Images de page
PDF
ePub

defend herself. Yet have these things been done of her Majesty, with such deliberation, advisement, and long protracting of time, as it might be evident unto all the world, that she sought nothing more, than to have her enemies, by some means or other, reconciled unto her, before she would enter into any new action, for her own defence. And undoubtedly, but that it so much concerned the cause of God, and the kingdom of her antient allies; all which she was born to defend, when she took upon her the imperial crown; and that she saw, that, if she did take whole kingdoms from her enemies by violence, they could never have enraged more against her, than before; she would rather have lost a thousand lives, in her own person, than to bave touched any thing, that should offend her neighbours, or might seem to belong to another. But when she saw that no good ordinary means would prevail ; when her highness perceived, that Turks, Jews and Infidels, were suffered to live quietly among them, without compulsion of conscience, but her poor subjects brought into servitude, unless they would submit their souls to the power of antichrist; when, for a most courteous entertainment of all their subjects, within her dominions, all hers, among them, were either made gally-slaves, or else brought within the compass of their cruel inquisition; when neither her own friendly letters might be received, as they should, nor her messengers of account, regarded as they ought : Finally, when they had decreed, that no faith * was to be kept with

, and made us worse than Infidels, because we have fled from their superstition, and followed the sincere faith of Jesus Christ: then her Majesty, with all princely courage and magnanimity, began to stretch forth her power to defend the cause of God, and her own right. And, these be the strong causes of their tragical dealings against us!

Awake now, therefore, my countrymen ; pluck up your spirits, ye that have courage in you : advance yourselves, which have so long lain in security.

If ever you were forced but for a season to shew the strength of your bodies, now have you cause to join therewith the courage of your minds. They have sounded their trumpet, and made ready unto battle. What they have, these many years, devised against you, now they do put in practice. Their standard is advanced, they are in arms to assail you. Be ye valiant to resist, and prepare you to the fight. It must be no more with you now, as it was in times past, when you had sudden expeditions against the French and Scottish nations; when you thought it sufficient, to prepare for forty days victuals' and munition, and for one day's action, and so to return home to your wonted quiet rest, and careless custom ; fearing no more till a new alarum.

For ye deal not now with such nations, which either for their poverty could not, or for lack of courage durst not, or for want of stayed minds would not ; but ye encounter with them that are rich, hardy, resolute, and frequented with daily victories, which neglect no opportunity nor advantage; which desire not to be lords to-day, and

• Or soleran promises, treaties or engagements.

loiterers to-morrow; which, if they set in one foot, are ready to enter in with both. But on the other side, we, of all nations, have been noted invincible, if we encounter with our enemies, while our spirits be sharpened against them, while the cause is yet fresh in our memory: and that we, at the first, run unto all great attempts with greedy desire, but after a while grow cold, negligent, and careless : that, which we now willingly cnterprise with the loss of our lives, within few days, we let slip by a careless negligence. And this report (no doubt) hath beeri too much verified by us in France, Normandy, Gascoyne, Aquitain, and in innumerable other places; gained in some time, with wonderful honour, and losť upon the sudden, with great dishonour.

But far be these old careless minds from new English hearts ; and when we have the true knowledge of God, experience of our enemies, riches, munition, and more means to defend than ever before. When we know our enemies to be so many, so mighty, so rich, and so resolute: when we are so well advised of our former faults; when our cause is so rare, so great, and concerns, not only, our lives and goods, our wives and children, our honour, our prince, and our com. mon-weal: but most of all, when it toucheth the salvation of our souls, the inheritance of Christ's kingdom, and the preservation of all his Saints. Which cause, never before this time, happened to any of our forefathers. Banish, therefore, from you those old negligences, wherewith ye have been so long noted ; and print in your minds new resolutions of steadfast and perpetual courage, such as shall never decay, or grow cold by the intermission of time, or change of matter.

And, to the end there may never be in you any thing to hinder so dutiful and necessary a work, I will set down both the lets and impediments, that be most enemies to this excellent defence: and also, the best means I find to redress the same. Which things being regarded, with such care as they ought, will so thoroughly prepare and furnish us, that, though the whole world, and enemies of Christ and his gospel, rage never so much against us, we shall continually be able to defend ourselves, and the realm, against them; yea, and, if need so require, to offend some of them also, for the better safety of our Christian brethren dispersed abroad in the world.

