To give moaerate liberty for griefs and discon-| for as for large discourses, they are flat things, and tentments to evaporate (so it be without too great not so much noted. insolency or bravery) is a safe way: for he that Lastly, let princes, against all events, not be turneth the humours back, and maketh the wound without some great person, one or rather more, of bleed inwards, endangereth malign ulcers and per- military valour, near unto them, for the repressing nicious imposthumations.

of seditions in their beginnings; for without that, The part of Epimetheus might well become there useth to be more trepidation in court upon Prometheus, in the case of discontentments, for the first breaking out of troubles, than were fit; there is not a better provision against them. Epi- and the state runneth the danger of that which Tametheus, when griefs and evils flew abroad, at citus saith, “ atque is habitus animorum fuit, ut last shut the lid, and kept hope in the bottom of pessimum facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent, the vessel. Certainly, the politic and artificial omnes paterentur:” but let such military persons nourishing and entertaining of hopes, and carry- be assured, and well reputed of, rather than facing men from hopes to hopes, is one of the best tious and popular; holding also good correspondantidotes against the poison of discontentments; ence with the other great men in the state, or else and it is a certain sign of a wise government and the remedy is worse than the disease. proceeding, when it can hold men's hearts by hopes, when it cannot by satisfaction; and when

XVI. OF ATHEISM. it can handle things in such manner as no evil shall appear so peremptory but that it hath some I had rather believe all the fables in the legend, outlet of hope: which is the less hard to do: be- and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this cause both particular persons and factions are apt universal frame is without a mind; and, therefore, enough to flatter themselves, or at least to brave God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, that, they believe not.

because his ordinary works convince it. It is true, Also the foresight and prevention, that there be that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to no likely or fit head whereunto discontented per- atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's sons inay resort, and under whom they may join, minds about to religion;* for while the mind of man is a known, but an excellent point of caution. I looketh upon second causes scattered, it may someunderstand a fit head to be one that hath greatness times rest in them, and go no further; but when and reputation, that hath confidence with the dis- it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and contented party, and upon whom they turn their linked together, it must needs fly to providence eyes, and that is thought discontented in his own and Deity : nay, even that school which is most particular: which kind of persons are either to be accused of atheism doth most demonstrate reliwon and reconciled to the state, and that in a fast gion ; that is the school of Leucippus, and Dentoand true manner; or to be fronted with some other of critus, and Epicurus : for it is a thousand times the same party that may oppose them, and so divide more credible that four mutable elements, and one the reputation. Generally the dividing and break-immutable fifth essence, duly and eternally placed, ing of all factions and combinations that are adverse need no God, than that an army of infinite small to the state, and setting them at distance,.or, at portions, or seeds unplaced, should have produced least, distrust among themselves, is not one of the this order and beauty without a divine marshal. worst remedies : for it is a desperate case, if those The Scripture saith, “ The fool hath said in his that hold with the proceeding of the state be full heart, there is no God;" it is not said, “ The fool of discord and faction, and those that are against hath thought in his heart;" so as he rather saith it it be entire and united.

by rote to himself, as that he would have, than I have noted, that some witty and sharp that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded speeches, which have fallen froin princes, have of it; for none deny there is a God, but those for given fire to seditions. Cæsar did himself infi- whom it maketh that there were no God. It apnite hurt in that speech,“ Sylla nescivit literas, peareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in non potuit dictare;" for it did utterly cut off that the lip than in the heart of man, than by this, that hope which men had entertained, that he would atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, one time or other give over his dictatorship. Gal- as if they fainted in it within themselves, and ha undid himself by that speech, “ legi a se mili- would be glad to be strengthened by the consent tem, non emi;” for it put the soldiers out of hope of others : nay more, you shall have atheists strive of the donative. Probus, likewise, by that speech, to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects; and, " si vixero non opus erit amplius Romano imperio which is most of all, you shall have of them that militibus ;” a speech of great despair for the sol- will suffer for atheism, and not recant ; whereas, diers, and many the like. Surely princes had if they did truly think that there were no such thing need in tender matters and ticklish times, to be as God, why should they trouble themselves? ware what they say, especially in these short Epicurus is charged, that he did but dissemble for speeches, which fly abroad like darts, and are his credit's sake, when he affirmed there were thought to be shot out of their secret intentions;

