enemies tren∣ches: in summe, euery vertuous acte was remembred, and re∣compenced by the Consuls: and moreouer, praised publikely of euery man. And besides the honour & good fame that those that did obtaine those gifts did get amongst other souldiers, they might weare them amongst the citizens, and goe to and fro with them, and none other durst weare the like, but onely those which had gotten them by the way abouesaide. I will not stay to tell what gifts they were, nor whereof the garmentes were that were giuen them: for it is inough that the recom∣pence was good: and although it was not riche, yet it was ho∣nourable. The King had ordained that ye Legionaries which did any acte of valour should haue certaine gould rings giuen them: and that order had beene very good if it had beene kept. I would likewise, that those of whom I treat here, should haue vppergarments, or rings, or bracelets, or Iewels, I doe not care what they were, so that they might serue for tokens and shewes vnto the world, that those that did weare them had be∣haued them selues like vnto men of vertue. Moreouer, they might enioy the Priuiledges and other freedomes which the lawes of Emperours doe permit, and also the Prerogatiues which the auncient Souldiers did enioy amongst the aunci∣ent Romans. The King might likewise exempt them from taxes, and though not from all, yet at the least from parte. And if so be that he conquered any country or towne by force of armes, hee might people them with those souldiers that had taken paines to doe him seruice, and bannishe the other inhabi∣taunts Page 301 as I haue saide before: or place them amongst the first inhabitaunts, if the said towne & countrie were able to receiue them all.
The orders of the Legions doe import that those that haue bene maymed of their limmes in the king his seruice, should be put into Garrisons & be kept there as the other dead paies were, and the recompence is honest. But for that it is not only inough to recompence maimed men, & to forget others that haue shew∣ed them selues to be honest men, although that they were not maymed, for I am of opinion that ye king should make accompt of all those that had serued him faithfully in his warres, and should be informed of euery man his deserts, to the intent that he him selfe might cut their bread, and not a quidam, whom the matter doth not touch at all, and who will passe it lightly: ex∣cept it bee the Generall that hath had them in charge, or some other that doth know their deserts, which to doe well must di∣stribute here one thing and there another, according vnto eue∣ry man his valour and merite, whether they bee places of dead payes, keeping of Castles, Captaine shippes, Baliages, Pro∣uosties, Steward-shippes, or other courtlike offices: and if so be that those offices and estates may not suffice, the king hath wherewithall to recompence them richly by pension or other∣wise: at the vttermost there are many gouernments in France, which may be charged to maintaine a great number. Moreo∣uer, the Prelats & great benefices of France might be charged to maintaine another parte, with the third penny of their reue∣newes which they are bound to imploy for the maintenance of the poore, but they doe it not: wherefore it would be labour well spent to make them to be charitable, that will not be so of them selues. And this I meane for the recompencing of simple soul∣diers & pore gentlemen: as for the Chiefs, they may be recom∣penced with the offices and estats abouesaide. If that souldiers did hope to be recompenced honestly when as the warres were ended, & to liue without feare of pouerty: it is a thing most cer∣taine, that whilst they are in the wars they would incline them selues to no other thing, but to do the king good seruice: where∣as they are constrained before all things to thinke vpon their perticuler profit, and afterward to exercise their facultie. But Page 302 God knoweth howe, for wee doe see, that who so doth not win by his industrie, doth loose his time in tarrying vntill that an other doe geue him any thing: and that is also the occasion that souldiers at this day doe vse the warres for their occupation, & not to the intent to doe the Prince seruice that doth giue them their wages. Wherefore, when as the warres doe fayle, there are fewe souldiers that will labour or worke againe at the occu∣pation that they did learne in their youth: and then, if they haue nothing to maintaine thē to liue idlely, they do become robbers & skouters vpon wais, as Montclou his men did, and many o∣ther the like haue done in France, since the king his raigne.
