« PreviousContinue »
Secondly, That the wealth of the subject be rather in many hands than in few.
And thirdly, That it be in those hands, where there is likest to be the greatest sparing, and increase, and not in those hands, wherein there useth to be greatest expense and consumption.
For it is not the abundance of treasure in the subjects' hands that can make sudden supply of the want of a state; because reason tells us, and experience both, that private persons have least will to contribute when they have most cause; for when there is noise or expectation of wars, then is always the deadest times for moneys, in regard every man restraineth and holdeth fast his means for his own comfort and succour, according as Solomon saith, "The riches of a man are as a strong hold in his own imagination:" and therefore we see by infinite examples, and none more memorable than that of Constantinus the last emperor of the Greeks, and the citizens of Constantinople, that subjects do often choose rather to be frugal dispensers for their enemies, than liberal lenders to their prince. Again, wheresoever the wealth of the subject is engrossed into few hands, it is not possible it should be so respondent and yielding to payments and contributions for the public, both because the true estimation or assessment of great wealth is more obscure and uncertain j and because the burden seemeth lighter when the charge lieth upon many hands; and farther, because the same greatness of wealth is for the most partnot collected and obtained without sucking it from many, according to the received similitude of the spleen, which never swelleth but when the rest of the body pineth and abateth. And lastly, it cannot be that any wealth should leave a second overplus for the public that doth not first leave an overplus to the private stock of him that gathers it j and therefore nothing is more certain, than that those states are least able to aid and defray great charge for wars, or other public disbursements, whose wealth resteth chiefly in the hands of the nobility and gentlemen. For what by reason of their magnificence and waste in expense, and what by reason of their desire to advance and make great their own families, and again upon the coincidence of the former reason, because they are always the fewest; small is the help, as to payments or charge, that can be levied or expected from them towards the occasions of a state. Contrary it is of such states whose wealth resteth in the hands of merchants, burghers, tradesmen, freeholders, farmers in the country, and the like, whereof we have a most evident and present example before our eyes, in our neighbours of the Low Countries, who could never have endured and continued so inestimable and insupportable charge, either 'by their natural frugality or by their mechanical industry, were it not also that there was a concurrence in them of this last reason, which is, that their wealth was dispersed in many hands, and not engrossed into few; and those hands were not much of the nobility, but most and generally of inferior conditions.
To make application of this part concerning treasure to your Majesty's kingdoms:
First, I suppose I cannot err, that as to the endowment of your crown, there is not any crown of Europe, that hath so great a proportion of demesne and land revenue. Again, he thatshall look into your prerogative shall find it to have as many streams to feed your treasury, as the prerogative of any of the said kings, and yet without oppression or taxing of your people. For they be things unknown in many other states, that all rich mines should be yours, though in the soil of your subjects; that all wardships should be yours, where a tenure in chief is, of lands held of your subjects; that all confiscations and escheats of treason should be yours, though the tenure be of the subject; that all actions popular, and the fines and casualties thereupon, may be informed in your name, and should be due unto you, and a moiety at the least where the subject himself informs. And farther, he that shall look into your revenues at the ports of the sea, your revenues in courts of justice, and for the stirring of your seals, the revenues upon your clergy, and the rest, will conclude, that the law of England studied how to make a rich crown, and yet without levies upon your subject. For merchandising, it is true, it was ever by the kings of this realm despised, as a thing ignoble and indign for a king, though it is manifest, the situation and commodities of this island considered, it is infinite, what your Majesty might raise, if you would do as a king of Portugal doth, or a duke of Florence, in matter of merchandise. As for the wealth of the subject :*
To proceed to the articles affirmative, the first was,
That the true greatness of an estate consisteth in the natural and fit situation of the region or place. ,
Wherein I mean nothing superstitiously touching the fortunes or fatal destiny of any places, nor philosophically touching their configuration with the superior globe. But I understand proprieties and respects merely civil and according to the nature of human actions, and the true considerations of estate. Out of which duly weighed, there doth arise a triple distribution of the fitness of a region for a great monarchy. First, that it be of hard access. Secondly, that it be seated in no extreme angle, but commodiously in the midst of many regions. And thirdly, that it be maritime, or at the least upon great navigable rivers; and be not inland or mediterrane. And that these are not conceits, bnt notes of event, it appeareth manifestly, that all great monarchies and states have been seated in such manner, as, if you would place them again, observing these three points which I have mentioned, you cannot place them better; which shows the pre-eminence of nature, unto which human industry or accident cannot be equal, specially in any continuance of time. Nay, if a man look into these things more attentively, he shall see divers of these seats of monarchies, how fortune hath hovered still about the places, coming and going only in regard of the fixed reason of the conveniency of the place, which is immutable. And therefore, first we see the excellent situation of
• Memorandum, Here was a blank side left, to continue the sense.