* See note 1, at the end of the Essays.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

were blessed natures, but such as enjoyed them- | liditate Penos, nec artibus Græcos, nec denique selves without having respect to the government hoc ipso hujus, gentis et terræ domestico nativoque of the world; wherein they say he did temporize, sensu Italos ipsos et Latinos; sed pietate, ao though in secret he thought there was no God: religione, atque hac una sapientia, quod Deorum but certainly he is traduced, for his words are immortalium numine omnia regi, gubernarique noble and divine : “ Non Deos vulgi negare pro- perspeximus omnes, gentes nationesque superafanum ; sed vulgi opiniones Diis applicare profa- vimus.” num." Plato could have said no more; and, although he had the confidence to deny the adminis

XVII. OF SUPERSTITION. tration he had not the power to deny the nature. The Indians of the west have names for their par- It were better to have no opinion of God at all ticular gods though they have no name for God : than such an opinion as is unworthy of him ; for as if the heathens should have had the names Jupi- the one is unbenef, the other is contumely; and ter, Apollo, Mars, &c. but not the word Deus, certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. which shows that even those barbarous people Plutarch saith well to that purpose: “ Surely," have the notion, though they have not the latitude saith he, “I had rather a great deal men should and extent of it: so that against atheists the very say there was no such man at all as Plutarch, than savages take part with the very subtlest philoso- that they should say that there was one Plutarch, phers. The contemplative atheist is rare, a Dia- that would eat his children as soon as they were goras, a Bion, a Lucian perhaps, and some others; born:” as the poets speak of Saturn : and, as the and yet they seem to be more than they are ; for contumely is greater towards God, so the danger that all that impugn a received religion, or super- is greater towards men. Atheism feaves a man to stition, are, by the adverse part, branded with the sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to name of atheists; but the great atheists indeed reputation : all which may be guides to an outward are hypocrites, which are ever handling holy moral virtue, though religion were not; but superthings, but without feeling ; so as they must needs stition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute be cauterized in the end. The causes of athe- monarchy in the minds of men : therefore atheism ism are, divisions in religion, if they be many; did never perturb states; for it makes men wary for any one main division addeth zeal to both sides, of themselves, as looking no further, and we see but many divisions introduce atheism : another is, the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Auscandal of priests, when it is come to that which gustus Cæsar) were civil times : but superstition St. Bernard saith, “non est jam dicere, ut popu- hath been the confusion of many states, and bringlus, sic sacerdos ; quia nec sic populus, ut sacer-eth in a new "primum mobile,” that ravisheth all dos;" a third is, custom of profane scoffing in the spheres of government. The master of superholy matters, which doth by little and little deface stition is the people, and in all superstition wise the reverence of religion; and, lastly, learned men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practimes, specially with peace and prosperity; for tice, in a reversed order. It was gravely said, by troubles and adversities do more bow men's minds some of the prelates in the council of Trent, where to religion. They that deny a God destroy man's the doctrine of the schoolmen bare great sway, that nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beast the schoolmen were like astronomers, which did by his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It de-orbs to save phænomena, though they knew there stroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising of were no such things; and, in like manner, that human nature; for take an example of a dog, the schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and and mark what a generosity and courage he will intricate axioms and theorems, to save the practice put on when he finds himself maintained by a of the church. The causes of superstition are, man, who to him is instead of a God, or “ melior pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies ; excess naturâ ;" which courage is manifestly such as of outward and pharisaical holiness; over great that creature, without that confidence of a better reverence of traditions, which cannot but load the nature than his own, could never attain. So man, church; the stratagems of prelates for their own when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine ambition and lucre; the favouring too much of protection and favour, gathereth a force and faith, good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits which human nature in itself could not obtain; and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters therefore, as atheism is in all respects hateful, so by human, which cannot but breed mixture of in this, that it depriveth human nature of the imaginations; and, lastly, barbarous times, esmeans to exalt itself above human frailty. As it pecially joined with calamities and disasters. is in particular persons, so it is in nations; never Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing; was there such a state for magnanimity as Rome; for as it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like of this state hear what Cicero saith, “ Quam volu- a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion mus, licet, Patres conscripti, nos amemus, tamen makes it the more deformed : and, as wholesome nec numero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, nec cal- | meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and VOL. 1.-4