I speake nothing of the subtleties that they doe vse, nor of the desire that they haue of the continuance of the warre, nor what enemies they are vnto the peace, nor how they doe seeke many inuētions to delay the king his seruice, which they would not doe, if that they had any hope to be recompenced.
To conclude, I doe say that who so shall leuie souldiers af∣ter the maner before spoken of in this booke, and shall vse the obseruations of punishment, and rewarde abouesaide towardes those that through their good, or ill déeds had deserued praise or blame, yt he should haue as good souldiers as euer were. Wher∣of there must be no doubt made: for I dare affirme yt these here spoken of are in all points so well ordred, as any souldiers were since that the Romans were in their triumph: and to prooue yt it is so, who so dooth looke into it, shall find that they are first of all leuied and chosen according vnto true election, & besides so well armed & weaponed (that in mine opinion) there is no∣thing to be founde fault with all. Moreouer, the destribution of them vnto bands and officers, doth agrée partly with ye ancient maner, and partly with ye maner yt is now vsed: besides, the ma∣ner of ranging them is borrowed of both: so yt what maner so∣euer ye ancient Romans did vse yt was better then ours, & that which we haue yt is better then theirs, hath bin here in obserued: and as for ye number if it be thought to bee too small, I doe not say yt it is forbidden to make it greater, whether it were of foote∣men or horsemen. But I am well assured yt the ordnary hoast of a Roman Consall, was not so great of Citizens, & alliance as these before spoken of: neither is that much greater which Vi∣getiusPage 303 instituteth, if so be yt they be not equal all things comp∣ted: and yet the Romaines helped themselues against the grea∣test part of their aduersaries, with their small number, except when as they had to deale with a mighty enemy, and then they did put two Consuls hoastes together: and then if their number amounted vnto 50000. Romanes, Allies & Voluntaries, that came without commandment, it was a whole world. Sith then they did augment their number at their neede, what shall let vs to leuie as many as we will, hauing men enow as well as they had, if it were 50000. or 100000. if it were requisit? but this great leuie may be reserued vntill an extreamity, & ye abouesaid fower legions might serue for a warre of meane importance: to wit, if wee were to encounter but with 30000. or 40000. ene∣mies. For I do make arcount, that the order that is vsed in this small number is more worth then an enemy that hath fifteen or twenty thousand more. And if so be that wee did leuie any small number more then these, they might serue for suddaine courses, and skirmishes, and to put into garrisons in conquered townes: as for a daye of battaile, these fower legions with their accom∣plishmentes, may doe as good seruice as if they were a greater number, for peraduenture a greater number would make a con∣fusion, as great multitudes are accustomed to doe, for that they cannot so well be ordred as a meaner number. Pirrhus the king of the Epirotes, vsed to saye that hee would haue but 15000. onely to fight against all men. The small number of Alexan∣der his souldiers do verify his words, which number being wel ordred, were more woorth then Darius great multitude ill go∣uerned.
Moreouer, I doe thinke that I haue so well aduertised the Generall that might haue the conduct of this people of so many points, that if he doe leese any thing, or doe not bring his enter∣prizes to a good end, it shalbe his own negligence that wil hin∣der him and not the want of aduertisement of anye thing that might serue his turne: for I haue shewed him how he shal take least hurt, and haue taught him how to giue battaile, and to get the victorie. Moreouer, I haue shewed him what might happen during ye combat, or after, & the way to remedy inconueniences.