./Egypt; which seemeth to have been the most ancient monarchy, how conveniently it stands upon a neck of land commanding both seas on either side, and embracing, as it were with two arms, Asia and Africk, besides the benefit of the famous river of Nilus. And therefore we see what hath been the fortune of that country, there having been two mighty returns of fortune, though at great distance of time; the one in the times of Sesostris, and the other in the empire of the Mamalukes, besides the middle greatness of the kingdom of the Ptolemies, and of the greatness of the caliphs and sultans in the latter times. And this region, we see likewise, is of strait and defensible access, being commonly called of the Romans, Claustra Mgypti* Consider in like manner the situation of Babylon, being planted most strongly in regard of lakes and overflowing grounds between the two great navigable rivers of Euphrates and Tigris, and in the very heart of the world: having regard to the four cardines of east and west and northern and southern regions. And therefore we see, that although the sovereignty alter, yet the seat still of the monarchy remains in that place. For after the monarchies of the kings of Assyria, which wrere natural kings of that place, yet when the foreign kings of Persia came in, the seat remained. For although the mansion of the persons of the kings of Persia were sometimes at Susa, and sometimes at Ecbatana, which were termed their winter and their summer parlours, because of the mildness of the air in the one, and the freshness in the other; yet the city of estate continued to be Babylon. Therefore we see, that Alexander the Great, according to the advice of Calanns the
Indian, that showed him a bladder, which, if it were borne down at one end, would rise at the other, and therefore wished him to keep himself in the middle of his empire, chose accordingly Babylon for his seat, and died there. And afterwards likewise in the family of Seleucus and his descendants, kings of the east, although divers of them, for their own glory, were founders of cities of their own names, as Antiochia, Seleucia, and divers others, which they sought by all means to raise and adorn, yet the greatness still remained according unto nature with the ancient seat. Nay, further on, the same remained during the greatness of the kings of Parthia, as appeareth by the verse of Lucan, who wrote in Nero's time.
Cumque superba staret Babylon spolianda trophttis.
And after that, again it obtained the seat of the highest caliph or successors of Mahomet. And at this day, that which they call Bagdat, which joins to the ruin of the other, containeth one of the greatest satrapies of the Levant. So again Persia, being a country imbarred with mountains, open to the seas, and the middle of the world, we see hath had three memorable revolutions of great monarchies. The first in the time of Cyrus; the second in the time of the new Artaxerxes, who raised himself in the reign of Alexander Severus, emperor of Rome; and now of late memory, in Ismael the sophy, whose descendants continue in empire and competition with the Turks to this day.
So again Constantinople, being one of the most excellentest seats of the world, in the confines of Europe and Asia.
ADVICE TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS,
AFTERWARDS DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM,
WHEN HE BECAME FAVOURITE TO KING JAMES;
RECOMMENDING MANY IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO GOVERN HIMSELF
WRITTEN BY SIR FRANCIS BACON, ON THE IMPORTUNITY OF HIS PATRON AND FRIEND.
What you requested of me by word, when I last waited on you, you have since renewed by your letters. Your requests are commands unto me; and yet the matter is of that nature, that I find myself very unable to serve you therein as you desire. It hath pleased the king to cast an extraordinary eye of favour upon you, and you express yourself very desirous to win upon the judgment of your master, • Mem. To add the reasons of the three properties.
and not upon his affections only. I do very much commend your noble ambition herein; for favour so bottomed is like to be lasting; whereas, if it be built but upon the sandy foundation of personal respects only, it cannot be long-lived.
[My lord, when the blessing of God, to whom in the first place I know you W1"otchets^
ascribe your preferment, and the king's borrowed from , ... .. " the onmnnl favour, purchased by your noble parts, edition pubpromising as much as can be expected l,'^11ed in 4,°' from a gentleman, had brought you to
this high pitch of honour, to be in the eye, and ear, and even in the bosom of your gracious master; and you had found by experience the trouble of all men's confluence, and for all matters, to yourself, as a mediator between them and their sovereign, you were pleased to lay this command upon me : first in general, to give you my poor advice for your carriage in so eminent a place, and of so much danger if not wisely discharged: next in particular by what means to'give despatches to suitors of all sorts, for the king's best service, the suitors' satisfaction, and your own ease. I humbly return you mine opinion in both these, such as a hermit rather than a courtier can render.]
