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. IIII. Part 5. Of the choice of Colonels, and Captaines of companies, and other officers of the armie, and their qualities and office.

DIuers other pointes concerning the place, charge, and office of the Generall, deserue also to be parti∣cularly handled; as namely, who hath authoritie to appoint Generals, in what case the Prince himselfe is to come in person into the field, how farre the Ge∣neral ought to hazard himselfe, and generally what belongeth to his office: but ye same may partly be vnderstood, by that which hath bin spoken already, & shal more euidently be declared in this treatise, (for ye executiō of al these matters appertaineth especially to ye direction of ye General.) And now we haste to speake of such mat∣ters, as cōcerne rathe the managing of warre, then questiōs of right.

It is sufficiently knowen, yt the power to make warre or peace, is a marke of souerainty, & belongeth to the soueraine magistrat, and to those to whō he shalacōmit it. The nomination likewise of the Ge∣neral belongeth to those yt haue soueraine power in the State. As is euident by the histories of the Romanes, Greekes, Persians, & all na∣tions, Page  59L. Martius was chosen General by ye reliques of Scipios armie in Spaine, but that was in case of necessitie, & endured no longer, then vnto such time, as they had other captaines sent them frō Rome. To take vpon him a charge without cōmission, is within case of treason, & sauoureth of rebellion. The Prince is not to hazard his person, nor his honor vpon euery light occasion. King Henry the 3. of France, re∣turning out of Poland, receiued a scorne at the siege of Liuron, a pal∣try Hamlet in Dauphinè, for yt being present in person, & that being his first attempt after his returne into his kingdome, he could not at∣chieue it. The French since their King was taken by the English, do not easily suffer their kings to come in person into ye field. But if theastate or crowne come in question, as in the warres betwixt Henry the 7. and Richard the 3. betwixt Otho, and Vitellius: Vitellius and Vespasian, then is the Princes presence required in the armie.

The third point, by yt which hath bin spoken already may be resol∣ued. For in a General, wisdome & courage would be so tempered, that neither he hazard his person further then reason, nor doubt to execute good counsel for feare. The taking of Francis the French king by the Spaniards, & king Iohn by the English, put the Realme of France in great hazard. The death of Gaston de Fois at Rauenna, of Cyrus in the expeditiō against Artaxerxes, who died by their rashnes in ye midst of their victories, turned to ye losse of both their armies. Yet may not a General hide himselfe frō danger, as did ye cowardbVitellius. The whole office of ye General consisteth in the speeding, & direction of all matters of warre; of which we haue occasiō to intreate in this whole discourse. And therefore for these points this may be sufficient.

Nowe for that the Generall cannot doe all himselfe, but must vse colonels, captaines, and officers, for the execution of his commande∣ments; we are to shew what paines, & care he is to haue, that they be well chosen, & doe their duety sufficiently. Colonels would be chosen of such noblemen, knights, & gentlemen, as for their yeeres, seruice, experience, discretion, manhood, and other vertues doe best deserue those places. The place of a colonel doth very well answere vnto the tribunes office in the Romane army. whose orders also we might do well to obserue in ours. By an olde custome saithcVegetius, none was made tribune, or colonel, but such as had lead a companie of olde souldiers before. Hadrian the Emperour expresly forbadedbeardles youthes to aspire to that charge.eAlexander in his ex∣pedition Page  60against Darius, made choise of such for captaines of thou∣sands, as for their continuance in his fathers seruice, had their haire graye, and their iudgement ripe. These are employed oft times in some speciall seruice, as in the keeping of a Straite, or of a Fort, or conducting of victuals, or munition: and therefore would haue great skill in all proceedings of warre; especially in the gouernement of such things, as are committed vnto their charge. Among the Ro∣manes theaTribune office was, in seeing to the defences of the campe, placing of gards, setting the watch, keeping the souldiers in order, exercising them, going the round, leading forth the souldiers to fetch in prouision, seeing the souldiers victuals to be holsom, hea∣ring of the complaints of souldiers, correcting smaller faultes, loo∣king to th sicke & hurt, prouiding for them, & taking their othes at their first entrance. Now these offices belong partly to ye L. Marshal, or masters of the campe, partly to the serieant maior, partly to such inferiour captaines and officers, as haue that special charge imposed vpon them, and partly as other good orders, so these offices of colo∣nels also are eyther omitted, or slenderly exercised. Nowe this onely belongeth vnto colonels, that they haue their regiment and the cap∣taines and souldiers thereof in order, that they leade the same in ser∣uice, and doe such speciall seruices, as are committed vnto them.

