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TO THE SPEAKER'S ORATION.
The king hath heard and observed your eloquent discourse, containing much good matter, and much good will: wherein you must expect from me such an answer only as is pertinent to the occasion, and compassed by due respect of time.
I may divide that which you have said into four parts.
The first was a commendation, or laudative of monarchy.
The second was indeed a large field, containing a thankful acknowledgment of his Majesty's benefits, attributes, and acts of government.
The third was some passages touching the institution and use of parliaments.
The fourth and last was certain petitions to his Majesty on the behalf of the house and yourself.
For your commendation of monarchy, and preferring it before other estates, it needs no answer: the schools may dispute it; but time hath tried it, and we find it to be the best. Other states have curious frames soon put out of order: and they that are made fit to last, are not commonly fit to grow or spread: and contrariwise those that are made fit to spread and enlarge, are not fit to continue and endure. But monarchy is like a work of nature, well composed both to grow and continue. From this I pass.
For the second part of your speech, wherein you did with no less truth than affection acknowledge the great felicity which we enjoy by his Majesty's reign and government, his Majesty hath commanded me to say unto you, that praises and thanksgivings he knoweth to be the true oblations of hearts and loving affections: but that whicli you offer him he will join with you, in offering it up to God, who is the author of all good; who knoweth also the uprightness of his heart; who he hopeth will continue and increase his blessings both upon himself and posterity, and likewise upon his kingdoms and the generations of them.
But I for my part must say unto you, as the Grecian orator said long since in the like case : " Solus dignus harum rerum laudator tempus;" Time is the only commender and encomiastic worthy of his Majesty and his government.
Why lime? For that in the revolution of so many years and ages, as have passed over this kingdom, notwithstanding, many noble and excellent effects were never produced until his Majesty's days, but have been reserved as proper and peculiar unto them.
And because this is no part of a panegyric, but merely story, and that they be so many articles of honour fit to be recorded, I will only mention them, extracting part of them out of that you, Mr. Speaker, have said; they be in number eight.
First, His Majesty is the first, as you noted it well, that hath laid lapis angularis, the corner-stone of these two mighty kingdoms of England and Scotland, and taken away the wall of separation: whereby his Majesty is become the monarch of fhe most puissant and military nntions of the world;
and, if one of the ancient wise men was not deceived, iron commands gold.
Secondly, The plantation and reduction to civility of Ireland, the second island of the ocean Atlantic, did by God's providence wait for his Majesty's times; being a work resembling indeed the works of the ancient heroes: no new piece of that kind in modern times.
Thirdly, This kingdom now first in his Majesty's times hath gotten a lot or portion in the new world by the plantation of Virginia and the Summer Islands. And certainly it is with the kingdoms on earth as it is in the kingdom of heaven : sometimes a grain of mustard-seed proves a great tree. ^Yho can tell?
Fourthly, His Majesty hath made that truth which was before titulary, in that he hath verified the style of Defender of the Faith: wherein his Majesty's pen hath been so happy, as though the deaf adder will not hear, yet he is charmed that he does not hiss. I mean in the graver sort of those that have answered his Majesty's writings.
Fifthly, It is most certain, that since the conqnest ye cannot assign twenty years, which is the time that his Majesty's reign now draws fast upon, of inward and outward peace. Insomuch, as the time of queen Elizabeth, of happy memory, and always magnified for a peaceable reign, was nevertheless interrupted the first twenty years with a rebellion in England; and both first and last twenty years with rebellions in Ireland. And yet I know, that his Miijesty will make good both his words, as well that of "Nemo me lacessit impune," as that other of " Beati pacifici."
Sixthly, That true and primitive office of kings, which is, to sit in the gate and to judge the people, was never performed in like perfection by any of the king's progenitors: whereby his Majesty hath showed himself to be lex loquens, and to sit upon the throne, not as a dumb statue, but as a speaking oracle.
Seventhly, For his Majesty's mercy, as you noted it well, show me a time wherein a king of this realm hath reigned almost twenty years, as I said, in his white robes without the blood of any peer of this kingdom: the axe turned once or twice towards a peer, but never struck.
Lastly, The flourishing of arts and sciences recreated by his Majesty's countenance and bounty, was never in that height, especially that art of arts, divinity; for that we may truly to God's great glory confess, that since the primitive times, there were never so many stars, for so the Scripture calleth them, in that firmament.
