The twenty-second day of March 1627, his Majesty having come in person to Lolland with two thousand five hundred foot, having appointed rendezvous at Rødby, I had orders to repair with all diligence to the rendezvous, with the four companies commanded by me of our regiment: his Majesty's intention being to ship at Rødby, to fall on the enemy upon the Isle of Fehmarn, as being too near in neighbourhood unto Denmark: for preventing of their evil, his Majesty resolved to visit them before they should visit his country, and in the extremity of a bitter frost we were all shipped in open scouts or boats, where we lay three days with contrary winds in the road very much perplexed and troubled with the extremity of cold weather, being hard frost and snow: the storm continuing we were appointed to come ashore, and to retire to our former quarters, till orders were sent us to rise again, so that the sixth of April we shipped again. And on the eighth we anchored before the island, where the enemy with diligence planted ordnance for hindering of our landing. But was repaid again by our ordnance ten for one: During which service, we were landing our soldiers with small boats by twenties and thirties. The enemy with cannon and musket giving continual fire on us, till at last seeing a strong body of soldiers landed, and he having no horsemen to second his foot, he was compelled to retire his cannon, making his retreat to a strong fort they had built of purpose on the island, leaving the rest of the island and the cities at our mercy; the towns being of no strength.
Before it was dark we were all landed, with our cannon and ammunition, encamping for that night in the fields, keeping strong guards and diligent watch. The enemy being discouraged, we had not so much as one alarm. The next morning his Majesty marched towards the fort with his forces and artillery, and having himself recognosced or spied the fort, retired, giving orders for our several quarters: Our soldiers were entered to work the approaches, which were ordained and assigned to us to approach on. The enemy being scarce of victuals, and knowing of no relief, resolved as his best course to parley, and having sent forth a drummer, which being received, and the parley granted, pledges being delivered Hinc inde, the accord goes on, and is presently agreed upon. The conditions granted to the enemy were somewhat hard, (viz.) that they should leave their arms, baggage, and ammunition within the fort, and that they should come forth in his Majesty's reverence, of mercy, or of none; which accordingly they did undergo. But before their out-coming, there was a prohibition given to all our soldiers, that no man should wrong or injure them: Nevertheless, at their coming out, the country boors (ever cruel to soldiers) remembering the hard usage of the soldiers to them in the winter time, seeing them come forth unarmed, ran violently upon the soldiers, knocking them pitifully down, they caused great disorder, so that in the fury the Count of Montgomery, Colonel to a French regiment, was knocked to the ground, and left for dead, being taken for a Walloon, or one of the enemies' officers. This insolency of the boors continued (in killing the poor soldiers) till by his Majesty's charge, I was commanded to put my soldiers to arms to suppress the boors, which was presently obeyed by my soldiers, who again robbed the boors of that they had taken from the enemy, and withal were well knocked. The tumult appeased, the enemies were sent away by boats to Holstein, where they were put ashore, and left; his Majesty then refreshed his troops for three days, during which time, the island was brought under contribution to his Majesty, and a governor with a garrison being left on the island to keep them in obedience, and to hinder the enemies' return, we were commanded to be in readiness for a second expedition.
The eleventh Observation.
Scipio said, we were most in danger when we wanted business, for while we want business, and have no foe to awe us, we are ready to drown in the mud of vice and slothfulness. So our regiment having lain six months in idleness and sloth, eating and drinking, and sometimes doing worse, for lack of employment in our callings, falling out amongst ourselves unnecessarily, and without reason abusing both burghers and boors, so that when we lacked employment, then was the gavileger and his irons best employed, insolency domineering, so that when we came to endure hunger, thirst, and cold on our ships, we were grown so effeminate, that we could not sleep without a good bed, our stomachs could not digest a gammon of bacon, or cold beef without mustard, so far we were out of use, till this magnanimous King came to lead us, who in a short time, without the help of physic, cured our cloyed stomachs, hardened our effeminate sides, instead of a warm chamber, made us contented with a hole digged in the ground, to let the wind and bullets fly over us, making hunger our best sauce, giving us employment, and to our gavileger rest and ease at home.
