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by John Cruso, published in the year 1644,
compiled by Lieut.-Colonel F.H.D.C. Whitmore, C.M.G., D.S.O., T.D.
CHAPTER I. - Of Officers in generall.
As in politique government, so in this militarie profession, every man by a naturall impression is ready to conceive himself to be fit to command and govern others, though he never knew how to obey; whereas in every mechanicall trade or manufacture, an apprenticehood is first passed in the learning of it, before it be professed and exercised. In this profession of arms (an art obtained with greatest difficulty and practised with most danger) men would be Captains before they be souldiers. And hereof the chief cause is ignorance, the fruitfull mother of all errours. For surely, if their end and aim were honour, and they knew how frail and mutable the estate of a souldier is; and that in a moment a man may lose all the reputation obtained by many years industrie; (the errours in warre admitting no amendment, as in other professions; but carrying their present punishment with them) and had they seen many shamefully chased from the army, and proclaimed infamous; and others passe through the hands of the hangman; they would (doubtlesse) strive with much industry and diligence to enable themselves, before they came to undertake the exercise of so dangerous an employment. And they are not a little mistaken, which think their birth a sufficient pretence to places of honour, without any qualification or merit; there being other things more reall and essentiall required in an officer; namely, Knowledge, experience, valour, dexteritie, &c.
To be under command for a time, depresseth those vehement passions which nature exciteth, especially in young men, which would be very dangerous in a chief or commander. Moreover, it accustometh a man to danger, and maketh him courageous; so as being suddainly assailed, he can recollect himself without astonishment; a most necessary thing in a commander. Adde to this, that by using himself to travell and labour, watching, hunger, thirst, rain, and frost; and by an orderly ascent (by degrees) from a Corporall to a Quartermaster, from thence to a Cornet and so to a Lieutenant, he prepareth himself for a Captains charge. He learneth the trick of entertaining his souldiers, and to keep them in good affection and reverence towards him. He knows their severall dispositions and sufficiencies, and accordingly entrusteth them with employments. Honour must be his chief end; to attain which, he must be very vigilant not to lose any occasion of any brave exploit: by which means he will be alwayes observing his enemy, studying how to prevent him or endammage him; always beareing in mind this maxime: That in warre no great or remarkable matter can be effected without danger and diligence. To this end, let him be sure to take heed that he trust not too much to his own judgement and valour, without acquainting his officers with his counsels. And let him so know the severall inclinations and sufficiencies of his souldiers, as to take particular notice of such as deserve well and to reward them accordingly; and to rid himself of base and debauched fellows and cowards.
He must always aspire (in way of virtuous emulation) to higher degrees of honour. Covetousnesse he must hate; for nothing will better continue his souldiers good affections towards him than liberalitie. Gaming he must detest. In stead of costly apparell, let him delight in good arms and horses; wherein often times both his life and honour consisteth. He must be continent and sober, not given to luxurie nor drunkennesse, but alwayes be as a good example to his souldiers : for otherwise he cannot have that requisite libertie to chastise them for those vices which his own conscience will accuse himself to be guiltie of.
Above all, let him set before his eyes (as the originall and foundation of all perfection) the fear of God; carrying himself (so farre as may be) internally and externally inculpable. For the horrour of a guiltie conscience, and the imminent danger and apprehension of death meeting together, take away all courage and valour. And thus having reformed himself, he shall the more easily reform his souldiers, and make them fit for every honourable enterprise.
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