These things, Mr. Speaker, I have partly chosen out of your heap, and are so far from being vulgar, as they are in effect singular and proper to his Majesty and his times. So that I have made good, as I take it, my first assertion : that the only worthy commender of his Majesty is rime: which hath so set off his Majesty's merits by the shadow of comparison, as it passeth the lustre or commendation of words.
How then shall I conclude? Shall I say, "0 fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint?" No, for I see ye are happy in enjoying them, and happy again in knowing them. But [ will conclude this part with that saying, turned to the right hand: "Si gratum dixeris, omnia dixeris." Your gratitude contains in a word all that I can say to you touching this parliament.
Touching the third point of your speech, concerning parliaments, I shall need to say little : for there was never that honour done to the institution of parliament, that his Majesty did it in his last speech, making it in effect the perfection of monarchy; for that although monarchy was the more ancient, and be independent, yet by the advice and assistance of parliament it is the stronger and the surer built.
And therefore I shall say no more of this point: but as you, Mr. Speaker, did well note, that when the king sits in parliament, and his prelates, peers, and commons attend him, he is in the exaltation of his orb; so I wish things may be so carried, that he may be then in greatest serenity and benignity of aspect; shining upon his people both in glory and grace. Now you know well, that the shining of the sun fair upon the ground, whereby all things exhilarate and do fructify, is either hindered by clouds above or mists below ; perhaps by brambles and briers that grow upon the ground itself. All which I hope at this time will be dispelled and removed.
I come now to the last part of your speech, concerning the petitions: but before I deliver his Majesty's answer respectively in particular, I am to speak to you some few words in general; wherein, in effect, I shall but glean, his Majesty having so excellently and fully expressed himself.
For that, that can be spoken pertinently, must be either touching the subject or matter of parliament business: or of the manner and carriage of the same; or lastly of the time, and the husbanding and marshalling of time.
For the matters to be handled in parliament, they are either of church, state, laws, or grievances.
For the first two, concerning church or state, ye have heard the king himself speak; and as the Scripture saith, " Who is he that in such things shall come after the king?" For the other two, I shall say somewhat, but very shortly.
For laws, they are things proper for your own element; and therefore therein ye are rather to lead than to be led. Only it is not amiss to put you in mind of two things; the one, that ye do not multiply or accumulate laws more than ye need. There is a wise and learned civilian that applies the curse of the prophet, "Pluet super eos laqueos," to multiplicity of laws: for they do but insnare and entangle the people. I wish rather, that ye should either revive good laws that are fallen and discontinued, or provide against the slack execution of laws w hich are already in force; or meet with the subtile evasions from laws which time and craft hath undermined, than to make novas creaturas legum, laws upon a new mould.
The other point, touching laws, is, that ye busy not yourselves too much in private bills, except it be in cases wherein the help and arm of ordinary justice is too short.
For grievances, his Majesty hath with great grace and benignity opened himself. Nevertheless, the limitations, which may make up your grievances not to beat the air only, but to sort to a desired effect, are principally two. The one, to use his Majesty's term, that ye do not hunt after grievances, such as may seem rather to be stirred here when ye are met, than to have sprung from th desires of the country: ye are to represent the people; ye are not to personate them.
The other, that ye do not heap up grievances, as if numbers should make a show where the weight is small; or, as if all things amiss, like Plato's commonwealth, should be remedied at once. It is certain, that the best governments, yea, and the best men, are like the best precious stones, wherein every flaw or icicle or grain are seen and noted more than in those that are generally foul and corrupted.
Therefore contain yourselves within that moderation as may appear to bend rather to the effectual ease of the people, than to a discursive envy, or scandal upon the state.
As for the manner of carriage of parliament business, ye must know, that ye deal with a king that hath been longer king than any of you have been parliament men; and a king that is no less sensible of forms than of matter; and is as far from enduring diminution of majesty, as from regarding flattery or vain-glory; and a king that understandeth as well the pulse of the hearts of people as his own orb. And therefore, both let your grievances have a decent and reverent form and style; and to use the words of former parliaments, let them be tanquam gemitus colunibce, without pique or harshness: and on the other side, in that ye do for the king, let it have a mark of unity, alacrity, and affection; which will be of this force, that whatsoever ye do in substance, will be doubled in reputation abroad, as in a crystal glass.
For the time, if ever parliament was to be measured by the hour-glass it is this; in regard of the instant occasion flying away irrecoverably. Therefore let your speeches in the house be the speeches of counsellors, and not of orators; let your committees tend to despatch, not to dispute; and so marshal the times as the public business, especially the proper business of the parliament, be put first, and private bills be put last, as time shall give leave, or within the spaces of the public.