[ocr errors]




orders corrupt into a number of petty observances. | one city or town, more or less as the place deserve There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, eth, but not long; nay, when he stayeth in one when men think to do best if they go furthest city or town, let him change his lodging from one from the superstition formerly received ; there- end and part of the town to another, which is a great fore care would be had that (as it fareth in ill adamant of acquaintance; let him sequester him

want purgings) the good be not taken away with the self from the company of his countrymen, and diet bad, which commonly is done when the people is in such places where there is good company of the reformer.

the nation where he travelleth : let him, upon his

removes from one place to another, procure recom✓ XVIII. OF TRAVEL.

mendation to some person of quality residmg in

the place whither he Temoveth, That the may use Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of educa- his favour in those things he desireth to see or tion; in the elder, a

a part


experience. He that know : thus be may abridge his travel with much travelleth into a country, before he hath some en profit. As for the acquaintance which is to be trance into the language, goeth to school, and not sought in travel, that which is the most of all proto travel. That young men travel under some fitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and tutor, or grave servant, I allow well; so that he be employed men of ambassadors : for so in travelling such a one that hath the language, and hath been in one country he shall suck the experience of in the country before ; whereby he may be able to many: let hin also see and visit eminent persons tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the in all kinds, which are of great name abroad, that country where they go, what acquaintances they he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place the fame; Forquarrels, they are with care and disyieldeth ; for else young men shall go hooded, and cretion to be avoided; they are commonly for mislook abroad little. It is a strange thing that, in tresses, healths, place, and words; and let a man sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but beware how he keepeth company with choleric and sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in land quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the their own quarrels. When a traveller returneth most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to home, let him not leave the country where he hath be registered than observation : let diaries, there travelled altogether behind him; but maintain a fore, be brought in use. The things to be seen correspondence by letters with those of his acand observed are, the courts of princes, especially quaintance which are most worth ; and let his when they give audience to ambassadors; the travel appear rather in his discourse than in his courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches rather advised in his answers, than forward to tell and monasteries, with the monuments which are stories : and let it appear that he doth not change therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities his country manners for those of foreign parts; but and towns; and so the havens and harbours, anti- only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned quities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, abroad into the customs of his own country. and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies ; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near

XIX. OF EMPIRE. great cities i armories, arsenale, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horse- It is a miserable state of mind to have few manship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the things to desire, and many things to fear; and yet like: comedies, such whereunto the better sort of that commonly is the case of kings, who being at persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; the highest, want matter of desire, which makes cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatso- their minds more languishing; and have many reever is memorable in the places where they go: presentations of perils and shadows, which makes after all which the tutors or servants ought to make their minds the less clear: and this is one reason diligent inquiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, also of that effect which the Scripture speaketh of, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such - That the king's heart is inscrutable:" for mulshows, men need not to be put in mind of them : titude of jealousies, and lack of some predominant yet are they not to be neglected. If you will have desire, that should marshal and put in order all the a young man to put his travel into a little room, and rest, maketh any man's heart hard to find or sound. in short time to gather much, this you must do; first, Hence it comes likewise, that princes many times as was said, he must have some entrance into the make themselves desires, and set their hearts upon language before he goeth; then he must have such toys; sometimes upon a building; sometimes a servant, or mor, as knoweth the country, as was upon erecting of an order ; sometimes upon the likewise said: let him carry with him also some advancing of a person ; sometimes upon obtaincard or book, describing the country where he ing excellence in some art, or feat of the hand; as travelleth, which will be a good key to his inquiry ;| Nero for playing on the harp ; Domitian for cerlet him keep also a diary; let him not stay long in tainty of the hand with the arrow; Commodus for

