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against State ESSAYS CIVIL AND MORAL. treason f
extress Than nourection
"Illam Tetra parens, irâ irritata Deorum,
and not respects. The united provinces of the
As for nobility in particular persons, it is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay, or to see a fair timber tree sound and perfect; how much more to behold an ancient noble family, which hath stood against the waves and weathers of time? for new nobility is but the act of power, but ancient nobility is the act of time. Those that are first raised to nobility are commonly more virtuous, but less innocent, than their descendants; for there is rarely any rising but by a commixture of good and evil arts; but it is reason the memory of their virtues remain to their posterity, and their faults die with themselves. Nobility of birth commonly abateth industry; and he that is not industrious, envieth him that is; besides noble persons cannot go much higher and he that standeth at a stay when others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy. On the other side, nobility extinguisheth the passive envy from others towards them, because they are in possession of honour. Certainly, kings that have able men of their nobility shall find ease in employing them, and a better slide into their business; for people naturally bend to them as born in some sort to command.
XV. OF SEDITIONS AND TROUBLES. SHEPHERDS of people had need know the calendars and tempests in state, which are commonly greatest when things grow to equality; as natural tempests are greatest about the equinoctia; and as there are certain hollow blasts of wind and secret swellings of seas before a tempest, so are there in
"Ille etiam cæcos britare tunnus Sæpe monet,
ditious tumults and seditious fanes differ no more
Also, as Machiavel noteth well, when princes, that ought to be common parents, make themselves as a party and lean to a side: it is, as a boat that is overthrown by uneven weight on the one side; as was well seen in the time of Henry the Third of France; for first himself entered league for the extirpation of the Protestants, and presently after the same league was turned upon himself: for when the authority of princes is made but an accessary to a cause, and that there be other bands that tie faster than the band of sovereignty, kings begin to be put almost out of possession.
Also, when discords, and quarrels, and factions, are carried openly and audaciously, it is a sign the reverence of government is lost; for the motions of the greatest persons in a government ought to be as the motions of the planets under "primum mobile," (according to the old opinion,) which is, that every of them is carried swiftly by the highest motion, and softly in their own motion; and, therefore, when great ones in their own particular motion move violently, and, as Tacitus expresseth it well, liberius quam ut imperantium meminissent," it is a sign the orbs are out of frame: for reverence is that wherewith princes are girt from God, who threateneth the dissolving thereof; "solvam cingula regum."
Libels and licentious discourses against the state, when they are frequent and open; and in like sort false news often running up and down, to the So when any of the four pillars of government disadvantage of the state, and hastily embraced, are mainly shaken, or weakened, (which are reliare amongst the signs of troubles. Virgil, giv-gion, justice, counsel, and treasure,) men had ing the pedigree of Fame, saith she was sister to need to pray for fair weather. But let us pass the giants: from this part of predictions, (concerning which,
nevertheless, more light may be taken from that which followeth,) and let us speak first of the materials of seditions, then of the motives of them, and thirdly of the remedies.
Concerning the materials of seditions, it is a thing well to be considered; for the surest way to prevent seditions, (if the times do bear it,) is to take away the matter of them; for if there be fuel prepared, it is hard to tell whence the spark shall come that shall set it on fire. The matter of seditions is of two kinds, much poverty and much discontentment. It is certain, so many overthrown estates, so many votes for troubles. Lucan noteth well the state of Rome before the civil war,
"Hinc usura vorax, rapidumque in tempore fœnus, Hinc concussa fides, et multis utile bellum."
