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they that were nearer carried it, and surprise over-ran succours.
Therefore Titus Quintius made a good comparison of the state of the Achaians to a tortoise, which is safe when it is retired within the shell, but if any part be put forth, then the part exposed endangereth all the rest. For so it is with states that have provinces dispersed, the defence whereof doth commonly consume and decay and sometimes ruin the rest of the estate. And so likewise we may observe, that all the great monarchies, the Persians, the Romans, (and the like of the Turks,) they had not any provinces to the which they needed to demand access through the country of another: neither had they any long races or narrow angles of territory, which were environed or clasped in with foreign states; but their dominions were continued and entire, and had thickness and squareness in their orb or contents. But these things are without contradiction.
For the second, concerning the proportion between the principal region and those which are but secondary, there must evermore distinction be made between the body or stem of the tree, and the boughs and branches. For if the top be overgreat and the stalk too slender, there can be no strength. Now the body is to be accounted so much of an estate as is not separated or distinguished with any mark of foreigners, but is united specially with the bond of naturalization. And therefore we see that when the state of Rome grew great, they were enforced to naturalize the Latins or Italians, because the Roman stem could not bear the provinces and Italy both as branches : and the like they were content after to do to most of the Gauls. So on the contrary part, we see in the state of
cedæmon, which was nice in that point, and would not admit their confederates to be incorporate with them, but rested upon the natural-born subjects of Sparta, how that a small time after they had embraced a larger empire, they were presently surcharged, in respect to the slenderness of the stem: for so in the defection of the Thebans and the rest against them, one of the principal revolters spake most aptly and with great efficacy in the assembly of the associates, telling them that the State of Sparta was like a river, which after that it had run a great way, and taken other rivers and streams into it, ran strong and mighty, but about the head and fountain of it was shallow and weak; and therefore advised them to assail and invade the
main of Sparta, knowing they should there find weak resistance either of towns or in the field: of towns, because upon confidence of their greatness they fortified not upon the main; in the field, because their people was exhaust by garrisons and services far off. Which counsel proved sound, to the astonishment of all Græcia at that time.
For the third, concerning the proportion of the military forces of a state to the amplitude of empire, it cannot be better demonstrated than by the two first examples which we produced of the weakness of large territory, if they be compared within themselves according to difference of time. For Persia at a time was strengthened with large territory, and at another time weakened; and so was Rome. For while they flourished in arms, the largeness of territory was a strength to them, and added forces, added treasures, added reputation : but when they decayed in arms, then greatness became a burden. For their protecting forces did corrupt, supplant, and enervate the natural and proper forces of all their provinces, which relied and depended upon the succours and directions of the state above. And when that also waxed impotent and slothful, then the whole state laboured with her own magnitude, and in the end fell with her own weight. And that, no question, was the reason of the strange inundations of people which both from the east and north-west overwhelmed the Roman empire in one age of the world, which a man upon the sudden would attribute to some constellation or fatal revolution of time, being indeed nothing else but the declination of the Roman empire, which having effeminated and made vile the natural strength of the provinces, and not being able to supply it by the strength imperial and sovereign, did, as a lure cast abroad, invite and entice all the nations adjacent, to make their fortunes upon her decays. And by the same reason there cannot but ensue a dissolution to the state of the Turk in regard of the largeness of empire, whensoever their martial virtue and discipline shall be further relaxed, whereof the time seemeth to approach. For certainly like as great stature in a natural body is some advantage in youth, but is but burden in age; so it is with great territory, which when a state beginneth to decline, doth make it stoop and buckle so much the faster.
For the fourth and last, it is true, that there is to be required and expected, as in the parts of a body, so in the members of a
state, rather propriety of service than equality of benefit. Some provinces are more wealthy, some more populous, and some more warlike; some situate aptly for the excluding or expulsing of foreigners, and some for the annoying and bridling of suspected and tumultuous subjects; some are profitable in present, and some may be converted and improved to profit by plantations and good policy. And therefore true consideration of estate can hardly find what to reject, in matter of territory, in any empire, except it be some glorious acquests obtained sometime in the bravery of wars, which cannot be kept without excessive charge and trouble; of which kind were the purchases of King Henry VIII. that of Tournay and that of Bulloigne; and of the same kind are infinite other the like examples almost in every war, which for the most part upon treaties of peace are restored again.'
Thus have we now defined where the largeness of territory addeth true greatness, and where not. The application of these positions unto the particular or supposition of this your majesty's kingdom of Britain, requireth few words. For as I professed in the beginning, I mean not to blazon or amplify, but only to observe and express matter.
First, Your majesty's dominion and empire comprehendeth all the islands of the north-west ocean, where it is open, until you come to the imbarred or frozen sea towards Iceland; in all which tract it hath no intermixture or interposition of any foreign land, but only of the sea, whereof you are also absolutely master.
