Frederick the Great: Instructions to His Generals: Article Twenty-Five

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If it be absolutely necessary that the General of an Army should hold a Council of War.

It was a saying of Prince Eugene, “that if a general did not wish to fight, he had nothing more to do than hold a council of war;” and his assertion is proved, by the general voice of councils of war being against engaging. Secrecy, so necessary in war, can here be no longer observed.

A general, to whom his sovereign has entrusted his troops, should act for himself, and the confidence placed in him by his king is a sufficient warrant for such conduct.

Nevertheless, I am persuaded that a general ought not to be inattentive to the advice of even a subaltern officer, as it is the duty of a good citizen to forget himself when the welfare of his country is at stake, and not regard who furnishes the advice that may be productive of happy, wished-for consequences.

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