Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

afterwards constrained me to dismiss the valiant Merion, who had attended me with great glory to the siege of Troy. He was grown jealous of him, as he was of all whom I loved , and who gave any proofs of virtue.

You must know, my dear Mencor, that this is the fource of all my misfortunes. It was not so much my son's death chat occasioned the revolt of the Cretans, as the vengeance of the Gods, who were ins censed at my crimes, and the hatred of the people, which Protesilaus had drawn upon me. When I shed my son's blood, the Crecans , tired of my rigorous government, had lost all patience ; and the horror of this last action only induced them to make a public discovery of what long since had been concealed in their hearts.

Timocrates attended me to the siege of Troy, and gave an account privately in his letters to Proteslaus of all the discoveries he could make. I plainly perceived my thraldom, but endeavoured not to think of it, despairing of a remedy. When the Crerans rés volted at my arrival , Protesilaus, and Timocrates were the firlt who fled. They would without doubt have deserted me, had I not been constrained to fly almost as soon as they. Be assured, my dear Mentor that men who are insolent in prosperity, are always the most abject cowards in adversity. Their heads çurn as soon as absolute power forsakes them; they become as cringing as they were proud, and pass in a moment from one extreme to the other.

Mentor said to Idomeneus , But whence comes it, as you so thoroughly know these two wicked men that you still keep them about you, as I see

you do? I am not surprised at their following you , as they could do nothing better for their own interest, and I think that you have done a generous action in affording them an asylum in your ne fertlement ; but why do you deliver yourself up to them again after so many facal trials ? You know not, answered Idomeneus , how useless B 2

all

mécontens de tout ils n'ont pas le courage de rien redresler. Tant d'années d'habitude étoient des chaines de fer qui me lioient à ces deux hommes , & ils m'obsédoient à toute heure. Depuis que je suis ici, ils m'ont jerté dans toutes les dépenses excessives que vous avez vues. Ils ont épuisé cet Etat naissant, ils m'ont attiré cette guerre qui m'alloit accabler sans vous. J'aurois bientôt éprouvé à Salente les mêmes malheurs que je fentis en Crete ; mais vous m'avez enfin ouvert les yeux , & vous m'avez inspiré le courage qui me manquoit pour me mettre hors de lera vitude. Je ne sais ce que vous avez fait en moi ; mais depuis que vous êtes ici, je me sens un autre homme.

Mentor demanda ensuite à Idoménée quelle étoiç la conduite de- Procéfilas dans ce changement des affaires. Rien n'est plus artificieux, répondie Idoménée que ce qu'il a fait depuis votre arrivée, D'abord i n'oublia rien pour jerrer indirectement quelque défiance dans mon esprit. Il ne disoit rien contre vous ; mais je voyois diverses gens qui venoient m'avertir que ces deux étrangers étoient fort à craindre. L'un, disoient-ils, est le fils dų trompeur Ulyse; l'autre est un homme caché & d'un esprit profond : ils sont accoutumés à de

royaume en royaume ; qui fait s'ils n'ont point formé quelque dessein sur celui-ci ? Ces aventuriers racontent eux-mêmes qu'ils ont causé de grands troubles dans tous les pays où ils ont passé. Voici un Etat naissanc & mal affermi; les moindres mouvemens pourroienç le renverser.

Procésilas ne disoit rien ; mais il tâchoir de me faire entrevoir le danger & l'excès de toutes ces réformes que

vous me faisiez entreprendre. Il me prenoit par mon propre intérêt. Si vous mettez disoit-il, les peuples dans l'abondance, ils ne cravailleront plus, ils deviendront fiers, indociles , & feront toujours prêts à se révolter ; il n'y a que la foiblesse & la misere qui les rendent souples, & qui les empêchent de réfiiter à l'autorité. Souvent il tâchoit de repren. dre son ancienne autorité pour m'entraîner , & il la

couvroit

errer

all experience is to effeminate, supine , and unthinking princes. They are dissatisfied with all things, and have nor courage to redress any thing. So many years of familiarity were chains of iron which linked me to these two men, who beset me every hour. Since I have been here, they have put me upon the excessive expences which you have seen , they have exhausted this rising state; they have drawn this war upon me which buc for you I should have sunk under. I should Toon have experienced at Salentum the same niisfortunes which I suffered in Crete ; but you at length have opened my eyes, and inspired me with the courage I wanted, to deliver myself from bondage. I kuiow not what you have done to me; but since you have been here, I find myself quite another man.