Centurions, or captaines of companies, would be chosen of ye most strong, valiant, discreete, and actiue souldiers: such especially as both know the traine of warres, & are of body able to endure labour. Their office is to leade, and gouerne their men, to looke that their bodies, armes, and clothes be in order: that they haue victuals, and things necessary, & execute such special commandements as are giuen them. There is no certaine rule of their office to be prescribed. For as there are more or fewer companies together; so they doe more or lesse. Where there are but 2. or 3. companies together, the captains do all, as chiefe cōmanders in an army: where an army standeth together, they should be the first men of their companies: out of aray they are to attend ye generall officers commandemēts. One had custonie some haue, yt they finger their souldiers pay, & some of thē hardly refinger it, or deliuer it where it is due. But ye worst of all is, that vnder colour of bad dealing of some, neither captaines nor souldiers are well paid. The custome was borowed first from the Italians: and is corrected by the Spaniards, as many things els in the captaines office, which Page  61we might do well likewise to reforme, especially ye confusion of wea∣pons, & marshalling of ye captaines, & their officers: which if it be not otherwise then now it is, in great armies would breede great cōfusiō.

Theseahonors are to be departed according vnto mens deserts, not wonne by ambitious suite; by labour, not by letters, & request: but this may rather seem a wish, then a precept in these times, when as places haue bin solde at the pleasure of barbers, & scriuenoes, and some giuen for ye loue of ladies. The abuse is but too auncient, yet ne∣uer so farre inured as now. Tully at theb request of Brutus, bestowed a colonels place vpon Scaptius which he refused. And writing to Cae∣sar in the fauour ofcTrebatius, he sheweth, ye such places were some∣times graunted of fauour but seldome without desert. He obiecteth againstdPiso as a great reproch, that he sold the places of captains, and other romes, and inferiour offices, at the request of his scribes, and slaues. Caesar ineAffrike dismissed certaine of his colonels & cap∣taines, with this speach to disgrace them, that they had gotten those places for fauour without desert. Afterward when the centurion be∣gan to take money of the common souldier for absence, and redemp∣tion of other disorders, of which Tacitusf complaineth; the centuri∣ons place began to be also set to sale: which was a great cause of the corruption of militarie discipline among the Romanes, and cannot chuse, but also worke bad effects among vs, if it be continued. There is none that buyeth his place, that willingly doth hazard his carkasse, or hath other respect then of gaine. And no maruel if ye common soul∣diers be pilled, where ye captaines at their entrance are so pinched.

The places ofgcolonels were sometime giuen by the people of Rome, but most cōmonly, & with greatest reason, by the Generals. For otherwise if it were, how could they reward those that best deser∣ued? Therefore did AemiliushPaulus make request, that he might bestow those places vpon men of greatest worth and merite: which said he, is for the honour also, and profite of the common wealth.

Centurions were alwayes chosen by the Generals, and by them aduanced for theirivertue. Caesar preferred Scaeua to ye highest cen∣turions roome in in the legion, for his noble seruice at Dyrrachium. Amongk the Greekes, those that were next in degree, succeeded in their places that were next about them, if any thing came at them.

The officers of companies, namely lieutenants, ensignes, sergi∣ants, corporals, are chosen by the captaines of companies. But much Page  62better it were, if as some doe, so all did chuse them of their most able and valiant souldiers, without respect, or fauour.

Other officers, are chosen some for the gouernment, others for the prouision of the army. Of ye sort are the campmasters or marshals with their serieant maior, & field coporals, colonel general, lieutenant general of the horse, scoutemasters, trenchmasters, quartermasters, and such like. Which all tend one way, & are but partes of the Gene∣rals duety, which in time past he executed by his legates, or lieute∣nants & tribunes. The master of the Ordonance, & captaine of Pio∣ners are likewise but of a late inuention, since ye vse of artillerie came in, and souldiers through slouth began to refuse the labours of warre. The iudge and prouost marshall succeede also in a part of the Gene∣rals care for deciding and executing matters of iustice. The muster∣master likewise is of a late stampe, namely since captaines began to pay the souldiers, and Princes began to be defrauded of their num∣bers, and their treasure. Of the second sort are all Commissaries for the pay of souldiers, for victuals, armes, munition, carriages, and whatsoeuer other prouision necessary. For good choice whereof there is but one generall rule to be obserued, to wit, that all partiality and affection laid aside, such be placed in gouernment as be skilfull, loyal, valiant, diligent, and haue respect of honour, not of profite, and in offi∣ces of prouision, such as haue knowledge in such matters, & will deale faithfully. Such as ambitiously, or greedily sue for such places, are not lightly to be heard: and although they be once placed; yet if they be conuicted of insufficiencie, or negligence, or fraude, they are exem∣plarly to be punished, or at the least remoued.