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enemy, is rashly to join battle, without any foresight of the inconvenience thereof: A thing so generally received of all our nation, for the best way, as who should seem to impugn the same is in danger to be made ridiculous, and his reasons to be holden for heresy, and not fit to be heard or read; and yet, how rude, ignorant, and untowardly we should and would present ourselves thereunto, make but some models of convenient numbers assembled, and you shall see the same.
In private quarrels for trifling causes, every man desireth to be exercised and skilful in that weapon, wherewith he would encounter his enemy; but, in this general conflict, wherein we fight for the safety of our country, religion, goods, wives, and children, we should hazard all in that order and form, wherein we are altogether ignorant and unexperimented.
But, because I have found it, by experience and reason, a very desperate and dangerous kind of trial, I would not wish any prince to venture his kingdom that way, unless he be weary of the same, it being the only thing for an invader to seek, and a defender to shun; for the one doth hazard but his people, and hath a lot to win a kingdom; the other, in losing of the battle, hath lost his crown.
A battle is the last refuge, and not to be yielded unto by the defendant, until such time as he and his people are made desperate.
In which kind of trial, seldom or never shall you see the invader to quail; no, though his numbers have been much less than the other.
There is a kind of heat and fury in the encounter and joining of battles; the which whose side can longest retain, on that part goeth victory; contrariwise, which side conceiveth the first fear, whether it be upon just cause, or not, that side goeth to wreck; yea, and oftentimes it falleth so out, before the pikes be touched.
Thus much to the uncertainty of battle; wherein albeit I would wish our nation to be well exercised and trained, it being a thing of great moment, yet to be used in our own country, as the sheet-anchor and last refuge of all.
A Caveat for the avoiding of that dangerous course in running down to the Sea side, at the firing of the Beacons.
THAT there be in every shire places appointed, whereunto the country may resort upon the firing of the beacons; which places of assembly should not be less distant, than five or six miles from the seaside at the least, for the footmen to gather themselves together, to the intent you may the better sort your men, put them in some order, and consult what is meetest to be done; which you shall hardly be able to do, if your place of assembly be within the view, or near unto the enemy, who will by all means seek to attempt you in your disorderly assemblies. Moreover, if fear once take your men, or they be amazed, if you had as skilful leaders as the earth doth bear, they would not be able to dispose or reduce them into such order and form as they would; nei
ther will the enemy give you time to deliberate what is best to be done, but you must either disorderly fight, or more disorderly run away. And, above all things, I especially advise to shun that old and barbarous custom of running confusedly to the sea-side, thinking thereby to prevent the landing of the enemy, or at least to annoy them greatly; which you shall never do; for, be it upon any invasion, you may be sure, that there is no prince will undertake so great an enterprise, but he will be sure to have such a number of boats, gallies, and other small vessels of draught, as he will be able to land at one time two or three thousand men; which boats shall be so well appointed with bases and other shot, as that they will be sure to make way for their quiet landing. And, for my own part, I much doubt, whether you shall have in two or three days, after the firing of the beacons, such a sufficient number as, with wisdom and discretion, were fit to deal or venture a battle with so many men as they will land in an hour, for any thing that ever I could yet see in the country's readiness at the firing of the beacons.
If the enemy doth intend but to land, and burn some houses or villages near to the sea-coast, for the prevention thereof, as much as may be, it were good to appoint only those, that dwell within two or three miles of the sea-side, to repair thither to make resistance; and, for their succour, you may appoint the horsemen to draw down to the plains next adjoining to the same, who may also keep them at a bay from straggling far into the country.
But, if the attempt be made by a prince purposed and appointed to invade, if you give them battle at the first landing, you offer them even the thing they most desire; and it is a thousand to one a conquest the first day.
My reasons are these: First, You give battle, but, I pray, with what people? even with countrymen altogether unexperimented in martial actions, whose leaders are like to themselves; and another thing, as dangerous as all this, You fight at home, where your people know the next way to save themselves by flight, in recovering of towns, woods, and by-ways.
