Part 1. Of the Generall, and the partes and qualities required in him.
HItherto wee haue spoken of such preparatiues as are to bee made oft times in time of peace, but al∣wayes before the warres: nowe we are to speake of that which is the beginning, and first care, or at least act of warres. I meane the musters, and choise of captaines and souldiers. This among the Ro∣manes belonged to the Generals, which vpon the firstamouing of warres, called all the people according to the tribes or diuisions, into a place appointed, out of them to take such numbers, and such men, as were most fitting. And most reasonable it is, that the Gene∣rall that should leade men, should haue the ouersight, and chiefe, if not onely direction in the choise of them. For who can better make choise of instruments, then such artificers as vse them in their workes? When the Generals thēselues were otherwise busied, yet didbthey commit the matter to men of great authoritie and wisdome. Caesarc employed therein his counsell of warres, which also in his absence were his lieutenants. First therefore wee are to speake of the Generall, then of inferiour commaunders, and thirdly of com∣mon souldiers. In the discourse concerning the Generall, wee are to consider, first, what qualities and partes and sufficent Generall ought to haue: secondly, what instructions or councell he is to vse: and lastly, with what commission and power he ought to be furni∣shed wichall.
The principall care that a Prince or State that entreth into warres is to haue is, that there be choyse made of a sufficient Gene∣rall. I knowe that the place is for the most part graunted eyther for respect of Nobilitie, or kinred, or fauour. The Kings of this land in time past employed their children and vncles, which notwithstan∣ding prooued not the worst. Richard the 2.d in the warres against the Nobilitie, made ye Duke of Ireland a fauourit of his, Generall; but he was not followed. The French kings may impute most part of their had successe in their warres to ye insufficiēcie of their Generals. Page 36In the warres of Naples Charles the 8. namedaMontpensier his lieutenant in respect of nobilitie, rather then sufficiencie: Lewis the 12. in his warres ofbLombardy, made Chaumont his minion Ge∣nerall of his forces. But nothing did more hasten the ouerthrowe of the French causes there, thē their insufficiencie. Lewis Sforsa passing ouer diuers men of accompt, reposed all his trust incGaleaz San∣seuerin, a man of small desert. Leo the 10. for kinred sake woulde needes employe Lorence Medici in his warres with the Duke of Vrbin, both which spedde alike. Which examples with diuers other of our time, which I will not mention, least any man might thinke himselfe interessed thereby, may moue vs to haue more care what Generals we doe employe in such seruices. In other matters, albeit fauour may take place: yet sure least ought it to swaye in choyse of the General. Nothing is more dangerous, then the euill successe of warres. What reason therefore haue Princes to chusedweake men Gouernours of greatest matters in warres, seeing as in Sea causes men in greatest dangers are woont to make choyse of most skilfull Masters and Pilots? Or what impudencie is it for a man to take charge of a Shippe, that cannot see, but by others eyes, nor iudge, but by others direction? And why not likewise may they beeaccompted shamelesse, that take vpon them the charge of mens liues, and goodes, which haue no iudgement, but by others report and direction? Of the weakenesse of Gene∣rals, proceede contentions betwixt the chiefe commaunders, de∣layes, needelesse expenses, disorders, disgraces, and the ouer∣throwe of Armies and States. And more shall an armie of Harts doe, guided by afLyon, then an armie of Lyons ledde by a feare∣full Hart. Caesarsg inuincible olde souldiers were ouercome by the cowardise of Sabinus their leader. yet such was the skill of Caesar, that he could vse young souldiers, and obteine great victories by small forces. Marcellus with the reliques of the Romane armie, ouerthrowne at Canne, gaue vnto Annibal a great repulse. The Ro∣manes vnder the leading of C. Martius Coriolanushouercame the Volscians, when the same man exiled vpon displeasure against his Countrey, tooke on him to leade the Volscians, they diuers times preuailed against the Romanes. Which sheweth what moment a skilfull captaine bringeth towarde the obteyning of victorie. And in the warres which the Romanes had against the Latines, the forces Page 37being equall, yet the Romanes preuailed by the good direction of their Generall Fabius, whose gouernment was such, that all men confessed (asaLiuy reporteth) that what side soeuer should haue had him for their leader, the same must needes haue preuailed. In the battell of the Romanes againstbPyrrhus king of Epeirus (nowe Albany) Fabritius acknowledged, that they were ouercome onely by the skill of Pyrrhus, more then by the force of his armie. And contrariwise, little accompt is to be made of an armie, that wanteth direction. Caesar feared not, as himselfec reporteth, the olde compa∣nies of Spaine, although otherwise much to be esteemed, because he knewe their Generals Petreius & Afranius, to be men of no me∣rite, nor skill. I haue my self heard some Spaniards greatly complain of the defectes of the Duke of Medina Sidonia the Generall of their Nauy, when they came vpon our coast. And although God was the authour, yet I doubt not, but that was some good meanes of their euill successe. Wherefore if Princes looke for good successe in their warres, let them without affection, and partialitie, make choise of a sufficient Generall, religious, skilfull, couragious, and adorned with such vertues, both for warre and peace, as the importance of the mat∣ters which he manageth requireth.
