The practice, proceedings, and lawes of armes described out of the doings of most valiant and expert captaines, and confirmed both by ancient, and moderne examples, and præcedents, by Matthevv Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe, Matthew, 1550?-1629.

CHAP. XXI. part 3. Conteining lawes concerning the dueties of Captaines and soldiers yet more particularly.

1 ALl Captaines, souldiers, and others shall yeeld their obedience to the lawfull cōmandements of their superiours. Neither shall any lift his weapon against his commander correcting him, or others, for their offences orderly, vpon paine of death.

2 No Captaine nor officer of a companie shall depart the Campe, or garrison without licence, nor shall lodge or absent him∣selfe from his companie in time of seruice, or when the enemie is ready to charge, vpon paine of loosing his place. except those al∣wayes, that haue lawfull excuses of sickenesse, or hurtes, and haue appoynted sufficient deputies in their place.

3 All souldiers that wilfully absent themselues without lawfull cause from their colours, or companie, that goeth to charge, or re∣sist the enemie, deserue death.

4 No Captaine nor officer shall defraud the souldier or other person of his pay, that is committed to his handes to be deliuered vnto him vpon paine of losse of his place.

5 No Captaine nor other shall preferre, or subscribe to a false mostre rolle, or fraudulently giue in more, or other names, then he hath presently in his companie, vpon paine of imprisonment, and losse of his place.

6 No captaine, lieutenant, sergeant, nor other that ought to be armed, shall come into the field without their ordinary armes, vpon Page  317paine of two armors to be deducted out of their pay, the one to their owne vse, the other to some other of the company that wanteth.

7 No souldier, nor other shall goe into seruice without the word, and some other marke to be knowen by, from the enemy especially in night seruice, vpon paine of imprisonment.

8 No captaine, officer, nor other priuate gentleman in pay, shall intertaine any others souldier, or seruant, without consent, or lawfull dimission from his former captaine, or master, vpon paine of losse of a moneths pay. Neither shall any souldier, or seruant depart from his captaine, or master without lawfull cause, vpon paine of imprisonment, and returning againe of souldiers to their captaines, of seruants to their masters.

9 Captaines and officers of companies shall watch and ward with their colours, and companies, vpon paine of losse of a mo∣neths pay.

10 No man shal marche with the baggage but the companies appointed, neither shall any marche out of his aray, or straggle a∣broad, or goe on pilfering when he should marche, watch, or serue, vpon paine of imprisonment. Such are also by bastonataes to bee corrected by their officers, if they be taken in the maner.

11 No companies shall goe on foraging, or make any enter∣prise against the enemy vpon priuate motion, without the know∣ledge, and direction of their generall commanders.

12 No souldier shall sell, or pawne, or lend, or loose, or giue, or cast away, or play, or otherwise make away his horse, or armes, or weapons, or furniture wherewith he is appointed to serue: nor shall suffer his horse by his default to decay, or his armes to rust, or goe to spoile vpon paine of imprisonment, and infamie both to him that offendeth, and to his abettors, and aydors.

13 No priuate captaine shall giue Passe-port to his souldier that is able to serue vpō paine of losse of his place, neither shal any souldier in time of seruice depart without Passe-port vpon paine of death.

14 No souldier nor other being once placed in aray either in marching, or fighting shall depart thence, without lawfull cause. Whosoeuer either to runne to spoile, or to fly away, doth abandon his ensigne, or standing where he is rāged to serue, shal suffer death.

Page  31815 No souldier nor others shall vse any showting or crying, or without cause discharge a piece in marching, or embatteling, or ly∣ing in ambush, vpon paine of bastonataes presently to be inflicted by the officers vpon the offenders taken in the maner, of imprison∣ment afterward.

16 No man shall giue an alarme vnto the army marching, or lodging without iust cause, and that in quiet sort, nor shall any tu∣multuously runne nor cry vpon an alarme taken, vpon such penal∣tie, as the circumstance of the offence shall require.

17 He that by negligence, or grosse ignorance killeth his fel∣low with his piece, or other weapon, let him die the death.

