THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
Many poor men, younger brothers, &c., by reason of bad policy and idle education (for they are likely brought up in no calling), are compelled to beg or steal, and then hanged for theft; than which, what can be more ignominious, non minus enim turpe principi multa supplicia, quam medico multa funera, 'tis the governor's fault.
Libentius verberant quam docent, as schoolmasters do rather correct their pupils, than teach them when they do amiss. "They had more need provide there should be no more thieves and beggars, as they ought with good policy, and take away the occasions, than let them run on, as they do to their own destruction: root out likewise those causes of wrangling, a multitude of lawyers, and compose controversies, lites lustrales et seculares, by some more compendious means." Whereas now for every toy and trifle they go to law, mugit litibus insanum forum, et sævit invicem discordantium rabies, they are ready to pull out one another's throats; and for commodity "to squeeze blood," saith Hierom, "out of their brother's heart," defame, lie, disgrace, backbite, rail, bear false witness, swear, forswear, fight and wrangle, spend their goods, lives, fortunes, friends, undo one another, to enrich an harpy advocate, that preys upon them both, and cries Eia Socrates, Eia Xantippe; or some corrupt Judge, that like the Kite in Æsop, while the mouse and frog fought, carried both away. Generally they prey one upon another as so many ravenous birds, brute beasts, devouring fishes, no medium, omnes hic aut captantur aut captant; aut cadavera qua lacerantur, aut corvi qui laceran, either deceive or be deceived; tear others or be torn in pieces themselves; like so many buckets in a well, as one riseth
another falleth, one's empty, another's full; his ruin is a ladder to the third; such are our ordinary proceedings. What's the market? A place, according to Anacharsis, wherein they cozen one another, a trap; nay, what's the world itself? A vast chaos, a confusion of manners, as fickle as the air, domicilium insanorum [a mad house], a turbulent troop full of impurities, a mart of walking spirits, goblins, the theatre of hypocrisy, a shop of knavery, flattery, a nursery of villany, the scene of babbling, the school of giddiness, the academy of vice; a warfare, ubi velis nolis pugnandum, aut vincas aut succumbas, in which kill or be killed; wherein every man is for himself, his private ends, and stands upon his own guard. No charity, love, friendship, fear of God, alliance, affinity, consanguinity, christianity, can contain them, but if they be any ways offended, or that string of commodity be touched, they fall foul. Old friends become bitter enemies on a sudden for toys and small offences, and they that erst were willing to do all mutual offices of love and kindness, now revile and persecute one another to death, with more than Vatinian hatred, and will not be reconciled. So long as they are behoveful, they love, or may bestead each other. but when there is no more good to be expected, as they do by an old dog, hang him up or cashier him: which Cato counts a great indecorum, to use men like old shoes or broken glasses,
which are flung to the dunghill; he could not find in his heart to sell an old ox, much less to turn away an old servant: but they instead of recompense, revile him, and when they have made him an instrument of their villiany, as Bajazet the second Emperor of the Turks did by Acomethes Bassa, make him away, or instead of reward, hate him to death, as Silius was served by Tiberius. In a word every man for his own ends. Our summum bonum is commodity, and the goddess we adore Dea moneta, Queen money, to whom we daily offer sacrifice, which steers our hearts, hands, affections, all: that most powerful goddess, by whom we are reared, depressed, elevated, esteemed the sole commandress of our actions, for which we pray, run, ride, go, come, labour, and contend as fishes do for a crumb that falleth into the water. It's not worth, virtue,
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(that's bonum theatrale,) wisdom, valour, learning, honesty, religion, or any sufficiency for which we are respected, but money, greatness, office, honour, authority; honesty is accounted folly; knavery, policy; men admired out of opinion,
not as they are, but as they seem to be: such shifting, lying, cogging, plotting, counterplotting, temporizing, flattering, cozening, dissembling, "that of necessity one must highly offend God if he be conformable to the world," Cretizare cum Crete, "or else live in contempt, disgrace and misery." One takes upon him temperance, holiness,
another austerity, a third an affected kind of simplicity, when as indeed he, and he, and he, and the rest are "hypocrites, ambidexters," out-sides, so many turning pictures, a lion on the one side, a lamb on the other. How would Democritus have been affected to see these things!
To see a man turn himself into all shapes like a camelion, or as Proteus, omnia transformans sese in miracula rerum, to act twenty parts and persons at once, for his advantage, to temporize and vary like Mercury the Planet, good with good; bad with bad; having a several face, garb, and character for every one he meets; of all religions, humours, inclinations; to fawn like a spaniel, mentitis et mimicis obsequiis, rage like a lion, bark like a cur, fight like a dragon, sting like a serpent, as meek as a lamb, and yet again grin like a tiger, weep like a crocodile, insult over some, and yet others domineer over him, here command, there crouch, tyrannize in one place, be baffled in another, a wise man at home, a fool abroad to make others merry.
To see so much difference betwixt words and deeds, so many parasangs betwixt tongue and heart, men like stage players act variety of parts, give good precepts to others, soar aloft, whilst they themselves grovel on the ground.
To see a man protest friendship, kiss his hand, quem mallet truncatum videre, smile with an intent to do mischief, or cozen him whom he salutes, magnify his friend unworthy with hyperbolical eulogiums; his enemy albeit a good man, to vilify and disgrace him, yea all his actions, with the utmost that livor and malice can intent.
To see a servant able to buy out his master, him that carries the mace more worth than the magistrate, which Plato, lib. 11, de leg., absolutely forbids, Epictetus abhors. A horse that tills the land fed with chaff, an idle jade have provender in
abundance; him that makes shoes go barefoot himself, him that sells meat almost pined; a toiling drudge starve, a drone flourish.
To see men buy smoke for wares, castles built with fools' heads, men like apes follow the fashions in tires, gestures, actions: if the king laugh, all laugh;
"Rides? majore cachinno
Concutitur, flet si lachrymas conspexit amici."
(Juvenal: Do you laugh? He is shaken with much greater laughter: he weeps also when he has beheld the tears of his friend)
Alexander stooped, so did his courtiers; Alphonsus turned his head, and so did his parasites. Sabina Poppea, Nero's wife, wore amber-coloured hair, so did all the Roman ladies in an instant, her fashion was theirs.
To see men wholly led by affection, admired and censured out of opinion without judgment: an inconsiderate multitude, like so many dogs in a village, if one
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bark all bark without a cause: as fortune's fan turns, if a man be in favour, or commanded by some great one, all the world applauds him; if in disgrace, in an instant all hate him, and as at the sun when he is eclipsed, that erst took no notice, now gaze and stare upon him.
To see a man wear his brains in his belly, his guts in his head, an hundred oaks on his back, to devour a hundred oxen at a meal, nay more, to devour houses and towns, or as those anthropophagi, to eat another.
To see a man roll himself up like a snowball, from base beggary to right worshipful and right honourable titles, unjustly to screw himself into honours and offices; another to starve his genius, damn his soul to gather wealth, which he shall not enjoy, which his prodigal son melts and consumes in an instant.
To see the χαχοζηλιαν [chachozelian] of our times, a man bend all his forces, means, time, fortunes, to be a favourite's favourite's favourite, &c., a parasite's parasite's parasite, that may scorn the servile world as having enough already.
To see an hirsute beggar's brat, that lately fed on scraps, crept and whined, crying to all, and for an old jerkin ran of errands, now ruffle in silk and satin, bravely mounted, jovial and polite, now scorn his old friends and familiars, neglect his kindred, insult over his betters, domineer over all.
To see a scholar crouch and creep to an illiterate peasant for a meal's meat; a scrivener better paid for an obligation; a falconer receive greater wages than a student; a lawyer get more in a day than a philosopher in a year, better reward for an hour, than a scholar for a twelvemonth's study; him that can paint Thais, play on a fiddle, curl hair, &c, sooner get preferment than a philologer or a poet.
To see a fond mother, like Æsop's ape, hug her child to death, a witol wink at his wife's honesty, and too perspicuous in all other affairs; one stumble at a straw, and leap over a block; rob Peter, and pay Paul; scrape unjust sums with one hand, purchase great manors by corruption, fraud and cozenage, and liberally to distribute to the poor with the other, give a remnant to pious uses, &c. Penny wise, pound foolish; blind men judge of colours; wise men silent, fools talk; find fault with others, and do worse themselves; denounce that in public which he doth in secret; and which Aurelius Victor gives out of Augustus, severely censure that in a third, of which he is most guilty himself.
To see a poor fellow, or an hired servant venture his life for his new master that will scarce give him his wages at year's end; A country colone toil and moil, till and drudge for a prodigal idle drone, that devours all the gain, or lasciviously
consumes with phantastical expences; A noble man in a bravado to encounter death. and for a small flash of honor to cast away himself; A worldling tremble at an executor, and yet not fear hell-fire; To wish and hope for immortality, desire to be happy, and yet by all means avoid death, a necessary passage to bring him to it.
To see a fool-hardy fellow like those old Danes, qui decollari malunt quam verberari, die rather than be punished, in a sottish humour embrace death with alacrity, yet scorn to lament his own sins and miseries, or his dearest friends' departures.
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To see wise men degraded, fools preferred, one govern towns and cities, and yet a silly woman overrides him at home; Command a province, and yet his own servants or children prescribe laws to him, as Themistocles' son did in Greece; "What I will (said he) my mother will, and what my mother will, my father doth." To see horses ride in a coach, men draw it; dogs devour their masters; towers build masons; children rule; old meu go to school; women wear the breeches; sheep demolish towns, devour men, &c. And in a word, the world turned upside downward. O viveret Democritus!
To insist in every particular were one of Hercules' labours, there's so many ridiculous instances, as motes in the sun. Quantum est in rebus inane! (How much vanity there is in things!) And who can speak of all? Crimine ab uno disce omnes, take this for a taste.
But these are obvious to sense, trivial and well known, easy to be discerned.
How would Democritus have been moved, had he seen the secrets of their hearts? If every man had a window in his breast, which Momus would have had in Vulcan's man, or that which Tully so much wished it were written in every man's forehead, Quid quisque de republica sentiret, what he thought; or that it could be effected in an instant, which Mercury did by Charon in Lucian, by touching of his eyes, to make him discern semel et simul rumores et sussuros.
Spes hominum cæcas, morbos, votumque labores,
Et passim toto volitantes aethere curas."
"Blind hopes and wishes, their thoughts and affairs,
Whispers and rumours, and those flying cares."