For the four petitions, his Majesty is pleased to grant them all as liberally as the ancient and true custom of parliament doth warrant, and with the cautions that have ever gone with them; that is to say, That the privilege be not used for defrauding of creditors and defeating of ordinary justice: that liberty of speech turn not into licence, but be joined with that gravity and discretion, as may taste of duty and love to your sovereign, reverence to your own assembly, and respect to the matters ye handle: that your accesses be at such fit times, as may stand best with his Majesty's pleasure and occasions: that mistakings and misunderstandings be rather avoided and prevented, as much as may be, than salved or cleared.
KINGDOM OF BRITAIN.
TO KING JAMES. Fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint.
The greatness of kingdoms and dominions in bulk and territory doth fall under measure and demonstration that cannot err: but the just measure and estimate of the forces and power of an estate is a matter, than the which there is nothing among civil affairs more subject to error, nor that error more subject to perilous consequence. For hence may proceed many inconsiderate attempts and insolent provocations in states that have too high an imagination of their own forces: and hence may proceed, on the other side, a toleration of many fair grievances and indignities, and a loss of many opportunities, in states that are not sensible enough of their own strength. Therefore, that it may the better appear what greatness your Majesty hath obtained of God, and what greatness this island hath obtained by you, and what greatness it is, that by the gracious pleasure of Almighty God you shall leave and transmit to your children and generations as the first.founder; I have thought good, as far as I can comprehend, to make a true survey and representation of the greatness of this your kingdom of Britain j being for mine own part persuaded, that the supposed prediction, " Video solem orientem in occidenie," may be no less a true vision applied to Britain, than to any other kingdom of Europe; and being out of doubt that none of the great monarchies, which in the memory of times have risen in the habitable world, had so fair seeds and beginnings as hath this your estate and kingdom, whatsoever the event shall be, which must depend upon the dispensation of God's will and providence, and his blessing upon your descendants. And because I have no purpose vainly or assentatorily to represent this greatness, as in water, which shows things bigger than they are, but rather, as by an instrument of art, helping the sense to take a true magnitude and dimension: therefore I will use no hidden order, which is fitter for insinuations than sound proofs, but a clear and open order. First by confuting the errors, or rather correcting the excesses of certain immoderate opinions, which ascribe too much to some points of greatness, which are not so essential, and by reducing those points to a true value and
estimation: then by propounding and confirming those other points of greatness which are more solid and principal, though in popular discourse less observed: and incidently by making a brief application, in both these parts, of the general principles and positions of policy unto the state and condition of these your kingdoms. Of these the former part will branch itself into these articles.
First, That in the measuring or balancing of greatness, there is commonly too much ascribed to largeness of territory. Secondly, That there is too much ascribed to
treasure or riches. Thirdly, That there is too much ascribed to the fruitfulness of the soil, or affluence of commodities.
And fourthly, That there is too much ascribed to the strength and fortification of towns or holds. The latter will fall into this distribution:
First, That true greatness doth require a fit situation of the place or region.
Secondly, That true greatness consisteth essentially in population and breed of men.
Thirdly, That it consisteth also in the value and military disposition of the people it breedeth; and in this that they make profession of arms.
Fourthly, That it consisteth in this point, that every common subject by the poll be fit to make a soldier, and not only certain conditions or degrees of men.
Fifthly, That it consisteth in the temper of the government fit to keep the subjects in good heart and courage, and not to keep them in the condition of servile vassals.
And sixthly, That it consisteth in the commandment of the sea.
And let no man so much forget the subject propounded, as to find strange, that here is no mention of religion, laws, or policy. For we speak of that which is proper to the amplitude and growth of states, and not of that which is common to their preservation, happiness, and all other points of wellbeing. First, therefore, touching largeness of territones, the true greatness of kingdoms upon earth is not without some analogy with the kingdom of heaven, as our Saviour describes it: which he doth resemble, not to any great kernel or nut, but to one of the least grains; but yet such a one, as hath a property to grow and spread. For as for large countries and multitude of provinces, they are many times rather matters of burden than of strength, as may manifestly appear both by reason and example. By reason thus. There be two manners of securing of large territories, the one by the natural arms of every province, and the other by the protecting arms of the principal estate, in which case commonly the provincials are held disarmed. So are there two dangers incident unto every estate, foreign invasion, and inward rebellion. Now such is the nature of things, that these two remedies of estate do fall respectively into these two dangers, in case of remote provinces. For if such an estate rest upon the natural arms of the provinces, it is sure to be subject to rebellion or revolt; if upon protecting arms, it is sure to be weak against invasion: neither can this be avoided.