18 No man shall challenge another, or defie him in campe, or garrison, nor accept the challenge vpon paine of imprisonment, and disarming before his company. Neither shall any offer an iniurie to his fellow to prouoke him to fight, nor shall others priuately re∣uenge it, vpon paine of imprisonment.

19 All braules, and quarrels betwixt fellowes, are to be pu∣nished seuerely. Whatsoeuer therefore hee is that in campe, or garrison killeth any man in any sudden braule, or challenge, ex∣cept hee bee thereto forced for his owne defence, or striketh his fellowe beeing placed in array ready to fight, let him suffer death for it.

20 No souldier nor other shal fraudulently, or the euishly take any thing from any mans person, or their lodging, house, or cabane vpon paine of death.

21 When any company of souldiers shalbe lodged in any vil∣lage, or passe through it, or by any dwelling house, or other belon∣ging to our friendes, they shall not hurt, nor iniurie the people in their persons, nor goods vpon paine of death, or other grieuous pu∣nishment according to the qualitie of their offence.

22 No man shall burne any corne, hay, or forrage, or destroy any prouision, or house, barne, or cornemill, or other building that may serue for the vse of the army vpon paine of death.

22 All murthers, periuries, forgeries forcing of women, or maydens, cosinages, or other disorders, whereby the army may any way receiue disgrace, or hurt, although not comprised in these lawes, shall bee punished by such penalties, as the ciuill lawes, or els common lawes of England enioyne in such cases.

Page  31924 No souldier nor other shall be mostered, or answere in two companies, or answere to two names in one company, nor shall a∣ny victualler, or other that is no souldier, passe in mosters for a souldier, vpon paine of death.

25 No souldier that hath victualles deliuered vnto him for cer∣teine dayes, shall spoile or spend the same in lesse time, then is ap∣pointed vpon paine of imprisonment.

Annotations vpon the former lawes.

1 [All captaines, souldiers &c.] Obedience is the bond that keepeth all in order, without which neither can our owne men be go∣uerned, nor the enemy discomfited. If (saithaPapyrius) the common souldier might neglect the commandement of his captaine, the captaine of his colonell, the colonell of his superior commanders; all military proceedings would fall out of order. ThebGenerall of the Romanes killed an ensigne-bearer that refused to auance him∣selfe forward among the enemies, as he was commanded. Some spared not their owne friendes, no, nor sonnes, neglecting their com∣mandements. This generall rule therefore is to be obserued strictly, and the offenders to be punished. Neither may they or others makecresistance against those officers that punish them for their offen∣ces. Yet on the other side, I doe not authorise rash braines to kill or hurt their souldiers. There is difference betweene correction and kil∣ling. By the orders of the Spaniards, he that killeth his souldier dis∣orderly, dieth for it. By commandements in this place, are not vn∣derstood euery captaines priuate pleasures, but orderly directions in time of seruice.

2 [No captaine nor officer &c.] No man may returne into his countrey without licence; but captaines least of all for example sake. For if this were lawfull, it were not possible to keepe an army toge∣ther. Such as stay frō their garrison, & are to seeke, when they should lead their company to the charge, giue iust occasion of this law.

3 [All souldiers &c.] These are next in degree to those that flie out of the field. For when they should fight, then like traitorous co∣wards they hide themselues; and therefore deserue equall punishment with those that flie.

4 [No captaine nor officer &c.] A farre greater fault it is, that souldiers seldome haue that pay, that their prince alloweth. But Page  320yet may not those capteines, & officers be excused, which of that which is comming to them, do cut off some part, and pinch them of the rest by diuers fraudes, and deuises. After thataCaesar had notice how Roscillus and AEgus, two captaines of horsemen, had defrauded their men of their pay, and taken from them their partes of the spoile, as soone as they perceiued it, fearing punishment, they fled to the enemy.