That he could cubiculorum obductus foras recludere et secreta cordium penetrare, which Cyprian desired, open doors and locks, shoot bolts, as Lucian's Gallus did with a feather of his tail: or Gyges' invisible ring, or some rare perspective glass, or Otacousticon, which would so multiply species, that a man might hear and see all at once (as Martianus Capella's Jupiter did in a spear which he held in his hand, which did present unto him all that was daily done upon the face of the earth), observe cuckolds' horns, forgeries of alchemists, the philosopher's stone, new projectors, &c., and all those works of darkness, foolish vows, hopes, fears and wishes, what a deal of laughter would it have afforded? He should have seen windmills in one man's head, an hornet's nest in another. Or had he been present with Icaromenippus in Lucian at Jupiter's whispering place, and heard one pray for rain, another for fair weather; one for his wife's, another for his father's death, &c.; "to ask that at God's hand which they are abashed any man should hear:" How would he have been confounded? Would he, think you, or any man else, say that these men were well in their wits? Hæc sani esse
hominis quis sanus juret Orestes? Can all the hellebore in the Anticurae cure these men? No sure, "an acre of hellebore will not do it."
That which is more to be lamented, they are mad like Seneca's blind woman, and will not acknowledge, or seek for any cure of it, for pauci vident morbum suum, omnes amant. If our leg or arm offend us, we covet by all means possible to redress it; and if we labour of a bodily disease, we send for a physician; but for the diseases of
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the mind we take no notice of them: Lust harrows us on the one side; envy, anger, ambition on the other. We are torn in pieces by our passions, as so many wild horses, one in disposition, another in habit; one is melancholy, another mad; and which of us all seeks for help, doth acknowledge his error, or knows he is sick? As that stupid fellow put out the candle because the biting fleas should not find him; he shrouds himself in an unknown habit, borrowed titles, because nobody should discern him.
Every man thinks with himself, Egomet videor mihi sanus, I am well, I am wise, and laughs at others. And 'tis a general fault amongst them all, that which our forefathers have approved, diet, apparel, opinions, humours, customs, manners, we deride and reject in our time as absurd. Old men account juniors all fools, when they are mere dizzards; and as to sailors, -- terræque urbesque recedunt -- they move, the land stands still, the world hath much more wit, they dote themselves. Turks deride us, we them; Italians, Frenchmen, accounting them light headed fellows; the French scoff
again at Italians, and at their several customs; Greeks have condemned all the world but themselves of barbarism, the world as much vilifies them now; we account Germans heavy, dull fellows, explode many of their fashions; they as contemptibly think of us; Spaniards laugh at all, and all again at them. So are we fools and ridiculous, absurd in our actions, carriage; diet, apparel, customs, and consultations; we scoff and point one at another, when as in conclusion all are fools, "and they the veriest asses that hide their ears most." A private man if he be resolved with himself, or set on an opinion, accounts all idiots and asses that are not affected as he is, -- nil rectum, nisi quod placuit sibi, ducit, that are not so minded, (quodque volunt homines se bene velle putant,) all fools that think not as he doth: he will not say with Atticus, Suam quisque sponsam, mihi meam, let every man enjoy his own spouse; but his alone is fair, suus amor, &c., and scorns all in respect of himself, will imitate none, hear none but himself as Pliny said, a law and example to himself. And that which Hippocrates, in his epistle to Dionysius, reprehended of old, is verified in our times, Quisque in alio superfluum esse censet, ipse quod non habet nec curat, that which he hath not himself; or doth not esteem he accounts superfluity, an idle quality, a mere foppery in another: like Æsop's fox, when he had lost his tail, would have all his fellow foxes cut off theirs. The Chinese say, that we Europeans have one eye, they themselves two, all the world else is blind: (though Scaliger accounts them brutes too, merum pecus,) so thou and thy sectaries are only wise, others indifferent, the rest beside themselves, mere idiots and asses. Thus not acknowledging our own errors and imperfections, we securely deride others, as if we alone were free, and spectators of the rest, accounting it an excellent thing, as indeed it is, Aliena optimum frui insania, to make ourselves merry with other men's obliquities, when as he himself is more faulty than the rest, mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur, he may take himself by the nose for a fool; and which one calls maximum stultitiæ specimen, to be ridiculous to others, and not to perceive or take notice of it, as Marsyas was when he contended with Apollo, non intelligens se deridiculo haberi, saith Apuleius; 'tis his own cause, he is a convicted madman, as Austin well infers "in the eyes of wise men and angels he seems like one, that to our thinking walks with his heels upwards." So thou laughest at me, and I at thee, both at a third; and he returns that of the poet upon us again, Hei mihi, insanire me aiunt, quum ipsi ultro insaniant. We accuse others of madness, of folly, and are the veriest dizzards ourselves. For it is a great sign and property of a fool (which Eccl. x. 3, points at) out of pride and self-conceit to insult, vilify, condemn, censure, and call other men fools (Non videmus manticæ quod a tergo est) to tax that in others of which we are most faulty; teach that which we follow not ourselves: For an inconstant man to write of constancy; a profane liver prescribe
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rules of sanctity and piety; a dizzard himself make a treatise of wisdom; or with Sallust to rail downright at spoilers of countries, and yet in office to be a most grievous poler himself. This argues weakness, and is an evident sign of such parties' indiscretion. Peccat uter nostrum cruce dignius? "Who is the fool now?" Or else peradventure in some places we are all mad for company, and so 'tis not seen, Satietas erroris et dementia, pariter absurditatem st admirationem tollit. 'Tis with us, as it was of old (in Tully's censure at least) with C. Pimbria in Rome, a bold, hair-brain, mad fellow, and so esteemed of all, such only excepted, that were as mad as himself: now in such a case there is no notice taken of it.
"Nimirum insanus paucus videatur; eo quod
Maxima pars hominum morbo jactatur eodem."
"When all are mad, where all are like opprest
Who can discern one mad man from the rest?"
But put case they do perceive it, and some one be manifestly convicted of madness, he now takes notice of his folly, be it in action, gesture, speech, a vain humour he hath in building, bragging, jangling, spending, gaming, courting, scribbling, prating, for which he is ridiculous to others, on which he dotes, he doth acknowledge as much: yet with all the rhetoric thou hast, thou canst not so recall him, but to the contrary notwithstanding, he will persevere in his dotage. 'Tis amabilis
insania, et mentis gratissimus error, so pleasing, so delicious, that he cannot leave it.
He knows his error, but will not seek to decline it, tell him what the event will be, beggary, sorrow, sickness, disgrace, shame, loss, madness, yet "an angry man will prefer vengeance, a lascivious his whore, a thief his booty, a glutton his belly, before his welfare." Tell an epicure, a covetous man, an ambitious man, of his irregular course, wean him from it a little, pol me occidistis amici, he cries anon, you have undone him, and as the "dog to his vomit," he returns to it again; no persuasion will take place, no counsel, say what thou canst,
"Clames licet et mare coelo
--- Confundas, surdo narras,"
(Although you call out, and confound the sea and sky, you still address a deaf man)
demonstrate as Ulysses did to Elpenor and Gryllus, and the rest of his companions, "those swinish men," he is irrefragable in his humour, he will be a hog still; bray him in a mortar, he will be the same. If he be in an heresy, or some perverse opinion, settled as some of our ignorant Papists are, convince his understanding, show him the several follies and absurd fopperies of that sect, force him to say, veris vincor, make it as clear as the sun, he will err still, peevish and obstinate as he is; and as he said si in hoc erro, libenter erro, nec hunc errorem auferri mihi volo; I will do as I have done, as my predecessors have done, and as my friends now do: I will dote for company.
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Say now, are these men mad or no, Heus age responde? are they ridiculous? cedo quemvis arbitrum, are they sanæ mentis, sober, wise, and discreet? have they common sense? -- uter est insanior horum? (Hor. 2 ser. Which of these is the more mad?) I am of Democritus' opinion for my part, I hold them worthy to be laughed at; a company of brain-sick dizzards, as mad as Orestes and Athamas, that they may go "ride the ass," and all sail along to the Anticyrae, in the "ship of fools" for company togther. I need not much labour to prove this which I say otherwise than thus, make any solemn protestation, or swear, I think you will believe me without an oath; say at a word, are they fools? I refer it to you, though you be likewise fools and madmen yourselves, and I as mad to ask the question; for what said our comical Mercury?
"Justum ab injustis petere insipientis est.
I'll stand to your censure yet, what think you?"
But forasmuch as I undertook at first, that kingdoms, provinces, families, were melancholy as well as private men, I will examine them in particular, and that which I have hitherto dilated at random, in more general terms, I will particularly insist in, prove with more special and evident arguments, testimonies, illustrations, and that in brief. Nunc accipe quare desipiant omnes æque ac tu. My first argument is borrowed from Solomon, an arrow drawn out of his sententious quiver, Pro. iii. 7, "Be not wise in thine own eyes." And xxvi. 12, "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? more hope is of a fool than of him." Isaiah pronounceth a woe against such men, chap. v. 21, "that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight." For hence we may gather, that it is a great offence, and men are much deceived that think too well of themselves, an especial argument to convince them of folly. Many men (saith Seneca) "had been without question wise, had they not had an opinion that they had attained to perfection of knowledge already, even before they had gone half way," too forward, too ripe, præproperi, too quick and ready, cito prudentes, cito pii, cito mariti, cito patres, cito sacerdotes, cito omnes offici capaces et curiosi, they had too good a conceit of themselves, and that marred all; of their worth, valour, skill, art, learning, judgment, eloquence, their good parts; all their geese are swans, and that manifestly proves them to be no better than fools. In former times they had but seven wise men, now you can scarce find so many fools. Thales sent the golden Tripos, which the fishermen found, and the oracle commanded to be "given to the wisest, to Bias, Bias to Solon," &c. If such a thing were now found, we should all fight for it, as the three goddesses did for the golden apple, we are so wise: we have women politicians, children metaphysicians; every silly fellow can square a circle, make perpetual motions, find the philosopher's stone, interpret Apocalypses, make new Theories, a new system of the world, new logic, new Philosophy, &c. Nostra utique regio, saith Petronius, "our country is so full of deified spirits, divine souls, that you may sooner find a god than a man amongst us," we think so well of ourselves, and that is an ample testimony of much folly.
My second argument is grounded upon the like place of Scripture, which though before mentioned in effect, yet for some reasons is to be repeated (and by Plato's good leave, I may do it, δις το χαλον ρηθεν ουδεν βλαπτει [dis to chalon
rethen oyden blaptei]. "Fools (saith David) by reason of their transgressions," &c. Psal. cvii. 17. Hence Musculus infers all transgressors must needs be fools. So we read Rom. ii. "Tribulation and anguish on the soul of every man that doeth evil;" but all do evil. And Isaiah, lxv. 14, "My servants shall sing for joy, and ye shall cry for
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sorrow of heart, and vexation of mind." 'Tis ratified by the common consent of all philosophers. "Dishonesty (saith Cardan) is nothing else but folly and madness."
