« ZurückWeiter »
“contrariæ;" 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 second nobles 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 de 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 staightways 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 Guicciardini saith was the security of Italy,) made between Ferdinando, king of Naples, Lorenzius Medicis, and Ludovicus Sforsa, 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 pro
vocation ; 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's queen had the principal hand in the deposing and murder 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 advou- . tresses.
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 son, 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 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
For their nobles, to keep them at a distance it is not amiss ; 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 dan
ger 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; 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 which he wins in the hundred, he loseth 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 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 kinys are in effect comprehended in those two remembrances,“ memento quod es homo;" and“ memento
quod es Deus, or vice Dei;” 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 children, 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.” Solomon 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 man. Solomon's son found the force of counsel, as his father saw the necessity of it: for the beloved kingdom of God was 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 coun