Page 304Consequently, I haue led him through his enemies so sure, that he was not to bee surprized, and haue made mention of the inconueniences that may happen vnto an hoast, marching by the way: afterward I haue lodged him so strongly incamped, that he might rest with his people without feare of any man. Moreo∣uer, he hath bin taught diuers pollicies for to ouercome his ene∣mies yt are left after a bataile: & what order ought to be obserued in the besiedging of a town. Moreouer I haue giuen him laws to helpe him selfe withall, for to haue good seruice of the people vnder his charge; and therwith haue shewed him how he might proceede in his iudgementes for to condemne or release a priso∣ner. Finally, I haue inferred at the taile of these thinges before spoken of: certaine examples of the seueritie that the auncient Chiefes did vse, when as they did punishe any crimes of impor∣taunce: of all which there hath bin so largely spoken, that as I haue tired my selfe in writing them, so I doubt that those that shall throughly peruse them, will be weary themselues in rea∣ding them. What resteth now then, but to conclude, that who so would put this leauy in practise should make his Souldiers the most excellentst men of war that haue bin since the Romanes: which is so easie a matter to be instituted in Fraunce, and to be maintained, that nothing is more easie. If it had pleased God that the leuieng of our legions had bene like it: for it might bee thought that the king would haue liked them so well, that hee would not haue changed or released them, for to haue bin serued with strangers, or aduenturers as he hath done: & yet I hope he wil remember himselfe, & make his wars with his own people. But suppose that he doth reiect the legions, & that the order spo∣ken of in this worke, be not worthy to be receiued: yet I do hope shortly to see, that Militarye Discipline shall bee restored vnto her auncient force by the sayd Lorde, and through the diligence that you my Lorde Constable will imploy before all other, both for your office sake, and also for that I do thinke that you were ordained for to deliuer vs from the seruitude of strangers, wher∣in we haue bene long time, who may vaunt that they haue bene the disposers of all the warres that wee haue made within thys 30. yeares, and haue made vs to léese as often as it pleased thē. Page 305 for in truth all our hope and trust consisted, and it lay in theyr hands for to defend or to destroy vs, but I am in good hope that through the good order that you will take, that we shall no more héereafter be at their mercy: which opinion, both Frenchmen and strangers haue of you, grounding their argument vppon that which you haue begun, in shewing the Frenchmen yt way how to resist all their enemies. And moreouer because that you haue begun to reforme the state of the horsemen not long since, it is thought that you will not leaue the footemen in their accus∣tomed errour, specially for that the horssemen had not so great néede of reformation as the footemen. Besides, it is not so requi∣site to haue good horssemen, as good footemen, for the footemen are they that may winne or léese a battaile, and not the horsse∣men, except that it be by a great chaunce. I am assured that you putting your helping hand vnto this worke, shall be well assis∣ted by many good and auncient Captaines, who do vnderstand this busines better then I can expresse it. And moreouer, there are my Lords the Marshals, and so many other to helpe, that it would be impossible if the matter were once set abroach, and put in question, but that it would haue good successe: and for to make the matter the more easy, this realme is so well furni∣shed with experimented, wise, and wellwilling men, that there wanteth nothing to set vp this arte incontinent, but the set∣ting of them aworke, and shewing them the manner how to exercise those small things that appertaine therevnto: where∣fore there is no more to do but to make a leuy of men after the manner that I haue shewed, or after a better, and immediatly to commit them vnto the charge of those that are fittest, and do best vnderstand this busines for to traine them: and if the mat∣ter were so handled, you may be sure (as you do well vnderstād) that this discipline well exercised, would restore vs vnto the re∣putation that we haue lost through our negligence, and besides that, you should get an immortall fame for your trauell. More∣ouer my Lord, if I did not knowe the great affection that you haue borne of long time vnto this reformation, I would enforce my self to perswade you therevnto at this instant, but knowing that it would be but folishly done of me to trouble you with a Page 306 matter that you so greatly desire, I wil but only remember you for ye spéedy effecting of your desire, to the intent that we might yet one day haue amongst vs the manner, valew, & aduantage that a well ordered hoast