Page images
PDF
EPUB

their owne Good : Nor yet by this; whether the Griefes, wherupon they rise, be in fact, great or small : For they are the most dangerous Discontentments, where the Feare is greater then the Feeling. Dolendi Modus, T'imendi non item. Besides, in great Oppressions, the same Things, that provoke the Patience, doe withall mate the Courage: But in Feares 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 Perill hath ensued ; For as it is true, that every Vapor, or Fume, doth not turne into a Storme; So it is, neverthelesse, true, that Stormes, 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 Motives of Seditions are ; Innovation in Religion; Taxes; Alteration of Lawes and Customes; Breaking of Priviledges; Generall Oppression; Advancement of unworthy persons; Strangers; Dearths; Disbanded Souldiers; Faltions growne desperate; And whatsoever in offending People, joyneth and knitteth them, in a Common Cause.

For the Remedies; There may be some generall Preservatives, whereof wee will speake; As for the iust Cure, it must answer to the Particular Disease: And so be left to Counsell, rather then Rule.

The first Remedy or prevention, is to remove by all meanes possible, that materiall Cause of Sedition, wherof we spake; which is Want and Poverty in the Estate. To which purpose, ser

veth the Opening, and well Ballancing of Trade; The Cherishing of Manufactures; the Banishing of Idlenesse; the Repressing of waste and Excesse by Sumptuary Lawes; the Improvement and Husbanding of the Soyle; the Regulating of Prices of things vendible; the Moderating of Taxes and Tributes; And the like. Generally, it is to be foreseene, that the Popula. tion of a Kingdome, (especially if it be not mowen downe by warrs) doe not exceed, the Stock of the Kingdome, which should maintaine them. Neither is the Population, to be reckoned, onely by number: For a smaller Number, that spend more, and earne lesse, doe weare out an Estate, sooner then a greater Number, that live lower, and gather more. Therefore the Multiplying of Nobilitie, and other Degrees of Qualitie, in an over Proportion, to the Common People, doth speedily bring a State to Necessitie: And so doth likewise an overgrowne Clergie; For they bring nothing to the Stocke; And in like manner, when more are bred Schollers, then Preferments can take off.

It is likewise to be remembred, that for as much as the increase of any Estate, must be upon the Forrainer, (for whatsoever is some where gotten, is some where lost) There be but three Things, which one Nation selleth unto another; The Commoditie as Nature yeeldeth it; The Manufacture; and the Velture or Carriage. So that if these three wheeles goe, Wealth will flow as in a Spring tide. And it commeth many times to passe, that Materiam superabit Opus; That the Worke, and Carriage, is more worth, then the Materiall, and enricheth a State more; As is notably seene in the Low-Countrey-men, who have the best Mines, above ground, in the World.

Above all things, good Policie is to be used, that the Treasure and Moneyes, 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 Usurie, Ingrossing, 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 Subiects; The Noblesse, and the Commonaltie. 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 doe but wait for the Troubling of the Waters, amongst the Meaner, that then they may declare themselves. The Poets faigne, that the rest of the Gods, would have bound Iupiter; which he hearing of, by the Counsell of Pallas, sent for Briareus, with his hundred Hands, to come in to his Aid. An Embleme, no doubt, to shew, how safe it is for Monarchs, to make sure of the good Will of Common People.

To give moderate Liberty, for Griefes, and Discontentments to evaporate, (so it be without too great Insolency or Bravery) is a safe Way. For he that turneth the Humors backe, and maketh the Wound bleed inwards, endangereth maligne Ulcers, and pernicious Impostumations.

The Part of Epimetheus, mought well become Prometheus, in the case of Discontentments; For there is not a better provision against them. Epimetheus, when Griefes and Evils flew abroad, at last shut the lid, and kept Hope in the Bottome of the Vessell. Certainly, the Politique and Artificiall Nourishing, and Entertaining of Hopes, and Carrying Men from Hopes to Hopes; is one of the best Antidotes, against the Poyson of Discontentments. And it is a certaine Signe, of a wise Government, and Proceeding, when it can hold Mens hearts by Hopes, when it cannot by Satisfaction: And when it can handle things, in such manner, as no Evill shall appeare so peremptory, but that it hath some Out-let of Hope: Which is the lesse hard to doe, because both particular Persons, and Factions, are apt enough to flatter themselves, or at least to brave that, which they beleeve not.

Also, the Foresight, and Prevention, that there be no likely or fit Head, whereunto Discontented Persons may resort, and under whom they may ioyne, is a knowne, but an excellent Point of Caution. I understand a fit Head, to be one, that hath Greatnesse, & Reputation ; That hath Confidence with the Discontented Party; and upon whom they turne their Eyes; And that is thought discontented in his own particular; which kinde of Persons, are either to be wonne, 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 Breaking of all Factions, and Combinations that are adverse to the State, and setting them at distance, or at least distrust amongst 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 sharpe Speeches, which have fallen from Princes, have given fire to Seditions. Cæsar did himselfe 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, at one time or other, give over his Dictatorship. Galba undid himselfe by that Speech; Legi à se Militem, non emi: For it put the Souldiers, out of Hope, of the Donative. Probus likewise, by that Speech; Si vixero, non opus erit ampliùs Romano Imperio militibus. A Speech of great Despaire, for the Souldiers: 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 flie abroad like Darts, and are thought to be shot out of their secret Intentions. For as for large Discourses, they are flat Things, and not so much noted.

Lastly, let Princes, against all Events, not be without some Great Person, one, or rather more,

« PreviousContinue »