The old proverb is, A good beginning makes a good ending, and to lead a good life, is the way to a happy death. Immediately after our landing at Glückstadt on the Elbe, by command of his Majesty of Denmark, we were quartered in the fat and fertile soil of Holstein, nothing inferior in fertility to any part of Dutchland, except in wines, having corn in abundance, to the increase Communibus Annis of the twenty eight corn, wheat and barley: in milk, nothing inferior to Holland, and for the most part inhabited by Hollanders, especially the cities. This soil hath also abundance of fresh and salt-water fishes; their gentry live like noblemen, and their communalty live like gentlemen. During our enquartering with them, our entertainment was answerable to our charges, where some officers had allowance of a piece a day for keeping good order. Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Forbesse had the command over the regiment in the absence of the Colonel, being hindered by sickness. Shortly after our going over, the Lieutenant Colonel departed this life, being a gentleman of much true worth, and a valourous commander, much regrated by the whole regiment. Immediately after his death, Captain Sanders Seaton was by his Majesty's patent made Lieutenant Colonel to the regiment, who did bring a strong company of well exercised soldiers, which were joined to strengthen the regiment. Captain James Dumbarre, who did get Lieutenant Colonel Forbes his company, was placed sergeant major, Captain Sinclaire, Captain Boswell, and Captain Ennis' companies were reduced to strengthen the other companies of the regiment, which being made complete, were mustered, clothed, and paid of their muster-month. Who then would disdain to follow wars, might be thought unwise. The Baron of Fowles coming over a volunteer, was allowed a free table to entertain an Earl, being ordinarily above sixteen persons at table; his visitors, horses and servants entertained accordingly.
The regiment mustered received colours, wherein his Majesty would have the officers to carry the Danes' Cross, which the officers refusing they were summoned to compeare before his Majesty at Rendsburg, to know the reasons of their refusals; at the meeting none would adventure, fearing his Majesty's indignation, to gainestand openly his Majesty's will, being then his Majesty's sworn servants: and for the eschewing of greater inconvenience, the officers desired so much time of his Majesty, as to send Captain Robert Ennis into England, to know his Majesty of Great Britain's will, whether or no, they might carry without reproach the Dane' Cross, in Scottish colours: answer was returned; they should obey their will, under whose pay they were, in a matter so indifferent.
During the tedious winter, the regiment was well exercised, and put under good discipline, as well the particular companies, as the whole regiment, so that mine eyes did never see a more complete regiment, for bodies of men, and valiant soldiers; as shall be seen in the discharge of their duties, begun with the sheding of Dutch blood.
A Dutch captain, having out of a mad humour mutilated a soldier of my captain's company of one finger, the soldier complaining to me, I made my lieutenant-colonel acquainted with the manner, who sent to the captain to know his reason; The captain, not repenting of the wrong done, but rather bragging he would second the first, with a greater: he coming through my quarters, I being exercising the company, the sergeant overtakes him, and almost killed him, who made no defence, neither pressed ever to be repaired of his wrongs. This duty begun with the shedding of Dutch blood by one of my name, and kindred. In the continuance of the story, you shall hear much blood shed, of all nations in Europe, and of ours not the least. But of my friends, and mine, too much.
The first Observation.
The land of Holstein full of prosperity at this time, having all things in a golden swim, and waving carelessly in a swallowing plenty, having her heart full of pleasures, disdaining what was to come, ruin seized upon this land within six months, after our rising from quarters, to our first expedition, towards the Weser stream. At our coming into the land, the proudest sort of them, disdained soldiers, saying, they had no need of strangers, they were sufficiently able themselves to hold out the Emperor's forces, their passes were strong, their power in arms were mighty of horse and foot, as any province in Germany; notwithstanding whereof, in a short time, they felt the wrath of Heaven, and were ruinated in the midst of their fortunes. I wish my country, by a timely prevention to avoid the like, by suspecting the smooth stream, being ordinarily deepest; lest they should become subject unto their enemies, their land wasted with fire, and sword, their buildings, and plantings destroyed, their riches, and jewels made spoil of, their wives abused, and their daughters deflowered, themselves banished, and their religion persecuted; in so much that their pastors flying to the altar for refuge, were cruelly put to death. Since therefore their enemies are our enemies, we ought to beware.
We ought also not to deny our betters in things indifferent, lest the askers' love wax dry, and his revenge grow great: for to a generous spirit, as it is hard to beg, so it is harsh to be denied. Our officers refusing to carry the the Danes' Cross in their colours, disobliged his Majesty so far, by their denials of a thing indifferent, that after the death of our worthy Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Forbesse, Lieutennant-Colonel Seaton was preferred against the officers' wills, who once placed, would refuse nothing unto his Majesty he would command.
By his Majesty's authority, against the colonel's will, Captain Duncan Forbesse, and Captain John Forbesse, for alleged insufficiency, were put off their command, and their companies given to others, whom his Majesty favoured. But time that alters all things, having favoured them, they were restored to their companies again.
When we have good days we slight them, when they are gone, we sink under the wring of sorrow, for their loss; and want teacheth us the worth of things more truly: and it is a true saying, Blessings appear not, till they be vanished. Our officers that were discontented under the King of Denmark without reason, having had both good quarters, and money, thereafter in other services would have been contented with less. We ought then, to make use of the present, preserving that we have, and if it go, to grieve as little, as we may: yet we ought to owe a dear respect to the memory of the good we lost.
Certainly, a good resolution is the most fortifying armour a discreet man can wear; that can defend him against all the unwelcome frowns, that the poor world puts upon him: with this, we can be servants as well as lords, and have the same inward pleasantness in the checks of fortune, that we carried in her softest smiles; It was Xantippe's observation, that she ever found Socrates return with the same countenance, that he went abroad withal. I wish no man so spiritless, as to let all abuses press the dullness of a willing shoulder: for resolution is always necessary in the wain of fortune, to save us from discontentments, that usually deject us. A wise man makes the trouble less by fortitude, when a fool stoops to it. The world hath nothing so glorious as virtue, which is like the passage of Hannibal over the Alps, a work of trying toil, of infinite danger, but once performed, it lets him in unto the world's garden, Italy leaving him a lasting fame.
My chief and cousin, the Baron of Fowles, being in his travels in France a little prodigal in his spending, redacted his estate to a weak point, being advised by his friends timely to look to the wounds of his house and family, and to foresee the best cure to keep burden off his estate, having engaged his revenues, for ten years, to pay his creditors, he went beyond sea a volunteer to Germany with Mac-Keye's regiment, well accompanied with a part of his nearest friends: and having the patience to attend his fortune, his first employment was to be a captain of a company of Scots soldiers, levied by himself, and thereafter advanced to be a colonel of horse & foot of strangers, under the invincible King of Sweden of worthy memory.
Thus far of the Baron of Fowles in my first observation, to animate other cavaliers born of less fortunes to follow his virtues in being patient, though their preferments come not at first, loving virtue for her end.
Here also we see by the example of the Dutch captain formerly spoken of, that pride in a noble nature is as rare to be found, as humility in an unworthy mind; and arrogancy is a weed that ever grows in a dunghill, and no circumstance can make the expression of pride laudable: for the affronting man by his own folly, should be taught the way to his duty, as the Dutch captain was, who, out of his pride and arrogancy, would second a first wrong with contempt, was taught humility, in so much, as he was made beholden to those for his life, whom out of his pride he had offended.