Yet in this you have erred, in applying yourself tome, the most unworthy of your servants, to give assistance upon so weighty a subject.
You know, I am no courtier, nor versed in state afTairs; my life, hitherto, hath rather been contemplative than active; I have rather studied books than men; I can but guess, at the most, at these things, in which you desire to be advised: nevertheless, to show my obedience, though with the hazard of my discretion, I shall yield unto you.
Sir, in the first place, I shall be bold to put you in mind of the present condition you are in; you are not only a courtier, but a bed-chamber man, and so are in the eye and ear of your master: but you are also a favourite; the favourite of the time, and so are in his bosom also; the world hath so voted you, and doth so esteem of you: for kings and great princes, even the wisest of them, have had their friends, their favourites, their privadoes, in all ages; for they have their affections as well as other men. Of these they make several uses: sometimes to communicate and debate their thoughts with them, and to ripen their judgments thereby ; sometimes to ease their cares by imparting them; and sometimes to interpose them between themselves and the envy or malice of their people; for kings cannot err, that must be discharged upon the shoulders of their ministers; and they who are nearest unto them must be content to bear the greatest load. [Remember then what your true condition is: the king himself is above the reach of his people, but cannot be above their censures; and you are his shadow, if either he commit an error, and is loth to avow it, but excuses it upon his ministers, of which you are first in the eye; or you commit the fault or have willingly permitted it, and must suffer for it: and so perhaps you may be offered a sacrifice to appease the multitude.] But truly, Sir, I do not believe or suspect that you are chosen to this cminency, out of the last of these considerations; for you serve such a master, who by his wisdom and goodness is as free from the malice or envy of his subjects, as I think, I may truly say, ever any king was, who hath sat upon his throne before him: but I am confident, his Majesty hath cast his eyes upon you, as finding you to be such as you should be, or hoping to make you to be such as he would have you to be; for this I may say, without flattery, your outside promiseth as much as can be expected from a gentleman: but be it in the one respect or other,
it belongeth to you to take care of yourself, and to know well what the name of a favourite signifies. If you be chosen upon the former respects, you have reason to take care of your actions and deportment, out of your gratitude, for the king's sake; but if out of the latter, you ought to take the greater care for your own sake.
You are as a new-risen star, and the eyes of all men are upon you; let not your own negligence make you fall like a meteor.
[Remember well the great trust you have undertaken; you are as a continual centinel, always to stand upon your watch to give him true intelligence. If you flatter him, you betray him; if you conceal the truth of those things from him which concern his justice or his honour, although not the safety of his person, you are as dangerous a traitor to his state, as he that riseth in arms against him. A false friend is more dangerous than an open enemy: kings are styled gods upon earth, not absolute, but "Dixi, dii estis;" and the next words are, "sed moriemini sicut homines;" they shall die like men, and then all their thoughts perish. They cannot possibly see all things with their own eyes, nor hear all things with their own ears; they must commit many great trusts to their ministers. Kings must be answerable to God Almighty, to whom they are but vassals, for their actions, and for their negligent omissions: but the ministers to kings, whose eyes, ears, and hands they are, must be answerable to God and man for the breach of their duties, in violation of their trusts, whereby they betray them. Opinion is a muster wheel in these cases: that courtier who obtained a boon of the emperor, that he might every morning at his coming into his presence humbly whisper him in the ear and say nothing, asked no unprofitable suit for himself: but such a fancy raised only by opinion cannot be long-lived, unless the man have solid worth to uphold it; otherwise when once discovered it vanisheth suddenly. But when a favourite in court shall be raised upon the foundation of merits, and together with the care of doing good service to the king, shall give good despatches to the suitors, then can he not choose but prosper.]
The contemplation then of your present condition must necessarily prepare you for action: what time can be well spared from your attendance on your master, will be taken up by suitors, whom you cannot avoid nor decline without reproach. For if you do not already, you will soon find the throng of suitors attend you; for no man, almost, who hath to do with the king, will think himself safe, unless you be his good angel, and guide him; or at least that you be not a malus genius against him: so that, in respect of the king your master, you must be very wary that you give him true information; and if the matter concern him in his government, that you do not flatter him: if you do, you are as great a traitor to him in the court of heaven, as he that draws his sword against him: and in respect of the suitors which shall attend you, there is nothing will bring you more honour and more ease, than to do them what right in justice you may, and with as much speed as you may: for believe it, Sir, next to the obtaining of the suit, a speedy and gentle denial, when the case will not bear it, is the most acceptable to suitors: they will gain by their despatch; whereas else they shall spend their time and money in attending; and you will gain, in the ease you will find in being rid of their importunity. But if they obtain what they reasonably desired, they will be doubly bound to you for your favour; "Bis dat qui cito dat," it multiplies the courtesy, to do it with good words and speedily.