O how bright then doth the soul of man grow with use and negotiation! Now could our soldiers having made a little booty on this island, speak like Cleanthes, when he had laboured and gotten some coin, he shows it his companions, that he then could nourish another Cleanthes: even so our soldiers showing and telling their comrades of their booty, they rejoiced the hearts of their leaders, whom before they had offended by their exorbitancy in their idleness, bringing joy with profit, when they were exercised in their callings, banishing mischief from themselves by their diligence: for it is one of our greatest happiness in our calling, to have a mind and love to virtuous exercises, raising us daily to blessedness and contentation; for every one shall smell of that he is busied in, and every noble action adds sinews to the virtuous mind: where on the contrary, surely he must be miserable, that loves not to be diligent in his calling, when he ought to employ himself; for if he grows no better, yet sure it keeps him from doing worse, not having time by his idleness to entertain the Devil. When our enemies least looked for us, then came we with Bellona, summoning him to the combat, but he obeys not, and for his cowardice we degrade him of his arms, and banish him to some other corner to lurk in, seeing he lacked the courage to have made us sport at our landing, or to have given us an alarm in our quarters; to have once tried what for soldiers we were, or what resolution or conduct we had: for he ought to have busied us at our landing, as well with the spade and the shovel, as with the pike and the musket, and so we could have said, we had an enemy, as we had not, but a flying dastard or coward.
This fort was scurvily given over, which any resolute commander could well have kept for three days, during which time, he had added to his own reputation, and subtracted doubtless from ours, by diminishing of our number, which at last would have made him get better conditions of quarters, and a more honourable accord: for in such a case, I would choose before I came in my enemies' reverence without arms, rather to fight to the last man, and if I chanced to be the last, I had rather die, being resolved, with resolution having arms in my hands, than unawares, being unprepared, to be knocked down miserably, when I looked not for death.
Here I did see the engineer that built this fort (who in time of working did oftentimes beat the boors to make them work) for his cruelty he was most cruelly beaten again, and he running to his Majesty's feet for refuge (thinking thereby to escape) was on his knees crying for mercy, so hard pursued by the multitude, that before his Majesty he was cruelly beaten dead, as the reward of his former tyranny, and so would God.
Here also we see, that oftentimes the innocent doth suffer with the guilty, as happened to that worthy cavalier the Count of Montgomery, being cruelly beaten by the rascal multitude: which should teach all cavaliers bearing charge at such times, to look unto themselves in attending their master or general on horseback, when an overcome enemy is marching out of strength or town, or otherwise they ought to be on the head of their charge attending their duty; or if for pleasure they would look on, they ought to be on their guard, lest being taken for private men, they might be disgraced receiving a disaster, as this cavalier did.
Happy therefore are those who can eschew evil by the example of others. Here also we see, that the best means to suppress the insolency of the tumultuous multitude, is a band of well commanded soldiers with arms, who are ever good servants, but more often cruel masters. It is then the duty of a general in such cases, peremptorily to see that his accord be kept, which otherwise being broken causeth much evil and mischief to follow. His Majesty as he was diligent in the in-taking of this island, so we see him careful of the keeping of it, as his conquest, by leaving a governor with a garrison in it, to be his retreat, in case of need, out of Holstein. We read that Guicciardini in his history of the wars of Italy in his first book, accuses under hand the French, that did enlarge their territories by arms, and did not maintain and keep their conquests, but on the contrary did ruin themselves in the end.
The Emperor Augustus, having read the great conquest of Alexander in the East, he did wonder that Alexander did not take care to keep them, as he travailed to win them. It is said of Pyrrhus King of Albany, that where he once set his foot, he was conqueror there. But was ever unfortunate in keeping his conquest, and therefore the King Antigonus compared him to a gamester at dice, that lost his own in hope of gain. Examples we have of this at home without wars.
