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“The Missing Historical Context: Anglo-American
Gun Laws & the Original Intent of the Second Amendment”

First Published:  12 January 2023
Revised (substantive):  26 May 2023

A N     E X C E R P T     F R O M

the marquess of Newcastle’s
ms. treatise on statecraft

Letter to Charles II

[  re. the king’s prerogative
     to arm/disarm citizens  ]

by   W I L L I A M   C A V E N D I S H
(bap. 1593, d. 1676)
afterwards 1st Duke of Newcastle
     Grandee and high monarchist who epitomized “the Art of Nobleness,” projecting “the greatest Magnificence imaginable,” on and off the battlefield.
     A virtuoso — “amorous in poetry and music” — who dabbled in science & the arts, earning the appellation “our English Mecaenas” for his patronage of leading talent in the fields of literature, art, music, architecture, medicine, and science.
     Royalist army officer with viceregal powers, serving in 1643–44 as “captain general of all the provinces beyond the river of Trent, and other parts of the kingdom of England, with power, by a special commission, to make knights” and to coin money. Newcastle was justly celebrated for his courage and loyalty to the crown while commanding the royalist forces in the north, but his “Copious and Illustrious” “Heroick Actions” as a grand seigneur Cavalier general were controversial, culminating in the royalists’ notorious military humiliation at the Battle of Marston Moor (2 July 1644).
     A superb equestrian, who excelled at martial sports: “my Husband hath been a General of an Army of 30000 men, and hath fought Battels; also he is Master of those two Arts, the Use of the Sword, and the Manage of the Horse, as there is not any man, nor hath never been, so well Known, Skilful, and Practised, as he, so that he is the best Horseman and Swordman in the World” (M. Cavendish, CCXI Sociable Letters, 1664, 145).
     Newcastle’s two published books on the art and science of horsemanship and horse-management established him as the principal English authority on the subject, and his riding academy was fêted by an international stream of visitors and cited in 18th-century encyclopedias.

graphic showing the palm of the hand in a raised position (iconic gesture for "stop & attend to this")

N O T E :  In Newcastle’s manuscript (abbreviated ms.), certain consonants (especially n, m) appear with a tilde over them – as in, “I begiñ withe the Militia firste ...”. This was customary usage in both scribal and print publications, and not peculiar to Newcastle’s penmanship. Scribes and printers alike used the space-saving substitution (ñ) instead of a double letter (nn), and the above example from Newcastle’s ms. was intended to be read, “I beginn withe the Militia firste ...”. Because the ñ has come to have a different meaning than this for modern readers, I do not duplicate such old-style glyphs here, but have expanded antique abbreviations or symbols to ease readability (and computerized search). Here, and elsewhere, I have chosen to show the implied second letter in square brackets, like I do with other editorial interpolations – that is, “I begin[n] withe the Militia firste ...”.
   The following extract from Newcastle’s ms. includes two handwritten notes, which the author located in the margins of the pages with the body text to which each relates. Because of formatting issues with HTML (where I can’t precisely control layouts across various browsers and devices), I am unable to duplicate this placement, and have here grouped them as endnotes instead, with links for easy back-and-forth. Newcastle used asterisks (not numbers or letters) to identify notes, which I have set below in oversized, red curly brackets for emphasis (click/tap within the curly brackets to link to the associated note).

Opening quotation mark                  F O R    T H E    M I L I T I A

“ I begin[n] withe the Militia firste because Itt Is your Maties [i.e., Majesty’s] Undoubted prerogative, as alsoe well orderde forse, doth Everye thinge, for withoute an[n] Armeye In[n] your owne handes you are butt a kinge Uppon[n] the Courteseye of others, & can nott bee lastinge, wher on the contrarye you are Mestroe dell Campoe & gives the Lawe, & Inded without Itt, though you are the supreame Judge, Itt will signefie litle, if you have nott power to determyne, which Is Armes, for otherwise the factius, and Vayne disputes, off Sophesteriall Devines & Lawyeares & other Philosophecall booke-men[n], will rayse rebellions, butt nott apease them[m],—Therfor I woulde have your Matie have all the Armes, & Amunitian[n] In[n] your owne handes, & firste to begin[n] with your Metropolitan[n] Citeye of London[n], thatt greate Leviathan[n], thatt Monster beinge the heade, & thatt heade so much to bigg for the bodye of the com[m]on[n] wealth off Englande, soe thatt Master thatt citeye, & you Master the whole kingdoume Ande your Matie muste doe Itt by towe severall wayes, firste by disarminge off them[m], & then[n] by Arminge your selfe, by disarminge off them[m] totalye, In[n] all kindes, no more Citeye Captins or Collonnells, Artilerye yarde or Militarye yarde; & a penaltye Uppon[n] anye thatt keepes Armes, levinge them nothinge butt their severall watches, In[n] their severall wardes, & parishes to keepe the streetes In[n] order{*} & no more,—so much for disarminge off them[m], Nowe for your Maties Arminge your selfe to over Awe them & to keepe them In order thus—To have Towe Royall fortes bulte on both sides the River off Thames, a litle belowe Grenwitch, regulated fortes Like the Citeye of Antwerpe or as your Maties wisdoume Can beste directe beinge a greate Master In the knoledge off Fortefications These fortes com[m]andinge the River com[m]andes the Towne & the Merchantes for feare of their trade will bee In good order, Then the Tower to bee well fortefeyd, & to bee your Maties prime Magasen, for greate store off Armes off All sortes, both for foote & Horse, with plentye off amunitian, acomodated by the advise off the beste Soldiers and Ingeneers, The Tower thus fortefied, will com[m]ande both the towne & thatt parte off the River; Ande thus your Matie shall tame thatt Rebellius Citeye, & so consequentlye all Englande thatt dependes off Itt; Itt Is Easeleye dun for their Charter Is forfeted, and theye will bee glad to take a newe one Uppon your Maties Termes—wheras sum disputacius Scoffers will tell your Matie this was a thinge this rebellion thatt never hapende before nor never will hapen agen thatt Is more then theye knowe, howesoever your Maties wisdoume Is to prevente Itt, thatt theye shall nott iff they woulde; sum sayes the kinge Is absolutlye to Com[m]ande the traynde Bandes (off London), No doubte Legalye butt his Matie your Father of blessed memorye was so farr from Com[m]andinge off them as theye weare the Authors of all his miserye & misfortunes & faughte moste agaynste him therefore putt Itt nott In their choyce sr [i.e., sir] butt In yours & since the Riches & Purse off this Citeye was the bane and loss off your Royall Father, all fallowinge the Purse both by Lande & Seae; Therfore looke to your Greateste Mischeefe to keepe this Citeye from hurtinge you, Ande In all thinges butt Armes I shoulde humblye desier your Matie to grante them a newe Charter with all their former priveliges, butt Armes, & to bee kinde & helpfull to them In all kindes, & to studye the Increasinge of their ritches by the mentayninge off Trade & never to Violate anye off their preveliges, Thus your Matie will bee a Gratius kinge & theye made Loyall People & will Ever bee redye harteleye to serve you, & no more to bee prechte, pleaded, or Petitionde oute off their Alegence.—for theye thatt have the Armes have the Purse, & they thatt have the Purse hath obedience, So Thatt Armes Is all.

“ Nowe, for orderinge the reste off the kingdoume I woulde wishe your Matie to hide your Armes as much as you can, for people loves nott the Cudgell, Though the masteringe off London Is sumwhatt perspicuus, & Indeed Can nott bee helpde, butt for the reste iff your Matie please to hide, your forses In your Porte townes, to have them all well fortefide, & good Garisons In them, both off foote & Horse, such as your Matie shall thinke fitteste, soe shall you secuer your selfe frome a forayne Bnemye & bee able timleye to drawe Into the feilde a good Armeye, agaynste Traytors & Rebells shoulde theye rise & so bee safe your selfe & have the blessinge off the People uppon you for their peace & quietnes. Moste off your Maties porte Townes, weare Garisons in Queen Elizabeths Time, so tis no In[n]ovation, & an Establishmente made then for whatt numbers Theye thoughte fitt, so tis as lawefull for your Matie nowe to add or deminishe, as for Queen Elizabeth. Butt sum sayes the Charge will bee greate thatt your Maties Counsell will verye Easeleye setle to the Contentmente off the Com[m]on welth, when theye shall playnlye perceve their peace & safetye bye Itt. I am shure these Rebells hath pulde the Scines over the peoples Eares for their perpetuall trouble, God forbid your Matie shoulde doe the hunderde thousande parte off Itt for their peace butt thatt dificultie off Charge will Easeleye bee settled Even by a good & wise Parlamente, Thatt knowes ther can Coume no mischeefe like a sivell warr, & this will absoutlye prevente Itt litle Inconvenienceyes muste bee borne withall, & all doubtes can nott bee solvde, for a foole maye doubte more then a wise man Can Anser. sum saye agen wher ther Is trade In porte townes a Garison will spoyle Itt, howe doth Itt spoyle all the trade in Hollande, oh butt thatt Is In their owne handes saye theye Why so will your Ma: bee as loth to spoyle trade as theye, for tis your Maties ritches, as well as the ritches off the States Generall.—I butt sayes sum agen theye can nott goe In & oute wher ther Is a Garison all the Daye I am shure ther Is no hinderinge off them & In the nighte the Governor sendes his keyes presentlye & tis dun; so thatt these questions are butt to seeme wiser then their Neygbors, or thatt Laweyears woulde nott have the Canon Lawe above them.

“ Nexte for the Armes off everye countye Is calde tyrande bandes [trained bands, i.e., militias], the question Is wether theye shoulde remayne or no, as thatt theye weare agaynste the kinge your Maties Royall Father, tis trewe sum off them weare butt Itt was wher theye weare forste with greater power for manye iff nott moste weare for the kinge & servde verye well; In these late times off disloyall disputations, they questionde wether the kinge coulde remove them oute off their countye beinge onlye a Garde & saftye of Everye Countye, butt the practise & presedente shewe otherwise, for Queen Elizabeth sente traynde bandes Into France, to Henerye the Forth kinge off France your Maties Royal Grandfather under the Conducte off the then Earle off Essexe.—& thatt was oute off their countye.—Butt iff your Matie have no traynde bandes In Everye Countye I knowe nott howe uppon anye Insurection howe the Sheriff with his Posse Comitus can rayse armde men when ther Is none, Soe thatt I conclude that itt is fitt to have traynde Bandes as theye weare & Greate Advantage to your Matie withoute charge, so you make well afected Lordes, your Lorde Leuftenantes. Heer I should Humblye advise your Matie never to joyne Lordes In thatt Comition butt Everye countye to have butt one Lorde Leuftenante for havinge towe Lorde Leuftenantes joynde you displease both because singlye theye have nott the totall Com[m]ande, & your Matie had better please one Man, then have towe men displeasde, besides Itt will make greate faction In Everye Countye sidinge with those towe Lordes which shall never harteleye agree, & distracte your Maties busines, with cross com[m]andes In the Countrye, & fill your courte full off faction In takinge the severall sides, which the Purses off these Lordes will make amongeste Hungerye Courtiers, & brede your Matie a great dell off trouble & a grounde for a pretye rebellion which aughte to bee avoyded betimes, & therefore butt one Lorde Leuftenante In Everye countye Ande for the Trayne Bandes thus ther Is no danger in them so longe as your Matie masters London, & your Porte townes well Garisonde.{**} Iff the Londoners shoulde take Exceptions thatt other Corporated townes hath traynde bandes & theye none the Case Is not alike, both for numbers or Rebellion, since that cursed Citeye hath contrebuted more to this late horide Rebellion then all Englande besides; butt to satisfye them I thinke Itt verye fitt thatt no corporation shoulde have Armes, for theye are butt verye fewe thatt theye are willinge to Arme, & as loth theye shoulde bee musterde or Calde out off their Towne, so thatt I conclude no Corporation to be Armde, Butt the cheefe busines Is to master London, for so you master all Englande, & as one sayde whatt shoulde theye bee Armde for, butt In time off peace to playe the fooles In finsburye feeldes, In trayninge ther,—Ande in time of warr to playe the Rebells agaynst their kinge, so still I Conclude Master London & you have dun your worke.Closing quotation mark

[  Marginalia  ]

*  [ handwritten note in left margin of ms. ]  with their browne Bills.   [ The brown-bill was a kind of halberd (combining a spear and battleaxe), which was painted brown — a weapon used at that time by watchmen and foot-soldiers. ]

return to main text of Newcastle’s ms.

**  [ handwritten note in bottom margin of ms. ]  Yett It weare better your Matie had that forse In your owne handes, as a Troope off Horse In Everye Countye proportionable to the Countie, & some Dragons, which are Musketers & Pikes for the Garde off your Amunitian In thatt Countye & Butt Horste uppon ocation, & bee shure Sr [i.e., Sir] that you paye the Soldier alwayes your selfe by your owne offisers, thatt theye maye wholye depende uppon your Matie for otherwise Itt woulde bee verye Dangerous.—The Reebells nowe knowe this to well for theye doe so nowe which Is the wisest waye. 

return to main text of Newcastle’s ms.


SOURCE:  Cavendish, William (marquess of Newcastle; afterwards 1st duke of Newcastle). “For the Militia.” Section 1 of Letter to Charles II, a scribal publication written c.1650s.
     A digital edition of Newcastle’s complete Letter to Charles II is forthcoming for the Library: see Lib. Cat. No. WC1650s. The above HTML edition of Section 1, “For the Militia,” is taken from that transcription.
NOTE :  Newcastle’s combined contempt for and dread of the musters held at Finsbury Fields by autonomous London militias (“In time off peace to playe the fooles In finsburye feeldes, In trayninge ther,—Ande in time of warr to playe the Rebells agaynst their kinge”) was widely shared. E.g., Ben Jonson earlier satirized the showy “Finsbury battells” in The Divell Is an Asse, “a comedie acted in the yeare, 1616.” This training area for the London militias was later repurposed for commercial use and developed into Finsbury Square in 1777.
     Although there is no mention of the Anglo-American colonies in this section of Newcastle’s treatise advising the future Charles II on building up a strong military-imperial executive, Cavendish does see a role for the colonies (like war and agriculture) as a sociopolitical pressure valve useful in managing England’s burgeoning population of poor folk. In a passage recommending widespread deforestation so as to provide better-paying jobs for the poor, Newcastle argues: “& wher ther are hunderethes off Beggers nowe thatt lives off nothinge butt gettinge & Sellinge off Bilberies, a verye poore trade which Continewes them Beggers still—when the Forreste Is disaforested, the Tillege will bee so greate, as Itt will sett all the beggers a worke male & female, for Corne hath alwayes somethinge to bee don aboute Itt, Even frome the Sowinge to the reapinge so thatt trewlye within a while In thatt place ther will bee almoste no Beggers, In so good Estate will theye bee. Ande thus your Matie will gaine verye much by Itt, & your People to,—Iff theye talke off Increasinge off People, sertenlye Beggers Increase more then Rich folkes, Butt Shoulde theye [increase in population] a warr will Emtye them Eyther by lande or Seae,—or Else your Matie may sende Collonies to the Bermodoes, Virginia, Barbadoes, Newe Englande and Newe Scottlande &c.” (William Cavendish, “For the Countrye,” Letter to Charles II, a scribal publication written c.1650s, n. pag.) Transporting England’s destitute across the Atlantic was tried and proven during the first half of the 17th century, so Newcastle was not proposing anything extraordinary with his policies for poor relief. Although Newcastle was not directly involved with the Anglo-American colonies, his uncle, Sir William Cavendish (d. 1626), 1st earl of Devonshire, and his cousin, Sir William Cavendish (1590-1628), 2nd earl of Devonshire (and pupil-patron of Hobbes), had invested in Virginia and the Bermudas. The 2nd earl of Devonshire played an active role in the Virginia Company of London, and was a leading member of the Sandys faction during the disputes of 1623, which grew so heated that, when Robert Rich, earl of Warwick, accused Cavendish of lying during the course of an argument in July 1623, Cavendish challenged Warwick to a duel (both men were apprehended before they could meet, in Holland, to fight it out).
     There are additional quotations from Newcastle’s ms. Letter to Charles II included with the editor’s Introduction for She-philosopher.​com’s e-publication of Thomas Hobbes’s A Briefe of the Art of Rhetorique (see Lib. Cat. No. THOB1637).
     And another lengthy excerpt from Newcastle’s Letter to Charles II — the entire section advising a would-be “great Monarch” and “wise Monarch” on matters of trade & finance in a global economy — is forthcoming at our sister project, Roses, with selected quotations available here.

The first Duke of Newcastle’s table-talk concerning control of the armed forces

William Cavendish was known for his witty repartee, in person and in print:

An outspoken man with a shrewd wit and a gift for pungent expression, Newcastle was seldom obliged or inclined to call a spade anything but a spade, and his reluctance to temper his opinions with conventional pleasantries must have irked many during his life, as indeed it has seemed to do ever since.

