« PreviousContinue »
pilfer the victory : and the defeat was easy. When Tigranes the Armenian, being encamped upon a hill with four hundred thousand men, discovered the army of the Romans, being not above fourteen thousand, marching towards him; he made himself merry with it, and said, " Yonder men are too many for an embassage, and too few for a fight." But before the sun set, he found them enow to give him the chase, with infinite slaughter. Many are the examples of the great odds between number and courage : so that a man may truly make a judgment, that the principal point of greatness in any state is to have a race of military men. Neither is money the sinews of war, as it is trivially said, where the sinews of men's arms, in base and effeminate people, are failing. For Solon said well to Croesus, when in ostentation he showed him his gold, " Sir, if any other come that hath better iron than you, he will be master of all this gold." Therefore let any prince or state think soberly of his forces, except his militia of natives be of good and valiant soldiers. And let princes, on the other side, that have subjects of martial disposition, know their own strength, unless they be otherwise wanting unto 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 burdens. Neither will it be, that a people over-laid 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 w ' apeak now of the heart, and not of the purse. So Iriat 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 overcharged 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 stad(Hcs 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 yon will bring it to that, that not the hundredth 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, tbnn by comparing of England and France; whereof England, though far less in territory and population, hath been, nevertheless, an overmatch; 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 witli 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:
"Terra potent armis, atquc ubcrc glebaj."
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, do much conduce unto martial greatness: whereas, contrariwise, 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 a 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; whereby, while they kept their compass, they stood firm; but when they did spread, and their boughs were become 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 naturalization, which they called "jus civitatis," and to grant it in the highest degree, that is, not only " jus commercii, jus connubii, jus hereditatis;" 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 naturalize 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 scemeth at this instant, they are sensible of this want of natives; as by the pragmatical sanction, now published, appeareth.
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 area 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, freeservants, and handicraftsmen of strong and manly arts, as smiths, masons, carpenters, &c. not reckoning professed soldiers.
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 habituation without intention and act? 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 Sparta 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 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 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, 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 pressed 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 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 Greecia; or when the Lacedaemonians and Athenians made wars, to set up or pull down democracies and oligarchies j 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 fSr 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, a veteran army, almost continually, now by the space of six-score years.
To be master of the sea, is an abridgement of a monarchy. Cicero, writing to Atticus of Pompey his preparation against Cesar, saith, "Consilium Pompeii plane Themistocleum est; putat enim, qui mari potitur, eum rerum potiri." And without doubt Pompey had tired out Caesar, if upon vain confidence he had not left that way. We see the great effects of battles by sea. 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 sea fights 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: 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 npon 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 escutcheon, and some hospitals for maimed soldiers, and such like things. But in ancient times, the tropliies erected upon the place of the victory; the funeral laudarives 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, among 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.
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.
XXX. OF REGIMENT OF HEALTH.
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, " 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 enforce 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, and the like; and try in any thing thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little j but so, as if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thon come back to it again; for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly, and fit
for thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed, at hours of meat, and of sleep, and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting. As for the passions and studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious fears, anger, fretting inwards, subtile and knotty inquisitions, joys and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety of delights rather than surfeit of them; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it. If you make it too familiar, it will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I commend rather some diet for certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom. For those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less. Despise no new accident in your body, but ask opinion of it. In sickness respect health principally: and in health, action. For those that put their bodies to endure in health, may in most sicknesses, which are not very sharp, be cured only with diet and tendering. Celsus could never have spoken it as a physician, had he not been a wise man withal; when he giveth it for one of the great precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary and interchange contraries; but with an inclination to the more benign extreme. Use fasting and full eating, but rather full eating; watching and sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and exercise, but rather exercise, and.the like. So shall nature be cherished, and yet taught masteries. Physicians are some of them so pleasing and conformable to the humour of the patient, as they press not the true cure of the disease; and some other are so regular in proceeding according to art for the disease, as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the patient. Take one of a middle temper; or if it may not be found in one man, combine two of either sort; and forget not to call as well the best acquainted with your body, as the best reputed of for his faculty.