In a Generall, first I require religion: for if the Gentiles did sup∣pose that those affaires succeeded best vnto them, which theydbe∣gan in Gods name; shame it were for Christians to haue a worse conceit of that matter. And if all other matters, sure the hazardes of warre require religion in the chiefe directors. God he is Lord of Hostes, and giuer of victories; and sure it is not probable, he will giue it to those, that aske it not at his handes. God prescribed certaine exercises of religiō to his people in their wars; before them he would haue the Priestes to sound certaine siluer Trumpets. Constantine had all exercises of religion in his campe, and so proued most victo∣rious. The Spaniards in their warres assigne to euery Tertio, or Re∣giment certaine Priestes. What should I speake of those that make profession of religion, seeing theeGreekes did seldome attempt any dangerous seruice, but their captaines first consulted with their gods?fCicero doeth attribute the good successe which the Ro∣manes had in their warres, to the religious care they had of the obseruance of holy ceremonies, and religion. Whatsoeuer mis∣hap came vnto their State, or Armie, they ascribed the same like∣wise Page 38to the neglect, or contempt of religion. They esteemed that to be the cause of their ouerthrowe ataAllia by the Gaules, atbThrasimene by Annibal, and in diuers other vnfortunate incoun∣ters, Machiauels diuinitie, that thinketh religion in men of warre foolerie, and proposeth that impious Atheist Caesar Borgia for a pa∣terne to a Prince, that aspireth to be great to be followed, was de∣tested euen of the barbarous nations, which in warres attempted nothing, but with religious ceremonies, as Tacitus and Caesar declare in the Gaules and Germanes, and Herodotus and Thu∣cidides in the Thracians and barbarous people. Wherefore let the Generall be religious, and a mainteiner of religion, and for∣bid blasphemies, and other impieties too too common in the com∣mon sort, if hee expect the fauour of God, and good successe in his affaires.
