Page images

themselves. As for mercenary forces (which is the help in this case), all examples show that whatsoever estate or prince doth rest upon them, he may spread his feathers for a time, but he will mew them soon after.

The blessing of Judah and Issachar will never meet; that the same people or nation should be both the lion's whelp and the ass between burthens ; neither will it be, that a people overlaid with taxes should ever become valiant and martial. It is true that taxes levied by consent of the estate do abate men's courage less: as it hath been seen notably in the excises of the Low Countries ; and, in some degree, in the subsidies of England. For you must note that we speak now of the heart and not of the purse. So that although the same tribute and tax, laid by consent or by imposing, be all one to the purse, yet it works diversly upon the courage. So that you may conclude, that no people over-charged with tribute is fit for empire.

Let states that aim at greatness, take heed how their nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast. For that maketh the common subject grow to be a peasant and base swain, driven out of heart, and in effect but the gentleman's labourer. Even as you may see in coppice woods ; if you leave your staddles 1 too thick, you shall never have clean underwood,? but shrubs and bushes. So in countries, if the gentlemen be too many, the commons will be base; and you will bring it to that, that not the hundred poll will be fit for an helmet ; especially as to the infantry, which is the nerve of an army; and so there will be great population and little strength. This which I speak of hath been no where better seen than by comparing of England and France ; whereof England, though far less in territory and population, hath been (nevertheless) an over-match; in regard the middle people of England make good soldiers, which the peasants of France do not. And herein the device of king Henry the Seventh (whereof I have spoken largely in the history of his life) was profound and admirable; in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard ; that is, maintained with such a proportion of land unto them, as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty and no servile condition ; and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners, and not mere hirelings. And thus indeed you shall attain to Virgil's character which he gives to ancient Italy:

1 caudicum, sive arborum majorum. 2 non renascitur sylva sincera aut pura.

Terra potens armis atque ubere glebæ: [A land powerful in arms and in productiveness of soil.] Neither is that state (which, for any thing I know, is almost peculiar to England, and hardly to be found any where else, except it be perhaps in Poland) to be passed over ; I mean the state of free servants and attendants upon noblemen and gentlemen ; which are no ways inferior unto the yeomanry for arms.? And therefore out of all question, the splendour and magnificence and great retinues and hospitality of noblemen and gentlemen, received into custom, doth much conduce unto martial greatness. Whereas, con


habeant certum, eumque mediocrem, agri modum annexum, qui distrahi non possit ; eo fine ut ad victum liberiorem sufficiat; atque agricultura ab iis exerceretur, qui domini fuerint fundi, aut saltem usu-fructuarii, non conductitii aut mercenarii.


2 hujus enim generis etiam inferiores, quoad peditatum, agricolis ipsis minime cedunt.

trariwise, the close and reserved living of noblemen and gentlemen causeth a penury of military forces.

By all means it is to be procured, that the trunk of Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchy be great enough to bear the branches and the boughs; that is, that the natural subjects of the crown or state bear a sufficient proportion to the stranger subjects that they govern. Therefore all states that are liberal of naturalization towards strangers are fit for empire. For to think that an handful of people can, with the greatest courage and policy in the world, embrace too large extent of dominion, it may hold for a time, but it will fail suddenly. The Spartans were a nice people in point of naturalization ;4 whereby, while they kept their compass, they stood firm ; but when they did spread, and their boughs were becomen too great for their stem, they became a windfall upon the sudden. · Never any state was in this point so open to receive strangers into their body as were the Romans. Therefore it sorted with them accordingly; for they grew to the greatest monarchy. Their manner was to grant naturalisation (which they called jus civitatis), and to grant it in the highest degree ; that is, not only jus commercii, jus connubii, jus hæreditatis ; but also jus suffragii, and jus honorum. And this not to singular persons alone, but likewise to whole families; yea to cities, and sometimes to nations. Add to this their custom of plantation of colonies ; whereby the Roman plant was removed into the soil of other nations. And putting both constitutions together, you will say that it was not the Romans that spread upon the world, but it was the world that spread upon the Romans; and that was the sure way of greatness. I have marvelled sometimes at Spain, how they clasp and contain so large dominions with so few natural Spaniards; but sure the whole compass of Spain is a very great body of a tree ; far above Rome and Sparta at the first. And besides, though they have not had that usage to naturalise liberally, yet they have that which is next to it; that is, to employ almost indifferently all nations in their militia of ordinary soldiers ; yea and sometimes in their highest commands. Nay it seemeth at this instant they are sensible of this want of natives; as by the Pragmatical Sanction, now published, appeareth.

1 ad subditos extraneos cohibendos satis superque sufficiat.
2 ad imperii magnitudinem bene comparati sunt.
8 diuturnitatem hæc res non assequitur.
4 parci et difficiles in coöptandis novis civibus.

5 et latius dominari quam ut stirps Spartanorum turbam exterorum imperio commode coercere posset.

6 jus petitionis sive honorum.

It is certain, that sedentary and within-door arts, and delicate manufactures (that require rather the finger than the arm), have in their nature a contrariety to a military disposition. And generally, all warlike people are a little idle, and love danger better than travail. Neither must they be too much broken of it, if they shall be preserved in vigour. Therefore it was great advantage in the ancient states of Sparta, Athens, Rome, and others, that they had the use of slaves, which commonly did rid those manufactures. But that is abolished, in greatest part, by the Christian law. That which cometh nearest to it, is to leave those arts chiefly to strangers (which for that purpose are the more easily to be received), and to contain the principal bulk of the vulgar natives within those three kinds, — tillers of the ground; free servants; and handicraftsmen of strong and manly arts, as smiths, masons, carpenters, &c. : not reckoning professed soldiers.

1 quinetiam summum belli imperium haud raro ad duces natione non Hispanos deferunt.

2 hoc anno promulgata. A royal decree, or pragmática, was published in the summer of 1622, which gave certain privileges to persons who married, and further immunities to those who had six children. See Mr. Ellis's note, Vol. I. p. 798.

8 quorum laboribus istiusmodi officia expediebantur.

But above all, for empire and greatness, it importeth most, that a nation do profess arms as their principal honour, study, and occupation. For the things which we formerly have spoken of are but habilitations towards arms; and what is habilitation without intention and act ?i Romulus, after his death (as they report or feign), sent a present to the Romans, that above all they should intend arms; and then they should prove the greatest empire of the world. The fabric of the state of Sporta was wholly (though not wisely) framed and composed to that scope and end. The Persians and Macedonians had it for a flash. The Gauls, Germans, Goths, Saxons, Normans, and others, had it for a time. The Turks have it at this day, though in great declination. Of Christian Europe, they that have it are, in effect, only the Spaniards. But it is so plain that every man profiteth in that he most intendeth, that it needeth not to be stood upon. It is enough to

1 Quorsum autem habilitas, si non rei ipsi incumbitur ut producatur in actum ?

2 ut cives sui belligeratores essent.

8 Persarum et Macedonum idem erat institutum, sed non tam constans aut diuturnum. Britanni, Galli, Germani, Goti, Saxones, Normanni, et nonnulli alii etiam ad tempus armis se præcipue dediderunt. Turcæ idem institutum, lege suâ paululum extimulati, hodie retinent, sed magnâ cum militiæ (ut nunc est) declinatione.

« PreviousContinue »