5 [No captaine nor other &c.] Many are the incommodities that come of false mosters. The prince is defrauded, the army weak∣ned, seruice neglected, opportunity giuen to the enemy. Neither is there any thing that in our times more dishonoreth captaines, and offi∣cers, then the suspicion had of some in this behalfe. The army of Iu∣lio the second, being in the mosterbrolles double the number that it was indeed, could doe nothing of those enterprises that were in∣tended. The abuse of mosters was the ruine ofcFrancis the first before Pauy. Guicciardine reporteth, that foure thousanddSuitzers were mostred, and payd for sixe thousand, and that Lansqueners seldome are halfe so many, as are conteined in the moster rolles; of which ensueth the spoile of princes without any effect done in ser∣uice. This abuse was not knowen in ancient time, which maketh me much woonder, that no man goeth about to remooue it: and more, that those that should reforme it, in some places doe suffer captaines to haue certeine dead payes, which is a meanes to mainteine it, and co∣uer it. To remedy this abuse, there are two meanes; first to allow captaines honourable maintenance, and to pay euery souldier by the poll, as theeRomanes did, and as the Spaniards doe, that haue their Pagadores, or Paymasters, for this purpose; the next is that the Generall cause all the army to be mostred at once, and all those that giue in false numbers, or commit any abuse heerein, to be punished most seuerely. By the lawes of France they suffer death.

[No captaine, lieutenant &c.] This law may percase to some seeme needlesse. for who would thinke, that any man woulde come into the field to fight without armes: but he that hath seene the disorder in warres in this point, and considered how many captaines, lieutenants, sergeants, which are the brauest men of their companies, do come without armes defensiue into the field, will acknowledge, I doubt not, that it is more then necessary to be thought vpon, and re∣dressed. As it is now, they onely leade men to fight, and when they Page  321come neere, conuey themselues out of the braule, letting their soul∣diers fight if they will. In time past, centurions, and their options, or lieutenants, were the first and principall men of their rankes, and the strength of the battel; and by the vantage of their armes preuailed against their enemies. Would not then so many braue captaines, lieutenants, and sergeants now adde a great strength to the armie, if they stoode in their rankes well armed: Now standing out of array, they serue for nothing, but for cyphres in the ioyning of the battell, vnlesse it be to giue euill example, and to trouble others. The Spani∣ardes at mosters pay none, but such as present themselues be∣fore their officers with their armes, and furniture. If then in mosters, armes are to be shewed; sure more requisit it is, that men should come armed into the field. For what reason hath he to reproue, and checke his souldiers for casting away, or loosing their armes, that hath no sufficient armes himselfe:

7 [No souldier, nor other, &c.] For want of sufficient markes, and cognisances, oft times souldiers of one side hurt their fellowes, especially where diuers nations serue together. This was the death of Ponsenac, & diuers braue men an. 1569. slaine by their fellowes in a skirmish in France, and is cause of many disorders. Diligently therefore is this point to be looked vnto, especially where the enemy, and wee speake both one language. Pompey himselfe for want of ready pronouncing the worde, had like to haue bin slaine of one of his owne souldiers, in the warres against Settorius in Spaine. For this cause ye Protestants in these late troubles in France, wore white cassakes, and the Dutch that came in their aide, scarfes of colours of their Generall.

8 [No captaine, officer, &c.] Of this cause proceede many qua∣rels among captaines, and diuers fraudes in mosters, and disobedi∣ence of souldiers to their superiors. Which cannot be auoided if offen∣ding one captaine, they may finde protection, & shelter vnder another. Therfore both ye receiuers, & they that are receiued, deserue to be pu∣nished. By the orders of the Spanish campe, the captaine looseth his place, the souldier is banished offending herein. Among ye Romanes such abuses were not vsuall. But if so be the souldier be euill intrea∣ted of his captaine, or the seruant by his master; then vpon proofe the lord marshall, or iudge marshal is to set order.

9 [Captaines, & officers of cōpanies &c.] For that ye souldiers Page  322are oft times charged while their captaines are absent, and therupon fly, or commit some other error, as men without gouernment: there∣fore area capteins & officers to watch with their companies, and to see that their soldiers depart not the place, nor there stay in disorder. They of thebgarison of Aenna could not haue escaped the dange∣rous practise of the townesmen against them, but by continuall watch day and night in armes. The Admirallccaused a certaine en∣signe to be hanged in the siege of Poytiers for that hee was found playing at cardes, while his company watched.