Probus quis nobiscum vivit? Shew me an honest man, Nemo malus qui non stultus," 'tis Fabius' aphorism to the same end. If none honest, none wise, then all fools. And well may they be so accounted: for who will account him otherwise, Qui iter adornat in occidentem, quum properaret in orientem? that goes backward all his life, westward, when he is bound to the east? or hold him a wise man (saith Musculus) "that prefers momentary pleasures to eternity, that spends his master's goods in his absence, forthwith to be condemned for it?" Nequiquam sapit qui sibi non sapit, who will say that a sick man is wise, that eats and drinks to overthrow the temperature of his body? Can you account him wise or discreet that would willingly have his health, and yet will do nothing that should procure or continue it? Theodoret, out of Plotinus the Platonist, "holds it a ridiculous thing for a man to live after his own laws, to do that which is offensive to God,, and yet to hope that he should save him: and when he voluntarily neglects his own safety, and contemns the means, to think to be delivered by another:" who will say these men are wise?
A third argument may be derived from the precedent, all men are carried away with passion, discontent, lust, pleasures, &c.; they generally hate those virtues they should love, and love such vices they should hate. Therefore more than melancholy, quite mad, brute beasts, and void of reason, so Chrysostom contends; "or rather dead and buried alive," as Philo Judeus concludes it for a certainty, "of all such that are carried away with passions, or labour of any disease of the mind." "Where is fear and sorrow," there Lactantius stiffly maintains, "wisdom cannot dwell
-- qui cupiet, metuet quoque porro,
Qui metuens vivit, liber mihi non erit unquam'"
(He who is desirous, is also fearful, and he who lives in fear can never be free.)
Seneca and the rest of the stoics are of opinion, that where is any the least perturbation, wisdom may not be found. "What more ridiculous," as Lactantius urges, "than to hear how Xerxes whipped the Hellespont," threatened the Mountain Athos, and the like? To speak ad rem, who is free from passion? Mortalis nemo est quem non attingat dolor, morbusve, as Tully determines out of an old poem, no mortal men can avoid sorrow and sickness, and sorrow is an inseparable companion from melancholy.
Chrysostom pleads farther yet, that they are more than mad, very beasts, stupified, and void of common sense: "For how (saith he) shall I know thee to be a man, when thou kickest like an ass, neighest like a horse after women, ravest in lust like a bull, ravenest like a bear, stingest like a scorpion, rakest like a wolf, as subtle as a fox, as impudent as a dog? Shall I say thou art a man, that hast all the symptoms of a beast? how shall I know thee to be a man? by thy shape? That affrights me more, when I see a beast in likeness of a man."
Seneca calls that of Epicurus, magnificam vocem, an heroical speech, "A fool still begins to live," and accounts it a filthy lightness in men, every day to lay new foundations of their life, but who doth otherwise? One travels, another builds; one for
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this, another for that business, and old folks are as far out as the rest; O dementem senectutem, Tully exclaims. Therefore young, old, middle age, all are stupid, and dote.
Æneas Sylvius, amongst many other, sets down three special ways to find a fool by. He is a fool that seeks that he cannot find: he is a fool that seeks that, which being found will do him more harm than good: he is a fool, that having variety of ways to bring him to his journey's end, takes that which is worst. If so, methinks most men are fools; examine their courses, and you shall soon perceive what dizzards and mad men the major part are.
Beroaldus will have drunkards, afternoon men, and such as more than ordinarily delight in drink, to be mad. The first pot quencheth thirst, so Panyasis the poet determines in Atheneaus, secunda gratiis, horis et Dyonisio: the second makes merry, the third for pleasure, quarta ad insaniam, the fourth makes them mad. If this position be true, what a catalogue of mad men shall we have? what shall they be that drink four times four? Nonne supra omnem furorem, supra omnem insaniam reddunt insanissimos? I am of his opinion, they are more than mad! much worse than mad.
The Abderites condemned Democritus for a mad man, because he was sometimes sad, and sometimes again profusely merry. Hac Patria (saith Hippocrates) ob risum furere et insanire dicunt, his countrymen hold him mad because he laughs; and therefore "he desires him to advise all his friends at Rhodes, that they do not laugh too much, or be over sad." Had those Abderites been conversant with us, and but seen what fleering and grinning there is in this age, they would certainly have concluded, we had been all out of our wits.
Aristotle in his ethics holds foelix idemque sapiens, to be wise and happy, are reciprocal terms, bonus idemque sapiens honestus. 'Tis Tully's paradox, "wise men are free, but fools are slaves," liberty is a power to live according to his own laws, as we will ourselves: who hath this liberty? who is free?
-- "sapiens sibique imperiosus,
Quem neque pauperis, neque mors, neque vincula terrent,
Responsare cupidinibus, contemnere honores
Fortis, et in seipso totus teres atque rotandus."
He is wise that can command his own will,
Valiant and constant to himself still,
Whom poverty nor death, nor bands can fright,
Checks his desires, scorns honours, just and right."
But where shall such a man be found? if no where, then e diametro, we are all slaves, senseless, or worse. Nemo malus foelix. But no man is happy in this life, none good, therefore no man wise. Rari quippe boni -- For one virtue you shall find ten vices in the same party; pauci Promethei, multi Epimethei. We may peradventure usurp the name, or attribute it to others for favour, as Carolus Sapiens, Philippus Bonus, Lodovicus Pius, &c., and describe the properties of a wise man, as Tully doth an
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orator, Xenophon Cyrus, Castilo a courtier, Galen temperament, an aristocracy is
described by politicians. But where shall such a man be found?
"Vir bonus et sapiens, qualem vix repperit unum
Millibus e multis hominum consultus Apollo."
"A wise, a good man in a million,
Apollo consulted could scarce find one."
A man is a miracle of himself, but Trismegistus adds, Maximum miraculum homo sapiens, a wise man is a wonder: multi Thirsigeri, pauci Bacchi.
Alexander when he was presented with that rich and costly casket of king Darius, and every man advised him what to put in it, he reserved it to keep Homer's works, as the most precious jewel of human wit, and yet Scaliger upbraids Homer's muse, Nutricem insanæ sapientiæ, a nursery of madness, impudent as a court lady, that blushes at nothing. Jacobus Mycillus, Gilbertus Cognatus, Erasmus, and almost all posterity admire Lucian's luxuriant wit, yet Scaliger rejects him in his censure, and calls him the Cerberus of the muses. Socrates, whom all the world so much magnified,
is by Lactantius and Theodoret condemned for a fool. Plutarch extols Seneca's wit beyond all the Greeks, nulli secundus, yet saith of himself "when I would solace myself with a fool, I reflect upon myself and there I have him." Cardan, in his Sixteenth Book of Subtilties, reckons up twelve super-eminent, acute philosophers, for worth, subtlety, and wisdom: Archimedes, Galen, Vitruvius, Architas Tarentinus, Euclid, Geber, that first inventor of Algebra, Alkindus the Mathematician, both Arabians, with others. But his triumviri terrarum far beyond the rest, are Ptolomaeus, Plotinus, Hippocrates. Scaliger exercitat. 224, scoffs at this censure of his, calls some of them carpenters and mechanicians, he makes Galen fimbriam Hippocratis, a skirt of Hippocrates: and the said Cardan himself elsewhere condemns both Galen and Hippocrates for tediousness, obscurity, confusion. Paracelsus will have them both mere idiots, infants in physic and philosophy. Scaliger and Cardan admire Suisset the Calculator, qui pene modum excessit humani ingenii, and yet Lod. Vives calls them nugas Suisseticas: and Cardan, opposite to himself in another place, contemns those ancients in respect of times present, Majoresque nostros ad presentes collatos juste pueros appellari. In conclusion, the said Cardan and Saint Bernard will admit none into this catalogue of wise men, but only prophets and apostles; how they esteem themselves, you have heard before. We are worldly-wise, admire ourselves, and seek
for applause: but hear Saint Bernard, quanto magis foras es sapiens, tanto magis intus stultus efficeris, &c. in omnius es prudens, circa teipsum insipiens: the more wise thou art to others, the more fool to thyself. I may not deny but that there is some folly approved, a divine fury, a holy madness, even a spiritual drunkenness in the saints of God themselves; sanctam insaniam Bernard calls it (though not as blaspheming Vorstius, would infer it as a passion incident to God himself, but), familiar to good men, as that of Paul, 2 Cor. "he was a fool," &c. and Rom. ix. he wisheth himself to be anathematized for them. Such is that drunkenness which Ficinus speaks of; when the soul is elevated and ravished with a divine taste of that heavenly nectar, which poets deciphered by the sacrifice of Dionysius, and in this sense with the poet,
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insanire lubet, as Austin exhorts us, ad ebrietatem se quisque paret, let's all be mad and drunk. But we commonly mistake, and go beyond our commission, we reel to the opposite part, we are not capable of it, and as he said of the Greeks, Vos Græci semper pueri, vos Britanni, Galli, Germani, Itali &c., you are a company of fools.
Proceed now a partibus ad totum, or from the whole to parts, and you shall find no other issue, the parts shall be sufficiently dilated in this following Preface. The whole must needs follow by a sorites or induction. Every multitude is mad, bellua multorum capitum, (a many-headed beast,) precipitate and rash without judgment, stultum animal, a roaring rout. Roger Bacon proves it out of Aristotle, Vulgus dividi in oppositum contra sapientes, quod vulgo videtur verum, falsum est; that which the commonalty accounts true, is most part false, they are still opposite to wise men, but all the world is of this humour (vulgus), and thou thyself art de vulgo, one of the commonalty; and he, and he, and so are all the rest; and therefore, as Phocion concludes, to be approved in nought you say or do, mere idiots and asses. Begin then where you will, go backward or forward, choose out of the whole pack, wink and choose, you shall find them all alike, "never a barrel better herring."
Copernicus, Atlas his successor, is of opinion, the earth is a planet, moves and shines to others, as the moon doth to us. Digges, Gilbert, Keplerus, Origanus, and others, defend this hypothesis of his in sober sadness, and that the moon is inhabited; if it be so that the earth is a moon, then are we also giddy, vertiginous and lunatic within this sublunary maze.
I could produce such arguments till dark night: if you should hear the rest,
"Ante diem clauso component vesper Olympo:"
"Through such a train of words if I should run,
The day would sooner than the tale be done:"
but according to my promise, I will descend to particulars. This melancholy extends itself not to men only, but even to vegetals and sensibles. I speak not of those creatures which are saturnine, melancholy by nature, as lead, and such like minerals, or those plants, rue, cypress, &c. and hellebore itself; of which Agrippa treats, fishes, bird, and beasts, hares, conies, dormice, &c., owls, bats, nightbirds, but that artificial, which is perceived in them all. Remove a plant, it will pine away, which is especially perceived in date trees, as you may read at large in Constantine's husbandry, that antipathy betwixt the vine and the cabbage, vine and oil. Put a bird in a cage, he will die for sullenness, or a beast in a pen, or take his young ones or companions from him, and see what effect it will cause. But who perceives not these common passions
of sensible creatures, fear, sorrow, &c. Of all other, dogs are most subject to this malady, insomuch some hold they dream as men do, and through violence of melancholy run mad; I could relate many stories of dogs that have died for grief; and pined away for loss of their masters, but they are common in every author.