[ocr errors]




playing at fence; Caracalla for driving chariots, France, and Charles the Fifth emperor, there was and the like. This seemeth incredible unto those such a watch kept that none of the three could that know not the principle, that the mind of man win a palm of ground, but the other two would is more cheered and refreshed by profiting in small straightways balance it, either by confederation, things than by standing at a stay in great. We or, if need were, by a war; and would not in any see also that kings that have been fortunate con- wise take up peace at interest: and the like querors in their first years, it being not possible was done by that league (which Guicciardini for them to go forward infinitely, but that they saith was the security of Italy) made between must have some check or arrest in their fortunes, Ferdinando, king of Naples, Lorenzius Medicis, turn in their latter years to be superstitious and and Ludovicus Sforsa, potentates, the one of Flomelancholy; as did Alexander the Great, Diocle- rence, the other of Milan. Neither is the opinion sian, and in our memory Charles the Fifth, and of some of the schoolmen to be received, that a (thers : for he that is used to go forward, and war cannot justly be made, but upon a precedent findeth a stop, falleth out of his own favour, and injury or provocation; for there is no question, is not the thing he was.

but a just fear of an imminent danger though To speak now of the true temper of empire, it there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of a is a thing rare and hard to keep; for both temper war. and distemper consists of contraries: but it is one For their wives, there are cruel examples of thing to mingle contraries, another to interchange them. Livia is infamed for the poisoning of her them. The answer of Apollonius to Vespasian husband ; Roxalana, Solyman's wife, was the deis full of excellent instruction. Vespasian asked struction of that renowned prince, Sultan Mustahim, what was Nero's overthrow ? he answered, pha, and otherwise troubled his house and succesNero could touch and tune the harp well, but in sion; Edward the Second of England's queen had government sometimes he used to wind the pins the principal hand in the deposing and murder of too high, sometimes to let them down too low; her husband. This kind of danger is then to be and certain it is, that nothing destroyeth authority feared chiefly when the wives have plots for the so much as the unequal and untimely interchange raising of their own children, or else that they be of power pressed too far, and relaxed too much. advoutresses.

This is true, that the wisdom of all these latter For their children, the tragedies likewise of times in princes' affairs, is rather fine deliveries, dangers from them have been many; and geneand shiftings of dangers and mischiefs, when they rally the entering of fathers into suspicion of are near, than solid and grounded courses to keep their children hath been ever unfortunate. The them aloof: but this is but to try masteries with destruction of Mustapha (that we named before) fortune; and let men beware how they neglect was so fatal to Solyman's line, as the succession and suffer matter of trouble to be prepared; for no of the Turks from Solyman until this day is susman can forbid the spark, nor tell whence it may pected to be untrue, and of strange blood; for come. The difficulties in princes' business are that Selymus the Second was thought to be supmany and great; but the greatest difficulty is often positious. The destruction of Crispus, a young in their own mind; for it is common with princes prince of rare towardness, by Constantinus the (saith Tacitus) to will contradictories; “ Sunt Great, his father, was in like manner fatal to his plerumque regum voluntates vehementes, et inter house, for both Constantinus and Constance, his se contrariæ;" for it is the solecism of power to son, died violent deaths; and Constantius, his think to command the end, and yet not to endure other son, did little better, who died indeed of the mean.

sickness, but after that Julianus had taken arms Kings have to deal with their neighbours, their against him. The destruction of Demetrius, son wives, their children, their prelates or clergy, their to Philip the Second of Macedon, turned upon the nobles, their second nobles or gentlemen, their father, who died of repentance: and many like merchants, their commons, and their men of war; examples there are, but few or none where the and from all these arise dangers, if care and cir- fathers had good by such distrust, except it were eumspection be not used.

where the sons were up in open arms against First, for their neighbours, there can no general them; as was Selymus the First against Bajazet, rule be given, (the occasions are so variable,) save and the three sons of Henry the Second king of one which ever holdeth; which is, that princes England. do keep due sentinel, that none of their neigh- For their prelates, when they are proud and bours do overgrow so (by increase of territory, by great, there is also danger from them; as it was embracing of trade, by approaches, or the like) in the times of Anselmus and Thomas Becket, as they become more able to annoy them than archbishops of Canterbury, who with their crosiers they were; and this is generally the work of did almost try it with the king's sword; and yet standing counsels to foresee and to hinder it. they had to deal with stout and haughty kings, During that triumvirate of kings, King Henry the William Rufus, Henry the First, and Henry the Eighth of England, Francis the First, king of Second. The danger is not from that state, but



where it hath a dependance of foreign authority ; their greatness, or derogation to their sufficiency, or where the churchmen come in and are elected, to rely upon counsel. God himself is not without, not by the collation of the king, or particular pa- but hath made it one of the great names of his trons, but by the people.