10 [No man shall march &c.] no man that hath care of his honor, or reputation, will be behind while his company is before: but because all are not of one mettall, and diuers regard not honor, to re∣medie the disorders in marching, this law is framed. Many inconue∣niences come of disorderly marching. the enemie hath opportunitie giuen him to charge vs: particulars that wander among the countrie people are either slaine, or taken.dScipio therefore did chastice such as he espied out of their rankes, with a Vine wand if they were Ro∣manes; with a cudgell, if they were other. Catoeriding among the ranks of his soldiers as they were marching, strooke those that were out of aray with his leading staffe, and commaunded the colonels and captains to chastise them. By greedinesse oftentimes of a litle spoile, while souldiers range out of order, an armie may be defeated. ThefSamnites bought dearelie the spoiles which they ranne after, being ouertaken by the Romanes in disorder. The Romanes there∣fore among other things when they were enrolled, did sweare that they would keepe their araie.

11 [No companie shall, &c.] Although companies do goe out with the Generals priuitie, and sufficient order be taken to second thē, and to fauour their retraite, yet many times doe some come short of home. What are then they to looke for, that goe foorth without direc∣tion or succour: that the body of the army be not weakened, & diuers good men lost by their own rashnesse, & that the enemie take not there∣by opportunitie to charge vs, let good direction be giuen, & al dangers be forecast. The Romansgin the siege of Veij, seeing many men lost by sudden skirmishes, betweene the towne and the campe, forbade their soldiers to fight any more without commandement.hPapyrius would haue executed the generall of his horse, for that hee fought contrary to his cōmandement, albeit he returned victorious, Man∣liusPage  323punished this disobedience, by the death of his owne sonne. TheaSpaniards neither make roade nor skirmish without direction of their superior commanders.

12 [No soldier shall sell &c.] To sell away, or to throw away their armesbwas capital to the Roman soldiers. AppiuscClaudius did behead those soldiers, that throwing downe their armes fledde from the enemie. Lycurgus among the Spartans made a lawe, that no man should turne home, that turned his backe to the enemie. And therfore did they banish Archilochus ye Poet out of their citie for that he affirmed, that it was better for a man to loose his armes, then his life. The Lacedaemonian women when they deliuered shields to their sonnesd going into the warres, exhorted them either to bring them backe againe, or to die valiantly vpon their shields. Epaminondas in the battell of Mantinea hauing receiued his deaths wound, asked if his shielde were safe. Chabrias when his ship was ready to sinke, and he might byeswimming haue saued himselfe, chose rather to die with his armes, then to saue himselfe without them. In our time few doe cary all armes into the field, & of those that do, few make con∣science to loose them. Yet did the Romanes carry beside their heauie armes both victuals, and certaine stakes, and thought it great disho∣nor to loose their armes. Very requisit therefore it were, that this law were put in practise. Further it is not sufficient to haue armes, vnlesse the same be well kept and seruiceable.fAurelian did enioyne his soldiers to keepe their armes whole, and neate. Aemiliusgrequi∣red no more of his souldiers, then that they should maintaine their bodies in strēgth, and their armes fit. ThehSpaniards haue at this day great care, that euery souldier haue all his armes, & them sound and fit for seruice, in which poynt whosoeuer offendeth, they draw him out of his ranke with shame.

13 [No priuat captaine &c.] long experience hath taught men now to haue more care in this poynt, then in time past, when any cap∣taines passeport was thought sufficient to dismisse his whole com∣pany. and great reason there is men shoulde looke vnto it. For while this was suffered, braue men were dismissed for some little mony, and weake persons receiued in their places, and the pay of diuers soldiers emboursed by the captaines, and the princesiseruice slackely perfourmed. Fuluiusk a Colonell of the Romans was ba∣nished his countrey, for that hee tooke vpon him without other au∣thoritie to dismisse a legion, whereof hee had the commaundemet. Page  324Caiusa Matienus for that he came from the armie in Spaine with∣out pasport, was beaten vnder a gibet, & sold for one piece of mo∣ney, to signifie vnto vs, yt such fugitiue rascals are of no more value. While in the ciuill stirres in France euery souldier came, & went at pleasure, & in the seruice in Flanders, and France, there hath not bin that order herein, yt was requisite; neither they in France, nor others could at any time assure themselues of their number, or strength.