Kingdoms, provinces, and politic bodies are likewise sensible and subject to this disease, as Boterus in his politics hath proved at large. "As in human bodies (saith
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he) there be divers alterations proceeding from humours, so there be many diseases in a commonwealth, which do as diversely happen from several distempers," as you may easily perceive by their particular symptoms. For where you shall see the people civil, obedient to God and princes, judicious, peaceable and quiet, rich, fortunate, and flourish, to live in peace, in unity and concord, a country well tilled, many fair built and populous cities, ubi incolæ nitent, as old Cato said, the people are neat, polite and terse, ubi bene, beateque vivunt, which our politicians make the chief end of a commonwealth; and which Aristotle Polit. lib. 3, cap. 4, calls Commune bonum, Polybius lib. 6, optabilem et selectum statum, that country is free from melancholy; as it was in Italy in the time of Augustus, now in China, now in many other flourishing kingdoms of Europe. But whereas you shall see many discontents, common grievances, complaints, poverty, barbarism, beggary, plagues, wars, rebellions, seditions, mutinies, contentions, idleness, riot, epicurism, the land lie untilled, waste, full of bogs, fens, deserts, &c., cities decayed, base and poor towns, villages depopulated, the people squalid, ugly, uncivil; that kingdom, that country, must needs be discontent, melancholy, hath a sick body, and had need to be reformed.
Now that cannot well be effected, till the causes of these maladies be first removed, which commonly proceed from their own default, or some accidental inconvenience: as to be situated in a bad clime, too far north, sterile, in a barren place,
as the desert of Lybia, deserts of Arabia, places void of waters, as those of Lop and Belgian in Asia, or in a bad air, as at Alexandretta, Bantam, Pisa, Durazzo, S. John de Ulloa, &c., or in danger of the sea's continual inundations, as in many places of the Low Countries and elsewhere, or near some bad neighbours, as Hungarians to Turks, Podolians to Tartars, or almost any bordering countries, they live in fear still and by reason of hostile incursions are oftentimes left desolate. So are cities, by reason of wars, fires, plagues, inundations, wild beasts, decay of trades, barred havens, the sea's violence, as Antwerp may witness of late. Syracuse of old, Brundisium in Italy, Rye and Dover with us, and many that at this day suspect the sea's fury and rage, and labour against it as the Venetians to their inestimable charge. But the most frequent maladies are such as proceed from themselves, as first when religion and God's service is neglected, innovated or altered, where they do not fear God, obey their prince, where atheism, epicurism, sacrilege, simony, &c., and all such impieties are freely committed, that country cannot prosper. When Abraham came to Gerar, and saw a bad land, he said, sure the fear of God was not in that place. Cyprian Echovius, a Spanish chorographer, above all other cities of Spain, commends "Borcino, in which there was no beggar, no man poor, &c., but all rich, and in good estate, and he gives the reason, because they were more religious than their neighbours:" why was Israel often spoiled by their enemies, led into captivity, &c., but for their idolatry, neglect of God's word, for sacrilege, even for one Achan's fault? And what shall we expect that have such multitudes of Achans, church robbers, simoniacal patrons, &c., how can they hope to flourish, that neglect divine duties, that live most part like Epicures?
Other common grievances are generally noxious to a body politic; alteration of laws and customs, breaking privileges, general oppressions, seditions, &c., observed by Aristotle, Bodin, Boterus, Junius, Arniscus, &c. I will only point at some of the chiefest. Impotentia gubernandi, ataxia, confusion, ill-government, which proceeds from unskilful, slothful, griping, covetous, unjust, rash, or tyrannizing magistrates, when they are fools, idiots, children, proud, wilful, partial, indiscreet, oppressors, giddy heads, tyrants, not able or unfit to manage such offices: many noble cities and
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flourishing kingdoms by that means are desolate, the whole body groans under such heads, and all the members must needs be disaffected, as at this day those goodly provinces in Asia Minor, &c. groan under the burden of a Turkish government; and those vast kingdoms of Muscovia, Russia, under a tyrannizing duke. Who ever heard of more civil and rich populous countries than those of Greece, Asia Minor, abounding with all wealth, multitudes of inhabitants, force, power, splendour and magnificence? and that miracle of countries, the Holy Land, that in so small a compass of ground could maintain so many towns, cities, produce so many fighting men? Egypt another paradise, now barbarous and desert, are almost waste, by the despotical government of an imperious Turk, intolerabili servitutis jugo premitur (one
saith) not only fire and water, goods or lands, sed ipse spiritus ab insolentissimi victoris pendet nutu, such is their slavery, their lives and souls depend upon his insolent will and command. A tyrant that spoils all wheresoever he comes, insomuch that an historian complains, "if an old inhabitant should now see them, he would not know them, if a traveller or stranger, it would grieve his heart to behold them."
Whereas Aristotle notes, Novæ exactiones, nova onera imposita, new burdens and exactions daily come upon them, like those of which Zosimus, lib. 2, so grievous, ut viri uxores, patres filios prostituerent ut exactoribus e questu, &c., they must needs be discontent, hinc civitatum gemitus et ploratus, as Tully holds, hence come those complaints and tears of cities, poor, miserable, rebellious, and desperate subjects, as Hippolitus adds; and as a judicious countryman of ours observed not long since, in a survey of that great Duchy of Tuscany, the people lived much grieved and discontent, as appeared by their manifold and manifest complainings in that kind. "That the state was like a sick body which had lately taken physic, whose humours are not yet well settled, and weakened so much by purging, that nothing was left but melancholy."
Whereas the princes and potentates are immoderate in lust, hypocrites, epicures, of no religion, but in shew: Quid hypocrisi fragilius? what so brittle and unsure? what sooner subverts their estates than wandering and raging lusts, on their subjects' wives, daughters? to say no worse. That they should facem præferre, lead the way to all virtuous actions, are the ringleaders often times of all mischief and dissolute courses, and by that means their countries are plagued, "and they themselves often ruined, banished, or murdered by conspiracy of their subjects, as Sardanapalus
was, Dionysius, junior, Heliogabalus, Periander, Pisistratus, Tarquinius, Timocrates, Childericus, Appius Claudius, Andronicus, Galeacius Sforsia, Alexander Medices," &c.
Whereas the princes or great men are malicious, envious, factious, ambitious, emulators, they tear a commonwealth asunder, as so many Guelfs and Gibelines disturb the quietness of it, and with mutual murders let it bleed to death; our histories are too full of such barbarous inhumanities, and the miseries that issue from them.
Whereas they be like so many horse-leeches, hungry, griping, corrupt, covetous, avaritiæ mancipia, ravenous as wolves, for as Tully writes: qui proeest prodest, et qui pecudibus proeest, debet eorum utilitati inservire: or such as prefer their private before the public good. For as he said long since, res privatæ publicis semper offficere. Or whereas they be illiterate, ignorant, empirics in policy, ubi deest facultas virtus (Aristot. pol. 5, cap. 8,) et scientia, wise only by inheritance, and in authority by birth-right, favour, or for their wealth and titles; there must needs be a fault, a great defect: because as an old philosopher affirms, such men are not always
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fit. "Of an infinite number, few noble are senators, and of those few, fewer good, and of that small number of honest, good, and noble men, few that are learned, wise, discreet, and sufficient, able to discharge such places, it must needs turn to the confusion of a state."
For as the Princes are, so are the people; Qualis Rex, talis grex: and which Antigonus right well said of old, qui Macedoniæ regent erudit, omnea etiam subditos erudit, he that teaches the king of Macedon, teaches all his subjects, is a true saying still.
"For Princes are the glass, the school, the book,
Where subjects' eyes do lean, do read, do look."
--- "Velocius et citius nos
Corrumpunt vitiorum exempla domestica, magnis
Cum subeant animos auctoribus." ---
(Vicious domestic examples operate more quickly on us when suggested to our minds by high authorities)
Their examples are soonest followed, vices entertained, if they be profane, irreligious, lascivious, riotous, epicures, factious, covetous, ambitious, illiterate, so will the commons most part be, idle, unthrifts, prone to lust, drunkards, and therefore poor and needy (η πενια στασιν εμποιει χαι χαχουργιαν [e penia stasin empoiei chai chachoyrgian] , for poverty begets sedition and villany) upon all occasions ready to mutiny and rebel, discontent still, complaining, murmuring, grudging, apt to all outrages, thefts, treason; murders, innovations, in debt, shifters, cozeners, outlaws, Profligatæ famæ ac vitæ. It was an old politician's aphorism, "They that are poor and bad envy rich, hate good men, abhor the present government, wish for a new, and would have all turned topsy turvy." When Catiline rebelled in Rome, he got a company of such debauched rogues together, they were his familiars and coadjutors, and such have been your rebels most part in all ages, Jack Cade, Tom Straw, Kette, and his companions.
