Page images

point at it; that no nation which doth not directly profess arms, may look to have greatness fall into their mouths. And on the other side, it is a most certain oracle of time, that those states that continue long in that profession (as the Romans and Turks principally have done) do wonders. And those that have professed arms but for an age, have notwithstanding commonly attained that greatness in that age which maintained them long after, when their profession and exercise of arms hath grown to decay.

Incident 3 to this point is, for a state to have those laws or customs which may reach forth unto them just occasions (as may be pretended) 4 of war. For there is that justice imprinted in the nature of men, that they enter not upon wars (whereof so many calamities do ensue) but upon some, at the least specious, grounds and quarrels. The Turk hath at hand, for cause of war, the propagation of his law or sect; a quarrel that he may always command. The Romans, though they esteemed the extending the limits of their empire to be great honour to their generals when it was done, yet they never rested upon that alone to begin a war. First therefore, let nations that pretend to greatness have this ; that they be sensible of wrongs, either upon borderers, merchants, or politic ministers; and that they sit not too long upon a provocation. Secondly, let them be prest 5 and ready to give aids and succours to their confederates ; as it ever was with the Romans ; insomuch, as if the confederates had leagues defensive

iisque præcipue studeat et incumbat.
2 miros in imperio amplificando facere progressus.
8 affine.
4 aut saltem prætextus.
prompta sit.



with divers other states, and, upon invasion offered, did implore their aids severally, yet the Romans would ever be the foremost, and leave it to none other to have the honour. As for the wars which were anciently made on the behalf of a kind of party, or tacit conformity of estate, I do not see how they may be well justified : as when the Romans made a war for the liberty of Græcia ; or when the Lacedæmonians and Athenians made wars to set up or pull down democracies and oligarchies ; or when wars were made by foreigners, under the pretence of justice or protection, to deliver the subjects of others from tyranny and oppression ; and the like. Let it suffice, that no estate expect to be great, that is not awake upon any just occasion of arming.

No body can be healthful without exercise, neither natural body nor politic; and certainly to a kingdom or estate, a just and honourable war is the true exercise. A civil war indeed is like the heat of a fever; but a foreign war is like the heat of exercise, and serveth to keep the body in health ; for in a slothful

peace, both courages will effeminate and manners corrupt. But howsoever it be for happiness, without all question, for greatness it maketh, to be still for the most part in arms; and the strength of a veteran army (though it be a chargeable business) always on foot, is that which commonly giveth the law, or at least the reputation, amongst all neighbour states ; as may well be seen in Spain, which hath had, in one part or other,

1 si forte in populum fæderatum, cui etiam cum aliis fædus defensivum intercederet, hostilis impressio facta esset, atque ille a plurimis suppetias peteret. 2 propter statuum conformitatem quandam aut correspondentiam tacitam.

8 ut statui alicui quasi arbitrium rerum inter vicinos, aut saltem plurimum existimationis ad omnia conferat.


a veteran army almost continually, now by the space of six score years.

To be master of the sea is an abridgment of a monarchy. Cicero, writing to Atticus of Pompey his preparation against Cæsar, saith, Consilium Pompeii plane Themistocleum est; putat enim, qui mari potitur, eum rerum potiri ; [Pompey is going upon the policy of Themistocles ; thinking that he who commands the sea commands all.] And, without doubt, Pompey had tired out Cæsar, if upon vain confidence he had not left that way. We see the great effects of battles by

The battle of Actium decided the empire of the world. The battle of Lepanto arrested the greatness of the Turk. There be many examples where seafights have been final to the war ; but this is when princes or states have set up their rest upon the battles. But thus much is certain, that he that commands the sea is at great liberty, and may take as much and as little of the war as he will. Whereas those that be strongest by land are many times nevertheless in great straits. Surely, at this day, with us of Europe, the vantage of strength at sea (which is one of the principal dowries of this kingdom of Great Britain) is great ;1 both because most of the kingdoms of Europe are not merely inland, but girt with the sea most part of their compass; and because the wealth of both Indies seems in great part but an accessary to the command of the seas.

The wars of latter ages seem to be made in the dark, in respect of the glory and honour which reflected upon men from the wars in ancient time. There be now, for martial encouragement, some degrees and orders of chivalry; which nevertheless are conferred promiscuously upon soldiers and no soldiers ; and some remembrance perhaps upon the scutcheon ; and some hospitals for maimed soldiers ; and such like things. But in ancient times, the trophies erected upon the place of the victory; the funeral laudatives and monuments for those that died in the wars; the crowns and garlands personal ; the style of Emperor, which the great kings of the world after borrowed ; the triumphs of the generals upon their return; the great donatives and largesses upon the disbanding of the armies ; were things able to inflame all men's courages. But above all, that of the Triumph, amongst the Romans, was not pageants or gaudery, but one of the wisest and noblest institutions that ever was. For it contained three things : honour to the general; riches to the treasury out of the spoils ; and donatives to the army. But that honour perhaps were not fit for monarchies; except it be in the person of the monarch himself, or his sons; as it came to pass in the times of the Roman emperors, who did impropriate the actual triumphs to themselves and their sons, for such wars as they did achieve in person; and left only, for wars achieved by subjects, some triumphal garments and ensigns to the general..

1 At hodie atque apud nos Europæos, si unquam aut uspiam, potentia navalis . . . . . summi ad rerum fastigia momenti est.

To conclude: no man can by care taking (as the Scripture saith) add a cubit to his stature, in this little model of a man's body ; but in the great frame of kingdoms and commonwealths, it is in the power of princes or estates to add amplitude and greatness to their kingdoms ; for by introducing such ordinances, constitutions, and customs, as we have now touched, they may sow greatness to their posterity and succession. But these things are commonly not observed, but left to take their chance.

i Coronce civicæ, militares, singulis concessæ.

2 Hæc (inquam) tot et tanta fuerunt, et tam insigni splendore coruscantia, ut pectoribus mortalium etiam maxime conglaciatis igniculos subdere, eaque ad bellum inflammare potuerint.


THERE is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic: a man's own observation, what he finds good of, and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve health. But it is a safer conclusion to say, This agreeth not well with me, therefore I will not continue it ; than this, I find no offence of this, therefore I may use it. For strength of nature in youth passeth over many excesses, which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still ; for age will not be defied. Beware of sudden change in any great point of diet, and if necessity inforce it, fit the rest to it. For it is a secret both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel,2 and the like; and try, in any thing thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little ; but so, as if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again : for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particu


quam unum magnum.
2 The translation adds mansionis.

toto genere sunt salubria.

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »