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ESSAY LI. OF FACTION.
M ANY have an opinion not wise, that for a prince to govern
M his estate,' or for a great person to govern his proceedings, according to the respect to factions, is a principal part of policy: whereas, contrariwise, the chiefest : wisdom is, either in ordering those things which are general, and wherein men of several factions do nevertheless agree, or in dealing with correspondence to particular persons one by one. But I say not that the consideration of factions is to be neglected. Mean men, in their rising, must adhere; but great men, that have strength in them. selves, were better to maintain themselves indifferents and neutral; yet even in beginners, to adhere so moderately, as he be a man of the one faction, which is most passables with the other, commonly giveth best way. The lower and weaker faction is the firmer in conjunction; and it is often seen, that a few that are stiff, do tire out a greater number that are more moderate.
When one of the factions is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth ; as the faction between Lucullus and the rest of the nobles of the Senate (which they called optimates) held out awhile against the faction of Pompey and Cæsar; but when the Senate's authority was pulled down, Cæsar and Pompey soon after brake. The faction, or party, of Antonius and Octavius Cæsar against Brutus and Cassius, held out likewise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were overthrown, then, soon after, Antonius and Octavius brake, and subdivided. These examples are of wars, but the same holdeth in private factions; and, therefore, those that are seconds in factions, do many times, when the faction subdivideth, prove principals; but many times also they prove cyphers and cashiered; for many a man's strength is in opposition, and, when that faileth, he groweth out of use. It is commonly
1 Estate. State. See page 147. ? Contrariwise. On the contrary. See page 103. 3 Chiefest. Chief. Not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles.'—2 Cor. xi. 3.
• Antiochus the Great Built up this city as his chiefest seat.' —Shakespere. - Indifferent. See page 227.
* Passable. Capable of being received. It is with men as with false money ; one piece is more or less passable than another.'-L'Estrange.
seen, that men once placed, take in with the contrary faction to that by which they enter: thinking, belike,' that they have their first sure, and now are ready for a new purchase. The traitor in faction lightly a goeth away with it, for when matters have stuck long in balancing, the winning of some one man casteth them, and he getteth all the thanks. The even carriage between two factions proceedeth not always of moderation, but of a trueness to a man's self, with end to make use of both. Certainly, in Italy, they hold it a little suspect“ in popes, when they have often in their mouth, •Padre commune ;'5 and take it to be a sign of one that meaneth to refer all to the greatness of his own house. Kings had need beware how they side 6 themselves, and make themselves as of a faction or party ; for leagues within the State are ever pernicious to monarchies; for they raise an obligation paramount to obligation of sovereignty, and make the king “tanquam unus ex nobis ;'7 as was to be seen in the league of France. When factions are carried too high and too violently, it is a sign of weakness in princes, and much to the prejudice both of their authority and business. The motions of factions under kings ought to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior orbs, which may have their proper motions, but yet still are quietly carried by the higher motion of primum mobile.' 8
Bacon's remark, that a prince ought not to make it his policy to 'govern according to respect to factions,' suggests a strong
i Belike. Probably. That good Earl of Huntingdon, who well esteemed my father ; having belike, heard some better words of me than I could deserve; made earnest enquiry after me.'-Bishop Hall. 2 Lightly. Easily; readily.
• Believe 't not lightly that your son
Will not exceed the common.'— Shakespere. 3 Of. From. See page 289. * Suspect. Suspicious.
Certes, it is to mee suspect.'—Chaucer. 5 Common Father.' 6 Side. To take a side. •As soon as discontents drove men into siding.' 7.As one of us. ,
& •Primum mobile. See p. 153.
ground of preference of hereditary to elective sovereignty. For when a. Chief—whether called King, Emperor, President, or by whatever name—is elected (whether' for life, or for a term of years), he can hardly avoid being the head of a party. He who is elected will be likely to feel aversion towards those who have voted against him: who may be, perhaps, 'nearly half of his subjects. And they again will be likely to regard him as an enemy, instead of feeling loyalty to him as their prince.
"And those again who have voted for him, will consider him as being under an obligation to them, and expect him to show them more favour than to the rest of his subjects; so that he will be rather the head of a party than the king of a people.
Then, too, when the throne is likely to become vacantthat is, when the king is old, or is attacked with any serious illness, --what secret canvassing and disturbance of men's minds will take place. The king himself will most likely wish that his son, or some other near relative or friend, should succeed him; and he will employ all his patronage with a view to such an election; appointing to public offices, not the fittest men, but those whom he can reckon on as voters. And others will be exerting themselves to form a party against him; so that the country will be hardly ever tranquil, and very seldom wellgoverned.