Where they be generally riotous and contentious, where there be many discords, many laws, many lawsuits, many lawyers and many physicians, it is a manifest sign of a distempered, melancholy state, as Plato long since maintained: for where such kind of men swarm, they will make more work for themselves, and that body politic diseased, which was otherwise sound. A general mischief in these our times, an insensible plague, and never so many of them: "which are now multiplied (saith Mat. Geraldus, a lawyer himself,) as so many locusts, not the parents, but the plagues of the country, and for the most part a supercilious, bad, covetous, litigious generation of men. Crumenimulga natio, &c. a purse-milking nation, a clamorous company, gowned vultures, qui ex injuria vivent a sanguine civium, thieves and seminaries of discord; worse than any polers by the highway side, auri accipitres, auri exterebronides, pecuniarum hamiolæ, quadruplatores, curice harpagones, fori tintinabula, monstra hominum, mangones, &c., that take upon them to make peace, but are indeed the very disturbers of our peace, a company of irreligious harpies,
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scraping, griping catchpoles, (I mean our common hungry pettifoggers, rabulas forenses, love and honour in the meantime all good laws, and worthy lawyers, that are so many oracles and pilots of a well-governed commonwealth.) Without art, without judgment, that do more harm, as Livy said, quam bella externa, fames, morbive, than sickness, war; hunger, diseases; "and cause a most incredible destruction of a commonwealth," saith Sesellius, a famous civilian sometimes in Paris, as ivy doth by an oak, embrace it so long, until it hath got the heart out of it, so do they by such places they inhabit; no counsel at all, no justice, no speech to be had, nisi eum premulseris, he must be fed still, or else he is as mute as a fish, better open an oyster without a knife. Experto crede (saith Salisburiensis) in manus eorum millies incidi, et Charon immitis, qui nulli pepercit unquam, his longe clementior est; "I speak out of experience, I have been a thousand times amongst them, and Charon himself is more gentle than they; he is contented with his single pay, but they multiply still, they are never satisfied," besides they have damnificas linguas, as he terms it, nisi funibus
argenteis vincias, they must be fed to say nothing, and get more to hold their peace than we can to say our best. They will speak their clients fair, and invite them to their tables, but as he follows it, "of all injustice there is none so pernicious as that of theirs, which when they deceive most, will seem to be honest men." They take upon them to be peacemakers, et fovere causas humilium, to help them to their right, patrocinantur afflictis, but all is for their own good, ut loculos pleniorum exhauriant, they plead for poor men gratis, but they are but as a stale to catch others. If there be no jar, they can make a jar, out of the law itself find still some quirk or other, to set them at odds, and continue causes so long, lustra aliquot, I know not how many years before the cause is heard, and when 'tis judged and determined by reason of some tricks and errors, it is as fresh to begin, after twice seven years some times, as it was at first; and so they prolong time, delay suits till they have enriched themselves, and beggared their clients. And, as Cato inveighed against Isocrates' scholars, we may justly tax our wrangling lawyers, they do consenescere in litibus, are so litigious and busy here on earth, that I think they will plead their client's causes hereafter, some of them in hell.
Simlerus complains amongst the Suissers of the advocates in his time, that when they should make an end, they began controversies, and "protract their causes many years, persuading them their title is good, till their patrimonies be consumed, and that they have spent more in seeking than the thing is worth, or they shall get by the recovery."
So that he that goes to law, as the proverb is, holds a wolf by the ears, or as a sheep in a storm runs for shelter to a brier, if he prosecute his cause he is consumed, if he surcease his suit he loseth all; what difference? They had wont heretofore, saith Austin, to end matters, per communes arbitros; and so in Switzerland (we are informed by Simlerus), "they had some common arbitrators or daysmen in every town, that made a friendly composition betwixt man and man, and he much wonders at their honest simplicity, that could keep peace so well, and end such great causes by that means. At Fez in Africa, they have neither lawyers nor advocates; but if there be any controversies amongst them, both parties plaintiff and defendant come to their Alfakins or chief judge, "and at once without any farther appeals or pitiful delays, the cause is heard and ended." Our forefathers, as a worthy chorographer of ours observes, had wont pauculis cruculis aureis, with a few golden crosses, and lines in verse, make all conveyances, assurances. And such was the candour and integrity of succeeding ages, that a deed (as I have often seen) to convey a whole manor, was implicite contained in some twenty lines or thereabouts; like that scede or Sytala Laconica, so much renowned of old in all contracts, which Tully so earnestly commends to Atticus, Plutarch in his Lysander, Aristotle polit.: Thucydides, lib. 1.
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Diodorus and Suidas approve and magnify, for that laconic brevity in this kind; and well they might, for, according to Tertullian, certa sunt paucis, there is much more certainty in fewer words. And so was it of old throughout: but now many skins of parchment will scarce serve turn; he that buys and sells a house, must have a house full of writings, there be so many circumstances, so many words, such tautological repetitions of all particulars, (to avoid cavillation they say;) but we find by our woful experience, that to subtle wits it is a cause of much more contention and variance, and scarce any conveyance so accurately penned by one, which another will not find a crack in, or cavil at; if any one word be misplaced, any little error, all is disannulled.
That which is a law to-day, is none to-morrow; that which is sound in one man's opinion, is most faulty to another; that in conclusion, here is nothing amongst us but contention and confusion, we bandy one against another. And that which long since Plutarch complained of them in Asia, may be verified in our times. "These men here assembled, come not to sacrifice to their gods, to offer Jupiter their first-fruits, or merriments to Bacchus; but an yearly disease, exasperating Asia, hath brought them hither, to make an end of their controversies and lawsuits." 'Tis multitudo perdentium et pereuntium, a destructive rout that seek one another's ruin. Such most part are our ordinary suitors, termers, clients, new stirs every day, mistakes, error; cavils, and at this present, as I have heard in some one court, I know not how many thousand causes: no person free, no title almost good, with such bitterness in following, so many slights, procrastinations, delays, forgery, such cost (for infinite sums are inconsiderately spent), violence and malice, I know not by whose fault, lawyers, clients, laws, both or all: but as Paul reprehended the Corinthians long since, I may more positively infer now: "There is a fault amongst you, and I speak it to your shame, Is there not a wise man amongst you, to judge between his brethren? but that a brother goes to law with a brother." And Christ's counsel concerning lawsuits, was never so fit to be inculcated as in this age: "Agree with thine adversary quickly," &c. Matth. v. 25.
I could repeat many such particular grievances, which must disturb a body politic. To shut up all in brief, where good government is, prudent and wise princes, there all things thrive and prosper, peace and happiness is in that land: where it is otherwise, all things are ugly to behold, incult, barbarous, uncivil, a paradise is turned to a wilderness. This island amongst the rest, our next neighbours the French and Germans, may be a sufficient witness, that in a short time by that prudent policy of the Romans, was brought from barbarism; see but what Caesar reports of us, and Tacitus of those old Germans, they were once as uncivil as they in Virginia, yet by planting of colonies and good laws, they became from barbarous outlaws, to be full of rich and populous cities, as now they are, and most flourishing kingdoms. Even so might
Virginia, and those wild Irish have been civilized long since, if that order had been heretofore taken, which now begins, of planting colonies, &c. I have read a discourse, printed anno 1612. "Discovering the true causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued, or brought under obedience to the crown of England, until the beginning of his Majesty's happy reign." Yet if his reasons were thoroughly scanned by a judicious politician, I am afraid he would not altogether be approved, but that it would turn to the dishonour of our nation, to suffer it to lie so long waste. Yea, and if some
travellers should see (to come nearer home) those rich, united provinces of Holland, Zealand &c., over against us; those neat cities and populous towns, full of most industrious artificers, so much land recovered from the sea, and so painfully preserved by those artificial inventions, so wonderfully approved, as that of Bemster in Holland,
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ut nihil huic par aut simile inveniat in toto orbe, saith Bertius the geographer, all the world cannot match it, many navigable channels from place to place, made by men's hands, etc. and on the other side so many thousand acres of our fens lie drowned, our cities thin, and those vile, poor, and ugly to behold in respect of theirs, our trades decayed, our still running rivers stopped, and that beneficial use of transportation, wholly neglected, so many havens void of ships and towns, so many parks and forests for pleasure, barren heaths, so many villages depopulated, &c. I think sure he would find some fault.
I may not deny but that this nation of ours, doth bene audire apud exteros, is a most noble, a most flourishing kingdom, by common consent of all geographers, historians, politicians, 'tis unica velut arx,(The citadel par excellence) and which
Quintius in Livy said of the inhabitants of Peloponnesus, may be well applied to us, we are testudines testa sua inclusi, like so many tortoises in our shells safely defended by an angry sea, as a wall on all sides. Our island hath many such honourable eulogiums; and as a learned countryman of ours right well hath it, "Ever since the Normans first coming into England, this country both for military matters, and all other of civility, hath been paralleled with the most flourishing kingdoms of Europe and our Christian world," a blessed, a rich country, and one of the fortunate isles: and for some things preferred before other countries, for expert seamen, our laborious discoveries, art of navigation, true merchants, they carry the bell away from all other nations, even the Portugals and Hollanders themselves; "without all fear," saith
Boterus, "furrowing the ocean winter and summer, and two of their captains, with no less valour than fortune, have sailed round about the world? We have besides many particular blessings, which our neighbours want, the Gospel truly preached, church discipline established, long peace and quietness free from exactions, foreign fears, invasions, domestical seditions, well manured, fortified by art, and nature, and now most happy in that fortunate union of England and Scotland, which our forefathers have laboured to effect, and desired to see. But in which we excel all others, a wise,
learned, religious king, another Numa, a second Augustus, a true Josiah; most worthy senators, a learned clergy, an obedient commonalty, &c. Yet amongst many roses, some thistles grow, some bad weeds and enormities, which much disturb the peace of this body politic, eclipse the honour and glory of it, fit to be rooted out, and with all speed to be reformed.
The first is idleness, by reason of which we have many swarms of rogues, and beggars, thieves, drunkards, and discontented persons (whom Lycurgus in Plutarch calls morbos reipublicæ, the boils of the commonwealth), many poor people in all our towns. Civitates ignobiles as Polydore calls them, base built cities, inglorious, poor, small, rare in sight, ruinous, and thin of inhabitants. Our land is fertile we may not deny, full of all good things, and why doth it not then abound with cities, as well as Italy, France, Germany, the Low-countries? because their policy hath been otherwise, and we are not so thrifty, circumspect, industrious. Idleness is the malus genius of our nation. For as Boterus justly argues, fertility of a country is not enough, except art and industry be joined unto it, according to Aristotle, riches are either natural or artificial; natural, are good land, fair mines, &c. artificial, are manufactures, coins, &c. Many kingdoms are fertile, but thin of inhabitants, as that Duchy of Piedmont in Italy, which Leander Albertus so much magnifies for corn, wine, fruits, &c., yet nothing near so populous as those which are more barren. "England," saith he, "London only excepted, hath never a populous city, and yet a fruitful country." I find 46 cities and
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walled towns in Alsatia, a small province in Germany, 50 castles, an infinite number of villages, no ground idle, no not rocky places, or tops of hills are untilled, as Munster informeth us. In Greichgea, a small territory on the Necker, 24 Italian miles over, I read of 20 walled towns, innumerable villages, each one containing 150 houses most part, besides castles and noblemen's palaces. I observe in Turinge, in Dutchland (twelve miles over by their scale) 12 counties, and in them 144 cities, 2000 villages, 144 towns, 250 castles. In Bavaria, 34 cities, 46 towns, &c. Portugallia interamnis, a small plot of ground, hath 1460 parishes, 130 monasteries, 200 bridges. Malta, a barren island, yields 20,000 inhabitants. But of all the rest, I admire Lues Guicciardine's relations of the Low-countries. Holland hath 26 cities, 400 great villages. Zeland, 10 cities, 102 parishes. Brabant, 26 cities, 102 parishes. Flanders, 28 cities, 90 towns, 1154 villages, besides abbeys, castles, &c. The Low-countries generally have three cities at least for one of ours, and those far more populous and rich: and what is the cause, but their industry and excellency in all manner of trades?