The Generall ought further to haue knowledge, and iudgement in matters of warre. The same is the speciall and most proper or∣nament of a General, incwhom the same is more respected, then all other morall vertues. C. Fabritus in the dangerous warres the Romanes had against Pyrrhus, in labouring thatdCornelius a man rauinous, but very expert in warre, might be chosen Con∣sull, or Generall, declareth that the skill and experience of a va∣liant Captaine couereth other faultes. This knowledge and iudge∣ment hath many branches: the Generall ought to vnderstand as well the enemies estate, as his owne: he ought to knowe what forces, and what prouision of armes, horses, carriages, victuals, and other furniture, and munition will be sufficient, and howe he is to haue the same: he ought to take heede of the enemies trappes; to knowe howe to marche, orelodge safely; howe to fight with aduantage, where to employe horsemen, where shotte, where other sortes of weapons, and to vnderstand the aduanta∣ges of all sortes of groundes: he hought to vnderstand the times when to fight, and advantages of weather, and Sunne: he ought not to be ignorant of any stratageme of warre, nor of treaties and conditions of truce, or peace: least as our auncesters in time past did, he loose by sleight that which before he had wonne by force: finally, in defending or besieging of Townes, in assaultes, esca∣ladaes, drawing of trenches, mines, making of batteries, for∣cing or defending of passages of riuers, or straytes: he may not Page 39be ignorant of any point of warre; proposing to him selfe the example of Iulius Caesar, a man in all faites of armes most skifull. Whose iudgement was such, thatasitting still in his Tent in his campe at Ruspina, hee knewe what the enemie would doe, or could doe, and prescribed what was to be done against him: And deigned not to looke out, when Scipio made shewe to assault his campe. This knowledge bringeth with it consideration, and foresight. Both which ought to bee in the General: that, least hee want things necessarie; this, least he runne into the snares layd for him by the enemie. Of AemilusbPaulus it is reported, that be∣ing chosen General for the warres in Macedonia, his minde was wholy bent on that seruice, so that he gaue himselfe no rest, nei∣ther night nor day. Captaines incwarres must looke both for∣ward and backward, and euery way whence any danger, or ad∣uantage is toward. For in warresdeuery error in mortall. Many doe more matters by sleight, then by force. Charles the fifthe of France did more represse the force of the English nation by practice, then by force. The Lacedemonians when their leaders preuailedf gainst their enemies by counsell and stratagemes, sacrificed an oxe; when by open force, a cocke onley.
The next vertue required in a Generall, isgcourage, and speede to execute that which is wisely determined. For vented counsels, and vented wine, doe foorthwith loose all good tasle. And cowardly captaines discourage valiant men, that suppose the danger to be as great, as their leaders, take it.hDomitius had no sooner determi∣ned with himselfe to flie away from Corfinium, but the souldiers lost courage. The cowardise of Crassus theirich, gaue occasion to the great ouerthrowe, which the Romanes had giuen them by the Parthians. The faint heart of Titurius Sabinus, charged bykAm∣biorix, made his souldiers faint. Contrariwise, resolute men giue courage to their souldiers, and restore battels almost lost . Caesars couragious heart occasioned the victorie against Pompeyes sonnes at Munda. King Richard the third, had almost hazarded the matter at the iourney of Bosworth: if hee had but had three hundred men like him selfe, the field had beene his. But because his cause was not good, it pleased not God to giue him the meanes.lIugurtha is by Salust commended both for prowesse, and counsell. No∣thing doeth more auaile in warres, then the example of the General. Page 40He is a cowardly companion, that dareth not to doe, as he seeth his Generall doe. Valerius Coruinus vsed no other incouragement to his souldiers then this, that they shouldaimitate not his wordes, but his deedes, and do as they sawe him to giue them an example. Not that the Generall ought lightly to hazard his person, (for that were great temeritie) or vexe himselfe with labour, (for that were vaine) but that hee ought to shewe himselfe alwayes couragious in dan∣gers, and forwarde in labours. No lawes, nor precepts can doe herein more, then the Generals example. The Romanes folo∣wedbCato through the drye and hotte sandes of Barbary, and shame made Xenophons souldiers march vp the hill, seeing him goe before them. Neither hath any thing more animated the French Kings souldiers of late, then the example of so valiant a Prince lea∣ding them.
They that haue skill and resolution in matters of warre, cannot chuse (if God be pleased) but haue good successe, and authoritie. For what man wisely laying his plot, and resolutely executing the same, can fayle of his expectation, or want an honourable reputa∣tion both with his owne men, and with the enemie.c And therefore what neede precepts of these matters, which is deede are rather in the power of others, then of our selues, and followe of those vertues which before I haue spoken of?
