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. 8. Comprising orders concerning booties, spoyles, and prisoners taken in warres.

1 AFter that the enemy is driuen out of the field, or the fortresse or towne besieged is entred, yet shall no man leaue his ranke, or ensigne to runne to spoyle before licence, or a signe giuen vpon paine of death.

2 Whatsoeuer aduenturers that serue vpon their owne charge, and are not enrol∣led in companies that receiue pay of the Prince or State, shal winne from the enemy by their owne labour: that shall they haue diui∣ded among them selues, except a fift part that goeth to the Prince. If they ioyne with other companies in consort; then shall there be Page  337a proportion made of the spoyle according the number of aduen∣turers, and other souldiers. Prouided alwayes that no aduenturers attempt any enterprise without direction from the Generall, or lord Martiall.

3 All spoyles taken from the enemy belong to the Prince, or State, that payeth the army. And therefore whatsoeuer any souldier shall take or finde, being in value aboue ten shillings, the same is to be brought to the Generall, or his deputy vpon paine of imprison∣ment, and losse of the double value of the thing concealed. By this meanes the Generall may reward the most valiant & forward soul∣diers, & haue wherewith to make payment of the souldiers wages.

4 Euery man shall haue liberty to ransome his prisoner taken in warres at his owne pleasure. But if once he compound with his prisoner, that composition shall stand, if it be made without fraude. Also if the prisoner be a Prince, or great man, then the Generall is to haue the prisoner to make what commodity hee can of him for the benefit of his Prince and countrey; allowing to the taker either the valew of the prisoner, or an honorable reward.

Annotations vpon the former lawes.

1 [After that the enemy &c.] This hath bene already enacted in former lawes in other termes. Yet when I consider the disorders herein committed, and griedines of souldiers; I thought good more specially to prohibit their disorderly running to spoyle: of which I haue by diuers examples shewed the inconueniences.aCharles Duke of Burgundy hauing in the taking of Liege made procla∣mation against breaking of Churches, killed a certaine souldier with his owne hands, for that he tooke him in the manner doing contrary to his commandement.

2 [Whatsoeuer aduenturers &c.] This is to be vnderstoode of companies of aduenturers, not of euery single person, that shal folow the army vpon hope of spoyle: likewise of spoiles taken only by their owne prowes, and not of spoyles, which the enemy forsaketh for feare of the army. Such aduenturers we haue few in our warres, & there∣fore I say the lesse of them: yet because good it were they should be there, somewhat I thought good to say of them.

3 [Al spoyles taken &c.] Nothing is more equal, nor profitable either for ye Prince, or the souldier, then yt the spoyle be brought to the Page  338Generall. For by that meanes the Prince may be eased of some part of his charge, and the souldiers the better payde & rewarded. Contra∣riwise nothing is more vnreasonable, thē that those yt do least, should haue most, & those that do most, should haue nothing, as it falleth out when the sack of a towne is giuen to the souldiers. For a coward that entreth the last, may percase light vpon the greatest spoyle, while those that first entred can not stirre for their hurtes. Therefore did the Romanes bring all the spoyle to the Generall for the most part; andaMoses hauing vanquished the Midianites, after hee had the spoyle brought to him; diuided it among all the souldiers. Neither doeth any reason permit, but that those that watch, and fight should haue as good part, as straglers that runne to spoyle. And to permit all to goe to spoyle together were to yeelde the victory to the enemy. How hard therfore so euer it seeme to keep the souldiers from spoyle; yet doe I thinke they might easily be perswaded, if they were well dealt withall. and albeit it were a hard poynt; yet must Captaines endeuour to obteine it.

4 [Euery man shall haue &c.] It is an inhumane, and hard part to massacre such as yeelde them selues, and throwe downe their wea∣pons confessing them selues vanquished, and flying to our mercy. The Lacedaemonians in the first beginning of the Peloponnesian warre, killed as many Athenians as they caught, which the Atheni∣ans likewise practiced vpon the Lacedaemonians, to requite them: but in the end, saithbThucidides, this truelty displeased them both. The Spaniards in the beginning of their warres in the Low coun∣treys killed cruelly as many as they tooke: but when they saw them selues to be dealt withall in like sort, they repented, and perceiued that such sauage cruelty is contrary to the nature of faire warres. but if it be inhumanity to kill him, that yeeldeth, much more is it for men to kill those in colde blood, whome they haue promised to saue. Who doeth not detest the cruell slaughter of the Prince of Condè after he was taken at Bassac, and of those Gentlemen that then were taken prisoners, & stayne three dayes after in the Generals lodging? Prisoners therefore let them be saued, if it may be, and that composi∣tion that is made with them for their ransome, let it be performed.