This same "multus utile bellum," is an assured and infallible sign of a state disposed to seditions and troubles; and if this poverty and broken estate in the better sort be joined with a want and necessity in the mean people, the danger is imminent and great; for the rebellions of the belly are the worst. As for discontentments, they are in the politic body like humours in the natural, which are apt to gather a preternatural heat and to inflame; and let no prince measure the danger of them by this, whether they be just or unjust for that were to imagine people to be too reasonable, who do often spurn at their own good; nor yet by this, whether the griefs whereupon they rise be in fact great or small; for they are the most dangerous discontentments where the fear is greater than the feeling: "Dolendi modus, timendi non item:" besides, in great oppressions, the same things that provoke the patience, do withal mate the courage but in fears it is not so; neither let any prince, or state, be secure concerning discontentments because they have been often, or have been long, and yet no peril hath ensued; for as it is true that every vapour, or fume, doth not turn into a storm, so it is nevertheless true, that storms, though they blow over divers times, yet may fall at last; and as the Spanish proverb noteth well, "The cord breaketh at the last by the weakest pull."
The causes and motions of seditions are innovation in religion, taxes, alteration of laws and customs, breaking of privileges, general oppression, advancement of unworthy persons, strangers, dearths, disbanded soldiers, factions grown desperate; and whatsoever in offending people joineth and knitteth them in a common cause.
For the remedies, there may be some general preservatives, whereof we will speak as for the just cure it must answer to the particular disease; and so be left to counsel rather than rule.
The first remedy, or prevention, is to remove, by all means possible, that material cause of sedition whereof we speak, which is, want and poverty in the estate; to which purpose serveth the opening
and well-balancing of trade; the cherishing of manufactures; the banishing of idleness; the repressing of waste and excess, by sumptuary laws; the improvement and husbanding of the soil; the regulating of prices of things vendible; the moderating of taxes and tributes, and the like. Generally, it is to be foreseen that the population of a kingdom (especially if it be not mown down by wars) do not exceed the stock of the kingdom which should maintain them: neither is the population to be reckoned only by number; for a smaller number that spend more and earn less, do wear out an estate sooner than a greater number that live lower and gather more; therefore the multiplying of nobility, and other degrees of quality, in an over proportion to the common people, doth speedily bring a state to necessity; and so doth likewise an overgrown clergy, for they bring nothing to the stock; and, in like manner, when more are bred scholars than preferments can take off.
It is likewise to be remembered, that forasmuch as the increase of any estate must be upon the foreigner, (for whatsoever is somewhere gotten, is somewhere lost,) there be but three things which one nation selleth unto another; the commodity, as nature yieldeth it; the manufacture; and the victure, or carriage; so that if these three wheels go, wealth will flow as in a spring tide. And it cometh many times to pass, that "materiam superabit opus," that the work and carriage is more worth than the material, and enricheth a state more; as is notably seen in the Low Countrymen, who have the best mines above ground in the world.
Above all things, good policy is to be used, that the treasure and monies in a state be not gathered into few hands; for, otherwise, a state may have a great stock, and yet starve: and money is like muck, not good except it be spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing, or, at the least, keeping a strait hand upon the devouring trades of usury, engrossing, great pasturages, and the like.
For removing discontentments, or at least the danger of them, there is in every state (as we know) two portions of subjects, the nobles and the commonality. When one of these is discontent, the danger is not great; for common people are of slow motion, if they be not excited by the greater sort; and the greater sort are of small strength, except the multitude be apt and ready to move of themselves: then is the danger, when the greater sort do but wait for the troubling of the waters amongst the meaner, that then they may declare themselves. The poets feign that the rest of the gods would have bound Jupiter, which he hearing of, by the counsel of Pallas, sent for Briareus, with his hundred hands, to come in to his aid: an emblem, no doubt, to show how safe it is for monarchs to make sure of the good will of common people
* See note H, at the end of the Essays.
for as for large discourses, they are flat things, and not so much noted.
To give moderate liberty for griefs and discontentments to evaporate (so it be without too great insolency or bravery) is a safe way: for he that turneth the humours back, and maketh the wound bleed inwards, endangereth malign ulcers and per-military valour, near unto them, for the repressing nicious imposthumations.