blessed Son, « The Counsellor." Solomon hath For their nobles to keep them at a distance it is pronounced that, “ in counsel is stability.” Things not amiss; but to depress them may make a king will have their first or second agitation : if they be more absolute, but less safe, and less able to per- not tossed upon the arguments of counsel, they form any thing that he desires. I have noted it will be tossed upon the waves of fortune; and be in my History of King Henry the Seventh of Eng- full of inconstancy, doing and undoing, like the land, who depressed his nobility, whereupon it reeling of a drunken man. Solomon's son found came to pass that his times were full of difficulties the force of counsel, as his father saw the neces. and troubles; for the nobility, though they con-sity of it: for the beloved kingdom of God was tinued loyal unto him, yet did they not co-operate first rent and broken by ill counsel ; upon which with him in his business; so that in effect he was counsel there are set for our instruction the two fain to do all things himself.

marks whereby bad counsel is for ever best disFor their second nobles, there is not much dan- cerned, that it was young counsel for the perger from them, being a body dispersed: they may sons, and violent counsel for the matter. sometimes discourse high, but that doth little The ancient times do set forth in figure both hurt; besides, they are counterpoise to the the incorporation and inseparable conjunction of higher nobility, that they grow not too potent; counsel with kings, and the wise and politic use and, lastly, being the most immediate in authority of counsel by kings: the one, in that they say with the common people, they do best temper Jupiter did marry Metis, which signifieth counsel; popular commotions.

whereby they intend that sovereignty is married For their merchants, they are “vena porta ;" to counsel; the other in that which followeth, and if they flourish not, a kingdom may have which was thus: they say after Jupiter was margood limbs, but will have empty veins, and nou-ried to Metis, she conceived by him and was with rish little. Taxes and imposts upon them do sel-child, but Jupiter suffered her not to stay till she dom good to the king's revenue, for that which he brought forth, but eat her up; whereby he became wins in the hundred, he loseth in the shire; the himself with child, and was delivered of Pallas particular rates being increased, but the total bulk Armed, out of his head. Which monstrous fable of trading rather decreased.

containeth a secret of empire, how kings are to For their commons, there is little danger from make use of their council of state: that first, they them, except it be where they have great and po- ought to refer matters unto them, which is the tent heads; or where you meddle with the point first begetting or impregnation; but when they of religion, or their customs, or means of life. are elaborate, moulded, and shaped in the womb

For their men of war, it is a dangerous state of their council, and grow ripe and ready to be where they live and remain in a body, and are brought forth, that then they suffer not their counused to donatives, whereof we see examples in cil to go through with the resolution and direction, janizaries and pretorian bands of Rome; but as if it depended on them; but take the matter trainings of men, and arming them in several back into their own hands, and make it appear to places, and under several commanders, and with the world, that the decrees and final directions out donatives, are things of defence and no (which, because they come forth with prudence danger.

and power, are resembled to Pailas Armed) proPrinces are like to heavenly bodies, which ceeded from themselves; and not only from their cause good or evil times; and which have much authority, but (the more to add reputation to veneration, but no rest. All precepts concerning themselves) from their head and device. kings are in effect comprehended in those two re- Let us now speak of the inconveniences of membrances, “memento quod es homo," and counsel, and of the remedies. The inconveni“ memento quod es Deus, or vice Dei;" the one ences that have been noted in calling and using bridleth their power, and the other their will. counsel, are three: first, the revealing of affairs,

whereby they become less secret; secondly, the

weakening of the authority of princes, as if they XX. OF COUNSEL.

were less of themselves; thirdly, the danger of The greatest trust between man and man is the being unfaithfully counselled, and more for the trust of giving counsel; for in other confidences good of them that counsel, than of him that is men commit the parts of life, their lands, their counselled; for which inconveniences, the docgoods, their children, their credit, some particular trine of Italy, and practice of France, in some affair; but to such as they make their counsellors kings' times, hath introduced cabinet councils; a they commit the whole: by how much the more remedy worse than the disease. they are obliged to all faith and integrity. The As to secrecy, princes are not bound to como wisest princes need not think it any diminution to nicate all matters with all counsellors, but may

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »