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that nothing destroyeth authority so much as the unequal" and untimely interchange of power pressed too far, and relaxed too much.
This is true, that the wisdom of all these latter times in princes' affairs is rather fine deliveries and shiftings of dangers and mischiefs when they are near, than solid and grounded courses to keep them aloof. But this is but to try masteries with fortune. And let men beware how they neglect and suffer matter of trouble to be prepared; for no man can forbid the spark, nor tell whence it may come.
The difficulties in princes' business are many and great ; but the greatest difficulty is often in their own mind. For it is common with princes (saith Tacitus)? to will contradictories, Sunt plerumque regum voluntates vehementes, et inter se contrariæ : [Their desires are commonly vehement and incompatible one with another.] For it is the solecism of power, to think to command the end, and yet not to endure the mean.
Kings have to deal with their neighbours, their wives, their children, their prelates or clergy, their nobles, their secondnobles or gentlemen, their merchants, their commons, and their men of war; and from all these arise dangers, if care and circumspection be not used.
First for their neighbours; there can no general rule be given (the occasions are so variable,) save one, which ever holdeth; which is, that princes do keep due sentinel, that none of their neighbours do overgrow so (by increase of territory, by embracing of trade', by approaches, or the like), as they become more able to annoy them than they were. And this is generally the work of standing counsels to foresee and to hinder it. During that triumvirate of kings, King Henry the Eighth of England, Francis the First King of France, 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 any wise take up peace at interest. And the like was done by that league (which Guicciardine saith was the security of Italy) made between Ferdinando King of Naples, Lorenzius Medices, and
I inaqualem et quasi subsultoriam.
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 infamed for the poisoning of her husband; Roxalana, Solyman's wife, was the destruction of that renowned prince Sultan Mustapha, and otherwise troubled his house and succession; Edward the Second of England his queen had the principal hand in the deposing and murther 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 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 suppositious. 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, 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 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
Е Е 3
from that state, but where it hath a dependance 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 amissa; but to depress them, may make a king more absolute, but less safe; and less able to perform any thing 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 they not co-operate with him in his business. So that in effect 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 3; 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 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 that he wins in the hundred he leeseth 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
"At periculum hujusmodi a Prælatis non est magnopere pertimescendum, nisi ubi Clerus ab auctoritate aut jurisdictione principatus externi pendet ; aut etiam ubi Ecclesiastici eliguntur a populo, non antem a Rege vel patronis Ecclesiarum.
2 Sunt illi certe cohibendi, et tamquam in just distantiâ a solio regali continendi.
3 Quinimo fovendi sunt, tunquam qui potentiam nobilitatis superioris optime temperent, ne immodice excrescat.
4 Upon this phrase, which recurs two or three times in Bacon (see for instance the History of Henry VII. p. 172. ; “being a king that loved wealth and treasure, he could not endure to have trade sick, nor any obstruction to continue in the gute-vein, which disperseth that blood,”) I am indebted to Mr. Ellis for the following characteristic note. “ The metaphor," he writes “is historically curious ; for no one would have used it since the discovery of the circulation of the blood and of the lacteals. But in Bacon's time it was supposed that the chyle was taken up by the veins which converge to the rena porta. The latter immediately divides into branches, and ultimately into four ramifications, which are distributed throughout the substance of the liver, so that it has been compared to the trunk of a tree giving off roots at one extremity and branches at the other. Bacon's meaning therefore is, that commerce concentrates the resources of a country in order to their redistribution. The heart, which receives blood from all parts of the body and brings it into contact with the external air, and then redistributes it everywhere, would I think have taken the place of the vena porta, after Harvey's discovery had become known; especially as the latter is a mere conduit, and not a source of motion,"
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; 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 pretorian 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 ; and memento quod es Deus, or vice Dei ; [Remember that you are a man; and remember that you are a God, or God's lieutenant:] the one bridleth their power, and the other their will.
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 child", 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. Salomon hath pronounced that in counsel is stability. 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
Salomon's son found the force of counsel, as his father saw the necessity of it. For the beloved kingdom of God was
· vel in consuetudinibus antiquis, vel in gravaminibus tributorum, vel in aliis quæ victum eorum decurtant.
? si in corpus unum cogantur, vel exercitús vel præsidiorum, 8 militum conscriptio et ad arma tractanda instructio.
So edd. 1612 and 1625. Ed. 1639 has children. 5 si consilio virorum selectorum utantur.
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 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 counsel, and grow ripe and ready to be brought forth, that then they suffer not their counsel 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 counsels; a remedy worse than the disease.3
I ac si minus ex se penderent. ? doctrina quorundam ex Italis. The Italian translation has l'uso d'Italia e di Francia.
$ The sentence ends here in both the printed editions. But in the manuscript (of which an account will be given in the Appendix, and which appears to have been