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indulgence of it. Whereas the false favourite adds fire to the fuel, by persuading the justice and reasonableness of a prince's doing what he pleases, and that his will alone is the mark of right and wrong; that his subjects ought to suffer all things, rather than he want his pleasure ; that being the vicegerent of Heaven, he is unaccountable to his creatures for his actions.
These are topics too engaging to the corrupt nature of man, in which pride has so great a share, that he is easily induced to believe that all is his due that he can obtain : especially a young prince, whose want of experience and warmth of blood deny him the calm considerations necessary for a happy administration of government. This we find verified in Nero, whose first five years, by the admirable precepts of Seneca, excelled those of Augustus ; but when he gave ear to such flatteries as I have described, he soon swallowed the gilded poison, till he perished in the obstinacy of his own will. And though there was a vast distinction betwixt your royal father and that prince, yet he would have made a more glorious figure in history, and in the world, had not Cardinal Wolsey's advice prevailed on him in his young and riper years to quit the administration to him, and indulge in all the pleasures his high station and vast exchequer enabled him to enjoy. Bribed by so sweet a bait, he pursued the counsel, and kept such a habit that betrayed him to actions that are not capable of being so far justified as I could wish they might. Yet it may easily be proved, that King Henry was guilty of no fault, but it was the natural consequence of this advice of Wolsey; and from which even Wolsey himself, by a particular instance of Providence, derived his own ruin. It is true, that princes of a good and generous disposition are not so easily perverted by this way, because they afford the flatterer less matter to work on : yet it is certain that a man of nice judgment and address will easily turn the virtues of his prince to the public detriment, if he can once gain so far the ascendant over him, as to hear no other counsellor but him and his immediate creatures. And he is by so much the more dangerous, by how much he is master of a more eminent wisdom (or, rather, cunning), and some show of indifferent virtues, to which his prince is particularly inclined. For we are too apt to imagine those to have all manner of virtues, and the greatest capacity, who seem to enjoy those we have a particular esteem for. As this must be confessed a harder task for the favourite, so it must likewise be owned more difficult to remedy: for a virtuous temper is much harder to be brought off from an esteem of a beloved virtue, or the possession of it, than a vicious man from his corrupt inclinations. For there is such a conviction in vice, that the most wicked by reason and thought may be worked from it; but all the sufferings that proceed from mistaken virtue serve only to harden the sufferer, while he thinks he undergoes them for righteousness sake.
But I think there is one rule infallible in this case, by which a prince may easily discover the hypocrite, and avoid the evils of the hypocrisy ; and that is, when the pretender aims at engrossing the ear and power of the prince : for that is a plain argument that he stands not on a sound bottom, and fears that the cheat will be discovered to the prince by a communication of counsel, and his hearing the rest of his wise and honest subjects, on all causes that relate to the public good of the country or the service of the prince ; because they have an equal share in the welfare of both, and will not by common consent betray their own interest, which is involved in the other. This made a wise prince say, that " in the multitude of counsellors is safety." Whence, by a natural consequence, it is plain, that in one there is danger ; danger to the glory of the prince, and the happiness of the people: and often, very justly, ruin to the very person who by such unjust measures hoped to gain power and felicity.
The passions too much indulged, and not justly regulated and governed by the sacred rules of right reason, are, and always have been, the source of all miseries and misfortunes, both private and public. And it is impossible that any One of mortal race can escape pain greater or less, who will hear no other advisers. The highest and most awful stations cannot secure the greatest monarchs from troubles and misfortunes, who will be led by them. And I think it is too plain to need any proof, that no prince can be guided by any one minister, but through a passionate fondness of him, either for his imaginary virtues or agreeable vices : and I think it is as plain that such a prince, and the kingdom governed by him, must be miserable in the end. And
for this reason, all wise statesmen agree, that a prince or state ought to have no passions, if they would prosper in glory and power.
It is very true, that valour and conduct in armies may shine in one subject above another; that frugality and good management may in another : but till we can find one man master of all knowledge and all virtues, it will never be safe nor honourable for any prince wholly to confide himself and his affairs to either, exclusive of all others. For that nation is in a lost and undone condition indeed, that can afford but one man among all its nobility and gentry qualified to serve tbe public, and in whom the prince cannot have an equal confidence. Nay, it is an argument of the weakness and depravity of a prince, who, if he encouraged and rewarded virtue, would not want numbers of able heads to assist him.
But, madam, I must remember to whom it is that I am speaking, to one of the wisest and best of princes ; on whom the first flattery can never have any effect, as being entirely free from all vicious inclinations, and of too good judgment to be imposed on by the fairest appearances of virtue so far as to lose the juster considerations of public good in the shining qualities of any particular. Under you, madam, we find that saying true, “ How happy is the kingdom go. verned by a philosopher !” We feel the blessing, and every day experience the manna of your reign. And how indulgent soever your majesty inay be thought to the eminent excellencies of some, yet I have no manner of fear that they will
ever be able to expel your majesty's affections from all your other subjects, or make you ever deviate to a partiality in their favour against the good and universal cries of your people
This noble temper of your majesty it is that secures me against all fears from this freedom which I have taken; since you will easily see a public spirit, void of all private aims, shine through the whole. I have, therefore, only to add my ardent wishes for the prosperous and long reign of your majesty, over a people that are sensible of the blessing which Providence has bestowed on them in their gracious queen.
LADY BACON* TO THE EARL OF ESSEX. HEARING, my singular good lord, of your honour's return from the seacoasts this day, and I going hence to-morrow, if the Lord so will, I am bold, upon some speeches of some, and with some persons at the court, where lately I was, to impart somewhat to your honour, because it concerned a party there more near to me than gracious to her stock. I will not deny, but before this great suspicion of her unwifelike and unshamefaced demeanour, hath been brought to me even into the country; but loath to believe, I laid it up with secret sadness in my breast. And truly, my good lord, I did not a little, but greatly rejoice in heart, that it pleased God of his mercy and goodness, with the famous honour he gave
* Lady Bacon was the mother of the celebrated Sir Francis Bacon.