The next day early, we arrived at Boulogne.
This is a double town, one part of it situate on a high rock, or downs; the other, called the lower town, is yet with a great declivity toward the sea; both of them defended by a strong castle, which stands on a notable eminence. Under the town runs the river, which is yet but an inconsiderable brook. Henry VIII., in the siege of this place is said to have used those great leathern guns which I have since beheld in the Tower of London, inscribed, “Non Marte opus est cui non deficit Mercurius”1; if at least the history be true, which my Lord Herbert doubts2.
Supposedly this translates as “We win by art when steel may not be struck”. My poor translation is “You don’t need war (Mars) when diplomacy (Mercury) is sufficient” -GS ↩
[Life and Raigne of King Henry the Eighth, 1649, p. 516. But Lord Herbert speaks of “ Canon of Wood coloured like brasse.” Leathern guns, invented by Colonel Robert Scot (d. 1631), were, however, used by Gustavus Adolphus at the battle of Leipzig; and a leathern cannon is said to have been proved in the King’s Park, Edinburgh, as late as October, 1778. –AD] ↩