Monro His Expedition - The ninth Duty discharged of Major Dumbarre his Service at Breddenburg.

The ninth Duty discharged of Major Dumbarre his Service at Breddenburg.

This noble cavalier, of famous and worthy memory, having done notable good service at Boizenburg Skonce on the river of the Elbe, as was formerly set down, at his retiring to Glückstadt, he was commanded with four companies of Scots, and certain Dutch, the enemy having fallen into Holstein, his order was to beset the castle of Breddenburg, being a pass, but not strong, nor fortified in forma. As I was informed by a valorous little captain, Captain William Lumsdell, who then was ensign to the major, who only at that time escaped with his life, from the fury of the enemy, being within the house, while as the rest, in the fury, were put to the sword: This gentleman who informed me, was with the major walking abroad near to the house at the enemies' first approaching, so that the enemy unawares did come so near, that they retiring to the castle, had scarce time to draw up the draw-bridge, when the enemy with his forces, being, as was thought, ten thousand strong, led by Tilly, had the house environed on all quarters. The enemy sends a trumpeter, summoning to render the place, which was refused. Whereupon they entered to approach, and the defender resists. The service thus begun, comedian-like, ends very tragically, the whole court and lodgings running with blood, with which the walls and pavement are sprinkled with our Scottish blood, to be viewed and seen to this day. To be particular in the discharge of this duty at large, not having seen the service, I will not, lest I should err in giving notice unto the world, of things I did not know; but by report, which ordinarily holds not so true, as things we have both known and seen. In this house of Breddenburg there was a great number of men, women and children, besides the soldiers, that had taken their flight thither, as to a place of refuge, at the enemies' first coming into the land. There was also in this house great store of riches, belonging to the lord of the house, and to the fugitives, that was brought from the country. The Major valourously defended the place for six days, until the time they had approached unto the moat, and shot two several breaches in the wall, and being so near, the enemy directed a drummer unto the Major, to see if he would parley; But the drummer returned with an answer, that so long as there was blood in Dumbarre's head, that house should never be given over: which answer so incensed the enemy against them, that they sware, if they got the upper hand over them, they should all die without quarters. Shortly after the answer was returned, the Major was shot dead in the head with a fire-lock; The rest of the officers were ashamed to capitulate for an accord, the Major having refused: immediately after, Captain Duncan Forbesse was killed, and after him, Lieutenant Barbour, and then Captain Carmichell, who had no charge there, but came by accident to visit his comrades before the enemies' coming, whose fortune was not to eschew the payment of that debt by longer continuation. The enemy then passing the moat or fosse, with a general storm, scorned all quarters, and being entered, cruelly put all to the sword, making no difference of quality, age, nor sex, but all alike cruelly put to death: so that five or six at most escaped, whereof Ensign Lumsdell miraculously was one.

The enemy before this house was taken, as I was informed, lost above a thousand men, which made the enemies' cruelty the greater; and of our regiment were killed above three hundred. And it is reported, that after the fury was passed, they made inquisition for the Major's body, and having found it, they ripped up his breast, took out his heart, sundered his gums, and stuck his heart into his mouth; they also killed the preacher, who being on his knees, begging life, was denied mercy.

The ninth Observation.

Happy is he who opens the earth, and crops her plenty from her fertile bosom, tasting the harmony of peace, singing away his labours all day, having no note drowned with noise of drum nor cannon, but sleeps with peace at night, not over-awed by the tyrants of the earth, leading the ranks of blood and death, as these cruel murderers did at this time, by their monstrous and prodigious massacre, breaking the peace of God, swimming in Christian blood, without mercy to officer, soldier, or preacher, heaping up wrath on their own souls, against the day of their appearance before that great Judge, that shall judge both the quick and the dead.

Out of our enemies' cruelty used here, we ought to learn to forbear the like, lest one day we might be used as they used our friends and countrymen: for we may be revenged on our enemies' cruelty, repaying them in a Christian manner, without making beasts of ourselves; in not showing mercy being sought of us, which is to be more cruel than lions, who will not stir those who stoop unto them. And there is no greater token of injustice, than to do that unto another, that we would not have done unto ourselves. And would'st thou have mercy that refusest to show mercy, being sought of thee? No truly; it is just with God, that he miss mercy, that refuseth mercy unto others; and to have courage without mercy, is to brag of virtue, and lack the right use of it.

Was there greater perfidy in the world than was used here at the in-taking of this house, willingly to harm the dead, and the innocent? For to wrong an innocent preacher, was savage, beseeming a beast, not a man; and to give a stab, as was done here, for the innocent smile of an infant, was devillish black at the heart. We read in the Turkish story of a child, that struck an intending murderer into a swound with offering to embrace him. Would to God, all those that refuse mercy, were so stricken dead, to terrify such tyrants as they were! And I persuade myself, none but villanous persons, being commanders, ever suffered the like to have been done without moderation: but, I hope, haughty and violent minds will never bless the owners; but that by domineering they shall fall like dust.

This worthy cavalier, of famous memory, after his death thus unchristianly used, let no man judge by his end, that he in his lifetime used any man but generously: for I dare affirm, though sometimes he was subject unto passion, it continued not long, he being of a good, sweet, and mild nature, and very kind and constant, where he professed friendship, and as devout in the profession of his religion, professed in Scotland, as became a good Christian being sincere. And commonly his custom was, leading troops on service, till he came in action, he went before them bare-headed, praying for a blessing to his actions, as he hath told me himself; having asked a reason for this his manner of carriage, he scorned in all his onsets to have been anything but a leader, always teaching by the strongest authority, his own forwardness by his own example: And as his humour scorned to be so base as to flatter, so he did hate to be so currish as to bite. But he was ever endued with inviolable amity, joined with invaluable love; and as he was courageous, so he was constant; in the one, withstanding his enemies, in the other, entertaining his friend. In a word, he was a resolute Christian, and a man truly honest; and therefore I persuade myself, his death was but the beginning of his joy, and the end of his misery: having therefore written nothing amiss of him, I need desire no pardon. But I know some men will object, as a blame in him, that he refused a parley, while as there was no appearance, either of relief, or holding out: to which, I cannot otherwise answer, than he answered himself to some of the officers that were most inward with him, which was, that he was sorry the charge of the blood of so many souls did lie on his shoulders. But if he should give over that house, he was persuaded, the King his master would cause to hang him, seeing he had enemies about his Majesty, who would make him die, though innocent. Therefore he resolved to die honourably, rather than his name should be brought in question, and then to suffer at last. Here also we see a poor minister in his last act giving good example, not terrified with the horror of death, nor cruelty of his enemies, but on his knees being denied of mercy from man, begs mercy of God, dying as a martyr, persecuted unto death.

A happy death to him, being resolved with God and his conscience, to die innocently, like a valiant soldier of Christ, encouraging others, even in the last act of his calling! A happy man, dying in sincerity, time shall not out-live his worth; he lives truly after death, whose pious actions are his pillars of remembrance; for though his flesh moulder to dross in the grave, yet his happiness is in a perpetual growth, no day but adds some grains to his heap of glory.

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