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. V. Part. 2. Wherein is prooued, that it is farre better for the English nation, things standing as now they do, to inuade the Spaniard, or any other enemy in his owne country, then to receiue their assault, and invasion here at home, or to stay vntill we do see the enemy on our owne coast.

MAny there are, I doubt not, of a contrary minde; but especially those that enioy honour, wealth, and ease. These commonly vesire peace, and detest warres, and against such enterprises alleadge these reasons: they say wee haue neither towne, nor port in Spaine to receiue vs: that the way thither is long, and vncertaine by reason of contrarietie of windes, and that it will be hard to remedie anie disorder that shall fall out in our army by reason of the distance of the place: they alleadge further that we haue no friendes nor confederates in the countrey: and that it will be more difficult to subdue the Spaniard in his countrey, then abroad, for euery man doeth3fight most valiantly when his wife and children, and his owne landes and goodes are in his sight. Lastly, they suppose that the number of the enemies will be such, as that an armie shall bee wearied with killing them. On the other side, if wee attend the Spaniardes comming hither (say they) they shall haue all obese things to make against them; and wee all things fauorable for vs; men, municious, and victuals sufficient; our wines, children, & country in our sight, safe places to retrait vnto. As Anteus wrastling with Hercules, so oft as he touched the earth receiued new strength after his fall: so they that in their owne countrey do fall, Page  4rise againe very easily. A5snayle so long as hee keepeth himselfe within his shell, is defensed; when he putteth out his head, he lyeth open to danger. So they that in their owne countrey may liue safe, by making enterprises abroad oft times receiue blowes, and al∣wayes lie open to danger. The6Athenians were vtterly ouerthrow∣en in Sicile, that before that were well able to defend them selues at home. And diuers great armies of Germans and Gaules, inuin∣cible if they had bene in their owne countreys, were ruinated at∣tempting to inuade forreine countreys.

Which reasons howsoeuer they seeme plausible in the eares of those that in matters of warres proceede like snayles, and care not for any disgrace or future danger, so they may enioy present ease; yet are built on false grounds, and matters mistaken. For if we might safely rest at home, I thinke him not wise, nor sober that would seeke trouble abroad. But seeing we can not haue peace the Spaniard ha∣uing begun warres, and threatning the destruction of our state: the question is, whether is better for vs to stay vntill he come vpon vs, or to begin with him and seeke him in his owne countrey? I say this is best: my reasons are these.

He that first chargeth his enemie, hath many aduantages, it is his great foly, if hee be not well prouided of souldiers, mariners, armes, shippes, horses, and all prouisions for the warres: hee may make choyce where to charge the enemy, and proceedeth simply if he doe not there beginne, where hee findeth his enemy weakest, and most vnprouided. He may make likewise choyce of his times, & take opportunities.7Victorie is obteined by preuention, and by the same warres are oft times diuerted, as Alphonsus king of Naples sayd, but practiced not. For if hee had not lingred matters, and had met the enemie in the way; he had not so easily bene driuen out of his state.

No man obteineth better conditions of peace, then he that first stri∣keth. Contrariwise dangerous it is to let the enemie come vpon vs. as8diseases, so the attempts and proceedings of the enemy at the first are easily stopped, and both in time are strengthened and con∣firmed. And oft times of light beginnings as9Tacitus sayth, great troubles arise. If thou10suffer one iniurie, thou doest but giue thy enemy courage to offer thee another. The enemy doeth oft times trie our patience, and seeing vs patiently to endure iniuries (as Page  1112Ancus Martius sayd) doeth contemne vs. And to13yeelde in one thing doeth giue the enemy courage, to aske more. Nothing doeth procure more enemies, then patience and14 contempt. Warre is like a fire: if it proceede, it embraceth whatsoeuer is neere, as the Cam∣pamans sayd. If15Alexander king of Epeirus comming in succour of the Lucanians, had had good successe: the Romanes should haue felt his force, therefore did they vse at the first to preuent matters. Vn∣destanding that Philip king of Macedonia made preparations to come ouer into Italy, they tooke paynes to meete him in his owne Countrey.

Likewise did they preuent the attemptes of Antiochus. Which course if they had taken when Annibal first besieged16Saguntum, they had deriued the warres into Spaine, and escaped the storme, which Annibals army brought into Italy. Those that feare to assayle the enemy vpon17hope of peace, loose oft times peace for euer. Tully feared it seeing the Romanes proceede so coldly against Antony; and the issue prooued it true.

The obiect ons that are made are of no moment. for admit we neither haue Port, nor towne, nor friende in the Spanish Domi∣nions: yet armes and victory procure all these. The coast can ne∣uer be so well garded, but that an army may alwayes haue accesse to some Port, or landing place or other.

