Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

population, hath been (nevertheless) am overmatch ; in regard the middle people of England make good soldiers, which the peasants of France do not : amd herein the device of king Henry the Seventh (whereof I have spoken largely in the history of his life) was profound and admirable ; in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard ; that is, maintained with such a proportion of land unto them as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty, and no servile condition ; and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners, and not mere hirelings ; and thus indeed you shall attain to Virgil's character, which he gives to ancient Italy : •* Terra potens armis atque ubere glebæ.” Neither is that state (which, for any thing I know, is almost peculiar to England, and hardly to be found any where else, except it be, perhaps, in Poland) to be passed over; I mean the state of free servants and attendants upon noblemen and gentlemen, which are no ways inferior unto the yeomanry for arms ; and, therefore, out of all question, the splendour and magnificence, and great retinues, and hospitality of noblemen and gentlemen received into custom,do much conduce unto martial greatness; whereas, contrariwise, the close and reserved living of noblemen and gentlemen causeth a penury of military forces. By all means it is to be procured, that the trunk of Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchy be great enough to bear the branches and the boughs ; that is, that the natural subjects of the crown, or state, bear a sufficient proportion to the stranger subjects that they govern ; therefore all states that are liberal of naturalization towards strangers are fit for empire: for to think that an handful of people can, with the greatest courage and policy in the world, embrace too large extent of dominion, it may hold for a time, but it will fail suddenly. The Spartans were a nice people in point of naturalization ; whereby, while they kept their compass, they stood firm ; but when they did spread, and their boughs were become too great for their stem, they became a windfall upon the sudden. Never any state was, in this point, so open to receive strangers into their body as were the Romans ; therefore it sorted with them accordingly, for they grew to the greatest monarchy. Their manner was to grant naturalizaûon (which they called * jus civitatis"), and to grant it in the highest degree, that is, not only “ jus com“ mercii, jus connubii, jus hæreditatis ;" but also, *jus suffragii," and * jus honorum ;" and this not to singular persons alone, but likewise to whole famiiies; yea, to cities, and sometimes to nations. Add to this, their custom of plantation of colonies, whereby the Romano plant was removed into the soil of other nations, and, putting both constitutioms together, you will say, that it was not the Romans that spread upon the world, but it was the world that spread upon the Romans ; and that was the sure way of greatness. I have marvelled sometimes at Spaim, how they clasp and contain so large domimions with so few natural Spaniards ; but sure the whole compass of Spain is a very great body of a a tree, far above Rome and Sparta at the first ; and, besides, though they have not had that usage to naturalize liberally, yet they have that which is next to it ; that is, to employ, almost indifferently, all nations in their militia of ordinary soldiers ; yea, and sometimes in their highest commands ; nay, it seemeth, at this instant, they are sensible of this want of natives ; as by the pragmatical sanction, now published, appeareth. It is certain, that sedentary and within-door arts, and delicate manufactures (that require rather the finger than the arm), have in their nature a contrariety to a military disposition ; and generally alI warlike people are a little idle, and love danger better than travail; neither must they be too much broken of it, if they shall be preserved in vigour: therefore it was great advantage in the ancient states of Sparta, Athens, Rome, and others, that they had the use of slaves, which commonly did rid those manufactures; but that is abolished, in greatest part, by the Christian law. That which cometh mearest to it is, to leave those arts chiefly to strangers (which, for that purpose, are the more easily to be received), and to contain the principal bulk of the vulgar natives within those three kinds, tillers of the ground, free servants, and handicraftsmen of strong and manly arts ; as smiths, masons, carpenters, &c. not reckoning professed soldiers. . But, above all, for empire and greatness, it importeth most, that a nation do profess arms as their

principal honour, study, and occupation ; for the things which we formerly have spoken of are but habilitations towards arms ; and what is habilitation without intention and act ? Romulus, after his death (as they report or feign), sent a present to the Romans, that above all they should intend arms, and then they should prove the greatest empire of the world. The fabric of the state of Sparta was wholly (though mot wisely) framed and composed to that scope and end ; the Persians and Macedonians had it for , a flash ; the Gauls, Germans, Goths, Saxons, Normans, and others, had it for a time : the Turks have it at this day, though in great dedination. Of Christian Europe, they that have it are, in effect, only the Spaniards : but it is so plain, that every man profiteth in that he most intendeth, that it needeth not to be stood upom : it is enough to yoint at it; that no nation which doth not directly profess arms, may look to have greatness fall into their mouths ; and, on the other side, it is a most certain oracle of time, that those states that continue long in that profession (as the Romans and Turks principally have done) do wonders ; and those that have professed arms but for an age have, motwithstanding, commonly attained that greatness in that age which maintained them long alter, when their profession and exercise of arms hath grown to decay. Incident to this point, is for a state to have those laws or customs which may reach forth unto them just occasions (as may be pretended) of war; for there is that justice imprinted in the nature of men, that they enter not upon wars (whereof so mamy calamities do ensue), but upon some, at the least specious, grounds and quarrels. The Turk hath at hand, for cause of war, the propagation of his law or sect, a quarrel that he may always command. The Romans, though they esteemed the extending the limits of their empire to be great honour to their generals when it was done, yet they never rested upon that alone to begin a war: first, therefore, let nations that pretend to greatness have this, that they be sensible of wrongs, either upon borderers, merchants, or politic ministers; and that they sit not too long upon a provocation : secondly, let them be pressed and ready to give aids and succours to their confederates ; as it ever was with the Romans ; insomuch, as ifthe confederates had leagues defensive with divers other states, and, upon invasion offered, did implore their aids severally, yet the Romans would ever be the foremost, and leave it to none other to have the honour. As for the wars, which were anciently made on the behalf of a kind of party, or tacit conformity of estate, I do not see how they may be well justified : as when the Romans made a war for the liberty of Græcia ; or, when the Lacedæmonians and Athenians made war to set up or pull down democracies and oligarchies : or when wars were made by foreigners, under the pretence of justice or protection, to deliver the subjects of others from tyranny and oppression, and the like. Let it suffice, that no estate expect to be great, that is not awake, upon any just occasion of arming.

« ZurückWeiter »