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• You do this perhaps with a good intention,' said the cardinal, • but in my opinion it were wiser, and perhaps better for you, not to engage in so ridiculous a contest with a fool.'
- No, my lord,' answered he, " that were not wisely done, for Solomon, “ the wisest of men, said, answer a fool according to his folly; which I now do, and shew him the ditch into which he will fall if he be not aware of it. For if the many mockers of Elisha, only one bald man, felt the effect of his zeal, what will become of one mocker of so many friars, among whom are so many bald men? We have moreover a papal bull, by which all who jeer us are excommunicated
• When the cardinal saw that there was no end of this matter, he made a sign to the fool to withdraw, changed the discourse, and soon afterward arose from table ; and, taking leave of us, went to hear causes.
• Thus, Mr. More, I have run out into a tedious story, of the length of which I should have been ashamed, had not you earnestly begged it of me, and listened to it as if you had no mind to lose a word. I might have contracted it, but I resolved to give it you in detail, that you might observe how those who despised what I had proposed, no sooner perceived that the cardinal did not disapprove of it, than they presently approved it, fawned on and flattered him, till they in good earnest applauded what he liked on
Jy in jest. And hence you may gather, how little courtiers would value either me or my counsels.'
• You have done me,' I answered, “ a great kindness in this relation. For every thing hath been related by you wisely and pleasantly, and you have made me imagine I was in my own country and grown young again, by recall. ing to my thoughts that good cardinal, in whose family I was bred from my childhood. And though on other accounts you are dear to me, yet are you dearer by honouring his memory so much..
.. But, after all you have said, I am still of opinion that if you could overcome your aversion to the courts of princes, you might materially benefit mankind, by the advice you could give ; and the benefit of mankind is the chief end which every good man should propose to himself in living Your friend Plato thought nations would be happy when philosophers became kings, or kings philosophers ; no wonder then we are so far from happiness, when philosophers will not think it their duty to assist kings with their coun
· Their minds are not so base, he replied, . but they would willingly do it (nay, many of them have done it by their writings), would those in power but listen to their advice. But Plato judged rightly, that except kings themselves became philosophers, being corrupted with false no tions from their childhood, they would never consent entirely with the counsels of philosophers; and the truth of this himself experienced in Dionysius.
. Do not you think, if I was about any king, proposing good laws to him and endeavouring to root out all the cursed seeds of evil I could find in him, I should be turned out of his court, or at least laughed at for my pains ?
• For instance. What could it signify if I was about the king of France and called into his cabinet council, where several wise men were proposing sundry plans-as, by what arts Milan may be kept, and Naples, which hath so often slipped from his hands, recovered how the Venetians, and after them the rest of Italy, may be subdued—then how Flanders, Brabant, and all Burgundy, with other kingdoms which he hath already swallowed in his designs, may be added to his empire.
• One proposeth a league with the Venetians, to be preserved as long as he findeth his account in it; and that he should communicate with them and give them a share of the spoil, till his successes render him less dependent on, or fearful of them, and then it may be easily broken.
• Another proposeth hiring the Germans, and securing the Swiss by pensions; another, gaining the emperor by money, his deity. A fourth proposeth a peace with the king of Arragon, and, to cement it, the yielding the king of Navarre's pretensions; a fifth thinketh the prince of
Castile may be wrought upon by the hope of an alliance, and that some of his courtiers are to be gained by pen. sions.
· The most difficult point is, 'what is to be done with England ? A treaty of peace must be set on foot, and if her alliance be not to be depended on, yet it is to be made as firm as possible, and she is to be called a friend, but suspected as an enemy. The Scots must be kept in readiness, to be let loose upon her on every occasion ; and some banished nobleman, who hath a pretension to the crown, must be supported underhandly (from the league it cannot be done avowedly), that the mistrusted prince may be held in awe.
· • Now when matters are in this fermentation, and so many noblemen are joining in council how to carry on the war, if so mean a fellow as I should stand up and wish them to change all their counsels, to leave Italy alone and remain at home, France being a greater kingdom than could be properly governed by one man, and therefore not to be increased—If then I should propose to them the example of the Achorians, a people lying south-east of Utopia, who, long ago, engaged in war, to add another kingdom to the dominions of their prince, to which he had some pretension from an old alliance
• They conquered it, but found the trouble of keeping it as great as that by which it was gained ; that the conquered were ever in rebellion or invaded by foreigners, while themselves were constantly at war either for or against them, and could never disband their army; that in the meantime they were oppressed with taxes, their money went out of the kingdom, they spilt their blood for the glory of their king, without the least advantage to the people, even in time of peace; and that, their manners being corrupted by a long war, robbery and murder everywhere abounded, and their laws fell into contempt, while their king, distracted by two kingdoms, was less able to apply his attention to the interest of either.
• When they saw this, and that there would be no end of these evils, they humbly besought the king to choose whichever of the kingdoms he preferred, since he could not hold both——they would not, they said, be governed by half a king, when no man would willingly share, even a groom with another master. Upon this the good prince made over his new conquest to one of his friends (who was soon afterward dethroned) and contented himself with his old kingdom.
* To this I would add, that, after all these attempts, the confusion, consumption of treasure and people, which must ensue, perhaps, on some misfortune, they might be compelled to give up all at last. It therefore seemed much more eligible, that the king should improve his old kingdom as much as he could and make it fourish, that he should love his people, and be beloved by them; that he