Mentor then asked Idomeneus, how Protesilaus be. haved in the present change of affairs. Nothing is more artful , replied Idomeneus , than his conduct since your arrival. At first he used all indirect methods to make me suspicious. He himself, indeed , said nothing against you, but several persons came and cold me that these two strangers were much co be feared. One , said they , is the son of the deceitful Ulysses; the other wears a disguise, and has a deep head : they are used to wander from kingdom to kingdom ; and who knows that they have not formed Tome design upon this? These advenpurers themselves relate that they have caused great confusions in the countries through which they have passed. Ours is an infant unsetcled state, and che least commotions might overturn it.

Protesilaus said nothing buc he endeavoured to make me see the danger and extravagance of all the reformations which you made me undertake. My own interest was the argument he made use of : If you let your subjects abound, said he, they will work no longer , but grow proud , intractable , and be always ready to revolt. Nothing but weakness and poverty makes them pliable, and hinders chem from relisting authority. He has often endeavoured to resume his former afcendant over me, covering it with

B 3

couvroit d'un prétexte de zèle pour mon fervice. En voulant foulager les peuples , me disoit-il, vous rabaissez la puissance royale ; & par-là , vous faites alt peuple même un tort irréparable ; car il a besoin qu'on le tienne bas pour son propre repos.

A tout cela je répondois que je faurois bien tenir les peuples dans leur devoir en me faisant aiiner d'eux en 'ne relâchant rien de mon autorité, quoique je les foulageasse ; en punissant avec fermeté tous les coupables ; enfin, en donnant aux enfans une bonne éducation , & à tout le peuple une exacte discipline pour le tenir dans une vie simple, fobre & laborieuse. Eh quoi ! difois-je, ne peut-on pas soumettre un peuple sans le faire mourir de faim ; Quelle inhumanité ! quelle politique brutale ! Combien voyons-nous de peuples traites doucement , & très-soumis à leurs souverains ! Ce qui cause les révoltes, c'est l'ambition: & l'inquiétude des grands d'un Etat, quand on ne fait pas les tenir dans le devoir , & qu'on a laissé leurs passions s'érendre sans bornes : c'est la licence dans les autres ordres de l'Etat , si on néglige de la répria mer : c'est la multitude des grands & des petits qui vivent dans la mollesse, dans le luxe & dans l'oisiveté ; c'est la trop grande abondance d'hommes adonnés à la guerre, qui ont négligé toutes les occupations utiles dans le temps de paix : enfin c'est le désespoir des peuples maltraités ; c'est la dureté, la hauteur des rois , & leur mollesse qui les rend incapables de veiller sur tous les membres de l'Etat , pour prévenir les troubles. Voilà ce qui cause les révoltes , & non pas le pain qu'on laisse manger en paix au laboureur , après qu'il l'a gagné à la sueur de son vilage.

Quand Prorésilas a vu que j'étois inébranlable dans ces maximes, il a pris un parti tour opposé à fa cona duite passée, il a commencé à suivre les maximes qu'il n'avoit pu détruire : il a fait semblant de les goûter, d'en être convaincu , de m'avoir obligation de l'avoir éclairé là-dessus. Il va au-devant de touc ce que je pourrois souhaiter pour loulager les pauvres : il est le premier à me représenter leurs besoins, & à erier contre les dépenses excessives, Vous savez même

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

à pretended zeal for my service. By easing the peo, ple, faid he, yoù debase the royal power, and thereby do the people themselves an irreparable injury ; for it is necessary for your own quiet chat they should be kept humble.

To all this I answered, that I should easily keep the people firm in their allegiance to me by making myself beloved by them; by,remitting nothing of my authority, though I lightened cheir burden; by refolutely punishing all offenders ; by giving children a good education, and by being strict in keeping all my Subjects up to a plain , fober, and laborious life. How! said I, is it not poflible to make people obedient without starving them to death? Whar inhumanity! whar brucal policy ! How many nations do we see mildly governed, and yet loyal to their princes! That which causes rebellions, is the restless ambition of the grandees of a stare , when they are entrusted with too much power, and their passions suffered to stretch beyond bounds ; it is the neglecting to punish the licentiousness of other orders in the stare ; it is the multitude of the great and the vulgar who live in luxury in pomp and idleness; it is the too great number of military men, who have neglected all the employments which are useful in time of peace ; in short, ic is the despair of the injured people ; ic is the cruelty and pride of princes, and their luxury , which makes them incapable of watching over the members of the ftare , in order to prevent disturbances : These are the causes of rebellions, and not the permitting the labourer to ear the bread io peace, which he has earned by the swear of his brows.

When Proresilaus saw that I was immoveable in these maxims, he took a course quite contrary to his tormer , and began to act agreeable to principles which he could not destroy ; pretending to relish them, to be convinced of their truth , and to be obliged to me for having enlightened his understanding in thefe main ters. He anticipatës all my desires to ease the poor , and is the first to represent their wants to me, try out against extravagance, You yourself know B 4

thar

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

and to

« AnteriorContinuar »