Contrariwise, with whom do you encounter but with a company of picked and trained soldiers, whose leaders and captains are, no doubt, men both politick and valiant, who are made so much the more desperate and bold, by not leaving to themselves any other hope to save their lives, but by marching over your bellies. And besides, it is to be imagined, that, having spread some faction before, amongst yourselves, as there is no country free from seditious and treacherous malecontents, they are animated to pursue the victory more sharply. Again, if you once receive an overthrow, what fear and terror you have brought yourselves into, how hardly you shall bring a second battle, and how dangerous to fight with men dismayed, those that are of experience can judge. Likewise what pride and jollity you have put your enemies in, to march forward, having no forts, nor fenced towns, to give them any stop in this fear, or for your own people to take breath, and make head again; but that your enemies and factious companies of your own nation may join together, and be furnished with victuals, horse, and carriage at their will and pleasure, without which no prince can prevail in
any invasion; for, if you drive him to bring these things with him (as, if matters be well foreseen, and a good plot laid, you may easily do) a world of shipping will scarce suffice for the transportation thereof, besides an infinite mass and charge, that must be provided before-hand; yea, and what waste and loss thereof will fall out, though wind, weather, and shipping were had to pass without disturbance, experience thereof remaineth yet fresh in memory.
Again, if scarcity of victuals and unsavouriness thereof once grow, the pestilence and other sickness (which assail the best victualled and ordered army that ever was) will then be doubled and trebled, in such sort, that it will, in a short time, fight and get the victory for you.
And here, by the way, I would put you in remembrance, that there be continual lets and disturbances by your navy of the quiet passing of their victuals which should come unto them; whereof you shall oftentimes take advantage also by storms and contrary winds.
Wherefore I hold it for the best and surest way to suffer the enemy, coming to invade, to land quietly at his pleasure; which he will otherwise do, whether you will or not: Only fronting him in the plains with your horsemen; and by all means and diligence to draw the victuals, cattle, carriages, and corn behind your back; and that which you cannot, to waste and spoil, that the enemy take no advantage thereof, keeping such streights and passages with your footmen, as may be kept, and which, with small numbers of your horsemen, you may safely do, until great power do come to back you, And, though they win some streight, which they cannot do without great loss, yet, by keeping of back-receipts in streights, you shall always (if you be so driven) retire without any great loss or danger: And always remember to leave a ward in every place meet to be guarded, though it be but of twenty or thirty persons, which will be an occasion for the enemy to stop the winning of them before they can pass; because else those few numbers will always annoy their victuals and ammunition, that daily and hourly must have free and quiet passage to them. Now, if they tarry the winning or yielding of them up, though it be but a day or two kept, you get thereby time to yourselves to grow stronger, and your enemy loseth opportunity, and waxeth weaker.
For we see, and find by experience, that huge armies, lying in the fields but fifteen or sixteen weeks, are brought to that weakness, and their first courage so abated by sickness and pestilence, which are hand, maids unto such great assemblies, especially where any want of those things is that belong to the sustentation of man's body, that they may, with smaller numbers and less danger, be dealt withal, than at the first landing. Moreover, your people shall, in that time, attain to some knowledge, by daily exercise and use of their weapons; and the terror of shot will be more familiar unto them. For it is not numbers that do prevail, but trained men, resolute minds, and good order. For, if a prince would only select and choose out such men to wear armour, and employ the rest, I mean the baser sort, to the spade and shovel, there is no doubt but he shall sooner attain unto victory by this means, than with rude multitudes, in whom there is nothing but confusion and disorder.
Again, the spade and the shovel are so necessary instruments of war, both to the invader and defender, as nothing is so impossible, that thereby may not be atchieved, and made easy: And, without the employment whereof, we cannot presume, at any time, of safety. I could discourse at large hereof, in shewing the use and benefit of them. But, because to every man of judgment and experience it is sufficiently known, I shall not need to speak much therein; but wish you to embrace them, it being to a defender so special and singular a commodity, in that he may better be furnished with infinite numbers of them.