The Romanes landed diuers times in Afrike during the warres with Carthage, and spoyled their townes and countrey: nay Caesar landed his army in Epeirus, when the enemy with an army prepared helde all the Port townes.

The Athenians made diuers descentes into Peloponesus, not∣withstanding the diligent garde, that the enemy made. Who seeth not then howe easy it is to sease a Port, or to land in Spaine the coun∣trey being almost without garde of souldiers? if any man doubted before, yet since the voyage into Portugal, I thinke there is none will make question of that matter. Neither did Scipio doubt for want of Portes, or friendes to sayle into Afrike, or the Persians into Greece, or other to inuade his enemy. For armes procure friendes, and winne Portes. so that had we no friends in Spaine, yet what resoluce man would refuse to goe against such enemies? much more therefore nowe, seeing the Portugals are discontent with the Spanish gouernment, and Spaine is so stored with men of Page  18foreine nations, and diuers malcontents.

As for the distance, it is nothing, where there is no resistance by the way. And what reason haue we to accompt Spaine farre, when the Romanes doubted not to transport their armies not one∣ly into Afrike and Spaine, but also into Asia which is a farre lon∣ger cut. If winde and weather serue, in three dayes and three dightes the voyage may be perforified.

The difficulty of supplyes may easily be holpen with prouisi∣on made beforehand. If the army goe into Spaine well stored, there is no such haste of supply, but that it may come in good time. Why not into Spaine from England as well as from Rome into Spaine, Afrike, Asia, yea and Britein?

But the Spaniards are valiant at home, and will not giue ground fighting for their Countrey, wiues, and children. As if the Romanes a more warrelike and valiant people, did not giue ground to Annibals army in Italy; and as if the Gaules were not vanquished in diuers battels by Caesar, and the Spaniards in time past by the Carthaginians, and Romanes, and since that by the Gothes and Mores, yea and by the Portugales also their neighbours. And not onely our ancesters in the dayes of Edward the third, and Ri∣chard the second, but wee our selues also haue had triall of that ene∣mie both in Galicia, and Portugal. Hee that19commeth to inuade others fighteth with greater courage, then those that are inuaded, by the testimonie of Annibal, and proofe of experience.20They that haue no hope of life, nor escape but in victory, can not chuse, but fight valiantly. Contrariwise they that haue refuge, and hope another time to fight more happily, which is the case of euery man in his owne countrey, will not fight so resolutely.

The Gaules in their owne countrey gaue ground, and fledde before Caesar, and other Romane Captaines, that in Italy had oft foyled the Romanes. And those Africans that in Italy were vic∣torious, coulde not withstande Scipio in Afrike. Alexander en∣tring into the middest of the Persian Empire, ouerthrewe the same vtterly.

Further it standeth with the Spaniard now, as sometime it did with the Carthaginians, & doth with al that vse mercenary souldiers. For so long as they may enioy their countrey & reuenues, & therewith hire most valiant souldiers of other nations, so long they are strong. but if Page  21they be inuaded in their owne countrey both their reuenues will fayle, and their owne people not being exercised in warres, wil make but slender resistance. So that suppose the Spanish army in the Low countreys be strong, which notwithstanding hath bene dealt with∣all by our people, yet are wee not to looke for such souldiers in Spaine.

The Athenians inuading Sicile were ouerthrowen by the disa∣greement and insufficiencie of the Captaines, the disorders of the souldiers, and want of things necessary. which may be remedied by diligent foresight, prouision, and gouernement. But suppose some did miscary in foreine warres, shall we therefore condemne that course? there is no reason, seeing as warres at home are not condem∣ned because many nations haue bene subdued and vanquished in their owne countrey. Betwixt the Athenians or the Achaeans, & this kingdome there is no comparison in force or greatnesse. But if the citie of Athens could subdue all Sicile except one onely citie: it is no such difficult matter to inuade the Spaniard, as is supposed.

Finally some in trembling maner demaund, what if such an ar∣mie so farre caried away should miscary? which is a very ridicu∣lous point, for men to care more for those mens liues that dee wil∣lingly offer themselues to the aduenture, then they doe themselues: Seeing they dare venture nothing themselues, yet let them not en∣uie, and hinder others that will. But suppose the army should mis∣cary: yet would the losse be farre lesse, then if so many should be lost at home. For here the sequele would be great, there would be only losse of men: which God be thanked this countrey may well spare. But what simplicity is it to talke of loosing, where men goe with a resolution rather to winne then loose? neither Anni∣bal going in Italy, nor Scipio into Afrike cast any such doubt.