The late enterprise, which your enemies made against you; whereby they made a full account to have conquered you; although the same was exceeding dangerous, by reason of their wonderful great preparation and furniture ; such, as, I suppose, in that kind, hath scarcely been heard or read of, since the beginning of the world, against any nation: yet, since God, by his mighty arm, hath delivered you from the danger thereof; it may turn, it ye be well advised, to the greatest profit that ever happened unto England. For thereby we have seen, what force our eneinies be of, and have learned how to prepare against them. We have tried, that great actions must not be taken in hand, with slender furnitures. That, if we purpose to be forth for one month, we must prepare for twain. That it is better to leave great abundance, than to lack one pennyworth. That, if we have all the strength and provision that can be devised in the world, yet to put no

a

confidence therein, but to rely only on the mercy, and assistance, and defence of Almighty God, the Lord of Hosts.

It hath also discovered unto us the forces and furnitures of our own realm. It hath shewed unto us our own wants. It hath stirred up our minds to look to ourselves. It hath made us effectually to know the meaning of our enemies, which before we did but miştrust, and would hardly believe. It hath taught us, who be her Majesty's loyal subjects at home, and her faithful friends abroad. Finally, it hath warned us, not to use any more our old wonted negligence, but with hands and heart, with lands and goods, before and after, and at every present time, to resist every foreign invasion, and to provide earnestly against the same.

In like manner, the general musters, and training up of men, most prudently and politically commanded throughout the realm : besides the wonderful readiness, that it hath brought the state into, in time of need; it hath also given us a full and perfect knowledge, both of the sufficiency of our men, and of all their furnitures of war. All which things, though they might seem sufficient of themselves, to shew and admonish you to prepare all that is necessary ; yet will I shew you more particularly, what things, in my judgment, are most needful herein, and what impediments there be, that we cannot so thoroughly defend the realm, as we ought, and are bound in duty to do. Which being considered, and the impediments removed, we may more easily do the same.

The first and most general thing to be noted herein, is, that all particular persons, which are charged by the statute to provide furnitures * according to their estate and living, have either none of these things at all, when they be commanded to serve the common weal, or else they have them in such bare and simple sort, as it may seem they do nothing for conscience and duty, and for the love they bear to their country, but for a bare shew, to blind the eyes of the world, and to deceive the laws of the realm. And no doubt, but the offence of these is so great, as if either in their own conscience they know themselves able, or if it be proved by others that they have sufficient, and yet neglect their service, it standeth both with justice and reason, that they should enjoy nothing of their own, till the common weal be first furnished of such things as is their part to perform.

Moreover, In the levying and pressing of soldiers, as there have always been great abuses in them, which have been captains, and had the charge thereof; so is there some corruption used at this day. For the best and strongest bodies, the best trained, and most able to do service, are many times spared, and young weaklings, without strength, or skill, or ability, are appointed in their stead. How beit I hope that by reason of the weightiness of the cause at this time, and willingness that men have to the wars, hath made this offence not so general now, as before time. And I myself have lately seen wholo bands, as well chosen and furnished, as one might wish.

[ocr errors]

• Arms for the uilitia.

Again, we must consider with ourselves, that the hands and cornets of horsemen, and especially of lances, have ever been, and yet are the most necessary and puissant strength in wars, both to defend ourselves, and offend our enemies. And therefore we must take more care in these days, to provide great horses, and large geldings, than cver before. For if we have store of these, well furnished, and do mount on them our own valiant Englishmen; what great act dare