hath aboue an hoast that is ill ordered, to do vs seruice chiefely against the enemies of our faith, if so bee that the King would take any voyage in hand against thē, as euery man hopeth that he will do, or if so be that he would attend vntil that they should assaile vs at home, as it is to be fea∣red that they will doe, if that our Lord GOD doe not put to his helping hand, which were a thing very néedfull for vs: as for vs to thinke that we could resist them with our accustomed manner of warre, we should deceiue our selues, séeing they do farre excell vs in power & discipline, and except we do reforme our naughty manner of liuing, it were nothing, for euery man knoweth that they are the iust scourge of God, by whome he will punish vs for the grieuous faults which we do commit. But this amendment will be found to be a hard matter with those that are accustomed to liue at their owne pleasures, and yet it is nothing else but the custome that we haue taken in it: notwithstanding the first is easie, if so be that we would take a little paines in it, and the last is not impossible, if that we would imitate the Lord Camille Vrsin, who hath so well amended and reformed the Italyans that are vnder his charge, for the Vene∣tians in Slauony (whose manner of liuing before was too ma∣nifest corrupt, as it is well knowne that of all the nations that do haunt the warres, there is none so excéeding vitious as the Italyans are commonly) that of such as I say they were, he hath brought them into so good order, that the worst amongst them may be compared with any of the best religious that we haue in our Monasteries. And to say truth it is ye miracle of our time, for both the act which he hath done, and the victories they haue gotten, may rightly be tearmed to be wonders. I do say that our men are neither of stéele nor stone more then his were, but that they may be brought vnto a maner of good life aswell as they, so that we had another Camille amongst vs, or that the Captains who should haue the charge of these men, would do their indeuour to imitate him as néere as they might, and for Page 307 this cause haue I made mention of him in this place, as also to shew that it would not be impossible to reforme a great many of our souldiers, to wéet, those that are least hurtfull, so that euery one of the Chiefes would first reforme himselfe for his owne part, and moreouer did proceed in his busines for another and better intent, then they do that go to the warres at this day. But I now go without my bounds, and in stead of dispatching, do intangle my selfe further then euer before, and do borrowe a new occasion for euill speakers to reproue me, specially for that I do speake of matters at my owne pleasure, willing this and that to be done, as if it were in me to appoint, or that I were better then other men, which I am not, and therefore it is the worsse: wherefore not to detaine you longer with words, nor to wéery you with rehearsals, which I do feare more, then the toongs of those that would cut me through, I wil take my hand from this worke for it is time, besieching you my Lord Con∣stable to take my defence in hand against those that will after diuers manners controule this Booke, and will make their laughing stock of it in your presence, reprouing here one thing, and there another, as the most part of people do at this day whē as any new thing doth light into their hands, chiefely if it do come from the forge of any one that is of their acquaintance, or of their profession, as I am sure that more then foure that are about you will do, who would be very sory, if they should not speake their rablement rather in euill part then in good, if there should be any of these of whome I speake, I appeale from their iudgement from henceforth, and at this instant vnto you, for to mainteine my right, I do cast in their teethes the honest desire yt I long time haue had to do or to wright somewhat yt might please you, which hath moued me to take this matter in hand, as a thing most agreeable vnto you: and therfore sith it is you who haue caused me to take this worke in hand, there is no reason that you should excuse me of the fault that I haue committed in it, or contrarily, that I should defende mine innocencie a∣gainst all those find faults that would wrongfully reprooue me, whome it shall please you to forbidde, not to enter into the reading of thys worke for to dispute, nor to correcte Page 308 my sayings, except they haue written better of this matter then I haue done, or that you do estéeme them to be of the number of those that haue perfect knowledge in militarie discipline, for I do consent and permit all those with a good will to reproue me fréely, and to teare out at their pleasure all that they do finde to be ill penned, and contrary vnto their opinion: and it shall be so farre from me to be displeased for any thing that they shall blot or teare