Their commerce, which is maintained by a multitude of tradesmen, so many excellent channels made by art and opportune havens, to which they build their cities; all which we have in like measure, at at least may have. But their chiefest loadstone which draws all manner of commerce and merchandise, which maintains their present estate, is not fertility of soil, but industry that enricheth them, the gold mines of Peru, or Nova Hispania may not compare with them. They have neither gold nor silver of their own, wine nor oil, or scarce any corn growing in those united provinces, little or no wood, tin, lead, iron, silk, wool, any stuff almost, or metal; and yet Hungary, Transylvania, that brag of their mines, fertile England cannot compare with them. I dare boldly say, that neither France, Tarentum, Apulia, Lombardy, or any part of Italy, Valentia in Spain, or that pleasant Andalusia, with their excellent fruits, wine and oil, two harvests, no not any part of Europe is so flourishing, so rich, so populous, so full of good ships, of well-built cities, so abounding with all things necessary for the use of man. 'Tis our Indies, an epitome of China, and all by reason of their industry, good policy, and commerce. Industry is a loadstone to draw all good things; that alone makes countries flourish, cities populous, and will enforce by reason of much manure, which necessarily follows, a barren soil to be fertile and good, as sheep, saith Dion, mend a bad pasture.
Tell me, politicians, why is that fruitful Palestina, noble Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, so much decayed, and (mere carcases now) fallen from that they were? The ground is the same, but the government is altered, the people are grown slothful, idle, their good husbandry, policy, and industry is decayed. Non fatigata aut effoeta humus, as Columella well informs Sylvinus, sed nostra fit inertia, &c. (the soil is not tired or exhausted, but has become barren through our sloth). May a man believe that which Aristotle in his politics, Pausanias, Stephanus, Sophianus, Gerbelius relate of old Greece? I find heretofore 70 cities in Epirus overthrown by Paulus Æmilius, a goodly province in times past, now left desolate of good towns and almost inhabitants. 62 cities in Macedonia in Strabo's time. I find 30 in Laconia, but now scarce so many villages, saith Gerbelius. If any man from Mount Taygetus should view the country round about, and see tot delicias, tot urbes per Peloponnesum dispersas, so many delicate and brave built cities with such cost and exquisite cunning, so neatly set out in Peloponnesus, he should perceive them now ruinous and overthrown, burnt, waste,
desolate, and laid level with the ground. Incredibile dictu, &c. And as he laments, Quis talia fando Temperet a
lachrymi? Quis tam durus aut ferreus? (Not even the hardest of our foes could hear / Nor stern Ulyssses tell without a tear), so he
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prosecutes it. Who is he that can sufficiently condole and commiserate these ruins?
Where are those 4000 cities of Egypt, those 100 cities in Crete? Are they now come to two? What saith Pliny and Ælian of old Italy? There were in former ages 1166 cities: Blondus and Machiavel, both grant them now nothing near so populous, and full of good towns as in the time of Augustus (for now Leander Albertus can find but 300 at most), and if we may give credit to Livy, not then so strong and puissant as of old: "They mustered 70 Legions in former time; which now the known world will scarce yield." Alexander built 70 cities in a short space for his part, our Sultans and Turks demolish twice as many, and leave all desolate. Many will not believe but that our island of Great Britain is now more populous than ever it was; yet let them read Bale, Leland and others, they shall find it most flourished in the Saxon Heptarchy, and in the Conqueror's time was far better inhabited than at this present. See that Domesday Book, and show me those thousands of parishes, which are now decayed, cities ruined, villages depopulated, &c. The lesser the territory is, commonly, the richer it is.
Parvus sed bene cultus ager. [a small but well cultivated field] As those Athenian, Lacedæmonian, Arcadian, Aelian, Sycionian, Messenian, &c., commonwealths of Greece make ample proof; as those imperial cities and free states of Germany may witness, those Cantons of Switzers, Rheti, Grisons, Walloons, Territories of Tuscany, Luke and Senes of old, Piedmont, Mantua, Venice in Italy, Ragusa, &c.
That prince therefore, as Boterus adviseth, that will have a rich country, and fair cities, let him get good trades, privileges, painful inhabitants, artificers, and suffer no rude matter unwrought, as tin, iron, wool, lead, &c., to be transported out of his country, -- a thing in part seriously attempted amongst us, but not effected. And because industry of men, and multitude of trade so much avails to the ornament and enriching of a kingdom; those ancient Massilians would admit no man into their city that had not some trade. Selym the first Turkish emperor procured a thousand good
artificers to be brought from Taurus to Constantinople. The Polanders indented with Henry Duke of Anjou, their new chosen king, to bring with him an hundred families of artificers into Poland. James the First, in Scotland (as Buchanan writes), sent for the best artificers he could get in Europe, and gave them great rewards to teach his subjects their several trades. Edward the Third, our most renowned king, to his eternal memory, brought clothing first into this island, transporting some families of artificers from Gaunt hither. How many goodly cities could I reckon up, that thrive wholly by trade, where thousands of inhabitants live singular well by their fingers' ends! As Florence in Italy by making cloth of gold; great Milan by silk, and all curious works; Arras in Artois by those fair hangings; many cities in Spain, many in France, Germany, have none other maintenance, especially those within the land. Mecca in Arabia Petræa, stands in a most unfruitful country, that wants water, amongst the rocks (as Vertomanus describes it), and yet it is a most elegant and pleasant city, by reason of the traffic of the east and west. Ormus in Persia is a most famous mart-town, hath nought else but the opportunity of the haven to make it flourish. Corinth, a noble city (Lumen Graeciae, Tully calls it) the Eye of Greece, by reason of Oenchreas and Lecheus those excellent ports, drew all that traffic of the Ionian and Ægean seas to it; and yet the country about it was curva et superciliosa, as Strabo terms it, rugged and harsh. We may say the same of Athens, Actium, Thebes, Sparta, and most of those towns in Greece. Nuremberg in Germany is sited in a most barren soil, yet a noble imperial city, by the sole industry of artificers, and cunning trades, they draw the riches of most countries to them, so expert in manufactures, that as Sallust long since gave out of the like, Sedem animæ in extremis digitis habent, their soul, or intellectus
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agens, was placed in their fingers' end; and so we may say of Basil, Spire, Cambray, Frankfort, &c. It is almost incredible to speak what some write of Mexico and the cities adjoining to it, no place in the world at their first discovery more populous, Mat.
Riccius, the Jesuit, and some others, relate of the industry of the Chinese most populous countries, not a beggar or an idle person to be seen, and how by that means they prosper and flourish. We bate the same means, able bodies, pliant wits, matter of all sorts, wool, flax, iron, tin, lead, wood, &c., many excellent subjects to work upon, only industry is wanting. We send our best commodities beyond the seas, which they make good use of to their necessities, set themselves a work about, and severally improve, sending the same to us back at dear rates, or else make toys and baubles of the tails of them, which they sell to us again, at as great a reckoning as the whole. In most of our cities, some few excepted, like Spanish loiterers, we live wholly by tippling-inns and ale-houses. Malting are their best ploughs, their greatest traffic to sell ale. Meteran and some others object to us, that we are no whit so industrious as the Hollanders: "Manual trades (saith he) which are more curious or troublesome, are wholly exercised by strangers: they dwell in a sea full of fish, but they are so idle, they will not catch so much as shall serve their own turns, but buy it of their neighbours." Tush Mare liberum, they fish under our noses, and sell it to us when they have done, at their own prices.
--- "Pudet haec opprobria nobis
Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse refelli."
I am ashamed to hear this objected by strangers, and know not how to answer it.
Amongst our towns, there is only London that bears the face of a city, Epitome Britanniæ, a famous emporium, second to none beyond seas, a noble mart: but sola crescit, decrescentibus aliis; and yet in my slender judgment, defective in many things. The rest (some few excepted) are in mean estate, ruinous most part, poor, and full of beggars, by reason of their decayed trades, neglected or bad policy, idleness of their inhabitants, riot, which had rather beg or loiter, and be ready to starve, than work.
I cannot deny but that something may be said in defence of our cities, that they are not so fair built, (for the sole magnificence of this kingdom, concerning buildings, hath been of old in those Norman castles and religious houses,) so rich, thick sited, populous, as in some other countries; besides the reasons Cardan gives, Subtil. Lib. 11. we want wine and oil, their two harvests, we dwell in a colder air, and for that cause must a little more liberally feed of flesh, as all northern countries do: our provisions will not therefore extend to the maintenance of so many; yet notwithstanding we have matter of all sorts, an open sea for traffic, as well as the rest, goodly havens. And how can we excuse our negligence, our riot, drunkenness, &c., and such enormities that follow it? We have excellent laws enacted, you will say, severe statutes, houses of correction, &c., to small purpose it seems; it is not houses will serve, but cities of correction; our trades generally ought to be reformed, wants supplied. In other countries they have the same grievances, I confess, but that doth not excuse us, wants, defects, enormities, idle drones, tumults, discords, contention, lawsuits, many laws made against them to repress those innumerable brawls and lawsuits, excess in apparel, diet, decay of tillage, depopulations, especially against rogues, beggars, Egyptian vagabonds (so termed at least) which have swarmed all
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over Germany, France, Italy, Poland, as you may read in Munster, Cranzius. and Aventinus; as those Tartars and Arabians at this day do in the eastern countries: yet such has been the iniquity of all ages, as it seems to small purpose. Nemo in nostra civitate mendicus esto, (let no-one in our city be a beggar) saith Plato: he will have them purged from a commonwealth, "as a bad humour from the body," that are like so many ulcers and boils, and must be cured before the melancholy body can be eased.
What Carolus Magnus, the Chinese, the Spaniards, the Duke of Saxony, and many other states have decreed in this case, read Arniseus, cap. 19; Boterus, libro 8, cap. 2; Osorius de Rebus gest. Eman. lib. 11. When a country is overstocked with people, as a pasture is oft overlaid with cattle, they had wont in former times to disburden themselves, by sending out colonies, or by wars, as those old Romans; or by employing them at home abut some public buildings, as bridges, road-ways, for which those Romans were famous in this island; as Augustus Cæsar did in Rome, the Spaniards in their Indian mines, as at Potosi in Peru, where some 30,000 men are still at work, 6000 furnaces ever boiling, &c. aqueducts, bridges, havens, those stupend works of Trajan, Claudius, at Ostium, Diociesiani Therma, Fucinus Lacus, that Piræum in Athens, made by Themistocles, amphitheatrums of curious marble, as at Verona, Civitas Philippi, and Heraclea in Thrace, those Appian and Flaminian ways, prodigious works all may witness; and rather than they should be idle, as those Egyptian Pharaohs, Maris, and Sesostris did, to task their subjects to build unnecessary pyramids, obelisks, labyrinths, channels, lakes, gigantic works all, to divert them from rebellion, riot, drunkenness, Quo scilicet alantur, et ne vagando laborare desuescant. (Buscoldus discursu polit. cap. 2 "whereby they are supported, and do not become vagrants by being less accustomed to labour.")
