The Life of the Most Illustrious Prince, William Duke of Newcastle
THE FOURTH BOOK
CONTAINING SEVERAL ESSAYS AND Discourses
GATHER’D FROM THE MOUTH OF MY
NOBLE LORD AND HUSBAND
With some few Notes of mine own
I have heard My Lord say,
That those which command the Wealth of a Kingdom, command the hearts and hands of the People.
That He is a great Monarch, who hath a Soveraign Command over Church, Laws and Armes; and He a wise Monarch, that imploys his subjects for their own profit, (for their profit is his) encourages Tradesmen, and assists and defends Merchants.
That it is a part of Prudence in a Common wealth or Kingdom to encourage drayners; for drowned Lands are onely fit to maintain and encrease some wild Ducks, whereas being drained, they are able to afford nourishment and food to Cattel, besides the producing of several sorts of Fruit and Corn.
That without a well orderd force, a Prince doth but reign upon the courtesie of others.
That great Princes should not suffer their chief Cities to be stronger then themselves.
That great Princes are half-armed, when their subjects are unarmed, unless it be in time of Foreign Wars.
That the Prince is richest, who is Master of the Purse; and he strongest that is Master of the Armes; and he wisest that can tell how to save the one, and use the other.
The Great Princes should be the onely Pay-Masters of their Soldiers, and pay them out of their own Treasuries; for all men follow the Purse; and so they’l have both the Civil and Martial Power in their hands.
That Great Monarchs should rather study men, then Books; for all affairs or business are amongst Men.
That a Prince should advance Foreign Trade or Traffik to the utmost of his Power, because no State or Kingdom can be Rich without it; and where Subjects are poor, the Soveraign can have but little.
That Trade and Traffick brings Honey to
the Hive; that is to say, Riches to the Commonwealth; whereas other Professions are so far from that, that they rather rob the Commonwealth, instead of enriching it.
That it is not so much unseasonable Weather that makes the Countrey complain of Scarcity, but want of Commerce; for whensoever Commodities are cheap, it is a sign that Commerce is decayed; because the cheapness of them, shews a scarcity of money; for example, put the case five men came to Market to buy a Horse, and each of them had no more but ten pounds, the Seller can receive no more then what the Buyer has, but must content himself with those ten pounds, if he be necessitated to sell his Horse But if each one of the Buyers had an hundred pounds to lay out for a Horse, the Seller might receive as much. Thus Commodities are cheap or dear, according to the plenty or scarcity of money; and though we had Mynes of Gold and Silver at home, and no Traffick into Foreign parts, yet we should want necessaries from other Nations, which proves that no Nation can live or subsist well, without Foreign Trade and Commerce; for God and Nature have orderd it so, That no particular Nation is provided with all things.
That Merchants by carrying out more Commodities then they bring in; that is to say, by selling more then they buy, do enrich
a State or Kingdom with money, that hath none in its own bowels; but what Kingdom or State soever hath Mynes of Gold and Silver, there Merchants buy more then they sell, to furnish and accommodate it with necessary provisions.
That debasing, and setting a higher value upon money, is but a present shift of poor and needy Princes; and doth more hurt for the future, then good for the present.
That Foraign Commerce causes frequent Voyages; and frequent Voyages make skilful and experienced Seamen, and Skilful Seamen are a Brazen Wall to an Island.
That he is the Powerfullest Monarch that hath the best shipping; and that a Prince should hinder his Neighbours as much as he can, from being strong at Sea.
That wise States-men ought to understand the Laws, Customes and Trade of the Commonwealth, and have good intelligence both of Foraign Transactions and Designs, and of Domestick Factions; also they ought to have a Treasury, and well-furnished Magazine.
That it is a great matter in a State or Kingdom, to take care of the Education of Youth, to breed them so, that they may know first how to obey, and then how to command and order affairs wisely.
That it is great Wisdom in a State, to breed and train up good States-men: As, first, To let them be some time at the Universities: Next, To put them to the Innes of Court, that they may have some knowledg of the Laws of the Land; then to send them to travel with some Ambassador, in the quality of Secretary; and let them be Agents or Residents in Foraign Countreys. Fourthly, To make them Clerks of the Signet, or Council: And lastly, To make them Secretaries of State, or give them some other Employment in State-Affairs.
That there should be more Praying, and less Preaching; for much Preaching breeds Faction; but much Praying causes Devotion.
That young people should be frequently Catechised, and that Wise Men rather then Learned, should be chosen heads of Schools and Colledges.
That the more divisions there are in Church and State, the more trouble and confusion is apt to ensue : Wherefore too many Controversies and Disputes in the one, and too many Law-Cases and Pleadings in the other ought to be avoided and suppressed.
That Disputes and Factions amongst Statesmen, are fore-runners of future disorders, if not total ruines.
That all Books of Controversies should be writ in Latin, that none but the Learned may read them, and that there should be no Disputations but in Schools, lest it breed Factions amongst the Vulgar; for Disputations and Controversies are a kind of Civil War, maintained by the Pen, and often draw out the sword soon after: Also that all Prayer-Books should be writ in the native Language; that Excommunications should not be too frequent for every little and pretty trespass; that every Clergy-man should be kind and loving to his Parishioners, not proud and quarrelsome.
