Monro His Expedition - The eighth Duty discharged of our Quartering and Mustering in Funen, and of the Colonels' going for a Recruit unto Scotland.

The eighth Duty discharged of our Quartering and Mustering in Funen, and of the Colonels' going for a Recruit unto Scotland.

Having happily arrived in Denmark, at Assens in Funen, our Colonel goes ashore to understand of his Majesty's will and command, and being graciously welcomed, is made to dine at his Majesty's table: after dinner his Majesty discharging then the duty of a General Quarter-master, who wrote with his own hand the names of the dorps ordained for our quarters: as also did appoint a fair hoff, to receive all our wounded and sick men, where they were to be entertained together, till they were cured, and to that effect, his Majesty graciously ordained skilful chirurgians, diligently to attend them, being an hundred and fifty, besides officers; then we got orders to land the regiment, and to draw up in a convenient part, till our sick and wounded were first directed to quarters, and then to appoint our watch (viz.) two companies to watch at Assens, then having gotten wagons, for transporting of our Colonel's baggage and spare arms, the several companies' quarters dealt out, the furriers sent before, to divide the quarters, every company led by their own guides, we marched off severally, by companies, as our several ways did lie unto our quarters, where we had rest for our former toil, and good entertainment for our spare diet, so that in a short time, we were all sufficiently refreshed, without fear of an enemy. Nevertheless, our watches were duly and orderly kept, and relieved by course, every second night: then orders were given by the commissaries to give in our rolls, for mustering of us, that his Majesty might know, what loss we had sustained on service, and that those that served well might be rewarded: we mustered sick and whole near nine hundred men under arms, besides officers, having lost on service, four hundred men, that were killed in the place, and taken in our retreat. Before our coming to muster, news was come to his Majesty of the loss of the castle of Breddenburg in Holstein, Stadt-holder Ransowe his chief residence, where Major Dumbarre did command, and was killed. The particulars of this service I refer to the next duty discharged.

The major being killed, I having discharged the duty in his absence, by my Colonel's respect to me and his Majesty's favour, I had patent given me, under his Majesty's hand and seal, as major to the regiment: as likewise Captain Lermond his company then at Glückstadt, being vacant, through the death of the captain at Hamburg, was also disposed unto me; and orders were given unto the commissary, that mustered us, according to my patent to place me, as sergeant-major over the regiment, which all duly obeyed by the commissary, the drummer major, accompanied with the rest of the drummers of the regiment, being commanded, beat a bank in head of the regiment. The commissary having his Majesty's patent in his hand, makes a speech, signifying his Majesty's will unto all the officers of the regiment, and without any contradiction placed me sergeant major, and delivering me my patent takes me by the hand, as the colonel did, lieutenant-colonel with the whole officers of the regiment, wishing me joy, with the general applause of the whole Soldateska, which ceremony ended,  the regiment marched off, by companies unto their several quarters as before; The Colonel conveyed by his officers unto his quarters, the officers were appointed the next day, to meet at the Colonel's quarter to receive money, and to understand further of the Colonel's resolution, concerning the standing of the regiment. At their return the next day, they received two months pay for the officers, and one month's pay for the Soldateska, with promise of winter clothes. But the soldiers coming into a good fat soil, clad themselves honestly, which made them want commisse clothes; Yet none of us could say, but we served a liberal, and a bountiful master: the money first paid by the commissaries, they give orders in his Majesty's name for keeping of good discipline over the regiment, whereby the boors should not complain on the soldiers insolency, which they needed not to use, getting willingly from the boors both meat, and money, with some clothes: Nevertheless, there were always amongst the one and the other, some churlish rascals, that caused complaints to be heard which made our proforce or gavileger get company and money, for discharging his duty: for neither officer, nor soldier escaped due punishment, that was once complained on, until such time, as his Majesty was satisfied with justice, and the party offended. Thus continuing in our duty, the colonel anew doth capitulate with his Majesty, for bringing over from Scotland a thousand men to recruit the regiment. Officers were appointed of every company to go for Scotland, and for the most part the captains went themselves, leaving their lieutenants in their absence to command their companies. The Lieutenant Colonel taking a furlough, did go unto Holland: I being left to command the regiment, the Colonel and his Captains Sir Patrick Mac-Gey, Captain Annane, Captain Monro of Obstell, Captain Forbesse, Captain Sinclair, Captain John Monro, and Lieutenant Robert Stewart, the Baron of Fowles followed them in the spring, for levying a company also. They being gone, I was commanded by his Majesty to take orders from General Major Slamersdorph then resident at Odense in Funenland, who immediately after their going away, commanded me to take my quarters in Assens, where we kept our watch, seeing that part of the country was most in danger of the enemies' pursuit; where I had question with the Major of the Rhinegrave's regiment of horse, who should give out the orders in the garrison, which did bring an emulation betwixt our soldiers and the horsemen, so that in several rencounters had in the garrison, three or four on each side were killed. To prevent this disorder, the General Major with some other associates came to Assens and held a council of war, the business considered, the Major of horse is removed to another garrison, and Rut-master Cratsten is put with his troops in Assens, and the command of the garrison was given unto me. Notwithstanding whereof our enmity with the horsemen did continue a long time, till the Rhinegrave himself had given orders to his whole officers, examplarily to punish those insolent rutters, who should be found to live otherwise then brethren with the whole Scots regiment, so that by that time the coldness removed, we lived at more quiet during my being there, which was not long.

The eighth Observation.

First here we may see the wisdom and magnanimity of this king not cast down with the loss of his army, nor with the loss of the half of his country, but preventing his further loss for the safety of his country, and good of his subjects, he with expedition, draws himself and the remnant escaped of his army within Denmark, to preserve them for a second fitter opportunity; As also to encourage his subjects, that through fear, were on the flight by water unto other nations, carrying their substance with them, fear coming unawares, having heard of their king's loss and overthrow abroad, fame dispersing the rumours of the loss, much worse then it was, the people were so afraid, and so fearful, that they enjoyed nothing without a frighted mind, no not their sleep: they trembled at the present miseries that might but come, they were anticipated in a more horrid habit, than any enemy could put them unto, meeting with evil before it came, making things but probable as certain, as when one may sit even in a boat, he is in no danger, yet through fear stirring, he may drown himself, and others, as we see often in battle that the valiant man constantly keeping his rank, doth live, when as the feeble coward by stooping thinking to save his life, he loses it; when the brave soul knows no trembling. Caesar spake like Caesar, when he bade the mariners fear nothing. And this invincible and magnanimous king, though ruffled by Caesar, yet he encourages his subjects, by exhorting them to fear nothing, going at all times himself betwixt them and all dangers, he being the first many times engaged, and the last coming off, casting as it were, through his valour, a kind of honour upon God; believing in his goodness, casting himself in danger, trusting and confiding in his care only. Not like an unworthy coward that eclipses his sufficiency, unworthily doubting that God will bring him off, unjustly accusing God, his power or his will, making himself his own Saviour, he becomes his own confounder.

But this magnanimous king setting his care upon God, and using the lawful means, for his country, and kingdom's preservation, winning the love of God, and of his subjects, establisheth himself, and his throne in despite of his enemies. Here also I have observed that good service done to a noble and liberal master, as this king was, cannot be without reward: Therefore let the servant deserve, and the master will recompense, if he be such a just master as we served, where both loved each others, for their generous worthiness. Who ever then is a servant, if he suppose his lot hard, let him think on the other part, that service is nothing else but a free man's calling, and comfort himself with the example of kings, that are but servants (though more splendid) for the common-weal; and as this king our royal master served for his country, let us that are servants serving strangers serve truly where we serve, for our country's credit, our own weal, and our eternal fame which must live after us. This magnanimous king through the experience he had of our former true service, is desirous to have more of our countrymen to serve him, as we may see by the new employment laid on our colonel and his officers; Also on divers other noblemen of our country, to bring unto him three other regiments as Nithsdale, Spynie and Murckle's regiments, we being the first that showed them the way to be employed by his Majesty.

Here I will exhort all brave cavaliers, of mind to follow the laudable profession of arms, not to grudge, though their advancement or preferment come not at first, but with patience to await on God's blessing, since preferment comes neither from the east, nor from the west. But it is the blessing of the Lord, given by man as the reward of virtue.

Who ever then would be famous by preferment, let him first study to be diligent and virtuous in his calling, and then doubtless God will dispose of him as he thinkth best for his own Glory.

Here we see that the Baron of Fowles, of worthy memory, thought it no disparagement at first to follow my Lord of Rhey and his regiment, as a volunteer, till he had seen some service, and attained unto some experience, and then beginning with a company, coming at last with credit to be colonel over horse and foot, and that to animate others of his name, and kindred to follow his example, rather to live honourably abroad, and with credit, then to encroach (as many do) on their friends at home, as we say in Scotland, leaping at the half loaf, while as others through virtue live nobly abroad, served with silver plate, and attendance.

Officers of one regiment ought to live as brethren together, not envying one another's advancement, entertaining no other emulation, than the emulation of virtue, every one serving truly in their stations, till such time occasion may be offered, for their advancement by degrees: for though their patience may be the longer, their credits will be the more, and their contentments at last will make them forgo and forget their former toil, and disturbances having come to their proposed mark, though not altogether to their wished end. Here also we see that good discipline is requisite for keeping good order, that as virtue is rewarded; so vice may be punished: as we may see by the institution of the imperial laws, whereof one we read constitute by the Emperor Frederick the Second in the code of Justinian, bearing that the labourers of the ground might live peaceably with assurance over all, staying in their villages, labouring the ground, so that no man should be so bold, as to presume to take any such men prisoners, or to offer them any violence in destroying their bestial, or in taking their goods from them, condemning them to death that did contemn, or violate his ordnance.

And Cyrus going to war, commanded no man should trouble the labourers. Xerxes commanded the like, saying, the wars were against those that caried arms, not against shepherds.

Belisarius that brave commander under the Emperor Justinian, was so strict against soldiers that troubled the boors, that the soldiers going by the fruityards durst not throw down one apple, and for his good order kept, victuals were cheaper in the camp than in towns.