n we not attempt? What army dare we not assail ? What city dare we not besiege? Nay, what enterprise think we 'not before-hand obtained ? Did we not in a late siege against the town of Zutfen, in the LowCountries, with the force of two or three-hundred horsemen, under the conduct of the valiant Earl of Essex, general of the horsemen, and divers other hardy gentlemen, give repule unto above twelvehundred of the best horsemen of the King of Spain ? with infinite other examples of the like. If then the number of twelve-score did so great an exploit, what will ten or twelve-thousand of those, or the like lances, do in any necessary service, for the honour and defence of the realm and I trust, that the worthy example, which my lords of her Majesty's council, and of other lords and gentlemen, taken in mustering of so many good horses, and men at arms, of their own charge*, will encourage the whole realm to provide such store of horses and armours, as shall throughly be able to defend the same, For, let it be shewed, where there is any civil realm in Christendom, that hath better means to breed horses than England hath ; wherein be more parks, forests, chaces, and commons fit for this purpose, than in all the kingdoms round about us. And assuredly, if noblemen and gentlemen, which have the greatest store of these grounds to spare, would employ some of them to the breed of horses, besides the unspeakable benefit they should bring to their country, they themsclves also, in short time, should reap as great benefit thereby, as by any other means they can devise. And although, these many years past, there hath been no talk but of peace, and security; yet that now when they see they must seek means, how to defend büth their living, and lives also, from their enemies, they will no more neglect a matter of so great importance; but will with one whole consent provide, that within few years, by the example of Germany, and other places, all the horses of labour, which are not novy worth their meat, shall be turned into able horses of service; which being done, we shall have one of the most puissant and flourishing kingdoms of the world. And hereby we see how necessary a means this is for our defence.

Moreover, there ariseth many times a muttering, or discontentment of soldiers, that though the Prince, and her chief officers, have provided that every one should be justly paid for the time he serveth, times their pay is kept from them, by some mean captain or officer. And I have heard so many of them, so often, and so pitifully complain of the wrong that their young captains have offered them herein, as although some lewd fellows among thein may abuse their hearers; yet, without doubt, there is a great fault: -And, lest this should be any im.

yet often

See the particulars on page: 74 and 80.

pediment to a general and faithful defence of the realm, we are to wish, that there may be good means to redress the same.

In like manner all sorts of purveyors and victuallers, whether they be for the army or navy, if they have any love to their country, any faithfulness to their prince, any charity towards men, or any regard of their duty and service, must be more careful than heretofore; not only, that there be store of victuals diligently provided in time, and before there be any scarcity, and murmuring among the soldiers, but that it be also good and wholesome for their bodies; lest by the corruption thereof they be infected; and so the whole realm, by their sickness, be indangered.

Also private men, which have most store of victuals in their houses, and be best able to serve, and yet, being commanded, do either refuse to serve, or, by corrupting of under officers, withdraw themselves from the service: Besides that they be enemies to their country, and betray the common weal; they be also most injurious to their poor neighbours, which are compelled to serve, and yet not so well able as they.

Finally, The dissension and emulation that I have seen in the common weal, between private captains, for vain-glory; hath been, and is no small hinderance to the defence of the realm. For while one saith, I have been longer in the wars, and have more experience than he: Another, I have been in more battles, and have received more wounds : Another, I have travelled further upon the sea, and have done greater exploits : Another, I have been more fortunate, and have brought home more spoils from the enemies, and yet am worser rewarded than he. What is this, but to tear in sunder the common weal, and to hinder every

honourable action that belongeth to the defence of the same. Whereas every honest and true-hearted man to his country, will abandon all contentions, and will set a-part all displeasures and petty grudges; especially in the time of any publick service; when every man's duty and courage should apprar. Very notable was that action of Hermias, towards bis adversary Cretinus Magnetius, but especially towards his native country; against which Mithridates made war.

For when Magnesius had given his consent, that Hermias should be general captain of the wars, and he himself in the mean time would banish himself, for fear of factions that might arise: 'No (saith Hermias) I know Cretinus to be a better captain than myself, and therefore I will be banished till the wars be ended! This example is worthy remembrance; how beit,

' Christian captains must step one degree further; and must not only lay aside all displeasure for a time, and be content that their adversary, whom they think to have better knowledge, and more experience in martial affairs than they, shall have government and preheminence above them; and they, for that cause, to withdraw themselves from the wars; but they must also be present in person, and, with all their counsel, endeavour, and strength, must help to overthrow the publick enemy of the realm, in how mean a place soever the prince, or her lieutenant, shall appoint them

Last of all, the great prodigality and excess of apparel, building, and dainty fare of the nobility and gentlemen of the realm, is an exceeding binderance to the defence of the same. For since the most part of the

VOL. II.

« PrécédentContinuer »