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should live among them, govern them mildly, and leave other kingdoms alone, since what had fallen to his share was large enough, if not too large, for him.
- How think you, would such a speech as this be relished?
• Not very well, I believe and confess,' replied I.
• But,' said he, · what if I fell in with another class of ministers, whose chief object is to increase the prince's treasure. Where one proposeth raising the value of specie when the king is in debt, and lowering it when his revenues come in, that he may pay much with little, and in a little receive a great deal. Another proposeth a pretence of war; that money may be raised to carry it on, and a peace concluded as soon as this is done; and this under such religious pretences, as might work on the people, and make them impute it to the piety of their prince and his tenderness for their lives. A third offereth some musty laws, antiquated by long disuse, and forgotten and broken by all; and proposeth levying the penalties of them, which would bring in much, and there is a good pretence for it, since it would look like executing a law and doing justice.
• A fourth proposeth to prohibit many things under severe penalties, especially such as are against the interest of the people ; and then dispensing with these prohibitions on great compositions, to those who might find their advantage in breaking them. This would answer two ends, both of them acceptable to many. Those whose avarice led them to transgress would be severely fined ; and the selling licences dear, would look as if the prince were tender of his people, and would not easily, or at a low rate, dispense with any thing which might be against the public good.
* Another proposeth that the judges be secured, to declare ever in favour of the prerogative; and that they be often sent for to court, to let the king hear them argue those points in which he is concerned. Since, however, unjust any of his pretensions may be, yet some one or other of them, in the spirit of contradiction, the pride of singularity, or to make his court, would find some pretence for giving the king a fair colour for carrying his point. For let the judges but differ in opinion, and the clearest thing in the world becometh disputable; and the truth once brought in question, the king may expound the law to his own purpose, and the judges who stand out will be brought over by fear or modesty. Thus gained, they may all be sent to the bench to give sentence boldly, as the king would have it, for fair pretences will never be wanting when sentence is to be given in the prince's favour. It will either be said that equity lieth on his side, or some words in the law will be found bearing that sound, or some forced sense will be put upon them. And when all else faileth, the king's undoubted prerogative will be pretended, as what is above all law, and to which an upright judge ought to have especial regard.
• Thus all consent to the maxims of Crassus, that a king cannot have sufficient treasure, since he must maintain his armies from it; that, if ever so much inclined that way, he can do no injustice; that all property is vested in him, not even excepting the persons of his subjects; and that no man hath any other property than what the king in his. goodness chooseth should remain in his possession. They think it the interest of the prince, that as little should remain so, as may be, as if it was for his advantage, that his people should have neither riches nor liberty; these making them less easy under cruelty and injustice, while poverty breaketh that spirit which might otherwise rebel.
* If, when all these propositions had been made, I should assert, that such counsels are mischievous and unbecoming a king, and that not only his honour, but his safety, consisteth more in his people's wealth than in his own. If I should shew, that they choose a king for their own sake and not for his, that by his exertion and care they may be easy as well as safe; and that therefore a prince ought to be more solicitous of his people's happiness than of his own, as a shepherd is to take more care of his flock than of himself
* They also are certainly much mistaken who imagine that poverty is a safeguard to a country. Whọ quarrel more than beggars? Who more earnestly long for a change, than those whose present circumstances are uneasy to them?
And who create confusion' so desperately, as those, who having nothing to lose, hope to gain by it?
• Should a king fall into such contempt or envy, that he could not preserve the allegiance of his subjects without oppression and impoverishment, he had better abdicate his throne, than preserve the name, without the dignity of authority; and it is less dignity to reign over beggars, than over rich and happy subjects. The noble Fabricius said, he had rather govern rich men than be rich himself; since for one man to abound in wealth and pleasure, while all around him were groaning, became a jailer but not a king.
• He is an unskilful physician who cannot cure one disa order, without bringing another upon his patient; and the prince who can find no other means of eradicating the evils of a state than that of banishing from it the conveniencies of life, proves that he knoweth not how to govern a free people.
· Let him rather shake off his sloth, or banish his pride ; for his people's contempt or hatred ariseth from his own vices. Let him live on his revenue without injuring any, and accommodate his expenditure to it. Let him punish, and endeavour to prevent, crimes, rather than be severe when he hath suffered them to become too common. Let him not rashly revive laws which are abrogated' by disuse, especially when they have been long forgotten and not wanted. And let him never exact penalties for the breach. of them, except in cases where a judge would allow a private man to exact them, without imputing to him craft or injustice.
• Here I would add that law of the Macarians, who lie near Utopia, by which their king, on commencing his reign, is bound by an oath, which is confirmed by solemn sacrifices, never to have above a thousand pounds of gold in his treasury at a time, or an equivalent value in silver. This law, they tell you, was made by an excellent king, who had more regard to his country's than his own wealth ; and therefore provided against the accumulation of treasure to the impoverishment of his people. He thought that sum sufficient for accidents, should the king require it against rebels, or the country against invasion ; yet insufficient to encourage the prince to invade the rights of others, his chief object in enacting the law. He also thought it a good security for that free circulation of money, which is the life of commerce. And, when a king is obliged to disburse the accumulations of the treasury beyond a certain sum, it inclineth him less to oppress his subjects. Such a king will be a terror to the wicked and beloved by the good.
ons If, as I said before, I should talk in this strain to men of the other persuasion, would they not be deaf to all I could say ?
• No doubt very deaf, answered I, 6 and no wonder, for it is very wrong to make propositions or give advice which