out of the booke, were it a great part or all, as if I might knowe their names, I would giue them thanks, and also accoumpt my selfe to be greatly beholding vnto them for the honour they had done me, in declaring their opinions vpon a matter of so small valew. As for the others which do not vn∣derstād it better then I, or that would iudge of enuy, I do hold them for suspected, aswell far their insufficiency, as also for that peraduenture I haue pricked thē in some place, for which cause they might haue a desire to reuenge if that they might find any small occasion. It may be also that some may be euill conten∣ted, because that I haue spoken against aduentures, in blaming their leuy, and also their manner of life, yet I do thinke I haue done well, and whether I haue reproued them iustly or no, I do referre me vnto your iudgement, who knowes of what va∣lewe they are, and who is not to learne now what fault he doth commit that doth serue himselfe with them, and shall do, vntill such time as there be a leuy of people made in Fraunce, accor∣ding vnto a true election, with whome a Lieutenant Generall might serue himselfe euery way better, then with others. But how should you my Lord make our aduenturers to carry more harnesse then they are accustomed, and to carry victuals at their backs, and tooles to rampare withall, sith they are so nyce, as to make their Pages (when they are ranged in battaile) to carry their Pikes, or Harquebusse, or their cōmon garmēt to be ligh∣ter, & sometime do breake their Pikes to be excused frō carying thē, & had rather cast their harnes into a ditch, then to lade their persons. When can you put into their heads yt they ought ordi∣narily to do the duties of Pioners, sith at a néed they will do no thing, but driue away those yt do rampare of their own frée wils. If in a great number there were one found, they do despise him, Page 309 and flye from him as they would do from one that were excom∣municated or infected, and despise him as we do vaine and ydle men. How will you keepe them euery day certaine houres in armes for to exercise them in fayned battailes, for to bee better serued of them at the combat, then if they had not béen exercised: sith that if there bee question that they should watch but once in fifteene daies, or should be sent but vnto one extraordinarie ser∣uice once in a moneth, they will murmur against you, saying that they are ouercharged, and that it is for drudges to do the seruice they do. I speake nothing of the brauer sort, who dis∣daine to be found at such like seruices, because they can renounce God more outragiously then others, or for that they are more richly clad. How will you bring them to vse any extreame dili∣gence on foote, that onely for martching of one mile, they must mount on horsebacke at the departing from their lodging: so that a small band of footmen at this present do carrie as great a trayne of horses, as a great companie of horsemen were wont to do: or if they do any diligence on foote, they must haue more intreaties and perswasions, then I could resite in a whole day. And sometimes they must be vsed with threatning and force, so that I may say, that all the good that they do, if peraduenture they do any, is by force, and that they neuer make warre of their free-willes. When will they abstaine from play, from whores, and from blaspheming, and from committing those insolencies yt they do euery day, aswell against friend, as against enemies? Or for to keepe them from it, how great a labour should you haue, and how many men should you put to death? how will it be possible to reduce them to that manner of life, that a plum-tree laden with plummes, being within one of the Campes that wée do make, might be found after that wee are dislodged, vndiminished, without any man laying hand vpon it (as we do reade in times past hath béen) when as the very sacred things are not sure in Churches, for that they pill all, nor the things of those that lodge together is not quiet: for they robbe one from another he that best may best. Shall I make mention of the countrie where they passe, sith it were as good to bee consumed Page 310 with fire, as to abide the passage of this people, for that they leaue neither riffe nor raffe, but do force, and murther as well the women as the men they can lay hold vpon. I say in summe, that it is a sort of people that are not to bee corrected, who so shall looke well into them, so that there is neither Captaine nor o∣ther that can deale with them: for if a Captaine would take a∣way their libertie from doing euill, they will say that he reapeth some profite vnder hand: if he reprooue them, they do the worse, or they abandon him: if he punish them, they mutin, and some∣times reuenge vpon his person. But how will they amend for him, when as a Captaine Generall himselfe, can hardly take or∣der for it? Will they do any thing for that they are of their Captaines countrie? No, for they are not his subiects, no nor he knoweth not possible the tenth man but by sight: wherefore if they flye after that they haue done any offence, he shall not knowe in what place to finde them, for to punish them. And sup∣pose that they must bee found, it is so that the Captaines must pursue them at their owne charges, which is not for their pro∣fite: for peraduenture they shall spend their monie in vayne, for to do that which Iustice is bound to do. And furthermore, do these Captaines thinke to make their men refraine by putting them to any shame, sith they are borne and nurssed without euer hauing learned any other thing then shame? What shall they promise them being at the wars, whereby their Souldiers may be enticed or bound with all reuerence to loue and feare them: sith that when as the warres are ended, they shall haue no more to do with them, and before the ende, one will go on the one side, and another on the other. Wherefore should Souldiers be obe∣dient vnto their Captaines, if they knowe not one another? What others shal they take? shall it be by our Lord, seeing they do deceiue him euery way, and blaspheme so cursedly? shall it be by their parts of Paradise? and they haue no portion in it, foras∣much as they are full of iniustice, fornication, malice, wickednes, manslaughter, quarrels, fraude, euill courage, murmurers, de∣tracters, haters of God, iniurious, proud, vaunters, inuenters of euilles, disobedient vnto father and mother, vnto the King, Page 311 and Superiours: without vnderstanding, except it be to do mis∣chiefe, and all the rest that followeth: all which are banished from the sight of God, as the deuill is banished out of Paradise. Fur∣thermore, I beleeue that such people wil neuer keepe that which they haue promised in his name, whome they dispraise at all houres? How were it possible that they that dispraise God, should reuerence men? For it is so that those of whom I speake, do make lesse accompt of him then nothing, and not only they, but also the straunge Souldiers that the King doth keepe in his seruice, or the greatest part of them. What good order then may be taken in this matter? Certainly my Lord (you will aun∣swere me) none: but who would haue simple and plaine men, so that they were the Kings subiects, whom it were farre better to take into seruice, supposing that they were leuied, and chosen as appertaineth, albeit that they neuer had been at any seruice, and that they do come but from houlding of the plough; then those that had long time exercised the occupation of armes; al∣though they be alswell experimented as they might be, so that they were otherwise ill conditioned: for that you shall finde that it is easier to make simple and newe men good Souldiers, then it is to bring the wicked to good waies, after that they are once gone astray. It is not then without cause, that I praise the le∣uie of those that may bée made good Souldiers with little diffi∣cultie, and that I crye against those which are so excéeding wic∣ked, that there is not almost any remedie to amend them. And therefore it were not conuenient that my sayings should be dis∣praised nor condemned, if I haue spoken against the wicked: for my meaning was to prick them only, and no others: nor it were no reason that I should bee reproued, although I haue blamed the manner that wee do vse in leuying Aduenturers: for I haue not done it before I had iustly praised: to weet, whether the Le∣gionaries or the said voluntaries were better: nor before regard taken diligently vnto ye profite that may come of the one, & vnto the inconueniences and euils of which the others are commonly causers: for if I had made any comparison on mine owne side, I would neuer bee so rash, as to put it to iudgement as I do. But bee it that those that doe maintaine their part, should finde Page 312 mine opinion euill, and the libertie I haue vsed in speaking: yet will I not therefore leaue to exhort al those that vse the warres, and doe delight to haue the title of Aduenturers, that they should chaunge for some other maner that should be better, then that which we haue handled hetherto: and that of euill liuers as we are, euery man should bestowe his labour to become a man of good life: and if wee haue béen inexpert in the feates of armes heretofore, let vs endeuour to reforme our selues hereafter in such sort, that the King seeing vs to bee well conditioned and perfect good Souldiers, may thinke himselfe happie: specially finding such Souldiers to be in his realme, that our enemies or neighbours who daylie raunsack vs, being aduertised of our va∣lour, should make greater difficultie to mooue warre against the sayd Lord to morrowe or next day, then they are accusto∣med: or to hould themselues at too high a price, if he had need of the ayd of his sayd neighbours, knowing how much we do excell them in vertue and discipline.