HIS Majesty having left Field Marshal Harnam with the Duke's forces, to accord with Leipzig and the castle, the eleventh of September, we continued our march towards Halle; and coming at the appointed rendezvous, we halted in the fields, where we were to quarter overnight; his Majesty accompanied with a great and honourable train of cavaliers, lighted from his horse on the head of our brigade; the officers whereof coming together about his Majesty in a ring, his Majesty made a speech in commendation of the brigade, thanking them for their good service, and exhorting them for the continuance thereof, promising, as he was a royal King, he would not forget to reward them; and turning him towards the supreme officers, they in all humility did kiss his Majesty's hand, in confirmation of their loyalty in time to come, the whole inferior officers and soldiers cried aloud, they hoped to do his Majesty better service then ever they had done.
His Majesty taking horse again with his royal train, he directed General Bannier to go and distribute the three thousand foot prisoners that were willing to take service, under the Dutch regiments: Whereupon, I approached unto his Majesty, entreating his Majesty to consider the great loss our regiment had sustained on all the former occasions of service, that seeing we were become weak like to other regiments; Therefore his Majesty might be graciously pleased to give order to General Bannier, that I might have all the Britons and Irish that were amongst the prisoners, to strengthen our regiment, which his Majesty granting, directed a cavalier with me unto the General, commanding I should have them: I was overjoyed, thinking to get a recruit of old soldiers; and the cavalier having declared his Majesty's will unto the General, the General said, with all his heart I should have them, and when I had made trial to find out the number; there were but three Irish amongst them all, and being disappointed of a strong Recruit, I did over-see those, to follow their comrades; and being returned, his Majesty asked me how I sped; I told his Majesty, Britons were so far addicted to his Majesty and the cause, that few of them served the Emperor, whereupon I entreated his Majesty for some Dutch; but his Majesty refusing, promised to put me and the regiment alone upon an occasion, where I should get, not only the prisoners, but good booty also.
The next morning continuing our march towards Halle, the most part of my folks were commanded for the in-taking of the castle of Halle, the party being commanded by the Colonel of the artillery, Captain William Stewart, Clare his brother, then Captain under our regiment, was commanded with the commanded men, the castle being taken by accord, we did get fifty old soldiers that took service under our regiment.
His Majesty on the Sabbath day in the morning went to Church, to give thanks to God for his by-past victories, this church being the Bishop's cathedral seat, I did hear there sung the sweetest melodious music that could be heard, where I did also see the most beautifull women Dutchland could afford.
The next day the Duke of Saxony, with a princely train, came unto Halle, to congratulate his Majesty's victory, and was invited to sup with his Majesty, where they made merry, and the next day held counsel how to maintain the wars, and how they should prosecute their victory, where it was concluded, that his Majesty with his army should advance towards Erfurt, and, then over Thuringer Wald unto Franconia; and that the Duke's army should march unto Silesia, and towards the Crantzis, or frontiers of Bohemia. After this conclusion, his Majesty sent post unto Prussia to call the Chancellor of Sweden from thence, to be at Halle as legate for his Majesty, to disburden him of the politic affairs, having burden enough of the military employment, and of the receiving and dispatching of foreign ambassadors; and till the Chancellor's coming he did leave Colonel Winckle with a strong garrison in Halle, having wisely foreseen both the way, how to prosecute his victory, as also to maintain his conquest.
The eighteenth Observation.
This great army of General Tilly's being defeated, did seperate themselves in great troops and bands, especially the foot; who ought ever to stand well, and fight with courage boldly in field, and not to suffer themselves to be rent; though the horsemen should run away, and being they cannot run so fast for their safeties; my counsel then shall be ever to them, to fight well for victory, and though they should lose all hope of victory, I would not have them to disbandon or scatter; but rather to stand together, till at last they might get honourable quarters for themselves, rather then shamefully to be cut off in flying away.
Here we see, that the foot soldiers suffer ever the greatest loss in extremity, and they have ever least gains, though most credit: but we see his Majesty with clemency doth follow the example of the ancient Romans, who, of all victories, thought that victory best, which least was stained with blood, having given quarters and service to three thousand Imperial soldiers, without drawing one drop of blood.
Likewise we see here the continuance of his Majesty's industry and diligence, aswell in prosecuting his victory, as he was valiant in obtaining of it, in the one as in the other vindicating his own honour, and the honour of his noble friends, showing, after the fury was past, his clemency and meekeness towards his enemies; yet who ever was more valiant than he, being ever in all his onsets a leader? And as we see his Majesty's valour and diligence, in prosecuting his victory: so we see also his care, in supplying the weakness of his army, as a wise General should do, in not letting his enemies see the weakness of his army, which ought never to be known to those, who would rejoice at the same.
Likewise here I did observe a great thankfulness in a King, in acknowledging openly in view of an army, the good service done by his servants: wherein I did especially see his love to our nation beyond all others, that did serve him, to make other nations emulous of their glory, in following of their virtues; and though his Majesty used them here, rather like unto friends than to servants, it should not make them the more saucy, but rather the more humble, as both officers and soldiers did verify, in promising the continuance of their faithful obedience, and of better service, as the Lord would enable them, on the next occasions.
Likewise we did see here, how few of our nation are induced to serve those Catholic potentates: and for my part, I find the reason good: for if we have any enemies in Europe, it must be those, that would not only overthrow our estates at home (if they could) but also would force us (if it lay in their powers) to make shipwreck of our consciences, by leading us unto idolatry.
Moreover we see here, that his Majesty and the Duke of Saxony having once been companions of danger together, they were then entertaining one another's familiarity, in renewing of their friendship, confirmed again with the German custom, in making their League the firmer, by drinking brothership together, where I having entered the Halle, and being seen by his Majesty, I was presently kindly embraced by holding his arm over my shoulder: wishing I could bear as much drink, as old General Major Ruthven, that I might help his Majesty to make his guests merry, and holding me fast by the hand, calling to the Duke of Saxony, declared unto him, what service our nation had done his father and him, and the best last, at Leipzig: commending in particular to the Duke, Colonel Hepburne, and Lumsdell, and having called Colonel Hepburne unto him, he did reiterate the former discourse, and much more, in commendation of the Scots.
In the continuance of this war in Germany (as the sequel of the story will prove) from the Baltic coast unto the Alps and Tyrol; where Colonel Hepburne was sent out as Colonel, to command a party, I was sent with him, as his second, being ever much obliged unto him, not only for his love on those occasions, but also for his good counsel, he being long before me in the Swedens service. And as we were oft comrades of danger together; so being long acquainted, we were comrades in love: first at college, next in our travels in France, at Paris and Poictiers, Anno 1615, till we met again in Prussia at Elbe in August 1630. Nothing therefore inmy opinion, more worthy to be kept next unto faith, than this kind of friendship, grown up with education, confirmed by familiarity, in frequenting the dangers of war; and who is more worthy to be chosen for a friend, then one who hath shown himself both valiant and constant against his enemies, as the worthy Hepburne hath done, who is generally so well known in armies, that he needs no testimony of a friend, having credit and reputation enough amongst his enemies.
To conclude then this observation as I begun it, I cannot but commend his Majesty's wisdom and foresight, in bringing the Rex-chancellor Oxensterne on the Dutch bottom, to be second to his Majesty, and to free him of a part of his buthens, by placing him at Halle (as legate) being Centrum Germaniae.