There are also other vertues required in a Generall, which al∣though they be not so necessarie as the former; yet for the execu∣tion of matters, are very requisite and profitable; as namely iu∣stice, liberalitie, courtesie, clemencie, temperance, and loyaltie. Iustice is an ornament both in warre and peace, well beseeming all Gouernours, but especially the Gouernours of armies. It is profitable to reteine the good willes of our associates, necessary for the winning of the good will of our owne souldiers. The same hath vse as well in respect of enemies, as friendes. The Faliscians besieged by Camillus, moued rather with the opinion of his iu∣stice, that sent backe vnto them the Schoolemaster, that deliue∣red into his handes the youth of the Citie, then by force, yeelded their Citie vnto him. Pyrrhus did neuer offer to treate of peace, before the Romanes had sent him backe that traytour, that offe∣red for a certaine summe of money to empoyson him.dWarres are to bee gouerned not by crueltie, but by iustice. WhenPage 41aPausanias in the Peloponnesian warre dealt rigorously with his associats, they al forsooke him. Which also happened to the Athe∣nians in the same warre for like cause. And who doth not hate the Spaniard that seldome suffereth men of qualitie, that come in his power to escape, and hath deuised a kind of proscription, by which he offereth wages and rewards to such as will kill or empoison prin∣ces, or others whom he maligneth and proscribeth? without iustice the discipline of warre cannot be maintained: neither hath the vali∣ant reward without it, nor the coward punishment. Therefore had the Romans especial regard of iustice. And iustice had in their camps a speciallbplace, where it was administred.
Little needeth it, that I declare how necessary liberalitie is in warres, that both in peace, and at all times hath such efficacie to at∣tract mens fauours. The souldiers dare aduenture any thing, where there is large reward.cNothing doth more stirre vp valiant minds, then great honors.d Euery man bestoweth labor where he looketh for profit, and reward. Therefore had the Romanes most valiant souldiers, for that they were most liberall in their rewardes. Among them, as their Generall Decius said, the highest places andeho∣nors were giuen to valiant men for their vertue and prowesse, not to cowards for their nobilitie, or gentry. Theyfby their liberalitie made their souldiers forward in labour and danger. The Captains of the Romanes although poore themselues, yet enriched their soul∣diers. Publicola, Valerius, and Menenius Agrippa were in their time great cōmanders, yet did they not leaue behind them so much, as to discharge their funerals. But they enriched the state, and left behind them a fame of vertue, that will neuer decay. Caesargwith his great liberality had his souldiers so obsequent, that in those ciuill warres, which he had against Pompey and others, few or none could be allured by any promises to forsake him, whereas infinite of the enemies did daily reuolt, and flie vnto him. The Turks in warres are most venturous, for that they know they shall haue great recom∣pense for well doing. He that first mounted the walles of Constan∣tinople, was afterward made Bascha. And Ochiali of a poore ma∣riner for his valiant seruice was made Admirall of the Turkes nauy, and one of his counsell.
The hope that the Spaniards haue of their increase of pay, which they call Ventaias, and of preferment to higher places doth much Page 42encourage them to aduenture. And what is the reason, that so few doe hazard themselues in these dayes but this, that the reward of hurts and long seruice is, for the most part, disgrace and beggarie? the Generall hath no means to reward the valiant: pillers and spoi∣lers waxe rich, and purchase: valiant souldiers die naked, and are v∣sed as abiects. If a pot of golde were offered vnto them, they would not refuse it, as didaFabritius the Romane captaine, but some would rather sell their father, their countrey, yea and soule, rather then forgo it.
Nothing is more hurtefull to the proceedings of warres then miserable niggardise. Although a captaine were endued with all o∣ther vertues, yet this one fault would either suppresse them, or dis∣grace them. They woulde butbserue him to make all things more saleable, as said Pericles.cAnnibal, for that through couetousnes he fell to spoile his associats, did alienate al their good willes. Per∣seus the king of Macedonia sparing of his monyd lost himselfe, and his kingdome, where if he would haue beene at any charge, he might haue had the ayde of thirtie thousand Gaules most valiant men to serue him against the Romanes.eFrederike the emperour the last of that name was of euery one contemned, and abused, for that they knew that he would rather incurre any disgrace, then spend any mo∣ny.fGalba the emperour might haue reteined the good wil of his souldiers with any small cost, or expense bestowed vpon them: but it was a death to him to spend mony. Therefore was he forsaken of his souldiers, and slaine of his enemy. While men either haue not mony, or will not spend it vpon necessary prouision before hand: cap∣taines want souldies, souldiers want armes, victuals, munitions of warre, and all things necessary. Nay they want will, and courage. For what courage can men haue when there is no hope of rewarde? By thisg meanes all military discipline is disordered, souldiers fa∣mished, forward men impouerished, the honor of military profession stained, and vnworthy persons and greedy gulles that lie fatting and purchasing at home, enriched with the spoiles of their countrey. This was the first occasion of the ruine of Rome, that all thinges were there set to sale: it was the ouerthrow of the state of thehGabi∣ans, and I feare will be the bane of England, if it be lawfull here al∣so to do as others did, without controlment.