That you may be able to do this with the best advantage, my humble advice is this: when suitors come unto you, set apart a certain hour in a day to give them audience: if the business be light and easy, it may by word only be delivered, and in a word be answered; but if it be either of weight or of difficulty, direct the suitor to commit it to writing, if it be not so already, and then direct him to attend for his answer at a set time to be appointed, which would constantly be observed, unless some matter of great moment do interrupt it. When you have received the petitions, and it will please the petitioners well, to have access unto you to deliver them into your own hand, let your secretary first read them, and draw lines under the material parts thereof; for the matter, for the first part, lies in a narrow room. The petitions being thus prepared, do you constantly set apart an hour in a day to peruse those petitions; and after you have ranked them into several files, according to the subject matter, make choice of two or three friends, whose judgments and fidelities you believe you may trust in a business of that nature; and recommend it to one or more of them, to inform you of their opinions, and of their reasons for or against the granting of it. And if the matter be of great weight indeed, then it would not be amiss to send several copies of the same petition to several of your friends, the one not knowing what the other doth, and desire them to return their answers to you by a certain time, to be prefixed, in writing; so shall you receive an impartial answer, and by comparing the one with the other, as out of responsa prudentium, you shall both discern the abilities and faithfulness of your friends, and be able to give a judgment thereupon as an oracle. But by no means trust to your own judgment alone; for no man is omniscient: nor trust only to your servants, who may mislead you or misinform you; by which they may perhaps gain a few crowns, but the reproach will lie upon yourself, if it be not rightly carried.
For the facilitating of your despatches, my advice is farther, that yon divide all the petitions, and the matters therein contained, under several heads: which, I conceive, may be fitly ranked into these eight sorts.
I. Matters that concern religion, and the church and churchmen.
II. Matters concerning justice, and the laws, and the professors thereof.
III. Councillors, and the council table, and the great offices and officers of the kingdom.
IV. Foreign negotiations and embassies.
V. Peace and war, both foreign and civil, and in that the navy and forts, and what belongs to them.
VI. Trade at home and abroad.
VII. Colonies, or foreign plantations.
VIII. The court and curiality.
of these heads, believe me, Sir, will not be worthy of your thoughts, in this capacity, we now speak of. And of these sorts, I warrant you, you will find enough to keep you in business.
I begin with the first, which concerns religion.
1. In the first place be you yourself rightly persuaded and settled in the true protestant religion, professed by the church of England; which doubtless is as sound and orthodox in the doctrine thereof, as any christian church in the world.
[For religion, if any thing be offered to you touching it, or touching the church, or churchmen, or church government, rely not only upon yourself, but take the opinion of some grave and eminent divines, especially such as are sad and discreet men. and exemplary for their lives.]
2. In this you need not be a monitor to your gracious master the king: the chiefest of his imperial titles is, to be the Defender of the Faith, and his learning is eminent, not only above other princes, but above other men; be but his scholar, and you are safe in that.
[If any question be moved concerning the doctrine of the church of England expressed in the thirtynine articles, give not the least ear to the movers thereof: that is so soundly and so orthodoxly settled, as cannot be questioned without extreme danger to the honour and stability of our religion ; which hath been sealed with the blood of so many martyrs and confessors, as are famous through the christian world. The enemies and underminers thereof are the Romish catholics, so styling themselves, on the one hand, whose tenets are inconsistent with the truth of religion professed and protested by the church of England, whence we are called protestants; and the anabaptists, and separatists, and sectaries on the other hand, whose tenets are full of schism, and inconsistent with monarchy: for the regulating of either, there needs no other coercion than the due execution of the laws already established liy parliament.]
3. For the discipline of the church of England by bishops, &c. I will not positively say, as some do, that it is jure divino; but this I say and think ex animo, that it is the nearest to apostolical truth ; and confidently I shall say, it is fittest for monarchy of all others. I will use no other authority to you, than that excellent proclamation set out by the king himself in the first year of his reign, and annexed before the book of Common-Prayer, which I desire you to read; and if at any time there should be the least motion made for innovation, to put the king in mind to read it himself: it is most dangerous in a state, to give ear to the least alterations in government.