Suppose nowe on the other side, that the Spaniard should doe, that which hee once attempted, and God, more then our owne force would not suffer him to doe; and that an army of Spaniards were prouided to inuade vs: these things would fall out: not know∣ing where the enemie will land, all the coast must be furnished with souldiers. For to thinke, that our trayned men would be trayned together in time to make resistance, is simplicitie. And if any port be left open, as good all should be disarmed. But this would be double the charge of leuying and furnishing an army for Spaine. and the Page  22longer the enemy holdeth vs in breath, the greater would the charge arise. and all this for any thing that I can see without ef∣fect, seeing it is neither possible to keepe an army from landing, nor safety to fight without great aduantage immediatly vpon the enemies landing.

If the enemy should land, as well he may comming with great force, we neither haue strong townes, nor many great riuers to stoppe his proceedings, nor any way to resist, but by force of men in open fielde, and howe dangerous it is to oppose yong souldiers and almost tumultuary forces against a puissant army of olde soul∣diers, the victories of Annibal in Italy, of Scipio in Afrike, of the Greekes in Persia, of the English in Spaine, and infinite Histo∣ries declare.

If the enemy be suffered to take breath, who seeth not howe hee will fortifie him selfe? if hee be suffered to range without fight, who considereth not the wracke and spoyles of the countrey that will folowe?

When the countrey is all in trouble, the reuenues both of the Prince, and priuate men either will cease, or at least be greatly di∣minished. Ferdinando king of Naples in the inuasion of his State made by the French, found it23 true. And reason may teach vs, that where the husbandmen part by the rapines of the enemy, and part by the spoyles of our owne souldiers can not enioy the fruites of their ground, their rentes can not be payde. and if rentes bee not payd, howe will our souldiers be payd? suppose then, that the charge of an army in a foreine countrey be great: yet may it well be borne, being equally diuided, so long as men enioy their liuings peaceably: if that may not be; howe shall we mainteine twise so ma∣ny souldiers at home?

If when the enemies inuade vs, malcontent persons should dis∣couer themselues, then as the number of our enemies, so the heape of our troubles would increase.

But suppose (for what danger in such a case is not to be fore∣cast?) that our army should receiue some checke: what townes haue wee, or straits to arrest the enemy? the countrey people be∣ing vnacquainted with warres, what lawes cankeepe thē in order? helpe can wee looke for none, our friendes being either not able, or not willing to helpe vs, for some seeme offended with the spoyles Page  24of their shippes, others beare vs in hand, they will remember our slender helpe aforded to them, which notwithstanding is more then they deserued.

Other secret wounds may not be opened, neither needeth it, see∣ing as euery man may perceiue by these reasons, which already I haue brought, how easy, safe, profitable, and honourable it is to in∣uade the Spaniard, and how disaduatageous it wil be to this land, if either we stay with our hands folded together, or els deferre to charge the Spaniard with full force vntill such time, as he shall come to cut our throtes at home.

Hiero25 king of Sicile, when the Romanes were inuaded by Annibal, gaue them counsaile to transport an army ouer into A∣frike, the happy successe of Scipio doing the same fifteene yeeres af∣terward, and by that meanes making an end of the warres, doeth confirme that counsell to haue bene most excellent. If when Philip26 king of Macedonia ioyned in league with Annibal, they had not sent an army into Greece to finde him occupied at home; hardly could they haue made resistance against the force of two so mightie ene∣mies vnited together. The experience of the warres with Annibal in Italy made them more wise afterward, and speedy. For hearing of Philips of Macedonia, and Antiochus his preparatiues to transport their armies into Italy: they eased them of the paine, and met them in more then halfe way. But what neede examples of foreine nati∣ons, seeing it hath bene the vse of our ancesters to seeke their enemies alwayes abroade in their owne countreys? this course is most honorable, most safe, yea and (that which is nowe most accompted of by some) most profitable, and least chargeable for vs also. Nothing can be more honorable then to defend our religion, lawes, and coun∣trey against those that seeke to oppresse vs: no course more safe, then so to hazard, that the losse doe not endanger our state: no way more profitable then by keeping the enemy farre off, to mainteine the reuenues of the Crowne, and euery mans priuate liuing, and trade at home.

Wherefore refusing the pernicious counsell of those, that babble of I knowe not what peace; let the Spaniard rather feele the effects of warre in Spaine, then bee suffered be to drawe his vnsatiable sword in England. his malice is not lesse then it was. But hither. to God hath broken his purposes, and crossed his designements. But Page  27if he be suffered quietly to possesse Britein; the longer wee differre our warres, the more dangerous we shall finde them, and our selues more vnable to resist. Nowe that hee hath a strong party against him in France, and that the Low countreys either stand against him, or are weary of his gouernement, and that Portugal is mal∣content with his newe tyranny, is the time to hurt him, and pre∣uaile against him. If we suffer him to settle his owne affaires, and this good opportunitie to passe, I feare, we shall often wish for the like, and hardly finde it.