The Generall would likewise be courteous, clement, and gentle. Page 43Nothing doth more please the common souldier. This was a special commendation of Charles the fift, but borrowed from antiquity. Cae∣sara among other his vertues had this commendation singular of affability and courtesie to his souldiers, of clemency to ward his ene∣mies.bVespasian by this meanes obtained the fauor of his souldiers, and Titusc his sonne was their speciall delite.dGermanicus with his care for his souldiers, and his courteous speech bound them to loue him. The sauage mindes of mutins areeoftentimes mitiga∣ted with faire wordes, when no rigour could otherwise tame, or pa∣cifie them. Contrariwise, nothing doth more hurt sometimes, then the vntimely rigour, and austerity of the Generall. Charles Duke of Burgundy in his latter time grew so austere, and peremptory, that no man durst councell him any thing, or contrary him. The same as PhilipfCommines testifieth was his vtter ruine.gPosthu∣mius for his rigour was stoned to death of his owne souldiers: which also happened to Cinna, whose vntimely austerity was the ruine of their affaires. Alexander if to his great valiantnesse hee had ioyned affabilitie and clemency, he had not in the end growen odious to his owne souldiers. Who doth not detest Annibal for his great cru∣eltie?
Temperance is a vertue that shineth in peace especially, yet hath it no small vse in the middest of warres, and being wanting in a cap∣taine doth make him want so much of perfection. For how is it like, that hee can gouerne others well, that cannot rule himselfe, nor his affection? or who can looke for modestie and sobrietie in the souldiers, where the Captaine is giuen to wine or wo∣men, and spendeth his time in riot, and excesse? let this vertue therefore be added to the garland of an absolute Captaines perfecti∣ons.
hScipio by restoring a faire woman to her husband Allucius, wonne to himselfe the heart not onely of that man, but also of the womans friends, and diuers Spaniardes. AndiCyrus bound Abra∣data vnto him, for sparing his wife Panthea.kAlexander is renow∣med among posterity for his continency toward the wife, and daugh∣ters of Darius.
Like cōmendation, though in another subiect, dothlEpaminondas deserue, who whē his citizēs did feast, & riot, walked soberly about the wall of Thebes, to see that the enemy made no attempt against Page 44the city. Nothing doth more hurt or hinder the proceedings of wars, then riot and intemperancy. Annibals souldiers were ouercome with the delights of Capua, whom the Romanes with force could not sub∣due. Antiochus in the midst of his preparatiues falling in loue, spent a winter in making of a match, & so lost time, and opportunitie to trans∣port his army into Italy, as Annibal aduised him. The French grew odious to them of Sicilia by reason of their insolencies, which gaue them cause to rebell, and to murder them al in one euening. The in∣temperance of the enemy giueth many opportunities to those that be watchful.aCales was taken while the citizens lay drunken in a so∣lemne feast. The same was the destruction of Troy. Marcellus per∣ceiuing the negligent gard which the Syracusans made on a feast day at night, surprised the towne by escalade. ThebTurkes took Zere∣sana a strong town in Sclauony vpon Shrouetuesday at night, when the townesmen after their maner of their carneuall being drunke, were carelesse and secure. Much more therefore behoueth it the Ge∣neral to watch, to be sober, temperate and careful. These vertues are singularly commended in a Generall; yet may I not forget desire of true honor, loue of the countrey, and loyalty toward the Prince and Which vnlesse a Generall haue, al other excellencies do rather make him suspected, then commend him. For who can trust him that hath intelligence with the enemy, or receiueth pensiō from him: The French men do merily scoffe at some great men of our nation, that haue beene pensioners of the French Kings,cand whose acquit∣tances are extant in their Eschequer. I would to God the guise were now euery where left. C. Fabritius dwelling in a smoky house refu∣sed a great masse of gold presented vnto him by the Samnites. How much more then ought they to haue care of their honor, that dwell in the sight of the world in gorgeous houses? that great men for a paltry pension, should sell their honor, it is intollerable. For the loue of their country diuers in time past deuoted themselues to death, as the two Decii, as Curtius, as Mutius Sceuola, as Codrus, as Leonidas, and infinit others. Is the race of them now extinct, that so fewe of that sort are in our age and country to be found?