[If any attempt be made to alter the discipline of our church, although it be not an essential part of our religion, yet it is so necessary not to be rashly ■
altered, as the very substance of religion will be interested in it: therefore I desire you before any attempt be made of an innovation by your means, or by any intercession to your master, that you will first read over, and his Majesty call to mind, that wise and weighty proclamation, which himself penned, and caused to be published in the first year of his reign, and is prefixed in print before the book of Common-Prayer, of that impression, in which you will find' so prudent, so weighty reasons, not to hearken to innovations, as will fully satisfy you, that it is dangerous to give the least ear to such innovators; but it is desperate to be misled by them: and to settle your judgment, mark but the admonition of the wisest of men, king Solomon, Prov. xxiv. 21. "My son, fear God and the king, and meddle not with those who are given to change."]
4. Take heed, I beseech you, that you be not an instrument to countenance the Romish catholics. I cannot flatter, the world believes that some near in blood to you are too much for that persuasion; you must use them with fit respects, according to the bonds of nature: but you are of kin, and so a friend to their persons, not to their errors.
5. The archbishops and bishops, next under the king, have the government of the church and ecclesiastical affairs: be not you the mean to prefer any to those places for any by-respects; but only for their learning, gravity, and worth : their lives and doctrine ought to be exemplary.
6. For deans, and canons or prebends of cathedral churches; in their first institution they were of great use in the church; they were not only to be of counsel with the bishop for his revenue, but chiefly for his government in causes ecclesiastical: use your best means to prefer such to those places who are fit for that purpose, men eminent for their learning, piety, and discretion, and put the king often in mind thereof; and let them be reduced again to their first institution.
7. You will be often solicited, and perhaps importuned to prefer scholars to church livings: you may farther your friends in that way, cteteris paribus j otherwise remember, I pray, that these are not places merely of favour; the charge of souls lies upon them; the greatest account whereof will be required at their own hands; but they will share deeply in their faults who are the instruments of their preferment.
8. Besides the Romish catholics, there is a generation of sectaries, the anabaptists, Brownists, and others of their kinds; they have been several times very busy in this kingdom, under the colour of zeal for reformation of religion: the king your master knows their disposition very well; a small touch will put him in mind of them; he had experience of them in Scotland, I hope he will beware of them in England; a little countenance or connivancy sets them on fire.
9. Order and decent ceremonies in the church are not only comely, but commendable; but there must be great care not to introduce innovations, they will quickly prove scandalous; men are naturally over-prone to suspicion; the true protestant religion
is seated in the golden mean; the enemies unto her are the extremes on either hand.
10. The persons of churchmen are to be had in due respect for their work's sake, and protected from scorn; but if a clergyman be loose and scandalous, he must not be patronized nor winked at; the example of a few such corrupt many.
11. Great care must be taken, that the patrimony of the church be not sacrilegiously diverted to lay uses: his Majesty in his time hath religiously stopped a leak that did much harm, and would else have done more. Be sure, as much as in you lies, stop the like upon all occasions.
12. Colleges and schools of learning are to be cherished and encouraged, there to breed up a new stock to fumish the church and commonwealth when the old store are transplanted. This kingdom hath in latter ages been famous for good literature; and if preferment shall attend the deservers, there will not want supplies.
II. Next to religion, let your care be to promote justice. By justice and mercy is the king's throne established.
1. Let the rule of justice be the laws of the land, an impartial arbiter between the king and his people, and between one subject and another: I shall not speak superlatively of them, lest I be suspected of partiality, in regard of my own profession; but this I may truly say, They are second to none in the christian world.
[They are the best, the equallest in the world between prince and people; by which the king hath the justest prerogative, and the people the best liberty: and if at any time there be an unjust deviation, " Hominis est vitium, non professionis."]
2. And as far as it may lie in you, let no arbitrary power be intruded: the people of this kingdom love the laws thereof, and nothing will oblige them more, than a confidence of the free enjoying of them: what the nobles upon an occasion once said in parliament, "Nolumus leges Anglia? mutari," is imprinted in the hearts of all the people.
3. But because the life of the laws lies in the due execution and administration of them, let your eye be, in the first place, upon the choice of good judges: these properties had they need to be furnished with; to be learned in their profession, patient in hearing, prudent in governing, powerful in their elocution to persuade and satisfy both the parties and hearers, just in their judgment; and, to sum up all, they must have these three attributes; they must be men of courage, fearing God, and hating covetousness; an ignorant man cannot, a coward dares not, be a good judge.
4. By no means be yon persuaded to interpose yourself, cither by word or letter, in any cause depending, or like to be depending in any court of justice, nor suffer any other great man to do it where you can hinder it, and by all means dissuade the king himself from it, upon the importunity of any for themselves or their friends: if it should prevail, it perverts justice; but if the judge be so just, and of such courage, as he ought to be, as not to be in