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if you look to the proportions, it is quite the reverse. Take the numbers of persons of each amount of income, divided into classes, from £100 per annum up to £100,000 per annum, and you will find the per centage of those who are under pecuniary difficulties continually augmenting as you go upwards. And when you come to sovereign States, whose revenue is reckoned by millions, you will hardly find one that is not deeply involved in debt! So that it would appear that the larger the income, the harder it is to live within it.
Bacon himself affords a most deplorable instance of this. With a very large income, he was involved by his extravagance in such pecuniary difficulties as drove him to practise shameful corruption.
When men of great revenues, whether civil or ecclesiastical, live in the splendour and sensuality of Sardanapalus, they are apt to plead that this is expected of them; which may be, perhaps, sometimes true, in the sense that such conduct is anticipated as probable; not true, as implying that it is required or approved. I have elsewhere1 remarked upon this ambiguity in the word 'expect:' but it is worth noticing as sometimes leading, in conjunction with other causes, to a practical bad effect upon this point of expenses as well as upon many others. It is sometimes used in the sense of 'anticipate,' 'calculate on,' &c. (iKirtfyo), in short, 'consider as probable1 sometimes for 'require or demand as reasonable,'—' consider as right' (d£tw). Thus, I may fairly ' expect' (d£iSt) that one who has received kindness from me, should protect me in distress; yet I may have reason to expect (ekiriQiv) that ho will not. 'England expects every man to do his duty;' but it would be chimerical ,to expect,—that is, anticipate—a universal performance of duty. What may reasonably be expected (in one sense of the word), must be precisely the practice of the majority: since it is the majority of instances that constitutes probability: what may reasonably be expected (in the other sense), is something much beyond the practice of the generality: as long, at least, as it shall be true, that 'narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it.'
1 Elements of Logic, Appendix.
'He that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds will hardly h preserved from decay'
Obviously true as this is, yet it is apparently completely overlooked by the imprudent spendthrift, who, finding that he is able to afford this, or that, or the other, expense, forgets that all of them together will ruin him. This is what, in logical language, is called the ' Fallacy of Composition.'
ESSAY XXIX. OF THE TRUE GREATNESS OF KINGDOMS AND ESTATES.1
THE speech of Themistocles, the Athenian, which was haughty and arrogant, in taking so much to himself, had been a grave and wise observation and censure, applied at large to others. Desired at a feast to touch a lute, he said, 'he could not fiddle, but yet he could make a small town a great city.'2 These words (holpen3 a little with a metaphor) may express two differing abilities in those that deal in business of estate; for, if a true survey be taken of counsellors and statesmen, there may be found (though rarely) those which can make a small State great, and yet cannot fiddle,—as, on the other side, there will be found a great many that can fiddle very cunningly,4 but yet are so far from being able to make a small State great, as5 their gift lieth the other way—to bring a great and flourishing estate to ruin and decay. And, certainly, those degenerate arts and shifts, whereby many counsellors and governors gain both favour with their masters and estimation with the vulgar, deserve no better name than fiddling, being things rather pleasing for the time, and graceful to themselves only, than tending to the weal and advancement of the State which they serve. There are also (no doubt) counsellors and governors which may be held sufficient, negotiis pares [able to manage affairs], and to keep them from precipices and manifest inconveniences, which, nevertheless, are far from the < ability to raise and amplify an estate in power, means, and fortune. But be the workmen what they may be, let us speak of the work—that is, the true greatness of kingdoms and estates, and the means thereof. An argument6 fit for great and mighty princes to have in their hand; to the end that neither by over-measuring their forces, they lose themselves in vain enterprises; nor, ou the other side, by undervaluing them, they descend to fearful and pusillanimous counsels.
1 Estates. States. See page 147. J Plut. Vit. Themist. ad init.
* Holpen. See page 226.
* Cunningly. Skilfully.
'And many bards that to the trembling chord
* As. That. See page 26.
'Sad task! yet argument Not less, but more, heroic than the wrath Of stern Achilles.'—Milton.
The greatness of an estate, in bulk and territory, doth fall under measure; and the greatness of finances and revenue doth fall under computation. The population may appear by musters, and the number and greatness of cities and towns by cards and maps; but yet there is not anything, amongst civil affairs, more subject to error, than the right valuation and true jud;:. ment concerning the power and forces of an estate. The kingdom of heaven is compared, not to any great kernel, or nut, but to a grain of mustard seed;' which is one of the least grains, but hath in it a property and spirit hastily to get up and spread. So are there States great in territory, and yet not apt to enlarge or command: and some that have but a small dimension of stem, and yet are apt2 to be the foundation of great monarchies.
Walled towns, stored arsenals and armories, goodly races of horse, chariots of war, elephants, ordnance, artillery, and the like—all this is but a sheep in a lion's skin, except the breed and disposition of the people be stout and warlike.
Nay, number (itself) in armies importeth3 not much, where the people are of weak courage; for, as Virgil saith, 'It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep be.'4 The army of the Persians, in the plains of Arbela, was such a vast sea of people, as it did somewhat astonish the commanders in Alexander's army who came to him, therefore, and wished him to set upon them by night; but he answered, 'He would not pilfer the victory'5—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 ambassage,1 and too few for a fight;' but before the sunset, he found them enow2 to give him the chase with infinite slaughter.3 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.
1 Matt. xiii. 31.
2 Apt. Qualified for; adapted to. 'All that were strong and apt for war.'— Kings.
3 Import. To he of importance. Sec page 24.
4 Virgil, Eel. vii. 51. 4 A. L. I. vii. 11.
The blessing of Judas and Issachar5 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 overlaid 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 notably6 in the excises of the Low Countries, and, in some degree, in the subsidies of England; for, you must note, that we speak now of the heart, and not of the purse—so that although the same tribute and tax, laid by consent, or by imposing, be all one to the purse, yet it works diversely7 upon the courage. So that you may
1 Ambassage. Embassy. 'He sendeth an ambaseage, and desireth conditions of peace-.'—Lui;e xiv. 32.
2 Enow. Old plural of enough.
'Man hath selfish foes enow besides,
3 Plut. Vit. LucuUi, 27.
* Soberly. Moderately. 'Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly.'—Iioman s xii. 3.
* Gen. xlix. 9, 14.
'Notably. In a remarkable, manner. (From the adjective notable.)
'lie is a most notable coward.'—Shakespere. 7 Diversely. Differently. (From diverse.) See page 24.