This magnanimous King, yet still preferring the good of his country before his own rest and quiet, with the hazard of his person, landed again in Holstein, his forces not exceeding three thousand foot without horsemen: of intention, there to bring his army together, he drew out himself a royal leaguer with a strong fort in the midst of it, having the Isle of Fehmarn sufficiently provided of victuals and of ammunition, to furnish his army during that summer, and leaving the most part of his strength a-shipboard, he advanced himself with a thousand men, to a dorp called Grossenbrode, a mile from the shore, naturally well situated, which might be put in defence with little pains, to hold up an army. His Majesty having drawn the draught of the retrenchment, the boors set to work, I with the English and two Dutch companies, were made choice of, to guard his Majesty and the workmen; the enemy lying strong with horse and foot, within two miles of us. The first night's watch was laid on me and my soldiers: by break of day, a corporal and twelve horsemen of the enemies' were sent to try our watch, or rather, to betray us, which were holden up by our outer sentry, who calling to the guard, the guard taking arms: I directed a sergeant, and a corporal with twelve musketeers to advance, and to speak with those horsemen: The enemies' corporal finding himself wrong, pretended an excuse, alleging he was come to offer his service to his Majesty, and then retired: whereof incontinent I did inform his Majesty, who presently considered he was a spy sent from the enemy: before midday he returned with fifteen hundred horse, and some dragoniers; our intrenchment not ready, we draw to arms, his Majesty directing the two Dutch companies to beset the passes, and finding his person in danger retired, with a few musketeers, and leaving me and the English, being of equal strength to defend the dorp, promising to provide me of ammunition, and to send us relief: his Majesty thus retired, I caused a barricade of wagons to be made a hundred paces without the dorp, where I placed a lieutenant and thirty musketeers, giving him charge, if the enemy should advance to discover, or recognosce, then to give fire on them, and not otherwise; This done, the rest of our soldiers were placed for maintaining the entry of the dorp, and the English were appointed, as our reserve, to lie at arms, to be in readiness to second us; the enemy finding us provided, and their foot not being come up, they stand in battle, and direct two troops of horse to try the passes, meaning to come betwixt us and our ships, to cut off our retreat, but finding we had the pass beset with musketeers, they were forced to retire back, with the loss of three horsemen.
By this time, his Majesty did send Colonel Holck unto me (being come loose from the enemy on parole to solicit his ransom) to desire me, if the enemy forced entrance unto the dorp, that I should retire to the church-yard, which was but cold comfort, so being his Majesty had no intention to relieve us, and consequently, at last we should be the enemies' prisoners, after losing of our colours, which grieved us most. But I desired the Colonel to show his Majesty, that seeing I knew of no relief, if the enemy pursued us hard, I would choose rather to set the dorp on fire behind us, and then commit myself, and the rest to the hazard of fortune in making our retreat, rather than to become prisoners to the enemy. The Colonel gone, we pressing to make a fair show of a slight game, doubling our guards before night, and making great guard-fires in view of the enemy, his foot not come up, and seeing our resolution, he retired before night, where incontinent we imbraced the opportunity, and leaving some dragoniers behind us, we retired to our ships, giving orders to the dragoniers to follow after us, so soon as they thought we were safely retired. Before midnight, the enemy having gotten his foot joined with him, returned to the dorp, and the next morning advances towards us, till he was holden off by the fury of our ordnance of the ships. In the mean time, his Majesty had above four thousand boors at work, finishing the leaguer, and royal fort in the midst of it, whereon were placed eight pieces of cannon, the fort being higher then the leaguer, did command the fields about, which being complete, the two Dutch companies were left to maintain the fort, and the rest had orders to ship their men and to retire to Lolland, his Majesty having understood, that the enemy had beleaguered Stralsund. The second night, after our going away, the enemy coming to pursue the fort, the Dutch retire quitting the same, and their cannon also, with the loss of fourscore men, so that his Majesty's pains taken in Holstein was in vain, the Dutch retiring from it unfoughten.
The fourteenth Observation.