Now for examples, proving the weakness of states possessed of large territories, I will use only two, eminent and selected. The first shall he of the kingdom of Persia, which extended from Egypt, inclusive, unto Bactria, and the borders of the East India; and yet nevertheless was overrun and conquered, in the space of seven years, by a nation not much bigger than this isle of Britain, and newly grown into name, having heen utterly obscure till the time of Philip the son of Amyntas. Neither was this effected by any rare or heroical prowess in the conqueror, as is vulgarly conceived, for that Alexander the Great goeth now for one of the wonders of the world; for those that have made a judgment grounded upon reason of estate, do find that conceit to be merely popular, for so Livy pronounceth of him, " Nihil aliud quam bene ausus vana contemnere." Wherein he judgeth of vastness of territory as a vanity that may astonish a weak mind, but no ways trouble a sound resolution. And those tiiat are conversant attentively in the histories of those times, shall find that this purchase which Alexander made and compassed, was offered by fortune twice before to others, though by accident they went not through with it; namely, to Agesilaus, and Jason of Thessaly: for Agesilaus, after he had made himself master of most of the low provinces of Asia, and had both design and commission to invade the higher countries, was diverted and called home upon a war excited against his country by the states of Athens and Thebes, being incensed by their orators and counsellors, which were bribed and corrupted from Persia, as Agesilaus himself avouched pleasantly, when he said, That a hundred thousand archers of the king of Persia had driven him home: understanding it, because an archer was the stamp upon the Persian coin of gold. And Jason of Thessaly, being a man born to no greatness, but one that made a fortune of himself, and had obtained by his own vivacity of spirit, joined with the opportunities of time, a great array compounded of voluntaries and
adventurers, to the terror of all Gracia, that continually expected where that cloud would fall; disclosed himself in the end, that his design was for an expedition into Persia, the same which Alexander not many years after achieved, wherein he was interrupted by a private conspiracy against his life, which took effect. So that it appeareth, as was said, that it was not any miracle of accident that raised the Macedonian monarchy, but only the weak composition of that vast state of Persia, which was prepared for a prey to the first resolute invader.
The second example that I will produce, is of the Roman empire, which had received no diminution in territory, though great in virtue and forces, till the time of Jovianus. For so it was alleged by such as opposed themselves to the rendering Nisibis upon the dishonourable retreat of the Roman army out of Persia. At which time it was avouched, that the Romans, by the space of 800 years, had never, before that day, made any cession or renunciation to any part of their territory, whereof they had once had a constant and quiet possession. And yet, nevertheless, immediately after the short reign of Jovianus, and towards the end of the joint reign of Valentinianus and Valens, which were his immediate successors, and much more in the times succeeding, the Roman empire, notwithstanding the magnitude thereof, became no better than a carcase whereupon all the vultures and birds of prey of the world did seize and ravin for many ages, for a perpetual monument of the essential difference between the scale of miles, and the scale of forces. And therefore, upon these reasons and examples, we may safely conclude, that largeness of territory is so far from being a thing inseparable from greatness of power, as it is many times contrariant arid incompatible with the same. But to make a reduction of that error to a truth, it will stand thus, that then greatness of territory addeth strength, when it hath these four conditions:
First, That the territories be compacted, and not dispersed.
Secondly, That the region which is the heart and seat of the state be sufficient to support those parts, which are but provinces and additions. Thirdly, That the arms or martial virtue of the state be in some degree answerable to the greatness of dominion. And lastly, That no part or province of the state be utterly unprofitable, but do confer some use or service to the stale. The first of these is manifestly true, and scarcely needeth any explication. For if there be a state that consisteth of scattered points instead of lines, and slender lines instead of latitudes, it can never be solid, and in the solid figure is strength. But what speak we of mathematical principles? The reason of state is evident, that if the parts of an estate be disjoined and remote, and so he interrupted with the provinces of another sovereignty; they cannot possibly have ready succours in case of invasion, nor ready suppression in case of rebellion, nor ready recovery in case of loss or alienation by either of both means. And therefore we see what an endless work the king of Spain hath had to recover the Low Countries, although it were to him patrimony and not purchase; and that chiefly in regard of the great distance. So we see that our nation kept Calais a hundred years' space after it lost the rest of France, in regard of the near situation; and yet in the end they that were nearer carried it by surprise, and overran succour.
