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NO body can be healthful without exereise, neither natural body nor politic; and certainly, to a kingdom or estate, a just and honourable war is the true exercise. A civil war, indeed, is like the heat of a fever, but a foreign war is like the heat of exercise, and serveth to keep the body in health; for, in a slothful peace, both courage will effeminate, ayd manners corrupt.
LORD Bacon. THERE is surely no greater wisdom than well to time the beginnings and onsets of tbings. Dangers are no more light if they once seem light; and more dangers have deceived men than forced them : nay, it were better to meet some dangers half way, though they come nothing near, than to keep too long a watch upon their approaches ; for if a man watch too long, it is odds be will fall asleep.
NEITHER is the opinion of some of the schoolmen to be received, that a war cannot justly be made, but upon a precedent injury or provocation; for there is no question but a just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of a war. *
* A great deal has been said about the atrocity of our unprovoked attack on Copenhagen, in the year 1807, but the opinion of Lord Bacon cannot be wanting to justify that measure, which time has proved to have been grounded on the principles of reason, and dictated by the soundest policy.
GENERALLY, it is good to commit the beginning of all great actions to Argus with a hundred eyes : and the ends of them to Briareus, with a hundred hands; first to watch, and then to speed.
IT is good not to try experiments in states, except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident, and well to beware that it be the reformation that draweth on the change, and not the desire of change that pretendeth the reformation; and, lastly, that the novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be held for a suspect; and, as the Scripture saith, “ That we make a stand upon .“ the ancient way, and then look about us and “ discover what is the straight and right way, and “ so to walk in it.”
IT were good that men in their innovations would follow the example of time itself, which, indeed, innovateth greatly, but quietly and by degrees, scarce to be perceived.
GENERALLY, let princes and states choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than of rising, and such as love business rather upon conscience than upon bravery; and let them discern a busy nature from a willing mind.
MERCHANTS—they are “vena porta,” and if they fourish not, a kingdom may have good limbs, but will have empty veins and nourish little. Taxes and imposts upon them do seldom good to the king's revenue, for that which he wins in the hundred, he loseth in the shire; the particular rates being increased, but the total bulk of trading rather decreased.
HE that goeth about to persuade a multitude that they are not so well governed as they ought to be, shall never want attentive and favourable hearers ; because they know the manifold defects whereunto every kind of regimen is subject; but the secret lets and difficulties, which, in public proceedings, are innumerable and inevitable, they have not ordinarily the judgment to consider. And because such as openly reprove supposed disorders of state, are taken for principal friends to the common benefit of all, and for men that carry singular freedom of mind : under this fair and plausible colour, whatsoever they utter passeth for good and current. That which wanteth in the weight of their speech is supplied by the aptness of men's minds to accept and believe it. Whereas, on the other side, if we maintain things that are established, we have not only to strive with a number of heavy prejudices, deeply rooted in the hearts of men, who think that herein we serve the time, and speak in favour of the present state, because thereby. we either hold or seek preferment; but also to bear such exceptions as minds so averted beforehand, usually take against that which they are loth should be poured into them.
LAWS do not only teach what is good, but they enjoin it, they have in them a certain constraining force; and to constrain men unto things inconvenient, doth seem unreasonable. Most requisite therefore it is, that to devise laws, which all men shall be forced to obey, none but wise men be admitted.
ALL laws are promulgated for this end, that every man may know his duty; and therefore, the plainest and most obvious sense of the words, is that which ought to be put upon them; since a more refined exposition cannot be easily comprehended, and would only serve to make the laws become useless to the greater part of mankind, and especially to those who need most the direction of them: for it is all one, not to make a law at all, or to couch it such terms, that without
a quick apprehension and much study, a man cannot find out the true meaning of it; since the generality of mankind are both so dull, and so much employed in their several trades, that they have neither the leisure nor the capacity requisite for such an inquiry.
Sir Thomas More's UTOPIA.
IF ill opinions cannot be quite rooted out, and you cannot cure some received vice according to your wishes, you must not therefore abandon the commonwealth, for the same reasons as you should not forsake the ship in a storm, because you cannot command the winds. You are not obliged to assault people with discourses that are out of their road, when you see that their received notions must prevent your making an impression: upon them. You ought rather to cast about, and and to manage things with all the dexterity in your power, so that if you are not able to make them go well, they may be as little ill as possible. For except all men were good, every thing cannot be right, and that is a blessing that I do not at present hope to see.
ALL might go well in the commonwealth, if every one in the parliament would lay down his own interest, and aim at the general good. If a man were sick, and the whole College of Physi