XXXI. OF SUSPICION.
Suspicions amongst thoughts, are like bats amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight. Certainly they are to be repressed, or at the least well guarded: for they cloud the mind, they lose friends, and they check with business, whereby business cannot go on currently and constantly. They dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, wise men to irresolution and melancholy. They are defects not in the heart, but in the brain; for they take place in the stoutest natures; as in the example of Henry the Seventh of England; there was not a more suspicious man, nor a more stout. And in such a composition they do small hurt. For commonly they are not admitted but with examination, whether they be likely or no? But in fearful natures they gain ground too fast. There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little: and therefore men should remedy suspicion, by procuring to know more, and not to keep their suspicions in smother. What would men have? Do they think those they employ and deal with are saints? Do they not think they will have their own ends, and be truer to themselves than to them? Therefore there is no better way to moderate suspicions, than to account upon such suspicions as true, and yet to bridle them as false: for so far a man ought to make use of suspicions, as to provide, as if that should be true that he suspects, yet it may do him no hurt. Suspicions that the mind of itself gathers are but buzzes; but suspicions that are artificially nourished, and put into men's heads by the tales and whisperings of others, have stings. Certainly the best mean to clear the way in this same wood of suspicions, is frankly to communicate them with the party that he suspects; for thereby he shall be sure to know more of the truth of them than he did before; and withal shall make that party more circumspect not to give farther cause of suspicion. But this would not be done to men of base natures: for they, if they find themselves once suspected, will never be true. The Italian says, " Sospetto licentia fede;" as if suspicion did give a passport to faith; but it ought rather to kindle it to discharge itself.
XXXII. OF DISCOURSE.
Some in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise to know what might be said, and not what should be thought. Some have certain common-places and themes, wherein they are good, and want variety: which kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, and, when it is once perceived, ridiculous. The honourablest part of talk is to give the occasion; and again, to moderate, and pass to somewhat else; for then a man leads the dance. It is good in discourse and speech of conversation to vary, and intermingle speech of the present occasion with arguments; tales with reasons; asking of questions with telling of opinions; and jest with earnest; for it is a dull thing to tire, and, as we say now, to jade any thing too far. As for jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged from it; namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any man's present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity. Yet there be some that think their wits have been asleep, except they dart out somewhat that is piquant, and to the quick: that is a vein which would be bridled;
"Pane, puer, stimuli!, et fortius utere loris."
And generally men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness. Certainly he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory. He that questioneth much shall learn much, and content much; but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh; for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather
knowledge. But let his questions not be troublesome, for that is fit for a poser. And let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak. Nay, if there be any that would reign, and take up all (he time, let him find means to take them off, and bring others on; as musicians use to do with those that dance too long galliards. If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be thought another time to know that you know not. Speech of a man's self ought to be seldom, and well chosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn, " He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself;" and there is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another; especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. Speech of touch towards others should be sparingly used: for discourse ought to be as a field, without coming home to any man. I knew two noblemen of the west part of England, whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept ever royal cheer in his house; the other would ask of those that had been at the other's table, "Tell truly, was there never a flout or dry blow given?" To which the guest would answer, Such and such a thing passed. The lord would say, " I thought he would mar a good dinner." Discretion of speech is more than eloquence; and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal, is more than to speak in good words, or in good order. A good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shows slowness: and a good reply, or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and weakness. As we see in beasts, that those that are weakest in the course, are yet nimblest in the turn: as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many circumstances ere one come to the matter, is wearisome; to use none at all, is blunt