Leonard Darrez in his 3rd book of the wars of Italy against the Goths, Totilas King of the Goths being made conqueror of Rome, in his harangue made to his army concluded, that it was harder to keep a country conquered, then to win it: for in conquering oft-times (as here) the cowardice of the enemies helps more than our own valour, & to maintain our conquest we had need of valour and justice. That custom of the Turks is commendable, that when he enters into his chapel, the beadman of the temple going before him, cries out aloud, that he remember, that the empire attained unto by arms and justice, is to be maintained with the like: so mutiny is and should be holden detestable amongst soldiers, and in all well governed estates. For the use therefore of my fellow comrades, and for the benefit of my country, I will speak somewhat at large of the fury, cruelty and barbarity of the multitude, mutinous and superstitious, that we may avoid the evil incident thereto, I will set down here my collections on this point, which occurred in my observation. The philosopher Plato called the wisest and most honourable amongst the Grecians, says, the people are ungrateful, cruel, barbarous, envious, impudent, being composed of a mass of fools, naughty, debauched, and desperate: for all that is spoken by the wise, displeases the people that are incensed. And Baleus writing the lives of the Popes, writes of Pope John the twenty third being asked what thing was farthest from truth, he answered, it was the vulgar opinion, for all things they praise merit blame, what they think is but vanity; what they say is but lies; they condemn the good, and approve the evil, and magnify but infamy: And Nicholas Hanap Patriarch of Jerusalem, in his book of the unconstancy of the people, hath a whole chapter apart to this purpose, and Arrianus in his first book praiseth much the wisdom of Alexander the Great, in taking away from the people of Ephesus the means to mutiny against the chief men of the town: for some of the mutineers being executed Alexander forbids to search, or punish the rest, knowing that if once the popular could loose the rein, there was nothing to follow but mischief, where the innocent might suffer as well as the guilty, as witness here the Count of Montgomery, that ran the hazard of death, being long bedrid after his beating, without sense or feeling. And Thucydides did in his third book, speaking of those of the Isle of Corfu, did feel the evil of a sturdy popular having licence to do evil, how much it was to be doubted, in so much that the massacre being so cruel, that there was no villany left unpractised, and such strange things he writes of, that the fathers did suffocate their own children, and those that were run to the churches for refuge, were cruelly put to death; who pleases may read the story, where it is set down more at large. As also to read the late massacres in France, from the year 1560 to this present time, especially the massacre of the twenty-fourth of August 1572 in the chiefest cities of the kingdom, continuing without respect of age or of sex, as well against the dead as the quick, as saith Lactance in his sixth book and second chapter: humanity was so far gone from men, that to take away the life of their neighbours was but sport, being become beasts drunk with custom of blood, not sparing the innocent, but doing to all, what the hangman doth to malefactors. Therefore Quintus Curtius saith properly, that the deep sea in a tempest hath not more waves, then the tumultuous multitude hath changes; especially getting liberty by a new government: And Titus Livius in his fourth book of the third decade saith, so is the nature of the people to serve as slaves, or strike like tyrants. Read also Thomas Fasell in his tenth book of the second decade of the history of Sicily, a memorable example of sedition, moved in Palermo of Sicily, where John Squarelazop was chief leader, amply described in brave terms, he having seen the tragedy himself, where he complains of the ruin of the city, justice and laws being abolished, avarice rife, and pride did reigne and dominier (a pleasant story to read and make use of) in the day robbing unpunished, spoiling the Church in all confusion. Aristotle says well, that such changes come by them that have eaten up their own, and have no more.
There was also sedition moved at Lisbon, in the year 1506 by the fantasies of the multitude, that was a flood that took away almost all the Jews, that were turned Christians, whereof there were killed above a thousand, and the massacre continuing three days was never appeased, till at night the third day Arius Silvius and Alvare of Caster gentlemen, and chief of the justices, came with men of war in arms to Lisbon, and appeased the tumult. The King's Majesty hearing the news of this horrible sedition, being much grieved did presently send unto Lisbon two of the chiefest of the court, to wit; Jackes Allmod and Jackes Lopes, with full power to punish the malefactors of such cruelty, where publicly there was executed a great number of the seditious popular, and the priests, that moved them to the sedition, were first put off their charge, then hanged, then burnt, the judges and magistrates that were loathfull to suppress that popular rage and fury, were some deprived of their estates, and condemned to great penance, and the town itself was deprived of their privileges and honours: I pray God to keep my country from the like. Who pleaseth to read the story, it is much worth, and of great observance for any good Christian.
Another notable story of the like we have in the beginning of the reign of Charles the fifth successor to Ferdinand King of Spain and Sicily, in whom did fail the race of the kings of Aragon; the people being moved by a monk continued long in seditions one after another, till God did remove it at last, and since they lived peaceable.
To conclude then this point, it is a vain thing to be a follower of the popular sort: for none is the better for their praise, nor the worse for their blame. And therefore Plutarch said well, that one man could not be master and servant of the people, otherwise, perforce it behoveth him to fall into inconveniency; as we read in the fable written of the serpent, the tail whereof came one day to quarrel the head, saying, he would go his day about foremost, and not go always behind, which being granted unto him by the head, he found it worst himself, not knowing how or where to go, and became the cause that the head was all spoiled and rent, being compelled against nature to follow a part without sight or hearing to lead it. The same we have seen happen unto those who in the government of the public would do all things to please the multitude, and being once tied to that yoke of slavery, in all things to will and agree with the common and lower sort, that oft-times are rashly moved and without reason, howsoever they cannot thereafter come off and retire, hinder or stay the fury and rashness of the people. And therefore the great servant of God Moses did properly comprehend in the blessings promised unto the Israelites their obedience to God's laws, that the Lord might establish them in the first rank a head; in brief that they should be as masters, and should not be subject. Read Deut. 28.