Secondly, The quantity and content of these countries is far greater than have been the principal or fundamental regions of the greatest monarchies, greater than Persia proper, greater than Macedon, greater than Italy. So as here is potentially body and stem enough for Nabuchodonosor's tree, if God should have so ordained.
1 In the manuscript the sentence went on thus; but a line has been drawn across the words. “Or if they be too great to be yielded up or abandoned, then it hath been the policy of the wisest estates, in case where they had impatronized themselves of any province that did border and lie open to the continual infestation of an enemy that was their match in power, rather to erect and place some beneficiary prince that might have dependence upon them, than to hold it and make it good by their own forces : as we find the state of Rome did by the kingdom of Armenia which fronted upon the Parthians, and the counsel of the Turk did by the provinces of Transilvania, Valachia, and Moldavia, that fronted upon the Christians, though that policy hath not sorted very prosperous unto them of late years."
The case of these Turkish provinces, which had recently revolted under Si. gismund, Prince of Transylvania, was adduced by Bacon in his speech on the Natu. ralization of the Scots as an instance of the liability of all unions to break which are not cemented by naturalization.
Thirdly, The prowess and valour of your subjects is able to master and wield far more territory than falleth to their lot. But that followeth to be spoken of in the proper place.
And lastly, it must be confessed that whatsoever part of your countries and regions shall be counted the meanest, yet is not inferior to those countries and regions, the people whereof some ages since over-ran the world. We see furder by the uniting of the continent of this island, and the shutting up of the postern (as it was not unfitly termed), all entrance of foreigners is excluded; and we see again, that by the fit situation and configuration of the north of Scotland toward the north of Ireland, and the reputation commodity and terror thereof, what good effects have ensued for the better quieting of the troubles of Ireland. And so we conclude this first branch touching largeness of territory.
THE second article was,
balancing of greatness.
Wherein no man can be ignorant of the idolatry that is generally committed in these degenerate times to money, as if it could do all things public and private. But leaving popular errors, this is likewise to be examined by reason and examples, and such reason as is no new conceit or invention, but hath formerly been discerned by the sounder sort of judgments. For we see that Solon, who was no contemplative wise man, but a statesman and a lawgiver, used a memorable censure to Cræsus, when he showed him great treasures and store of gold and silver that he had gathered, telling him, that whensoever another should come that had better iron than he, he would be master of all his gold and silver. Neither is the authority of Machiavel to be despised, specially in a matter whereof he saw the evident experience before his eyes in his own times and country, who derideth the received and current opinion and principle of estate taken first from a speech of Mutianus the lieutenant of Vespasian, That money was the sinews of war; affirming that it is a mockery, and that there are no other true sinews of war, but the sinews and muscles of men's arms: and that there was never any war, wherein the more valiant people had to deal with the more wealthy, but that the war, if it were well conducted, did nourish and pay itself. And had he not reason so to think, when he saw a needy and ill-provided army of the French, (though needy rather by negligence than want of means, as the French manner oftentimes is,) make their passage only by the reputation of their swords by their sides undrawn, through the whole length of Italy (at that time abounding in wealth after a long peace), and that without resistance, and to seize and leave what countries and places it pleased them? But it was not the experience of that time alone, but the records of all times that do concur to falsify that conceit, that wars are decided not by the sharpest sword but by the greatest purse. And that very text or saying of Mutianus which was the original of this opinion, is misvouched, for his speech was, Pecuniæ sunt nervi belli civilis; which is true, for that civil wars cannot be between people of differing valour; and again because in them men are as oft bought as vanquished. But in case of foreign wars, you shall scarcely find any of the great monarchies of the world, but have had their foundations in poverty and contemptible beginnings, being in that point also conform to the heavenly kingdom, of which it is pronounced, Regnum Dei non venit cum observatione. Persia, a mountainous country, and a poor people in comparison of the Medes and other provinces which they subdued. The state of Sparta, a state wherein poverty was enacted by law and ordinance; all use of gold and silver and rich furniture being interdicted. The state of Macedonia, a state mercenary and ignoble until the time of Philip. The state of Rome, a state that had poor and pastoral beginnings. The state of the Turks, which hath been since the terror of the world, founded upon a transmigration of some bands of Sarmatian Scythes, that descended in a vagabond manner upon the province that is now termed Turcomannia; out of the remnants whereof, after great variety of fortune, sprang the Othoman family. But never was any position of estate so visibly and substantially confirmed, as this touching the pre-eminence, yea and predominancy, of valour above treasure was, by the two descents and inundations of necessitous and indigent people, the one from the East, and the other from the West; that of the Arabians or Saracens, and that of the Goths, Vandals, and the