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.
Page  51

CHAP. IIII. Part. 3. Wherein is declared, that the soueraigne commaundement in matters of warres, is to be committed to one alone.

AS in a state well ordeined, so in an army well gouerned there may not be any contrariety in the chiefe commaunders. The army by Iphicra∣tes the Athenian is compared to a body, where∣of the Generall is the head. Wherefore, as it is vnnaturall andamonstrous for one body to haue two heads, so it is inconuenient, for an army to be encumbred with diuers heads of contrary disposition. Which mischiefe, seeing it can be no otherwise remedied, then by gi∣uing the soueraintie to one: the Prince is diligently to see, that the soueraintie in the army be not diuided amongst many. The Romanes albeit they had ordinarily two consuls: yet in their greatest dangers they appointed one Dictator, or Generall with absolute authoritie. The soueraine commandement of one is a helpe and meanes to di∣spatch matters quickly, to take opportunities, and vse the time of warre.bDemosthene doeth playnely declare the same by the exam∣ple of Philip king of Macedonia. While one commaundeth, he both vnderstandeth better what is wanting, and howe it is to be had: his care is greater; his proceeding more formall, and equall: his counsel more speedy, and secret. Therefore did the Romanes send but one Gouernour into their Prouinces, and employed for the most part but one Consull in the gouerument of their armies. If both: yet where they proceeded orderly, the one gauecplace to the other. A matter most requisite for the dispatch of weighty matters; as it is eui∣dent in the fact of Agrippa yeelding the chieftie to his felow Quinti∣us. The Athenians for that their state was popular vsed yeerely to chuse many captaines, yet in their greatest dangers all the rest yeel∣ded to be gouerned by one. In the Marathonian fielde against Da∣rius, the supreme commandement was in Miltiades, in the battell of Salamine against Xerxes indThemistocles, all the rest submitting themselues to be commanded by him. Seldome hath any wise nation done otherwise: if they did they payde for the most part the full price of their folly. The Romanes were ruinated by the GaulesPage  52at the encounter ofaAllia, partly by the disorder of the chiefe com∣manders being diners, and hauing equall authoritie. Those threebcaptaines that besieged Veij hauing all equal power may be a do∣cument vnto vs, how vnprofitable the commandement of diuers Generals is, for the gouernment of warres. For euery man driuing all matters to his owne endes, while one man thought one way, an other otherwise, they gaue occasion to their enemies to hurt them. By the discordecof the captaines while one refused to succour an other, the Romanes were foyled before Veij. The Aequians obser∣uing the disagreement betweene thedRomane captaines, although in force inferiour to the Romanes, yet preuailed against them. Nei∣ther was there any greater cause of the ruine of theeAthenian army in Sicile, then the contrarietie of opinions, and discorde of the three captaines sent thither with soueraigne commandement. The origi∣nall of all the disorders that fell out in the army of the Protestants in Germany, and of the victorie offCharles the fift, was the diuers opinions of the Duke of Saxony, and Lantgraue of Hesse. When the Lantgraue woulde haue foughten, the Duke was of another minde, or percase was not ready. What the one did profitably de∣termine, that the other did frustrate. From the time of this discorde the affaires of the Protestants went to wracke. The French were driuen out of the kingdome ofgNaples by a small force, by reason of the dissention of the captaines Montpensier and Percy. The enuie and contention, that fell out betwixt the French, and Hungarian cap∣taines gaue an easy victorie to Amurathes the Turke at Nicopolis. It had not bene possible for CaesarhBorgia to escape the hands of so many Princes confederate against him, but that the captaines of the aduerse army did weaken their force by their owne disagree∣ment. The Venetians were ouerthrown at Ghiaradadda only by the pluralitie of commanders. For whileiBartholomew Aluian which was one of their Generals determined to fight, and the Count Pit∣tiglian which was the other, commanded the army to marche, the enemie charging them in this instant of their irresolution, obteined a great victorie.

The soueraigne authoritie both of matters by land, and by sea is to be giuen only to one. otherwise there can be no good correspon∣dence in both places. While Lantreckkcommanded by land, and Philippin Doria by sea: the siege of Naples was discontinued, & the Page  53towne victualled, which happened by reason of the dissention of the Generals. It hath bene no small hinderance to our affaires in the Low countreys, that those that haue commanded at land, haue not likewsie had the gouernment at sea. For by this meanes the ene∣mie hath had greater store of victuals, and our owne men greater want, when the shippes and passages were in others keeping. Nay, where the commandement is part in the Generall, and part in the States, things are yet more confused. For the States oft times victuall the enemie, yea and coutinually trade into Spaine, while our souldiers fight against the Spaniard. I will not say what inconue∣niences come of this one point neglected otherwayes, for that it would couch some men more particularly, then my meaning is. For remedy of this mischiefe the Romanes gaue to their captains power both in matters by land, and sea. Scipio as he had an army by land, so he had a Nauie by sea both in the expedition of Spaine, and Afrike. Neither could Marcellus euer haue preuailed against the citie of Sy∣racusae, if he had not besieged the towne, both by sea, and land. Caesar was enforced to goe to sea before he could subdue the sea townes of France. But what neede I vse more wordes in a matter so playne? both reason, and experience teacheth vs that manya commanders in matters of warre are not good. And therefore let there be but one soueraigne commander both by land, and sea: with what authoritie he ought to be furnished, resteth now to be discussed.