XXXIII. OF PLANTATIONS.
Plantations are amongst ancient, primitive, and heroical works. When the world was young, it begat more children; but now it is old, it begets fewer: for I may justly account new plantations to be the children of former kingdoms.. I like a plantation in a pure soil; that is, where people are not displanted to the end to plant in others. For else it is rather an extirpation, than a plantation. Planting of countries is like planting of woods; for you must make account to lose almost twenty years profit, and expect your recompence in the end. For the principal thing that hath been the destruction of most plantations, hath been the base and hasty drawing of profit in the first years. It is true, speedy profit is not to be neglected, as far as may stand with the good of the plantation, but no farther. It is a shameful and unblessed thing, to take the scum of people, and wicked condemned men, to be the peopfe with whom you plant; and not only so, but it spoileth the plantation; for they will ever live like rogues, and not fall to work, but be lazy, and do mischief, and spend victuals, and be quickly weary, and then certify over to their country to the discredit of the plantation. The people wherewith you plant ought to be gardeners, ploughmen, labourers, smiths, carpenters, joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers. In a country of plantation, first look about what kind of victual the country yields of itself to hand; as chestnuts, walnuts, pine-apples, olives, dates, plumbs, cherries, wild honey, and the like, and make use of them. Then consider what victual or esculent things there are, which grow speedily and within the year; as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radishes, artichokes of Jerusalem, maiz, and the like. For wheat, barley, and oats, they ask too much labour: but with peas and beans you may begin; both becatise they ask less labour, and because they serve for meat, as well as for bread. And of rice likewise cometh a great increase, and it is a kind of meat. Above all, there ought to be brought store of biscuit, oatmeal, flour, meal, and the like, in the beginning, till bread may be had. For beasts or birds, take chiefly such as are least subject to diseases, and multiply fastest: as swine, goats, cocks, hens, turkeys, geese, house-doves, and the like. The victual in plantations ought to be expended almost as in a besieged town; that is, with certain allowance. And let the main part of the ground employed to gardens or corn be to a common stock; and to be laid in, and stored up, and then delivered out in proportion; besides some spots of ground that any particular person will manure for his own private use. Consider likewise what commodities the soil where the plantation is doth naturally yield, that they may some way help to defray the charge of the plantation: so it be not, as was said, to the untimely prejudice of the main business; as it hath fared with tobacco in Virginia. Wood commonly aboundeth but too much: and therefore timber is fit to be one. If there be iron ore, and streams whereupon to set the mills; iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth. Making of bay-salt, if the climate be proper for it, would be put in experience. Growing silk likewise, if any be, is a likely commodity. Pitch and tar, where store of firs and pines are, will not fail. So drugs and sweet woods, where they are, cannot but yield great profit. Soap-ashes, likewise, and other things that may be thought of. But moil not too much under ground; for the hope of mines is very uncertain, and useth to make the planters lazy in other things. For government, let it be in the hands of one assisted with some counsel: and let them have commission to exercise martial laws with some limitation. And above all, let men make that profit of being in the wilderness, as they have God always, and his service, before their eyes. Let not the government of the plantation depend upon too many counsellors and undertakers in the country that planteth, but upon a temperate number; and let those be rather noblemen and gentlemen, than merchants; for they look ever to the present gain. Let there be freedoms from custom, till the plantation be of strength: and not only freedom from custom, but freedom to carry their commodities where they may make their best of them, except there be some special cause of Vol. L u
caution. Cram not in people, by sending too fast company after company; but rather hearken how they waste, and send supplies proportionably; but so as the number may live well in the plantation, and not by surcharge be in penury. It hath been a great endangering to the health of some plantations, that they have built along the sea and rivers, in marish and unwholesome grounds. Therefore though you begin there to avoid carriage, and other like discommodities, yet build still rather upwards from the streams, than along. It concerneth likewise the health of the plantation, that they have good store of salt with them, that they may use it in their victuals when it shall be necessary. If you plant where savages are, do not only entertain them with trifles and gingles; but use them justly and graciously, with sufficient guard nevertheless: and do not win their favour by helping them to invade their enemies; but for their defence it is not amiss. And send oft of them over to the country that plants, that they may see a better condition than their own, and commend it when they return. When the plantation grows to strength, then it is time to plant with women as well as men; that the plantation may spread into generations, and not be ever pieced from without. It is the sinfullest thing in the world to forsake or destitute a plantation once in forwardness: for besides the dishonour, it is the guiltiness of blood of many commiserable persons.
XXXIV. OF RICHES.
I cannot call riches better than the baggage of virtue. The Roman word is better, " impedimenta." For as the baggage is to an army, so are riches to virtue. It cannot be spared, nor left behind, but it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit. So saith Solomon: "Where much is, there are many to consume it; and what hath the owner, but the sight of it with his eyes?" The personal fruition in any man, cannot reach to feel great riches: there is a custody of them; or a power of dole and donative of them; or a fame of them; but no solid use to the owner. Do you not see what feigned prices are set upon little stones and rarities? And what works of ostentation are undertaken, because there might seem to be some use of great riches? But then you will say, they may be of use, to buy men out of dangers or troubles. As Solomon saith, "Riches are as a strong hold in the imagination of the rich man." But this is excellently expressed, that it is in imagination, and not always in fact. For certainly great riches have sold more men than they have bought out. Seek not proud riches, but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly. Yet have no abstract nor friarly contempt of them: but distinguish, as Cicero saith well of Rabirius Posthumus; "in studio rei amplificandaj apparebat, non avarititc prredam, sed instrumentum bonitati quteri." Hearken also to Solomon, and beware of hasty gnthering of riches: "Qui festinat ad