14 [No souldier nor other &c.] Among souldiers there can be no greater fault, then to forsake their ensignes & standing, & so to run out of ye field. Be it for feare, or spoile, the same is grieuously to be pu∣nished.b Appius beheaded the ensigne bearers, & centurions, that fled away frō their ensignes. To those companies that fled and lost their ensignes in a certeine encoūter with Annibal,c Marcellus gaue nothing but barly to eate, the centuriōs he caused to stād with their garments loose, and swords drawen, which among their souldiers, was a great shame. Caesar did put certaine ensigne bearer frō theird places, for that they lost their groūd, in a certaine encounter with Pompey at Dyrrhachiū. Crassuse causing his souldiers that fled, to cast lots, put euery tenth man to death, which Antony did likewise execute vpō his souldiers flying frō the Parthiās. Antonius Primus,f one of Vespasians captaines, seeing an ensigne bearer turne his backe, stroke him through with a iauelin. In this case Clearchus would haue souldiers to feare their captaines, more then the enemie.

The fault of those yt runne to spoile, is not much lesse, then of those that runne away. While those that pursued the enemie turned aside to spoile, the French were ouerthrowen at Guinguast, the Italiās atg Taro, and theh Samnites in a certaine encounter by the Romanes, that turning head vpon the victors, tooke the victorie out of their hands.i Caesar hauing ouerthrowen Pompey in open field, prayed his souldiers that they would not so set their mindes on spoile, that they would omit the occasion to atchieue the victorie, and perfite other matters. The Romanes what with reward, what with seueri∣tie, wrought so much in the mindes of their souldiers, saithk Salust, that they were more often punished for fighting without cōman∣dement, then for flying away, or forsaking their ensignes. The La∣cedemonians banished such cowardly persons. Aristotle, no souldier, but a Philosopher,l holdeth it a dishonorable thing for a souldier to flie, or to cast away his armes. A certaine souldier of Caesar, albeit Page  325he had vanquished his enemy, yet craued pardon, for that he was dri∣uen to forsake his shield.

15 [No souldiers nor others &c.] the cries, tumult, and running vp and downe of disorderly persons do much discourage yong souldi∣ers, anda hinder them that they cannot heare the commandements of their leaders, and therefore are diligently to be auoyded.

b Aemilius perceiuing the diuers inconueniences that grew here∣of gaue all his directions to the colonels, and they to the first man of the legion, and he to the Centurions, and euery one to his fellow secretly, and quietly. Among thec Spaniards no man may cry out, nor speake loud, either marching, or embattelled in squadrons. The punishment of the offence among them is shame, and infamy. Onelie at the ioyning of the battel, it is not only lawful, but also profitable to beginne with a great noise. Of which, as it was greater, or lesser: some haue gathered ad presage either of losse, or victorie.

16 [No man shall giue an alarme &c.] False alarmes disquiet the army very much, and often trouble those that ought to rest. And therfore doth the enemy oftentimes suborne some to keep our men in continuall alarme, that more easily he may preuaile against vs being tyred and ouerwatched. Those difficulties therefore which the ene∣mie casteth in our way, let vs note increase by our vnskilfulnes, & let vs in our watches and discoueries keepe good order: and the ra∣ther, for that lodging for the most part without strong defence, and marching without diligent discouery, wee lie open to many surpri∣ses, and sodaine attempts of the enemy. The penaltie is arbitrarie, and may be more or lesse, according to the qualitie of the offence. Yet in auoyding the excesse, we must take heede that we runne not into the defect; and so for want of warning be taken vnprouided.

17. [He that by negligence &c.] If this did not fall out too of∣ten amōg our yong souldiers, that either for want of skill, or through feare not looking before them do kill, & hurt their fellowes, this law might seeme needles. But as now it is, I would thinke this law very profitable, if by this prouiso the souldiers might be made more wary. By the same not only those that hurt others negligently, but also, & much more they that hurt their felows maliciously are to be punished.