The part of Epimetheus might well become Prometheus, in the case of discontentments, for there is not a better provision against them. Epimetheus, when griefs and evils flew abroad, at last shut the lid, and kept hope in the bottom of the vessel. Certainly, the politic and artificial nourishing and entertaining of hopes, and carrying men from hopes to hopes, is one of the best antidotes against the poison of discontentments; and it is a certain sign of a wise government and proceeding, when it can hold men's hearts by hopes, when it cannot by satisfaction; and when it can handle things in such manner as no evil shall appear so peremptory but that it hath some outlet of hope: which is the less hard to do: because both particular persons and factions are apt enough to flatter themselves, or at least to brave that, they believe not.
Lastly, let princes, against all events, not be without some great person, one or rather more, of
of seditions in their beginnings; for without that, there useth to be more trepidation in court upon the first breaking out of troubles, than were fit; and the state runneth the danger of that which Tacitus saith, "atque is habitus animorum fuit, ut pessimum facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent, omnes paterentur:" but let such military persons be assured, and well reputed of, rather than factious and popular; holding also good correspondence with the other great men in the state, or else the remedy is worse than the disease.
XVI. OF ATHEISM.
I HAD rather believe all the fables in the legend, 1 and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind; and, therefore, God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it. It is true,? that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion;* for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to providence and Deity: nay, even that school which is most accused of atheism doth most demonstrate religion; that is the school of Leucippus, and Denrocritus, and Epicurus: for it is a thousand times more credible that four mutable elements, and one
Also the foresight and prevention, that there be no likely or fit head whereunto discontented persons may resort, and under whom they may join, is a known, but an excellent point of caution. I understand a fit head to be one that hath greatness and reputation, that hath confidence with the discontented party, and upon whom they turn their eyes, and that is thought discontented in his own particular which kind of persons are either to be won and reconciled to the state, and that in a fast and true manner; or to be fronted with some other of the same party that may oppose them, and so divide the reputation. Generally the dividing and break-immutable fifth essence, duly and eternally placed, ing of all factions and combinations that are adverse to the state, and setting them at distance,.or, at least, distrust among themselves, is not one of the worst remedies: for it is a desperate case, if those that hold with the proceeding of the state be full of discord and faction, and those that are against it be entire and united.
I have noted, that some witty and sharp speeches, which have fallen froin princes, have given fire to seditions. Cæsar did himself infinite hurt in that speech, "Sylla nescivit literas, non potuit dictare;" for it did utterly cut off that hope which men had entertained, that he would one time or other give over his dictatorship. Galba undid himself by that speech, "legi a se militem, non emi ;" for it put the soldiers out of hope of the donative. Probus, likewise, by that speech, "si vixero non opus erit amplius Romano imperio militibus ;" a speech of great despair for the soldiers, and many the like. Surely princes had need in tender matters and ticklish times, to beware what they say, especially in these short speeches, which fly abroad like darts, and, are thought to be shot out of their secret intentions;
need no God, than that an army of infinite small portions, or seeds unplaced, should have produced this order and beauty without a divine marshal. The Scripture saith, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God;" it is not said, "The fool hath thought in his heart;" so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it; for none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this, that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others: nay more, you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects; and, which is most of all, you shall have of them that will suffer for atheism, and not recant; whereas, if they did truly think that there were no such thing as God, why should they trouble themselves? Epicurus is charged, that he did but dissemble for his credit's sake, when he affirmed there were * See note I, at the end of the Essays.
religione, atque hac una sapientia, quod Deorum immortalium numine omnia regi, gubernarique perspeximus omnes, gentes nationesque superavimus."