(W. C. Steinkraus, Foreword, A General System of Horsemanship ... Facsimile Reproduction of the Edition of 1743 ..., A Trafalgar Square Classic, J. A. Allen, 2000, n. pag.)

Several contemporaries recorded their memorable exchanges with Newcastle, including the politician and historian, Sir Philip Warwick (1609–1683). Then on his second mission to Lord Newcastle from the royal court at Oxford, Warwick was dismayed by the royalist army’s evident setback subsequent to Newcastle’s “fatal” maneuver (Newcastle repudiated the idea of a southward march, as he was instructed by the king, thus abandoning the scene of operations in Lincolnshire, in order to bring his main forces back into the East Riding, with the object of capturing Hull). Newcastle’s disastrous siege of Hull began on 2 September 1643. Warwick attributed the king’s army being stuck in the mud to bad weather (“the season having bin very wett”), but the true cause was a defensive action taken by those in charge of the town Newcastle besieged for six weeks, to no avail. Before the bad weather further bogged down Newcastle’s forces, the Parliamentarians defending Hull opened the sluices, and flooded the country for two miles around, preventing Newcastle’s army from advancing beyond the main highway, which was at a considerable distance from Hull; Newcastle’s troops got close enough “to shoot cannon shot at random into the town, and, for the most part, hot bullets. But, by the diligence and care of the Governour, who caused every inhabitant to watch his own house, the danger was prevented.” Warwick’s summation of the royalist army’s miserable situation, and Newcastle’s stiff-upper-lip riposte, follows:

... Upon a second dispatch from Oxford, I was then in the North with this great Lord; .... The Earle of Newcastle’s horse lying on the Lincolnshire-side of Hull, and he with his army lying before it on the North, I found him of a very cheery complexion, and hopefull to reduce that town. I went down to see his trenches and works, and found (the season having bin very wett) his men standing ankle-deep in dirt, a great distance from the town; so as I conceived, those without were likelier to rott, than those within to starve: and by assault there was not the least probability to carry it. Upon my return to him, relating but faintly and modestly my thoughts, (for he knew I had not the least part of a soldier to warrant a discourse upon that subject) he merrily put it off, saying, You often hear us called the Popish army: but you see, we trust not in our good works. I returned to York, and not long after he found it fitt to draw off his Army.

(Sir Philip Warwick, Memoires of the Reigne of King Charles I, 1701, 264–5)

“This is the best thing Newcastle ever said; there is nothing near so good amongst the eighty-five sapient remarks that are recorded of him by his adoring duchess.” (C. R. Markham, A Life of the Great Lord Fairfax, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Parliament of England, 1870, 118)

Indeed, Margaret’s selective retelling of battlefield events in The Life of ... William Cavendishe ... (1667), while her husband was in command of the king’s northern forces, conspicuously ignored not just Newcastle’s resilient wit and show of nobility throughout this disastrous episode, but also his serious blunder in besieging Hull, which ended ignominiously after the Hull garrison made a bold sally, captured many of the guns of Newcastle’s besieging army, and destroyed some of their works (a blow so severe that Newcastle decided further efforts against Hull were useless, and raised the siege on 11 October 1643).

The 85 bons mots which Margaret chose to feature in Book IV of her biography of Newcastle repeat (almost verbatim) sentiments expressed in Newcastle’s ms. Letter to Charles II (written c.1650s), from which I have excerpted above. Margaret clearly had access to this scribal publication, and while she acknowledges

... it being a private offer to his sacred Majesty, I dare not presume to publish it ...

(Margaret Cavendish, The Life of ... William Cavendishe ..., 1667, 135)

the duchess may well have consulted Newcastle’s ms. when gathering her content for Book IV of her biography.

I give below a selection of Newcastle’s aphorisms in Book IV relating to militias and control of the nation’s armed forces.

