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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 2 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 Prætorian 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 kings are in effect comprehended in those two remembrances, “ Memento quod es homo; ” 4 and “Memento quod es Deus," 5 or 6 vice Dei ;” 6 the one bridleth their power, and the other their will.
1 This is an expression similar to our proverb, “ Penny-wise and pound-foolish."
2 Å subdivision of the shire. 3 The Janizaries were the body-guards of the Turkish sultans,
ed the same disgraceful part in making and unmaking monarchs, as the mercenary Prætorian guards of the Roman empire.
4 “ Remember that thou art a man." 5“ Remember that thou art a God." 6“ The representative of God.”
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.”i Solomon hath pronounced that, “ in counsel is stability.” 2 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 forever 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 counsel with kings, and the wise and politic use of counsel by kings; the one, in that they say Jupiter did marry Metis, which signifieth counsel; whereby they intend that sovereignty is married to council; the other in that which followeth, which was thus : they say, after Jupiter was married to Metis, she conceived by him and was with child; but Jupiter suffered her not to stay till she brought forth, but eat her up; whereby he became himself with child, and was delivered of Pallas armed, out of his head. Which monstrous fable containeth a secret of empire, how kings are to make use of their council of state; that first, they ought to refer matters unto them, which is the first begetting or impreg. nation ; but when they are elaborate, moulded, and shaped in the womb of their counsel, and grow ripe and ready to be brought forth, that then they suffer not their council to go through with the resolution and direction, as if it depended on them ; but take the matter back into their own hands, and make it appear to the world, that the decrees and final directions, (which, because they come forth with prudence and power, are resembled to Pallas armed,) proceeded from themselves; and not only from their authority, but the more to add reputation to themselves) from their head and device.
1 Isaiah ix. 6: “ His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
2 Prov. xx. 18: “Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war."
3 The wicked Rehoboam, from whom the ten tribes of Israel revolted, and elected Jeroboam their king. - See 1 Kings xii.
Let us now speak of the inconveniences of counsel, and of the remedies. The inconveniences that have been noted in calling and using counsel are three: first, the revealing of affairs, whereby they become less secret; secondly, the weakening of the authority of princes, as if they were less of themselves; thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully counselled, and more for the good of them that counsel than of him that is counselled; for which
i Hesiod. Theog. 886.
inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some kings' times, hath introduced cabinet councils; a remedy worse than the disease.
As to secrecy, princes are not bound to communicate all matters with all counsellors, but may extract and select; neither is it necessary that he that consulteth what he should do, should declare what he will do ; but let princes beware that the unsecreting of their affairs comes not from themselves; and, as for cabinet councils, it may be their motto, “ Plenus rimarum sum :” 2 one futile person, that maketh it his glory to tell, will do more hurt than many that know it their duty to conceal. It is true, there be some affairs which require extreme secrecy, which will hardly go beyond one or two persons besides the king. Neither are those counsels unprosperous ; for, besides the secrecy, they commonly go on constantly in one spirit of direction without distraction; but then it must be a prudent king, such as is able to grind with a hand-mill ; 8 and those inward counsellors had need also to be wise men, and especially true and trusty to the king's ends; as it was with King Henry the Seventh of England, who, in his greatest business, imparted himself to none, except it were to Morton * and Fox.5
1 The political world has not been convinced of the truth of this doctrine of Lord Bacon; as cabinet councils are now held probably by every sovereign in Europe.
2“ I am full of outlets." - Ter. Eun. I. ii. 25. 8 That is, without a complicated machinery of government.
4 Master of the Rolls and Privy Councillor under Henry VI., to whose cause he faithfully adhered. Edward IV. promoted him to the See of Ely, and made him Lord Chancellor." He was elevated to the See of Canterbury by Henry VII., and in 1493 received the Cardinal's hat.
5 Privy Councillor and Keeper of the Privy Seal to Henry VII., and, after enjoying several bishoprics in succession, translated
For weakening of authority, the fable 1 showeth the remedy; nay, the majesty of kings is rather exalted than diminished when they are in the chair of council; neither was there ever prince bereaved of his dependencies by his council, except where there hath been either an over-greatness in one counsellor, or an over-strict combination in divers, which are things soon found and holpen.2
For the last inconvenience, that men will counsel with an eye to themselves ; certainly, “non inveniet fidem super terram,” 8 is meant of the nature of times, and not of all particular persons. There be that are in nature faithful and sincere, and plain and direct, not crafty and involved : let princes, above all, draw to themselves such natures. Besides, counsellors are not commonly so united, but that one counsellor keepeth sentinel over another; so that if any do counsel out of faction or private ends, it commonly comes to the king's ear; but the best remedy is, if princes know their counsellors, as well as their counsellors know them :
“Principis est virtus maxima nosse suos.” 5
to the See of Winchester. re was an able statesman, and highly valued by Henry VII. On the accession of Henry VIII. his political influence was counteracted by Wolsey; on which he retired to his diocese, and devoted the rest of his life to acts of piety and munificence.
1 Before mentioned, relative to Jupiter and Metis. 2 Remedied.
3“ He shall not find faith upon the earth.” Lord Bacon probably alludes to the words of our Saviour, St. Luke xviii. 8: to When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith upon the earth?”
4 He means to say, that this remark was only applicable to a particular time, namely, the coming of Christ. The period of the destruction of Jerusalem was probably referred to.
5“ 'Tis the especial virtue of a prince to know his own men."