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Anecdotes of Archery
Part 4 of 34

LEO ordained that all the youth of Rome fhould be compelled to ufe fhooting, more or lefs; and always bear their bow and quiver about with them, till they were eleven years old. He alfo adds,

"We ftrictly command you to make pro-
" clamation to all men under our dominion, which
" be either in war or peace; to all cities and
" towns ; and, finally, to all manner of men,—
" that every free man have bow and arrows of
" his own, and every houfe have a bow and forty
" arrows for every occafion ; and that they exer-
" cife themfelves in holts, hills, dales, woods,
" and plains, to inure them to all the chances of
" war."

THE Artillery Company of London[9], tho' they have long difufed the weapon, are the remains of the Ancient Fraternity of Bowmen, or Archers. Artillery (artillerie) is a French term, fignifying Archery: As the King's Bowyer is, in that language, ftyled Artillier du Roy.

William the Conqueror had a confiderable number of bowmen in his army at the battle of Haftings: The names of the officers of this part of his army is contained in the roll of Battle-Abbey[10]; they are in number feventy-three, and came from the Vale of Rueil Bretviel and many other places. Amongft thefe we find the names of DUGLOSSE, MOWBRAY, MORTIMER, HARECOURT, DEVREUX, ALLAN COUNT DE BRITAIGNE, &C.

As this victory was certainly obtained by the help of the long-bow and broad-arrow[11]; fo it was by the fame weapons that the Englifh afterwards conquered France.

It may not be improper to infert in this place an excellent and curious companion between this weapon and our fire arms, mentioned in the life of WILLIAM THE NORMAN by JOHN HAYWARD.

" One circumftance more I hold fit to be ob-
" ferved, that this victory was gotten only by
" means of the arrow ; the ufe whereof was
" brought into this land afterwards. The Englifh
" being trained to the fight, did thereby chiefly
" maintain themfelves with honourable advantage
" againft all nations with whom they did contend
" in arms, being generally reputed the bell fhot in
" the world. But of late years it hath been alto
" gether laid afide; and inftead thereof, the
" harquebufs and calliver are brought into ufe, yet
" not without contradiction of many expert men
" of arms; who, albeit they do not reject the ufe
" of the fmall pieces, yet do they prefer the bow
" before them: Firft, for that, in a reafonable
" diftance, it is of greater certainty and force:
" Secondly, for that it difcharges fafter: Thirdly,
" for that more men may difcharge therewith at
" once; for only the firft rank difchargeth the
" piece, neither hurt they any but thofe that are
" in front; but with the bow ten or twelve ranks
" may difcharge together, and will annoy fo many
" ranks of the enemy: Laftly, for that the arrow
" doth ftrike more parts of the body; for in that it
" turneth by defcent, and not only point-blank,
" like the bullet, there is no part of the body but
" it may ftrike, from the crown of the head, to
" the nailing of the foot to the ground. Here-
" upon it followeth, that the arrows falling fo
" thick as hail upon the bodies of men, as lefs
" fearful of their flefh, fo much flenderly armed
" than in former times, muft neceffarily work
" more dangerous effects. Befides thefe general
" refpects, in many particular fervices and times
" the ufe of the bow is of great advantage; if
" fome defence lie before the enemy, the arrow
" may ftrike where the bullet cannot; foul wea-
" ther may much hinder the difcharge of the
" piece, but is of no great impediment to the dif-
" charge of the bow: A horfe ftruck with a bul
" let, if the wound be not mortal, may perform
" good fervice; but if an arrow be faftened in
" his flefh, the continual ftirring thereof, occa-
" fioned by the motion of himfelf, will force him
" to caft of all command, and either beat down,
" or diforder thofe that are near. But the crack
" of the piece, fome men fay, doth ftrike a terror
" in the enemy : True, if they be fuch as never
" heard the like noife before ; but a little ufe will
" extinguifh thefe terrors. To men, yea to
" beafts, acquainted with thefe cracks, they work
" a weak impreffion of fear : And if it be true,
" which all men of action do hold, that the eye in
" all battles is firft overcome, then againft men
" equally accuftomed to both, the fight of the ar
" row is more available to victory than the crack of
" the piece. Affuredly the duke, before the bat-
" tle, encouraged his men, for that they fhould
" deal with enemies who had no fhot. But I will
" leave this point to be determined by more dif-
" cerning judgment[12]."

WILLIAM himfelf was an admirable Archer, and was fo ftrong, that few but himfelf could bend the bow he ufed.