Therefore Titus Quintius made a good comparison of the state of the Achaians to a tortoise, which is safe when it is retired within the shell, but if any part be put forth, then the part exposed endangereth all the rest. For so it is with states that have provinces dispersed, the defence whereof doth commonly consume and decay, and sometimes ruin the rest of the estate. And so likewise we may observe, that all the great monarchies, the Persians, the Romans, and the like of the Turks, they had not any provinces to the which they needed to demand access through the country of another: neither had they any long races or narrow angles of territory, which were environed or clasped in with foreign states; but their dominions were continued and entire, and had thickness and squareness in their orb or contents. But these things are without contradiction.
For the second, concerning the proportion between the principal region, and those which are but secondary, there must evermore distinction be made between the body or stem of the tree, and the boughs and branches. For if the top be over-great, and the stalk too slender, there can be no strength. Now, the body is to be accounted so much of an estate, as is not separated or distinguished with any mark of foreigners, but is united specially with the bond of naturalization; and therefore we see that when the state of Rome grew great, they were enforced to naturalize the Latins or Italians, because the Roman stem could not bear the provinces and Italy both as branches: and the like they were contented after to do to most of the Gauls. So on the contrary part, we see in the state of Lacedeemon, which was nice in that point, and would not admit their confederates to be incorporate with them, but rested upon their natural-born subjects of Sparta, how that a small time after they had embraced a larger empire, they were presently surcharged, in respect to the slenderness of the stem. For so in the defection of the Thebans and the rest against them, one of the principal revolters spake most aptly, and with great efficacy, in the assembly of the associates, telling them, That the state of Sparta was like a river, which after that it had run a great way, and taken other rivers and streams into it, ran strong and mighty, but about the head and fountain of it was shallow and weak; and therefore advised them to assail and invade the main of Sparta, knowing they should there find weak resistance either of towns or in the field: of towns, because upon confidence of their greatness they fortified not upon the main; in the field, because their people was exhaust by garrisons and services far off. Which counsel proved sound, to the astonishment of all Greecia at that time.
For the third, concerning the proportion of the
military forces of a state to the amplitude of empire, it cannot be better demonstrated than by the two first examples, which we produced, of the weakness of large territory, if they be compared within themselves according to difference of time. For Persia at a time was strengthened with large territory, and at another time weakened; and so was Rome. For while they flourished in arms, the largeness of territory was a strength to them, and added forces, added treasures, added reputation: but when they decayed in arms, then greatness became a burden. For their protecting forces did corrupt, supplant, and enervate the natural and proper forces of all their provinces, which relied and depended upon the succours and directions of the state above. And when that waxed impotent and slothful, then the whole state laboured with her own magnitude, and in the end fell with her own weight. And that, no question, was the reason of the strange inundations of people which both from the east and north-west overwhelmed the Roman empire in one age of the world, which a man upon the sudden would attribute to some constellation or fatal revolution of time, being indeed nothing else but the declination of the Roman empire, which having effeminated and made vile the natural strength of the provinces, and not being able to supply it by the strength imperial and sovereign, did, as a lure cast abroad, invite and entice all the nations adjacent, to make their fortunes upon her decays. And by the same reason, there cannot but ensue a dissolution to the state of the Turk, in regard of the largeness of empire, whensoever their martial virtue and discipline shall be farther relaxed, whereof (he time seemeth to approach. For certainly like as great stature in a natural body is some advantage in youth, but is but burden in age; so it is with great territory, which when a state beginneth to decline, doth make it stoop and buckle so much the faster.
For the fourth and last, it is true, that there is to be required and expected as in the parts of a body, so in the members of a state, rather propriety of service, than equality'of benefit. Some provinces are more wealthy, some more populous, and some more warlike; some situate aptly for the excluding or expulsing of foreigners, and some for the annoying and bridling of suspected and tumultuous subjects; some are profitable in present, and some may be converted and improved to profit by plantations and good policy. And therefore true consideration of estate can hardly find what to reject, in matter of territory, in any empire, except it be some glorious acquests obtained sometime in the bravery of wars, which cannot be kept without excessive charge and trouble; of which kind were the purchases of king Henry VIII. that of Tournay; and that of Bologne; and of the same kind are infinite other the like examples almost in every war, which for the most part upon treaties of peace are restored.
Thus have we now defined where the largeness of territory addeth true greatness, and where not. The application of these positions unto the particular or supposition of this your Majesty's kingdom of | Britain, requireth few words. For, as I professed in