• If, indeed, men were very different from what they are, there might be superior advantages in an elective royalty ; but in the actual state of things, the disadvantages will in general greatly outweigh the benefits.
Accordingly most nations have seen the advantage of hereditary royalty, notwithstanding the defects of such a constitution.'
Kings had need beware how they side themselves.'
The observation, that kings who make themselves members of a party, raise an obligation paramount to obligation of sovereignty'—that is, are likely to substitute party-spirit for public-spirit,-is one which applies in a great degree to all partisans, and to all parties, whether political or ecclesiastical.
Lesson I., On the British Constitution, pp. 15, 16.
We see in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War (and the like has been seen in many ages and regions) how much the attachment to the democratic or the oligarchical parties prevailed over Patriotism. And, in religious concerns, attachment to some party will often be found overcoming that to a Church; so that men belonging to different, and even avowedly opposed Churches, will sometimes be found combined in bitter hostility against other members of their own respective Churches, who are not of their religious party.
On any point, indeed, which the State, or the Church, has left as an open question, allowing each person to judge and act therein as he may think fit,-on such a point, a man may perhaps find himself differing from some individuals who belong to his own community, and in agreement with some who do not; and he is not precluded from joining with these latter in forwarding some definite object in which they agree. For instance, the question of Free-trade or Protection' is not involved in the British Constitution, and is one on which loyal subjects may differ. And any one who advocates Free-trade might allowably join with some foreigners of the same opinion, in circulating tracts in favour of it. So also, a member of some Protestant Church might chance to agree with the late Pope Gregory on the subject of Slavery, disagreeing on that point with some fellow-members of his own Church, which has pronounced no decision thereon : and he may, accordingly, join with some Roman-catholics in discountenancing Slavery.
But most watchful care is requisite, to guard against being imperceptibly led on, without any such design originally, into enrolling oneself in a party, properly so called, (in Bacon's language, a 'faction') ; that is, a combination formed indefinitely for the advocacy of certain general principles, and the promotion of a certain class of objects, without a distinct specification of each precise object to be arrived at, and of the means to be employed; so that the members of the party do, in fact, place themselves under the guidance of their leaders, without any exact knowledge whither they will be led."
i See the Essay, 'Of Unity in Religion.' See also, Essay III., 4th Series, $ 3, on Party Spirit.' See also Thoughts on the Evangelical Alliance.
• The even carriage between two factions proceedeth not always of
moderation, but of a trueness to a man's self, with end to make
use of both.' And thorough-going partizans usually attribute this to every one who keeps aloof from Party; or else they suspect him of seeking to set up some new party, in which he may be a leader; or they regard him as a whimsical Being, who differs in opinion from everybody.
A zealous anti-Calvinist at Oxford denounced as Calvinistic a series of Discourses delivered there some years ago, because they were not Arminian: and when those same Discourses were afterwards published, a Reviewer spoke of the author as Arminian because he was not a Calvinist : 'since every one,' he said, 'must be supposed to be either the one or the other.'
A large portion of mankind enrol themselves in the ranks of a party, to be saved the trouble of examining for themselves each of a great number of particular points. They like to have a ready-made set of opinions; like a lot of goods at an auction. And they conclude that others must do the like. Moreover, Man is a classifying animal. It is a convenience to be able to refer each individual to a Class, whose name describes him, instead of going through all the particulars of his opinions. And one who cannot be so described,—though perhaps he does not differ more from his neighbours than many of them do from each other—is an inconvenient individual;—a kind of odd volume on a library-table, for which we cannot find a place on any of the shelves. He is one who refuses to say "I am of Paul, or I, of Apollos, or I, of Cephas, or, of Luther, or Calvin, or Arminius.' And those, therefore, who prefer convenience to accuracy, will be likely to place him in the ranks of some Party, according to their fancy; or else they will denounce him as 'eccentric,' and affecting “singularity.
And as I have observed above (in the Annotations on the Essay on ‘Custom ') that a prudent man who is no partizan will never trust those who decidedly belong to a party, so, these will never fully trust any one who does not. They may perhaps gladly co-operate with him in some particular matter in which he agrees with them : but they cannot rely on him for going along with them throughout. In some other matter he may