Procopius in his third book of the Goths' wars in Italy reports, that Totila King of the Goths observed the same strict discipline in Italy, suffering the boors untroubled, for paying the contribution.

Nicephor Gregorius affirmed, that while as in the front of an army marched insolency and violence, orderly came in the rear defeat and ruin. And nowadays the Turks do observe stricter discipline in their armies than Christians do; in so much that their captains must not suffer their soldiers to go into orchards or vineyards, as they march by. And as order is necessary in an army, so it is in a regiment requisite to be kept, and punishment also to be used, for banishing all villany from a regiment, as gluttony, drunkeness, whoredom, oppression, playing, dicing, roaring, swaggering: for it is not seemely that those, who should overcome others, should suffer themselves to be overcome with any such notorious vices; neither ought a brave fellow to vaunt of his valour, since it is not tolerable to kill men with words, without coming unto blows; But he that comports himself modestly is to be commended.

Here also we see that the emulation and strife begun amongst superiors and officers of quality, brings at last the same amongst their inferiors and followers; as was seen in the disorders and quarrelling betwixt our soldiers and the Rhinegrave's horsemen, which was wisely prevented and taken away by the wisdom of their commanders, that carried mutual love and respect to each others: for the mutual good deserving of both officers, which was the chief instrument of their reconcilement, and taking away of their jars, and idle quarrelling, arising of ostentation, an unworthy fruit growing out of dunghills, withering faster than it groweth, their jars thus once removed, thereafter our love waxed so great, that where we chanced both to be on one service, as at Wolgast, where we stood in need of help, the Rhinegrave's regiment, especially rut-master Hoomes under God made our retreat safe, as you shall hear in its own place.

Here also I cannot pass over with silence the love that ordinarily is seen betwixt officers, and their followers: being once put under good discipline they will undergo anything for love of their commanders and leaders, who have taken pains and diligence in excercising them in the perfect use of their arms, and in leading them bravely on occasions before their enemies, in making with exercise their bodies strong, and their hearts valiant, then I say, what will they not undertake for the love of their leaders? Truly, I must confess, they will stand a thousand times more in awe to incur their officers' wrath, whom once they loved through love, than in any wise, thorough fear of any punishment, that may be enjoined unto them by laws: and if they love and respect their officers, for fear to offend, even in their marches, for their officers' credits they will march so orderly with arms in their ranks and files, that you would think a whole regiment well disciplined, as this was, were all but one body, and of one motion, their ears obeying the command all as one, their eyes turning all alike, at the first sign given, their hands going to execution as one hand, giving one stroke, yea many strokes all alike, ever ready to strike, or hold up, as their commander pleaseth; and thus exercised they were, that their enemies in all rencounters could not but duly praise them, calling them the invincible old regiment: which always rencountered with them on all occasions, so that Mac-Keye's name, was very frequent, through the glorious fame of this never-dying regiment, never wronged by fortune in their fame, though divers times, by their enemies' valour, they sustained both loss and hurt: but would to God, we had always met man to man, or that our army had consisted all of such men, and such officers, whereof, I was the unworthiest! If so had been, our conquest had extended so far, as the Romans of old did extend the limits and borders of their Empire, which for my wish I would bestow on the Prince Elector Palatine, borne by the Jewel of Europe, the Queen of Bohemia his royal mother; and if it were at my distribution, he should have all from the River Euphrates at the East, to the ocean sea at the West, the fertilest part of Africa at the South, and the Rhine and the Danube at the North; and yet I durst affirm, that his Grand-father King JAMES of blessed and never-dying memory, might merit a far greater possession for his grand-child, the illustrious Prince Elector Palatine of the Rhine; and to have an army of such men, under his command, to be avenged on his enemies. I would wish their clothes nor mine own, came never off, till his enemies were made his footstool to tread on, or to show mercy, at his Highness' pleasure: And for my wish, his army should be all of Britons, Dutch, and Irish, such as Vegetius describeth the Roman soldiers of old: and I, as one though unworthiest of a thousand Britain officers, would undertake to make such brave lads to dwell summer and winter in tents, ever in readiness to fight with our enemies, and to endure all incommodities, for the credit of such a master, banishing far from him with valiant hands well armed, all the craft, power, and subtlety that his enemies were able to devise against him: And we should, for his sake, be contented with such allowance as the Imperial laws allow a soldier, being only so much as might maintain life, or so much as beasts get that are put to diet, and we should be content to march with such expedition, without intermission, without quarter or garrison, as need requireth, never staying behind, but always advancing, consenting willingly to undergo correction, if we did to the contrary: but to march ever orderly in ranks, as the way lay rough or even, foul or fair, as our colours and leaders went before us; Never quitting our ranks, but with licence, till the cause were won, or that our master's throne were established. And if otherwise we went astray, we should be content to quit our allowance: and if this discipline were not strict enough, we should be content to have his Highness and royal mother restored, to do as our Fathers did coming out of Egypt, marching alongst the spacious and wide desert, that our rendezvous might be appointed and set, till we arrived in Gaza, that is to say, in the Holy Land, where being victorious, we should bid our master farewell, and rest with our Fathers.

Prev Next