18 [No man shall challenge &c.]fThe Romanes contended a∣mong themselues rather who should kill most enemies, then who could ouercome most of their fellowes.g Those that stroke their Page  326fellowes with their sword died for it, those that threwe stones at them, were displaced with shame. And therefore did seldome anie quarrell or braule arise among companions. Among vs nothing is more common, neither will any law serue to restraine such disorders. Yet do I not doubt, but if these lawes whereby not onely the origi∣nal, that is, iniurious wordes and deedes, but also the meanes, that is, challenges and acceptance of challenges is taken away, were exe∣cuted, and braulers punished, that these faults would be lesse com∣mon. In experience wee finde that these spadassines, and common quarellers prooue not most resolute souldiers. Many inconuenien∣ces come of these quarels. For not onely braue men are often lost, but also the common cause hindred by them. The quarrels betwixt cap∣taines and gentlemen in Tifauges Anno. 1569. caused diuers to de∣part malecontent, of which the enemy hauing notice tooke the towne disfurnished of souldiers. Thea Spaniards therefore doe ex∣presly forbid all cartels, iniurious wordes, and braules vpon great penalties, both in their armies, and garrisons.

20 & 21 [No souldier nor other shal fraudulently &c.] Those that know what necessities poore souldiers are driuen vnto, cannot chuse but pity their estate that contrary to orders of law are forced to shift. Yet for the necessitie of some, the disorder of others, that as they stole at home, so steale abroad, may not passe vnpunished.b Aurelian the emperor would not suffer his souldiers to take so much as a pul∣let, or oile, or salt, or wood from the country people. Forc souldiers, saith he, ought to enrich themselues with the spoiles of the enemie not with teares of the people, that are friends.d Tiberius caused one of his gard to be put to death for taking a peacocke out of a mans yard.e Aufidius Cassius punished rapine, and theft most ex∣tremely. Of the Turke it is reported, that he put one of his souldiers to death for taking away a poore womans milke.f Modestinus iud∣ged him worthy of death that stole his fellows armes. To restraine this disorder the Romane souldiers when they were first inrolled did sweare that they would bring to ye general, or his deputy, whatsoeuer they should take vp. Onely certaine trifling things were excepted. Caesar setting gardes at the gates of the city ofg Leptis, that yeelded to him, kept his souldiers out, for feare they should spoile the inhabi∣tants. The Romanes most seuerely punishedh Pleminius, and others that spoiled the towne of Locri wherein they lay in garrison. And Page  327put to death al that legion that driuing out the townsmē seized Rhe∣gium to their owne vse. The Spaniards doe diligentlya forbid such filcheries. In summe, the ancient orders of warre require, that not only souldiers, and others within the campe or garrison, possesse their armes, and goods in peace, but also that our associats, and friends be kept from spoyle.

22 [No man shall burne &c.] Many things may be found in the enemies countrey, which might greatly benefit the army, if they could be saued from the wanton spoyle of the souldier. Wherefore that souldiers fall not into needlesse wants through their owne de∣fault; let this law among others be diligently executed.

23 [All murders &c.] Such offences as by ciuil lawes are pu∣nished at home, ought to haue like punishment abroad. Yet must the Iudges and Officers that dealt herein, proceede with great discreti∣on. For small matters in time of peace, as neglecting of the watch, and disobedience against Officers, are seuerely punished in time of warres: and contrariwise great matters in time of peace, are for some euident cause neglected in warres. Fauour, and allianceb haue liew in choyce of Officers in peaceable gouernment: but in warres they that make not choyce of worthy men, worthily repent themselues. Againe in time of peace proceeding is flow, and formes are obserued: but in proceeding in martiall causes neither formalities, nor delayes are admitted. Prouided alwayes, that in cutting off formalities, and delayes iniustice be not done.

24 [No souldier nor other &c.] The fift lawe of this Chapter concerneth Captains and Officers, this is proper to souldiers and such as passe for souldiers. Both are litle ynough to redresse disor∣ders, and if there were diuers other lawes made to the same purpose, yet were it good if all could remedy the inconueniences that follow false and fraudulent dealing in mosters.

25 [No souldier that hath &c.] Military discipline is so farre growne out of vse, that men are constreined, by expresse lawes to pre∣scribe many particular matters, which otherwise might seeme either trifling or needeles. And among other things as you see, that souldi∣ers dispence and spend their victuals moderatly, or rather sparingly. for he that betime spareth not, very timely shall want.