The Turks of late attempted to cut that Isthmus betwixt Africa and Asia, which Sesostris and Darius, and some Pharaohs of Egypt had formerly undertaken, but with ill success, as Diodonis Siculus records, and Pliny, for that Red-sea being three cubits higher than Egypt, would have drowned all the country, coepto destiterant, they left off; yet as the same Diodorus writes, Ptolemy renewed the work many years after, and absolved it in a more opportune place.
That Isthmus of Corinth was likewise undertaken to be made navigable by Demetrius, by Julius Caesar, Nero, Domitian, Herodes Atticus, to make a speedy passage, and less dangerous, from the Ionian and Ægean seas; but because it could not be so well affected, the Peloponnesians built a wall like our Picts' wall about Schænute, where Neptune's temple stood, and in the shortest cut over the Isthmus, of
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which Diodorus, lib. 11. Herodotus, lib. 8. Vran. Our latter writers call it Hexamilium, which Aniurath the Turk demolished, the Venetians, anno 1453, repaired in 15 days with 30,000 men. Some, saith Acosta, would have a passage cut from Panama to Nombre de Dios in America; but Thuanus and Serres the French historians speak of a famous aqueduct in France, intended in Henry the Fourth's time, from the Loire to the Seine, and from Rhodanus to the Loire. The like to which was formerly assayed by Domitian the emperor, from Arar to Moselle, which Cornelius Tacitus speaks of in the 13th of his annals, after by Charles the Great and others. Much cost hath in former times been bestowed in either new making or mending channels of rivers, and their passages, (as Aurelianus did by Tiber to make it navigable to Rome, to convey corn from Egypt to the city, vadum alvei tumentis effodit saith Vopiscus, et Tiberis ripas
extruxit, he cut fords, made banks, &c.) decayed havens, which Claudius the emperor, with infinite pains and charges, attempted at Ostia, as I have said, the Venetians at this day to preserve their city; many excellent means to enrich their territories, have been fostered, invented in most provinces of Europe, as planting some Indian plants amongst us, silk-worms, the very mulberry leaves in the plains of Granada yield 30,000 crowns per annum to the king of Spain's coffers, besides those many trades and artificers that are busied about them in the kingdom of Granada, Murcia, and all over Spain. In France a great benefit is raised by salt, &c., whether these things might not be as happily attempted with us, and with like success, it may be controverted, silk-worms (I mean), vines, fir trees, &c. Cardan exhorts Edward the Sixth to plant olives, and is fully persuaded they would prosper in this island. With us, navigable rivers are most part neglected; our streams are not great, I confess, by reason of the narrowness of the island, yet they run smoothly and even, not headlong, swift, or amongst rocks and shelves, as foaming Rhodanus and Loire in France, Tigris in Mesopotamia, violent Durius in Spain, with cataracts and whirlpools, as the Rhine, and Danubius, about Shaffausen, Lausenburgh, Linz, and Cremmes, to endanger navigators; or broad shallow, as Neckar in the Palatinate, Tibris in Italy; but calm and fair as Arar in France, Hebrus in Macedonia, Eurotas in Laconia, they gently glide along, and might as well be repaired many of them (I mean Wye, Trent, Ouse, Thamisis at Oxford, the defect of which we feel in the mean time) as the River of Lee from Ware to London. B. Atwater of old, or as some will Henry I., made a channel from Trent to Lincoln, navigable; which now, saith Mr. Camden, is decayed, and much mention is made of anchors, and such like monuments found about old Verulamium, good ships have formerly come to Exeter, and many such places, whose channels, havens, ports, are now barred and rejected. We contemn this benefit of carriage by waters, and are therefore compelled in the inner parts of this island, because portage is so dear, to eat up our commodities ourselves, and live like so many boars in a sty, for want of vent and utterance.
We have many excellent havens, royal havens, Falmouth, Portsmouth, Milford, &c. equivalent if not to be preferred to that Indian Havanna, old Brindusium in Italy, Aulis in Greece, Ambracia in Acarnia, Suda in Crete, which have few ships in them, little or no traffic or trade, which have scarce a village on them, able to bear great cities, sed viderint politici. I could here justly tax many other neglects, abuses, errors, defects among us, and in other countries, depopulations, riot, drunkenness, &c. and many such, quæ nunc in aurem susurrare non tibet. But I must take heed, ne quid gravius dica, that I do not overshoot myself, Sus Minervam, I am forth of my element, as you peradventure suppose; and sometimes veritas odium parit, as he said, "verjuice and oatmeal is good for a parrot." For as Lucian said of an historian, I say of
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a politician. He that will freely speak and write, must be for ever no subject, under no prince or law, but lay out the matter truly as it is, not caring what any can, will, like or dislike.
We have good laws, I deny not, to rectify such enormities, and so in all other countries, but it seems not always to good purpose. We had need of some general visitor in our age, that should reform what is amiss; a just army of Rosie-crosse men, for they will amend all matters (they say), religion, policy, manners, with arts; sciences, &c. Another Attila, Tamerlane, Hercules, to strive with Achelous, Augeæ stabulum purgare, to subdue tyrants, as he did Diomedes and Busris: to expel thieves, as he did Cacus and Lacinius: to vindicate poor captives, as he did Hesione: to pass the torrid zone, the deserts of Lybia, and purge the world of monsters and Centaurs: or another Theban Crates to reform our manners, to compose quarrels and controversies, as in his time he did, and was therefore adored for a god in Athens. "As Hercules purged the world of monsters, and subdued them, so did he fight against envy, lust, anger, avarice, &c. and all those feral vices and monsters of the mind? it were to be wished we had some such visitor, or if wishing would serve, one had such a ring or rings, as Timolaus desired in Lucian, by virtue of which he should be as strong as 10,000 men, or an army of giants, go invisible, open gates and castle doors, have what treasure he would, transport himself in an instant to what place he desired, alter affections, cure all manner of diseases, that he might range over the world, and reform all distressed states and persons, as he would himself. He might reduce those wandering Tartars in order, that infest China on the one side, Muscovy, Poland, on the other; and tame the vagabond Arabians that rob and spoil those eastern countries, that they should never use more caravans, or janizaries to conduct them. He might root out barbarism out of America, and fully discover Terra Australis Incognita, find out the north-east and north-west passages, drain those mighty Mæotian fens, cut down those vast Hircinian woods, irrigate those barren Arabian deserts, &c. cure us of our epidemical diseases, scorbutum, plica, morbus Neapolitanus, &c., end all our idle controversies, cut off our tumultuous desires, inordinate lusts, root out atheism, impiety, heresy, schism, and superstition, which now so crucify the world, catechise gross ignorance, purge Italy of luxury and riot, Spain of superstition and jealousy, Germany of drunkenness, all our northern country of gluttony and intemperance, castigate our hard-hearted parents, masters, tutors; lash disobedient children, negligent servants, correct these spendthrifts and prodigal sons, enforce idle persons to work, drive drunkards off the alehouse, repress thieves, visit corrupt and tyrannizing magistrates, &c. But as L. Licinius taxed Timolaus, you may us. These are vain, absurd and ridiculous wishes not to be hoped: and must be as it is, Bocchalinus may cite commonwealths to come before Apollo, and seek to reform the world itself by commissioners, but there is no remedy, it may not be redressed, desinent homines tum demum stultescere quando esse destinet, so long as they can wag their beards, they will play the knaves and fools.