It is much to be lamented, when Kings, or great men prefer their own ease and rest to the public weal, suffering it to be overthrown: on the contrary part, it is worth much commendation, when a king, or a prince undertakes toil and travail of his body, for the safety of his people, to keep them in quiet from imminent ruin, with the hazard of his own life preserving his subjects. Therefore men ought to call to mind often, the wise counsel of Pericles, who said that when the public state was ruined, he that lived well at his ease, for his own particular, should not escape unruined, where on the contrary, the public state being well, the poor feel the less discommodity and is comforted in some manner. Caesar was of this opinion, when he said unto his captains and lieutenants, no man could so well establish his condition, as that it could not perish, if the public state were hurt: But if the public state did flourish, he might help and mitigate all the misery of all particular persons. And the Emperor Antony called the Debonnaire, was of that mind, when he took away the pensions of some pensioners of the public, that did no service, saying, there was no people more cruel, or more villanous, then those that did eat up the public. Would to God this magnanimous King had done so with a number of his commissaries, that had misguided his rich treasure, and were the undoing of his army, where they should rather have died than wronged their King and country, and should rather have left by will and testament to their children, an example of their fidelity and honesty, than a rich patrimony.
The rogues, the commissaries did much differ in their love to their King and country, from that worthy gentleman of famous memory, we read of in our own stories, called William Seaton, who is worthily recorded of, for his love to the public, preferring it to his own children, who being governor of Berwick, he and his wife did choose rather to quit their own lives, and the lives of their children, then to give over the place unto the English, choosing rather to keep it, for the weal of the public, and for the honour of their King and country: preferring the public-weal, to their own particular: the story I need not amplify, being well known. This magnanimous King, scorning the attempts of his enemies, ceaseth not still to hazard his own person and crown for the safety of his people: for he trusted and confided so much in God, that he knew well the sceptre was ordained for those that slighted it, and not for those did covet it greedily, as his enemies did.
Here also we see that the enemies' forces being drawn towards Stralsund, minding that way to come unto Denmark, his Majesty was diverted from his resolution, and was forced to join with Stralsund to make a defensive war, for the safety of his country and people, for if the enemy had gotten Stralsund, he had an easy way to come into Denmark, wherein there were no great strengths, and getting shipping, artillery and ammunition, (whereof his Majesty was well provided) he had then the pass open unto Britain, when he pleased. But he was wisely prevented by his Majesty and his Council, God bringing things to pass according to his secret decree, and not according to the will of man.
Here also we see, that it is the duty of a general lying near an enemy, to know all avenues well, and betimes to beset them well with diligence, and good watches; for if this pass at Gottenbrode had not been timely well beset, his Majesty might have fallen into the enemies' hands, the passage being cut off betwixt his Majesty and the ships.
Also in all extremities, it is the duty of commanders to encourage their inferiors, otherwise the passengers may be affraid, if the skipper or steersman gives over: as commanders do look to their own credits, so they ought to be careful of their followers' safeties.
The English and our nation are good seconds, one of another, being abroad, for commonly they take part one with another against any other nation; as happened here at Grotenbrode, where I did see fifty English and Scots chase above a hundred Danes, with swords into the sea, deeper than their waist, running into the Sea for their safeties, whereupon there was a complaint made unto his Majesty by the commissary on my comrade Captain Chamberlaine and me, for not suppressing our soldiers' insolency, from abusing of the Danes soldiers. The occasion of their quarrelling was, the Danes boors being commanded out for the King's service, and for the defence of their country, they had forty days provision with them, and being well furnished with dry beef and bacon, while as our soldiers did get nothing but hard biscuit and beer, they devised that one coming behind the Danes soldiers for taking up his knapsack, while as another should cut the strings before, and then to run away with it; this stratagem being oft practised by the English and Scots against the Danes; at last, the Danes resolved being stronger in the fields than they both were, to fight for their knapsacks: the occasion being offered, they yoke or join with swords, and fight in the leaguer, and the Danes were forced to give ground, and to retire within the sea for their safeties, sundry on both sides being hurt, their officers appeased the tumult, and after Captain Chamberlaine and I, though innocent of the fault, were mightily chidden by his Majesty: his Majesty assuring us, if the like happened again, he would punish us, and not our soldiers, which made us afterwards look more narrowly to their behaviour and carriage, making them live more peaceable with their comrades, in not oppressing them; for it is a hard time when one wolf eats up another.