That Ceremony is nothing in itself, and yet doth every thing; for without Ceremony there would be no distinction neither in Church nor State.
That Orders and Professions ought not to entrench upon each other, lest in time they make a confusion amongst themselves.
That in a Well-ordered State or Government, care should be taken lest any degree or profession whatsoever swell too big, or grow too numerous, it being not onely a hinderance to those of the same profession, but a burden to the Commonwealth, which cannot be well if it exceeds in extreams.
That the Taxes should not be above the riches of the Commonwealth, for that must upon necessity breed Factions and Civil Wars, by reason a general poverty united, is far more dangerous then a private Purse; for though their Wealth be small, yet their Unity and Combination makes them strong; so that being armed with necessity, they become outragious with despair.
That Heavy Taxes upon Farmes, ruine the Nobility and Gentry; for if the Tenant be poor, the Landlord cannot be rich, he having nothing but his Rents to live on.
That it is not so much Laws and Religion, nor Rhetorick, that keeps a State or Kingdom in order, but Armes; which if they be not imploy’d to an evil use, keep up the right and priviledges both of Crown, Church and State.
That no equivocations should be used either in Church or Law; for the one causes several Opinions to the Disturbance of mens Consciences, the other long and tedious Suits, to the disturbance of mens private Affairs;
and both do oftentimes ruine and impoverish the State.
That in Cases of Robberies and Murthers, it is better to be severe, then merciful; for the hanging of a few, will save the lives and Purses of many.
That many Laws do rather entrap, then help the subject.
That no Martial Law should be executed, but in an Army.
That the Sheriffs in this Kingdom of England have been so expensive in Liveries and Entertainments in the time of their Sherifalty, as it hath mined many Families that had but indifferent Estates.
That the cutting down of Timber in the time of Rebellion, has been an inestimable loss to this Kingdom, by reason of Shipping; for though Timber might be had out of Foreign Countries that would serve for the building of Shis, yet there is none of such a temper as our English Oak; it being not onely strong and large, but not apt to splint, which renders the Ships of other Nations much inferior to ours; and that therefore it would be very beneficial for the Kingdom, to set out some Lands for the bearing of such Oaks, by sowing of Acorns, and then trans-
planting them; which would be like a Store house for shipping, and bring an incomparable benefit to the Kingdom, since in Shipping consists our greatest strength, they being the onely Wails that defend an Island.
That the Nobility and Gentry in this Kingdom, have done themselves a great injury, by giving away (out of a petty pride) to the Commonalty, the power of being Juries and Justices of Peace; for certainly they cannot but understand, that that must of necessity be an act of great Consequence and Power, which concerns mens Lives, Lands and Estates.
That it is no act of Prudence to make poor and mean persons Governours or Commanders, either by Land or Sea; by reason their poverty causes them to take Bribes, and so betray their Trust; at best, they are apt to extort, which is a great grievance to the people; besides, it breeds envy in the Nobility and Gentry, who by that means rise into Factions, and cause disturbances in a State or Commonwealth: Wherefore the best way is to chuse Rich and Honour-able Persons, (or at least, Gentlemen) for such Employments, who esteem Fame and Honourable Actions, above their Lives; and if they want skill, they must get such under-Officers as have more then themselves, to instruct them.
That great Princes should consider, before they make War against Foreign Nations, whether they be able to maintain it; for if they be not able, then it is better to submit to an honourable Peace, then to make Warr to their great disadvantage; but if they be able to maintain Warr, then they’l force (in time) their Enemies to submit and yeild to what Tearms and Conditions they please.
That, when a State or Government is en-snarled and troubled, it is more easie to raise the common people to a Factious Mutiny, then to draw them to a Loyal Duty.
That in a Kingdom where Subjects are apt to rebel, no Offices or Commands should be sold; for those that buy, will not onely use extortion, and practice unjust wayes to make out their purchase, but be ablest to rebel, by reason they are more for private gain, then the publick good; for it is probable their Principles are like their Purchases.
But, that all Magistrates, Officers, Commanders, Heads and Rulers, in what Profession soever, both in Church and State, should be chosen according to their Abilities, Wisdom, Courage, Piety, Justice, Honesty and Loyalty; and then they’! mind the public Good, more then their particular Interest.
That those which have Politick Designs,
are for the most part dishonest, by reason their Designs tend more to Interest, then Justice.
That Great Princes should onely have Great, Noble and Rich Persons to attend them, whose Purses and Power may alwayes be ready to assist them.
That a Poor Nobility is apt to be Factious; and a Numerous Nobility is a burden to a Commonwealth.
That in a Monarchical Government, to be for the King, is to be for the Commonwealth; for when Head and Body are divided, the Life of Happiness dies, and the Soul of Peace is departed.