And moreover, if you shall appoint them to weapons, who are apter to labour than to fight, you shall find double inconveniences thereby, in misplacing them contrary to their natural disposition and use.
And, touching my own opinion and judgment, I should more stand in fear of a few picked and choice soldiers, that were furnished with a ufficient number of pioneers, than with the hugeness of an army of unselect and disfurnished numbers. Now, to say somewhat by the way, touching your armed pikes, the only body, strength, and bulwark in the field: It is not a little to be lamented, to see no more store in this land. We have so wonderfully weakened ourselves, that it is high time to look to the restoring of them again. And touching the use of shot, as it is a singular weapon, being put into the hands of the skilful and exercised soldier, being the pillar and upholder of the pikes, and without which he is no perfect body: So no doubt, on the contrary part, committed to a coward's, or an unskilful man's handling, it is the priviest thief in the field. For he robbeth pay, consumeth victuals, and slayeth his own fellows, in discharging behind their backs. And one thing even as ill as this, he continually wasteth powder, the most precious jewel of a prince.
Wherefore, I would wish captains not only to reject such as are altogether unapt, but greatly to commend them that discharge but few shots, and bestow them well. For it is more worthy of praise to discharge fair and leasurely, than fast and unavisedly: The one taking advantage by wariness and foresight, whereas the other loseth all with rashness and haste.
But to return to the pike again. Myself being in the Low Countries in the camp, when those great armies were last assembled, and perusing, in every several regiment, the sorting and division of weapons, as well as their order and discipline: There were two nations, the French being one, that had not, betwixt them both, an hundred pikes. Whereof I much marvelling, and desiring greatly to know the cause that had moved them to leave the pike, which, in my conceit I always judged the strength of the field; happening afterward into the company of certain French Captains, some of them ancient in years, and such as were of the religion, I demanded the reason that had moved them to give over that defensible weapon the pike, and betake them altogether to shot. Not for any disliking, or other cause, said they, but for that we have not such personable bodies, as you Englishmen have, to bear them; neither have we them at that commandment as you have, but are forced to hire other nations to supply our insufficiency, for, of ourselves, we cannot say we can make a compleat body. Moreover, they
GENTLEMEN AND STUDENTS
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
Offered to both Houses, upon Wednesday, being the fifth day of January, 1642; upon the arrival of that news to them, of the bishops late imprisonment. With their appeal to his most excellent majesty.
Printed at London, for John Greensmith, 1642. Quarto, containing
Humbly and plainly sheweth,
THAT, if the very front of our requests be assaulted with a refusal, before we further declare, we, in all humility and observancy, desire not to be admitted; so may we happily ease ourselves of a danger to be bold where we ought, although not where we may; Yet, if we may be heard to those (we mean yourselves) whose ears cannot and (we dare say) must not, to any whatsoever just requests, we again, as in our former prostration, thus desire you, and, if the expression be more humble, beg of you:
First, not to believe this in itself fictitious, humoursome, affronting, and, if not presumptuous, uno cætera diximus, those epithets which we know, but, if not know, wish, from yourselves, are not undeservedly, nor unjustly, nor illegally sent forth against those, who, according to your loss, your too much abused patience (heaven grant a speedier execution to your commands) daily, hourly, abuse,
Et Regem et Regnum.
Secondly, although we are not vox ipsa academiæ, nor all regentmasters in the cause, yet we hope the liberal sciences may be as prevalent as the mechanical, intruding, not with swords, but knees, which had not yet been bended, but in this alone our impetration.
Now, our, most honoured senates, may we now, with what a too tedious preamble lulled you, now again awake you.
We, the gentlemen and students of the university of Cambridge, do utterly, from our hearts, shoot back those arrows of aspersion newly cast npon us to be seducers.