If we consider ancient times, we shall finde that those great men, whose memories continue vnto our times, were endued both with these, and many other vertues.dC. Caesar in his actions was most consideratiue, in hazard and danger most resolute, in executions Page 45speedy, oppressing his enemies oft times before the newes of his comming were heard, painfull in labour, in dangers watchfull, in diet sober, a liberall rewarder of valiant men, a good iusticer where neede required: if al his vertues were in a Generall, what should be wanting beside religion? This Generall I propose to all those that desire honor to imitate, so neere as they can. The honorable parts of Camillus, Valer. Coruinus, 〈◊〉 Scipio, are no lesse to be set before the eies of Capteins. Annibal among ye Africans deserueth special price. He was in his time subtil, cautelous, skilfull in al faits of armes. He was very skilful that could escape his snares. Laborious he was and watchfull, and speedy, and a strict obseruer of military orders. OfaCato it is reported, that in parsimony, watching and labours hee contended to passe the common •ouldiers. Of the yonger CatobLucan giueth this testimony, that in the painfull march tho∣row the desarts of Affrike he by his patience, and example shewed what others were to do. These things were in the old Romane cap∣tains, and as I suppose in those that succeeded them.cVespasian is commended for a man of courage in fight, skil in incamping, and ta∣king the aduantage of the ground. Night and day he broke the e∣nemies purposes, oft by counsel, sometime by force, in diet & ap∣parel he was moderate, & scarce could you know him from a com∣mon souldier, comparable with antiquitie, if couetousnes had not blemished or rather defaced his other vertues. By such men the Romane empire grew great: by wants, and vice of the Generals the same receiued many ouerthrowes. Claudius,dwho being captaine the Romanes were ouercome at sea in the first wars with Carthage, was a contemner of religion, ignorant of matters of warre, simple and cowardly. Flaminius that was slaine with his army by Annibal at the lake Thrasymene was irreligious, rash, vnskilful, impetuous, vnprouident. Varro that occasioned the great slaughter of the Ro∣manes at Cannae, was a man of no merit, nor iudgement, wilful, and vnexpert in matters of warre. Crassus the rich seeking too greedily after spoyle, was not aware in what country he marched, before bee saw himselfe inclosed by the enemies. Looke the latter emperours, you shal not find in many of them any thing worthy commendation. Maximinus a cruell tirant, in matters of warre and state was vnskil∣full. Such were most of the rest.eOrdeonius that was ouerthrowne by the Germans, being in danger, like a sluggish beast took his bed, Page 46and (as Tacitus saith) did thence giue foorth such direction, as made most for the enemy. Wherefore seeing so many vertues are requi∣red in a captaine, and so small faultes lay him open to the enemy: it is no maruell, if perfect Generals be so rare, and hard to finde. Phi∣lip king of Macedonia wondred, that the Athenians changed their leaders so often, as hauing great choice, seeing that he in al his time, could not find anie more then one that was excellent, or answerable to his minde; and that was Parmenio. The more rare they are, the more care all wise Princes, and states ought to haue, that vnto such as they commit their armies vnto, they adioyne for a supply wise and experimented counsellers. Yea, though the Generall be neuer so wise, yet may hee not want his counsell of warres. Of this the order of our discourse leadeth vs now to speake.