صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

ز

a

and Charles the Fifth, Emperor, there was such a watch kept that none of the three could win a palm of ground, but the other two would straightways balance it, either by confederation, or, if need were, by a war; and would not in anywise take up peace at interest : and the like was done by that league (which Guicciardini i saith was the security of Italy), made between Ferdinando, King of Naples, Lorenzius Medicis, and Ludovicus Sforza, potentates, the one of Florence, the other of Milan. Neither is the opinion of some of the schoolmen to be received, that a war cannot justly be made, but upon a precedent injury or provocation ; for there is no question, but a just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of a war.

For their wives, there are cruel examples of them. Livia is infamedk for the poisoning of her husband ; Roxolana, Solyman's wife, was the destruction of that renowned prince, Sultan Mustapha, and otherwise troubled his house and succession ; Edward the Second of England's Queen m had the principal hand in the deposing and murder of her husband.

This kind of danger is then to be feared chiefly when the wives have plots for the raising of their own children, or else that they be advoutresses."

For their children, the tragedies likewise of dangers from them have been many; and generally the entering of fathers into suspicion of their children hath been ever unfortunate. The destruction of Mustapha (that we named before) was so

i

"

was one of the most distinguished sovereigns that ever ruled over France.

An eminent historian of Florence. His great work, which is here illuded to, is, “ The History of Italy during his own Time,” which is Fonsidered one of the most valuable productions of that age.

* Spoken badly of. Livia was said to have hastened the death of Augustus, to prepare the accession of her son Tiberius to the throne.

Solyman the Magnificent was one of the most celebrated of the Ottoman monarchs. He took the Isle of Rhodes from the Knights of St. John. He also subdued Moldavia, Wallachia, and the greatest part of Hungary, and took from the Persians, Georgia and Bagdad. He died A.D. 1566. His wife Roxolana (who was originally a slave called Rosa or Hazathya), with the Pasha Rustan, conspired against the life of his son Mustapha, and by their instigation this distinguishel prince was strangled in his father's presence.

m The infamous Isabella of Anjou. n Adultresses.

fatal to Solyman's line, as the succession of the Turks from Solyman until this day is suspected to be untrue, and of strange blood ; for that Selymus the Second was thought to be supposititious. The destruction of Crispus, a young prince of rare towardness, by Constantinus the Great, his father, was in like manner fatal to his house; for both Constantinus and Constance, his sons, died violent deaths; and Constantius, his other son, did little better, who died indeed of sickness, but after that Julianus had taken arms against him. The destruction of Demetrius, P son to Philip the Second of Macedon, turned upon the father, who died of repentance. And many like examples there are; but few or none where the fathers had good by such distrust, except it were where the sons were up in open arms against them; as was Selymus the First against Bajazet, and the three sons of Henry the Second, King of England.

For their prelates, when they are proud and great, there is also danger from them; as it was in the times of Anselmus 9 and Thomas Becket, Archbishops of Canterbury, who with their crosiers did almost try it with the King's sword ; and yet they had to deal with stout and haughty Kings; William Rufus, Henry the First, and Henry the Second. The danger is not from that state, but where it hath a dependence of foreign authority; or where the churchmen come in and are elected, not by the collation of the King, or particular patrons, but by the people.

For their nobles, to keep them at a distance it is not amiss; but to depress them may make a King more absolute, but less safe, and less able to perform anything that he desires. I have noted it in my History of King Henry the Seventh of England, who depressed his nobility, whereupon it came to pass that his times were full of difficulties and troubles ; for the nobility, though they continued loyal unto him, yet did

4

• He, however, distinguished himself by taking Cyprus from the Venetians in the year 1571.

p. He was falsely accused by his brother Perseus of attempting to dethrone his father, on which he was put to death by the order of Philip, B.C. 180.

9 Anselm was archbishop of Canterbury in the time of William Rufus and Henry the First. Though his private life was pious and exemplary, through his rigid assertion of the rights of the clergy, he was continually embroiled with his sovereign. Thomas à Becket pursued a similar course, but with still greater violence.

they not co-operate with him in his business ; so that in etfect he was fain to do all things himself.

For their second nobles, there is not much danger from them, being a body dispersed : they may sometimes discourse high, but that doth little hurt : besides, they are a counterpoise to the higher nobility, that they grow not too potent; and, lastly, being the most immediate in authority with the common people, they do best temper popular commotions. For their merchants, they are "vena porta ;"' and if they

r flourish not, a kingdom may have good limbs, but will have empty veins, and nourish little. Taxes and imposts upon them do seldom good to the King's revenue, for that which he wins in the hundred,t he loseth in the shire; the particular rates being increased, but the total bulk of trading rather decreased.

For their commons, there is little danger from them, except it be where they have great and potent heads; or where you meddle with the point of religion, or their customs, or means of life.

For their men of war,u it is a dangerous state where they live and remain in a body, and are used to donatives; whereof we see examples in the Janizaries* and Prætorian bands of Rome ; but trainings of men, and arming them in several places, and under several commanders, and without donatives, are things of defence, and no danger.

Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause good or evil times ; and which have much veneration, but no rest. All precepts concerning Kings are in effect comprehended in those two remembrances, “ Memento quod es homo;"y and “ Memento quod es Deus,”? vice Dei ;”a the one bridleth their power,

u

1

[ocr errors]

or

and the other their will.

66

9

The great vessel that conveys the blood to the liver, after it has been enriched by the absorption of nutriment from the intestines.

• This is an expression similar to our proverb, Penny-wise and pound-foolish.”. A subdivision of the shire.

u Soldiers. * The Janizaries were the body-guards of the Turkish sultans, and enacted the same disgraceful part in making and unmaking monarchs as the mercenary Prætorian guards of the Roman empire.

“Remember that thou art a man.' 2 “Remember that thou art a God." The representative of God.”

XX.--OF COUNSEL. The greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving counsel ; for in other confidences men commit the parts of life, their lands, their goods, their children, their credit, some particular affair; but to such as they make their counsellors they commit the whole : by how much the more they are obliged to all faith and integrity. The wisest princes need not think it any diminution to their greatness, or derogation to their sufficiency to rely upon counsel. God himself is not without, but hath made it one of the great names of his blessed Son, “ The Counsellor.”a

Solomon hath pronounced that, “in counsel is stability.”b Things will have their first or second agitation : if they be not tossed upon the arguments of counsel, they will be tossed upon the waves of fortune ; and be full of inconstancy, doing and undoing, like the reeling of a drunken man.

Solomon's sonc found the force of counsel, as his father saw the necessity of it : for the beloved kingdom of God was first rent and broken by ill counsel ; upon which counsel there are set for our instruction the two marks whereby bad counsel is for ever best discerned, that it was young counsel for the persons, and violent counsel for the matter.

The ancient times do set forth in figure both the incorporation and inseparable conjunction of counsel with Kings, and the wise and politic use of counsel by Kings : the one, in that they say Jupiter did marry Metis, which signifieth counsel ; whereby they intend that sovereignty is married to counsel ; the other, in that which followeth, which was thus: they say, after Jupiter was married to Metis, she conceived by him and was with child; but Jupiter suffered her not to stay till she brought forth, but eat her up : whereby he became himself with child, and was delivered of Pallas armed, out of his head. Which monstrous fable containeth a secret of empire, how Kings are to make use of their

• Isaiah ix. 6: “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

6 Prov. xx. 18 : “Every purpose is established by counsel : and with good advice make war.'

• The wicked Rehoboam, from whom the ten tribes of Israel revolted and elected Jeroboam their king. See 1 Kings xii.

counsel of state : that first, they ought to refer matters unto them, which is the first begetting or impregnation ; but when they are elaborate, moulded, and shaped in the womb of their council, and grow ripe and ready to be brought forth, that then they suffer not their council to go through with the resolution and direction, as if it depended on them ; but take the matter back into their own hands, and make it appear to the world, that the decrees and final directions (which, because they come forth with prudence and power, are resembled to Pallas armed), proceeded from themselves; and not only from their authority, but (the more to add reputation to themselves) from their head and device.

Let us now speak of the inconveniences of counsel, and of the remedies. The inconveniences that have been noted in calling and using counsel, are three: first, the revealing of affairs, whereby they become less secret ; secondly, the weakening of the authority of princes, as if they were less of themselves ; thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully counselled, and more for the good of them that counsel than of him that is counselled; for which inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some Kings' times, hath introduced cabinet councils ; a remedy worse than the disease.d

As to secrecy, princes are not bound to communicate all matters with all counsellors, but may extract and select; neither is it necessary, that he that consulteth what he should do, should declare what he will do; but let princes beware that the unsecreting of their affairs comes not from themselves : and, as for cabinet councils, it may be their motto,

“ Plenus rimarum sum :"e one futile person, that maketh it his glory to tell, will do more hurt than many, that know it their duty to conceal. It is true there be some affairs which require extreme secrecy, which will hardly go beyond one or two persons besides the King: neither aro those counsels unprosperous ; for, besides the secrecy, they commonly go on constantly in one spirit of direction without distraction : but then it must be a prudent King, such as is

• The political world has not been convinced of the truth of this doc. trine of Lord Bacon ; as cabinet councils are now held probably by every Fovereign in Europe.

.I am full of outlets."

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »