Imágenes de página

nissent,” it is a sign the orbs are out of frame; for reverence is that wherewith princes are girt from God, who threateneth the dissolving thereof; “ solvam cingula regum."

So when any of the four pillars of government are mainly shaken or weakened, (which are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure,) men had need to pray for fair weather. But let us pass from this part of predictions, (concerning which, nevertheless, more light may be taken from that which followeth,) and let us speak first of the materials of seditions, then of the motives of them, and thirdly of the remedies.

Concerning the materials of seditions, it is a thing well to be considered; for the surest way to prevent seditions, (if the times do bear it,) is to take away the matter of them ; for if there be fuel prepared, it is hard to tell whence the spark shall come that shall set it

The matter of seditions is of two kinds, much poverty and much discontentment. It is certain, so many overthrown estates, so many votes for troubles. Lucan noteth well the state of Rome before the civil

on fire.


This same,

« Hinc usura vorax, rapidumque in tempore fænns, “ Hinc concussa fides, et multis utile bellum."

“ multis utile bellum,” is an assured and infallible sign of a state disposed to seditions and troubles; and if this poverty and broken estate in the better sort be joined with a want and necessity in the mean people, the danger is imminent and great ; for the rebellions of the belly are the worst. As for discontentments, they are in the politic body like to humours in the natural, which are apt to gather a preternatural heat and to inflame; and let no prince measure the danger of them by this, whether they be just or unjust ; for that were to imagine people to be too reasonable, who do often spurn at their own good; nor yet by this, whether the griefs whereupon they rise be in fact great or small; for they are the most dangerous discontentments where the fear is greater than the feeling: “ Dolendi modus, “ timendi non item:" besides, in great oppressions, the same things that provoke the patience, do withal mete the courage; but in fears it is not so: neither let any prince or state be secure concerning discontentments because they have been often, or have been long, and

yet no peril hath ensued; for as it is true that every vapour or fume doth not turn into a storm, so it is nevertheless true, that storms, though they blow over divers times, yet may fall at last ; and as the Spanish proverb noteth well, “ The cord breaketh at the last by the o weakest pull.”

The causes and motives of seditions are innovation in religion, taxes, alteration of laws and customs, breaking of privileges, general oppression, advancement of unworthy persons, strangers, deaths, disbanded soldiers, factions grown desperate ; and whatsoever in offending people joineth and knitteth them in a common


For the remedies there may be some general preservatives, whereof we will speak : as for the just cure, it must answer to the particular disease; and so be left to council rather than rule.

The first remedy or prevention is to remove by all means possible that material cause of sedition whereof we speak, which is want and poverty in the estate; to which purpose serveth the opening and well balancing of trade; the cherishing of manufactures; the banishing of

idleness; the repressing of waste and excess by sumptuary laws: the improvement and husbanding of the soil; the regulating of prices of things vendible; the moderating of taxes and tributes, and the like. Generally it is to be foreseen that the population of a kingdom, (especially if it be not mown down by wars,) do not exceed the stock of the kingdom which should maintain them: neither is the population to be reckoned only by number; for a smaller number that spend more and earn less, do wear out an estate sooner than a greater number that live low and gather more: therefore the multiplying of nobility and other degrees of quality, in an over-proportion to the common people, doth speedily bring a state to necessity; and so doth likewise an overgrown clergy, for they bring nothing to the stock ; and in like manner when more are bred scholars than preferments can take off.

It is likewise to be remembered, that, forasmuch as the increase of any estate must be upon the foreigner, (for whatsoever is somewhere gotten is somewhere lost,) there be but three things which one nation selleth unto another; the commodity as nature yieldeth it;

the manufacture; and the vecture or carriage: so that if these three wheels go, wealth will flow as in a spring tide. And it cometh many times to pass, that “materiam superabit opus, that the work and carriage is worth more than the material, and enricheth a state more : as is notably seen in the Low Country-men, who have the best mines above ground in the world.

Above all things good policy is to be used, that the treasure and monies in a state be not gathered into few hands; for, otherwise, a state

may have a great stock and yet starve : and money is like muck, no good except it be spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing, or, at the least, keeping a strait hand


the devouring trades of usury, ingrossing, great pasturages, and the like.

For removing discontentments, or, at least, the danger of them, there is in every state, (as we know,) two portions of subjects, the nobles and the commonalty. When one of these is discontent the danger is not great; for common people are of slow motion if they be not excited by the greater sort; and the greater sort are of small strength, except the multitude

« AnteriorContinuar »