XVII. OF SUPERSTITION.
IT were better to have no opinion of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him; for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: "Surely," saith he, "I had rather a great deal men should say there was no such man at all as Plutarch, than that they should say that there was one Plutarch, that would eat his children as soon as they were born:" as the poets speak of Saturn: and, as the contumely is greater towards God, so the danger is greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation: all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute
did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further, and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Cæsar) were civil times: but superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bring
were blessed natures, but such as enjoyed them-liditate Pœnos, 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, ac though in secret he thought there was no God: but certainly he is traduced, for his words are noble and divine: "Non Deos vulgi negare profanum; sed vulgi opiniones Diis applicare profanum." Plato could have said no more; and, although he had the confidence to deny the administration he had not the power to deny the nature. The Indians of the west have names for their particular gods though they have no name for God: as if the heathens should have had the names Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, &c. but not the word Deus, which shows that even those barbarous people have the notion, though they have not the latitude and extent of it: so that against atheists the very savages take part with the very subtlest philosophers. The contemplative atheist is rare, a Diagoras, a Bion, a Lucian perhaps, and some others; and yet they seem to be more than they are; for that all that impugn a received religion, or superstition, are, by the adverse part, branded with the name of atheists; but the great atheists indeed are hypocrites, which are ever handling holy things, but without feeling; so as they must needs 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; for any one main division addeth zeal to both sides, but many divisions introduce atheism: another is, scandal of priests, when it is come to that which St. Bernard saith, "non est jam dicere, ut populus, 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 holy matters, which doth by little and little deface the reverence of religion; and, lastly, learned times, specially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversities do more bow men's minds to religion. They that deny a God destroy man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beast by his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising of human nature; for take an example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on when he finds himself maintained by a man, who to him is instead of a God, or “ melior natura;" which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without that confidence of a better 12 nature than his own, could never attain. So man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favour, gathereth a force and faith, which human nature in itself could not obtain; therefore, as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty. As it is in particular persons, so it is in nations; never was there such a state for magnanimity as Rome; of this state hear what Cicero saith, "Quam,volumus, licet, Patres conscripti, nos amemus, tamen nec numero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, nec calVOL. I.-4
the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order. It was gravely said, by some of the prelates in the council of Trent, where the doctrine of the schoolmen bare great sway, that the schoolmen were like astronomers, which did feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs to save phænomena, though they knew there were no such things; and, in like manner, that the schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and intricate axioms and theorems, to save the practice of the church. The causes of superstition are, pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; over great reverence of traditions, which cannot but load the church; the stratagems of prelates for their own ambition and lucre; the favouring too much of good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters by human, which cannot but breed mixture of imaginations; and, lastly, barbarous times, especially joined with calamities and disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing; for as it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion makes it the more deformed: and, as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and
orders corrupt into a number of petty observances. one city or town, more or less as the place deserv 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 purgings) the good be not taken away with the bad, which commonly is done when the people is the reformer.
TRAVEL, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country, before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel. That young men travel under some tutor, or grave servant, I allow well; so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth; for else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange thing that, in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in land travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation: let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are, the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns; and so the havens and harbours, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like: comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go: after all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent inquiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them: yet are they not to be neglected. If you will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in short time to gather much, this you must do; first, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he goeth; then he must have such a servant, or tutor, as knoweth the country, as was Likewise said: let him carry with him also some card or book, describing the country where he travelleth, which will be a good key to his inquiry; let him keep also a diary; let him not stay long in
adamant of acquaintance; let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travelleth: let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth, that he may use his favour in those things he desireth to see or know: thus he may abridge his travel with much profit. As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is the most of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of ambassadors: for so in travelling in one country he shall suck the experience of many: let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, which are of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame; For quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided; they are commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and words; and let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into their own quarrels. When a traveller returneth home, let him not leave the country where he hath travelled altogether behind him; but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are most worth; and let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers, than forward to tell stories: and let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts; but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.
XIX. OF EMPIRE.
IT is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire, and many things to fear; and yet that commonly is the case of kings, who being at the highest, want matter of desire, which makes their minds more languishing; and have many representations of perils and shadows, which makes their minds the less clear: and this is one reason also of that effect which the Scripture speaketh of, "That the king's heart is inscrutable:" for multitude of jealousies, and lack of some predominant desire, that should marshal and put in order all the rest, maketh any man's heart hard to find or sound. Hence it comes likewise, that princes many times make themselves desires, and set their hearts upon toys; sometimes upon a building; sometimes upon erecting of an order; sometimes upon the advancing of a person; sometimes upon obtaining excellence in some art, or feat of the hand; as Nero for playing on the harp; Domitian for certainty of the hand with the arrow; Commodus for