T H E   F O U R T H   B O O K
Containing several
Essays and Discourses
Gather’d from the Mouth of My Noble Lord and Husband.
With some few Notes of mine own.
I have heard My Lord say,

[ II. ]

Opening quotation markThat He is a great Monarch, who hath a Soveraign Command over Church, Laws and Armes; and He a wise Monarch, that imploys his subjects for their own profit, (for their profit is his) encourages Tradesmen, and assists and defends Merchants.Closing quotation mark

[ IV. ]

Opening quotation markThat without a well order’d force, a Prince doth but reign upon the courtesie of others.Closing quotation mark

[ V. ]

Opening quotation markThat great Princes should not suffer their chief Cities to be stronger then themselves.Closing quotation mark

[ VI. ]

Opening quotation markThat great Princes are half-armed, when their subjects are unarmed, unless it be in time of Foreign Wars.Closing quotation mark

[ VII. ]

Opening quotation markThat that Prince is richest, who is Master of the Purse; and he strongest that is Master of the Armes; and he wisest that can tell how to save the one, and use the other.Closing quotation mark

[ VIII. ]

Opening quotation markThat Great Princes should be the onely Pay-Masters of their Soldiers, and pay them out of their own Treasuries; for all men follow the Purse; and so they’l have both the Civil and Martial Power in their hands.Closing quotation mark

[ XV. ]

Opening quotation markThat Foraign Commerce causes frequent Voyages; and frequent Voyages make skilful and experienced Sea-men, and Skilful Seamen are a Brazen Wall to an Island.Closing quotation mark

[ XVI. ]

Opening quotation markThat he is the Powerfullest Monarch that hath the best shipping; and that a Prince should hinder his Neighbours as much as he can, from being strong at Sea.Closing quotation mark

[ XVII. ]

Opening quotation markThat wise States-men ought to understand the Laws, Customes and Trade of the Commonwealth, and have good intelligence both of Foraign Transactions and Designs, and of Domestick Factions; also they ought to have a Treasury, and well-furnished Magazine.Closing quotation mark

[ XXX. ]

Opening quotation markThat it is not so much Laws and Religion, nor Rhetorick, that keeps a State or Kingdom in order, but Armes; which if they be not imploy’d to an evil use, keep up the right and priviledges both of Crown, Church and State.Closing quotation mark

[ XXXIV. ]

Opening quotation markThat no Martial Law should be executed, but in an Army.Closing quotation mark


Opening quotation markThat it is no act of Prudence to make poor and mean persons Governours or Commanders, either by Land or Sea; by reason their poverty causes them to take Bribes, and so betray their Trust; at best, they are apt to extort, which is a great grievance to the people; besides, it breed envy in the Nobility and Gentry, who by that means rise into Factions, and cause disturbances in a State or Commonwealth: Wherefore the best way is to chuse Rich and Honourable Persons, (or at least, Gentlemen) for such Employments, who esteem Fame and Honourable Actions, above their Lives; and if they want skill, they must get such under-Officers as have more then themselves, to instruct them.Closing quotation mark

[ XXXIX. ]

Opening quotation markThat great Princes should consider, before they make War against Foreign Nations, whether they be able to maintain it; for if they be not able, then it is better to submit to an honourable Peace, then to make Warr to their great disadvantage; but if they be able to maintain Warr, then they’l force (in time) their Enemies to submit and yeild to what Tearms and Conditions they please.Closing quotation mark

[ XLI. ]

Opening quotation markThat in a Kingdom where Subjects are apt to rebel, no Offices or Commands should be sold; for those that buy, will not onely use extortion, and practise unjust wayes to make out their purchase, but be ablest to rebel, by reason they are more for private gain, then the publick good; for it is probable their Principles are like their Purchases.

“ But, that all Magistrates, Officers, Commanders, Heads and Rulers, in what Profession soever, both in Church and State, should be chosen according to their Abilities, Wisdom, Courage, Piety, Justice, Honesty and Loyalty; and then they’l mind the publick Good, more then their particular Interest.Closing quotation mark


Opening quotation markThat it is more difficult and dangerous for a Prince or Commander to raise an Army in such a time when the Countrey is embroiled in a Civil Warr, then to lead out an Army to fight a Battel; for when an Army is raised, he hath strength; but in raising it, he hath none.Closing quotation mark

[ XLIX. ]

Opening quotation markThat good Commanders, and experienced Soldiers, are like skilfull Fencers, who defend with Prudence, and assault with Courage, and kill their Enemies by Art, not trusting their Lives to Chance or Fortune; for as a little man with skill, may easily kill an ignorant Giant; so a small Army that hath experienced Commanders, may easily overcome a great Army that hath none.Closing quotation mark

[ L. ]

Opening quotation markThat Gallant men having no employment for Heroick Actions, become lazy, as hating any other business; whereas Cowards and base persons are onely active and stirring in times of Peace, working ill designs to breed Factions, and cause disturbances in a Common-wealth.Closing quotation mark

[ LVII. ]

Opening quotation markThat a valiant man will not refuse an honourable Duel; nor a wise man fight upon a Fools Quarrel.Closing quotation mark


Opening quotation markSome condemning My Lord for having Roman Catholicks and Scots in his Army; He answered them, that he did not examine their Opinions in Religion, but look’d more upon their Honesty and Duty; for certainly there were honest men and loyal Subjects amongst Roman Catholicks, as well as Protestants; and amongst Scots as well as English. Nevertheless, my Lord, as he was for the King, so he was also for the Orthodox Church of England, as sufficiently appears by the care he took in ordering the Church-Government, mentioned in the History. To which purpose, when my Lord was walking one time with some of His Officers in the Church at Durham, and wonder’d at the greatness and strength of the Pillars that supported that structure; My Brother, Sir Charles Lucas, who was then with him [On the recommendation of Prince Rupert, Sir Charles Lucas, served as Newcastle’s lieutenant-general of horse.], told my Lord, that he must confess, those Pillars were very great, and of a vast strength; But said he, Your Lordship is a far greater Pillar of the Church then all these: Which certainly was also a real truth, and would have more evidently appear’d, had Fortune favour’d my Lord more then she did.Closing quotation mark

[ LXXX. ]

Opening quotation markI observing that in the late Civil Warrs, many were desirous to be employed in States Affairs, and at the noise of Warr, endeavoured to be Commanders, though but of small Parties, asked my Lord the reason thereof, and what advantage they could make by their Employments? My Lord smilingly answer’d, That for the generality, he knew not what they could get, but danger, loss and labour for their pains. Then I ask’d him, Whether Generals of Great Armies were ever enriched by their Heroick Exploits, and great Victories? My Lord answer’d, That ordinary Commanders gained more, and were better rewarded then great Generals. To which I added, That I had observ’d the same in Histories, namely, That men of great Merit and Power, had not onely no Rewards, but were either found fault withall, or laid aside when they had no more business or employment for them; and that I could not conceive any reason for it, but that States were afraid of their Power: My Lord answer’d, The reason was, That it was far more easie to reward Under-Officers, then Great Commanders.Closing quotation mark


SOURCE:  Cavendish, Margaret. The life of the thrice noble, high and puissant prince William Cavendishe, duke, marquess, and earl of Newcastle, earl of Ogle; viscount Mansfield; and baron of Bolsover, of Ogle, Bothal and Hepple: gentleman of his majesties bed-chamber; one of his majesties most honourable privy-councel; knight of the most noble Order of the Garter; his majesties lieutenant of the county and town of Nottingham; and justice in Ayre Trent-North: who had the honour to be governour to our most glorious king, and gracious sovereign, in his youth, when he was prince of Wales; and soon after was made captain general of all the provinces beyond the river of Trent, and other parts of the kingdom of England, with power, by a special commission, to make knights. Written by the thrice noble, illustrious and excellent princess, Margaret, duchess of Newcastle, his wife. London, Printed by A. Maxwell, in the Year 1667. 162–185.
NOTE :  Among the guns captured by the Parliamentarians during Newcastle’s disastrous second siege of Hull (from 2 September 1643 to 11 October 1643) was the 24-foot-long cannon known as “Queen Elizabeth’s Pocket Pistol” — a gift to the young Princess Elizabeth c.1544 from the Stadtholder of Freisland. The huge cannon was capable of firing a 10 lb (4.5 kg) ball a distance of 2000 yards (1.8 km), and is a magnificent piece of art, ornamented “with engravings of fruit, flowers, grotesques, and figures symbolizing Liberty, Victory and Fame. There is also a Tudor coat of arms which includes a verse in Dutch, which translates in English as Break, tear every wall and rampart, Am I called, Across mountain and valley, pierces my ball, By me stricken.” To learn more about this noble weapon, which 17th-century myth held could shoot across the English Channel into France — but was powerless to bring down the rebellious town of Hull — see the illustrated Wikipedia article on Queen Elizabeth’s Pocket Pistol.