Because, therefore, it is a thing so difficult, impossible, and far beyond Hercules' labours to be performed; let them be rude, stupid, ignorant, incult, lapis super lapidem sedeat, and as the apologist will, resp. tussi, et graveolentia laboret,
mundus vitio, let them be barbarous as they are, let them tyrannize, epicurize, oppress,
luxuriate, consume themselves with factions, superstitions, lawsuits, wars and contentions, live in riot, poverty, want, misery; rebel, wallow as so many swine in their own dung, with Ulysses' companions, stultos jubeo esse libenter. I will yet, to
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satisfy and please myself, make an Utopia of mine own a new Atlantis, a poetical commonwealth of mine own, in which I will freely domineer, build cities, make laws, statutes, as I list myself. And why may I not? -- Pictoribus atque poetis, &c. You know what liberty poets ever had, and besides, my predecessor Democritus was a politician, a recorder of Abdera, a law maker as some say; and why may not I presume so much as he did? Howsoever I will adventure. For the site, if you will needs urge me to it, I am not fully resolved, it may be in Terra Australis Incognita, there is room enough (for of my knowledge neither that hungry Spaniard, nor Mercurius Britannicus, have yet discovered half of it) or else one of those floating islands in Mare del Zur, which like the Cyanian isles in the Euxine sea, alter their place, and are accessible only at set times, and to some few persons; or one of the Fortunate isles, for who knows yet where, or which they are? there is room enough in the inner parts of America, and northern coasts of Asia. But I will choose a site, whose latitude shall be 45 degrees (I respect not minutes) in the midst of the temperate zone, or perhaps under the equator, that paradise of the world, ubi semper virens laurus, &c. where is a perpetual spring: the longitude for some reasons I will conceal. Yet "be it known to all men by these presents," that if any honest gentle man will send in so much money, as Cardan allows an astrologer for casting a nativity, he shall be a share; I will acquaint him with my project, or if any worthy man will stand for any temporal or spiritual office or dignity, (for as he said of his archbishops of Utopia, 'tis sanctus ambitus, and not amiss to be sought after,) it shall be freely given without all intercessions, bribes, letters, &c. his own worth shall be the best spokesman; and because we shall admit of no deputies or advowsons, if he be sufficiently qualified, and as able as willing to execute the place himself, he shall have present possession. It shall be divided into 12 or 13 provinces, and those by hills, rivers, road-ways, or some more eminent limits exactly bounded. Each province shall have a metropolis, which shall be so placed as a centre almost in a circumference, and the rest at equal distances, some Italian miles asunder, or thereabout, and in them shall be sold all things necessary for the use of man; statis horis et diebus, no market towns, markets or fairs, for they do but beggar cities (no village shall stand above 6, 7, or 8 miles from a city) except those emporiums which are by the sea side, general staples, marts, as Antwerp, Venice, Bergen of old, London, &c. cities most part shall be situated upon navigable rivers or lakes, creeks, havens; and for their form, regular, round, square, or long square, with fair, broad, and straight streets, houses uniform, built of brick and stone, like Bruges, Brussels, Rhegium Lepidi, Berne in Switzerland, Milan, Mantua, Crema, Cambalu in Tartary, described by M. Polus, or that Venetian palma. I will admit very few or no suburbs, and those of baser building, walls only to keep out man and horse, except it be in some frontier towns, or by the sea side, and those to be fortified after the latest manner of fortification, and situated upon convenient havens, or opportune places. In every so built city, I will have convenient churches, and separate places to bury the dead in, not in churchyards; a citadella (in some, not all) to command it, prisons for offenders, opportune market-places of all sorts, for corn, meat, cattle, fuel, fish, commodious courts of justice, public halls for all societies, bourses, meeting places, armouries, in which shall be kept engines for quenching of fire, artillery gardens, public walks, theatres, and spacious fields allotted for all gymnastic sports, and honest recreations, hospitals of all kinds, for children, orphans, old folks, sick men, mad men, soldiers, pest houses, &c. not built precario, or by gouty benefactors, who, when by fraud and rapine they have extorted all their lives, oppressed whole provinces, societies, &c. give something to pious uses, build a satisfactory alms-house, school or bridge, &c. at their last end or before perhaps,
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which is no otherwise than to steal a goose, and stick down a feather, rob a thousand to relieve ten; and those hospitals so built and maintained, not by collections, benevolences, donaries, for a set number, (as in ours,) just so many and no more at such a rate, but for all those who stand in need, be they more or less, and that ex publico ærario, and so still maintained, non nobis solum nati sumus, &c. I will have conduits of sweet and good water, aptly disposed in each town, common granaries, as at Dresden in Misnia, Stetein in Pomerland, Noremberg, &c. Colleges of mathematicians, musicians, and actors, as of old at Labedum in Ionia, alchymists, physicians, artists, and philosophers: that all arts and sciences may sooner be perfected and better learned; and public historiographers, as amongst those ancient Persians, qui in commentarios referebant quæ memoratu digna gerebantur, informed and appointed by the state to register all famous acts, and not by each insufficient scribbler, partial or parasitical pedant, as in our times. I will provide public schools of all kinds, singing, dancing, fencing, &c. especially of grammar and language; not to be taught by those tedious precepts ordinarily used, but by use, example, conversation, as travellers learn abroad, and nurses teach their children: as I will have all such places, so will I ordain public governors, fit officers to each place, treasurers, aediles, questors, overseers of pupils, widows' goods, and all public houses, &c. and those once a year to make strict accounts of all receipts, expenses, to avoid confusion, et sic fiet ut non absumant (as Pliny to Trajan,) quod pudeat dicere. They shall be subordinate to those higher officers and governors of each city, which shall not be poor tradesmen, and mean artificers, but noblemen and gentlemen, which shall be tied to residence in those towns they dwell next, at such set times and seasons: for I see no reason (which Hippolitus complains of) "that it should be more dishonourable for noblemen to govern the city than the country, or unseemly to dwell there now, than of old." I will have no bogs, fens, marshes, vast woods, deserts, heaths, commons, but all inclosed; (yet not depopulated, and therefore take heed you mistake me not) for that which is common, and every man's, is no man's; the richest countries are still inclosed, as Essex, Kent, with us, &c. Spain, Italy; and where inclosures are least in quantity, they are best husbanded, as about Florence in Italy, Damascus in Syria, &c. which are liker gardens than fields. I will not have a barren acre in all my territories, not so much as the tops of mountains: where nature fails, it shall be supplied by art: lakes and rivers shall not be left desolate. All common highways, bridges, banks, corrivations of waters, aqueducts, channels, public works, building, &c. out of a stock, curiously maintained and kept in repair; no depopulations, engrossings, alterations of wood, arable, but by the consent of some supervisors that shall be appointed for that purpose, to see what reformation ought to be had in all places, what is amiss, how to help it, et quid quaqueferat regio, et quid quaque recuset, what ground is aptest for wood, what for corn, what for cattle, gardens, orchards, fishponds, &c. with a charitable division in every village, (not one domineering house greedily to swallow up all, which is too common with us) what for lords, what for tenants; and because
they shall be better encouraged to improve such lands they hold, manure, plant trees, drain, fence. &c., they shall have long leases, a known rent, and known fine to free them from those intolerable exactions of tyrannizing landlords. These supervisors shall likewise appoint what quantity of land in each manor is fit for the lord's demesnes, what for holding of tenants, how it ought to be husbanded, ut magnetis equis, Minyæ gens cognita remis, how to be manured, tilled, rectified, hic segetes veniunt, illic foelicius uvæ, arborei foetus alibi, atque injussa virescunt Gramina, and what proportion is fit for all callings, because private professors are many times idiots,
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ill husbands, oppressors, covetous, and know not how to improve their own, or else wholly respect their own, and not public good.
Utopian parity is a kind of government, to be wished for, rather than effected, Respub. Christianopolitana, Campanella's city of the Sun, and that new Atlantis, witty fictions, but mere chimeras and Plato's community in many things is impious, absurd and ridiculous, it takes away all splendour and magnificence. I will have several orders, degrees of nobility, and those hereditary, not rejecting younger brothers in the mean time, for they shall be sufficiently provided for by pensions, or so qualified, brought up in some honest calling, they shall be able to live of themselves. I will have such a proportion of ground belonging to every barony, he that buys the land shall buy the barony, he that by riot consumes his patrimony, and ancient demesnes, shall forfeit his. As some dignities shall be hereditary, so some again by election, or by gift (besides free offices, pensions, annuities,) like our bishoprics, prebends, the Basso's palaces in Turkey, the procurators houses and offices in Venice, which, like the golden apple, shall be given to the worthiest, and best deserving both in war and peace, as a reward of their worth and good service, as so many goals for all to aim at, (honos alit artes) and encouragernents to others. For I hate these severe, unnatural, harsh, German, French, and Venetian decrees, which exclude plebeians from honours, be they never so wise, rich, virtuous, valiant, and well qualified, they must not be patricians, but keep their own rank, this is naturæ bellum inferre, odious to God and men, I abhor it. My form of government shall be monarchical.
--- "nunquam libertas gratior extat, Quam sub Rege pio," &c.
(Liberty is never more gratifying than under a pious king)
Few laws, but those severely kept, plainly put down, and in the mother tongue, that every man may understand. Every city shall have a peculiar trade or privilege, by which it shall be chiefly maintained: and parents shall teach their children one of three at least, bring up and instruct them in the mysteries of their own trade. In each town these several tradesmen shall be so aptly disposed, as they shall free the rest from danger or offence: fire-trades, as smiths, forge men, brewers, bakers, metal-men, &c., shall dwell apart by themselves: dyers, tanners, felmongers, and such as use water in convenient places by themselves: noisome or fulsome for bad smells, as butchers' slaughter houses, chandlers, curriers, in remote places, and some back lanes.
Fraternities and companies, I approve of as merchants' bourses, colleges of druggists, physicians, musicians, &c., but all trades to be rated in the sale of wares, as our clerks of the market do bakers and brewers; corn itself what scarcity soever shall come, not to exceed such a price. Of such wares as are transported or brought in, if they be necessary, commodious, and such as nearly concern man's life, as corn, wood, coal, &c., and such provision we cannot want, I will have little or no custom paid, no taxes; but for such things as are for pleasure, delight, or ornament, as wine, spice, tobacco, silk, velvet, cloth of gold, lace, jewels, &c., a greater impost. I will have certain ships sent out for new discoveries every year, and some discreet men appointed to travel into all neighbouring kingdoms by land, which shall observe what artificial inventions
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and good laws are in other countries, customs, alterations, or aught else, concerning war or peace, which may tend to the common good. Ecclesiastical discipline, penes Episcopos, subordinate as the other. No impropriations, no lay patrons of church livings, or one private man, but common societies, corporations, &c., and those rectors of benefices to be chosen out of the Universities, examined and approved, as the literati in China. No parish to contain above a thousand auditors. If it were possible, I would have such priests as should imitate Christ, charitable lawyers should love their neighbours as themselves, temperate and modest physicians, politicians contemn the world, philosophers should know themselves, noblemen live honestly, tradesmen leave lying and cozening, magistrates, corruption, &c., but this is impossible, I must get such as I may. I will therefore have of lawyers, judges, advocates, physicians, chirurgeons, &c., a set number, and every man, if it be possible, to plead his own cause, to tell that tale to the judge which he doth to his advocate, as at Fez in Africa, Bantam, Aleppo, Ragusa, suam quisque causam dicere tenetur. Those advocates, chirurgeons, and physicians, which are allowed to be maintained out of the common treasury, no fees to be given or taken upon pain of losing their places; or if they do, very small fees, and when the cause is fully ended.
He that sues any man shall put in a pledge, which if it be proved be hath wrongfully sued his adversary, rashly or maliciously, he shall forfeit, and lose. Or else before any suit begin, the plaintiff shall have his complaint approved by a set delegacy to that purpose; if it be of moment he shall be suffered as before, to proceed, if otherwise they shall determine it. All causes shall be pleaded suppresso nomine, the parties' names concealed, if some circumstances do not otherwise require. Judges and other officers shall be aptly disposed in each province, villages, cities, as common arbitrators to hear causes, and end all controversies, and those not single, but three at least on the bench at once, to determine or give sentence, and those again to sit by turns or lots, and not to continue still in the same office. No controversy to depend above a year, but without all delays and further appeals to be speedily dispatched, and finally concluded in that time allotted. These and all other inferior magistrates to be chosen as the literati in China or by those exact suffrages of the Venetians, and such again not to be eligible, or capable of magistracies, honours, offices, except they be sufficiently qualified for learning, manners, and that by the strict approbation of reputed examiners: first scholars to take place, then soldiers; for I am of Vigetius his opinion, a scholar deserves better than a soldier, because Unius ætatis sunt quæ fortiter fiunt, quæ vero pro utilate Reipub. scribuntur, æterna: a soldier's work lasts for an age, a scholar's for ever. If they misbehave themselves, they shall be deposed, and accordingly punished, and whether their offices be annual or otherwise, once a year they shall be called in question, and give an account; for men are partial and
passionate, merciless, covetous, corrupt, subject to love, hate, fear, favour, &c., omne sub regno graviore regnum: like Solon's Areopagites, or those Roman Censors, some shall visit others, and the visited invicem themselves, shall oversee that no prowling officer, under colour of authority, shall insult over his inferiors, as so many wild beasts, oppress, domineer, flea, grind, or trample on, be partial or corrupt, but that there be æquabile jus, justice equally done, live as friends and brethren together; and which Sesellius would have and so much desires in his kingdom of France, "a
diapason and sweet harmony of kings, princes, nobles, and plebeians so mutually tied and involved in love, as well as laws and authority, as that they never disagree, insult or encroach one upon another." If any man deserves well in his office he shall be rewarded.
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