That, as it is a great Error in a State to have all Affairs put into Gazettes, (for it over heats the peoples brains, and makes them neglect their private Affairs, by over-busying themselves with State-business; ) so it is great Wisdom for a Council of State to have good Intelligences (although they be bought with great Cost and Charges) as well of Dothestick, as Foreign Affairs and Transactions, and to keep them in private for the benefit of the Commonwealth.
That there is no better Policy for a Prince to please his People, then to have many Holy-
dayes for their ease, and order several Sports and Pastimes for their Recreation, and to be himself sometimes Spectator thereof; by which means he’l not onely gain love and respect from the people, but busie their minds in harmless actions, sweeten their Natures, and hinder them from Factious Designs.
That it is more difficult and dangerous for a Prince or Commander to raise an Army in such a time when the Countrey is embroiled in a Civil Wan, then to lead out an Army to fight a Battel; for when an Army is raised, he hath strength; but in raising it, he hath none.
That good Commanders, and experienced Soldiers, are like skilfull Fencers, who defend with Prudence, and assault with Courage, and kill their Enemies by Art, not trusting their Lives to Chance or Fortune; for as a little man with skill, may easily kill an ignorant Giant; so a small Army that hath experienced Commanders, may easily overcome a great Army that hath none.
That Gallant men having no employment for Heroick Actions, become lazy, as hating any other business; whereas Cowards and base persons are onely active and stirring in times of Peace, working ill designs to breed Factions, and cause disturbances in a Com mon-wealth.
That there have been many Questions and Disputes concerning the Governments of Princes; as, Whether they ought to govern by Love, or Fear? But the best way of Government is, and has alwayes been by just Rewards and Punishments; for that State which cannot tell how and when to punish and reward, does not know how to govern, by reason all the World is governed that way.
That if the ancient Britains had had skill, according to their Courage, they might have conquer’d all the World, as the Ramans did.
That it would be very beneficial for great Princes to be sometimes present in Courts of Judicature, to examine the Causes of their poor Subjects, and find out the Extortions and Corruptions of Magistrates and Officers; by which glorious Act they would gain much Love and Fame from the People.
That it would be very advantagious for Subjects, and not in the least prejudicial to the Soveraign, to have a general Register in every County, for the Entry of all manner of Deeds, and Conveyance of Land between party and party, and Offices of Record; for by this means, whosoever buyes, would see clearly what Interest and Title there is in any Land he intends to purchase, whereby he shall be assur’d that the Sale made to him
is good and firm, and prevent many Law suits touching the Title of his Purchase.
That there should be a Limitation for Law-Suits; and that the longest Suit should not last above two Tearms, at length not above a Year; which would certainly be a great benefit to the Subjects in general, though not to Lawyers ; and though some Polititians object, That the more the people is busie about their private Affairs, the less time have they to make disturbance in the publick; yet this is but a weak Argument, since Law-suits are as apt to breed Factions, as any thing else; for they bring people into poverty, that they know not how to live, which must of necessity breed discontent, and put them upon ill designs.
That Power, for the most part, does more then Wisdom; for Fools with Power, seem wise; whereas wise men, without Power, seem Fools; and this is the reason that the World takes Power for Wisdom ; and the want of Power for Foolishness.
That a valiant man will not refuse an honourable Duel; nor a wise man fight upon a Fools Quarrel.
That men are apt to find fault with each other’s actions; believing they prove them- selves wise in finding fault with their Neighbours.
That a wise man will draw several occasions to the point of his design, as a Burning- Glass doth the several beams of the Sun.
That although actions may be prudently designed, and valiantly performed; yet none can warrant the issue; for Fortune is more powerful then Prudence, and had Caesar not been fortunate, his Valour and Prudence would never have gained him so much applause.
That ill Fortune, makes wise and honest men seem Fools and Knaves; but good Fortune makes Fools and Knaves seem wise and honest men,
That ill Fortune doth oftner succeed good, then good Fortune succeeds ill; for those that have ill Fortune, do not so easily recover it, as those that have good Fortune are apt to lose it.
That he had observed, That seldom any person did laugh, but it was at the follies or misfortunes of other men; by which we may judg of their good natures.
I have heard my Lord say, That when he was in Banishment, He had nothing left him,
but a clear Conscience, by which he had and did still conquer all the Armies of misfortunes that ever seized upon him.
Also I have heard him say, That he was never beholding to Lady Fortune; for he had suffered on both sides, although he never was but on one side.
I have heard him say, That his Father one time, upon some discourse of expences, should tell him, It was but just that every man should have his time.
I have heard my Lord say, That bold soliciting and intruding men, shall gain more by their importunate Petitions, then modest honest men shall get by silence (as being loath to offend, or be too troublesome) both in the manner and matter of their requests: The reason is, said he, That Great Princes will rather grant sometimes an unreasonable suit, then be tired with frequent Petitions, and hindered from their ordinary Pleasures; And when I asked my Lord, whether the Grants of such importunate suits were fitly and properly placed? He answered, Not so well as those that are placed upon due consideration, and upon trial and proof.
I have heard my Lord say, That it is a great Error, and weak Policy in a State, to