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rest: who, as if they had been the true inheritors of the Roman empire, then dying, or at least grown impotent and aged, entered upon Egypt, Asia, Græcia, Afric, Spain, France; coming to these nations, not as to a prey, but as to a patrimony; not returning with spoil, but seating and planting themselves in a number of provinces, which continue their progeny and bear their names till this day. And all these men had no other wealth but their adventures, nor no other title but their swords, nor no other press but their poverty. For it was not with most of those people as it is in countries reduced to a regular civility, that no man almost marrieth except he see he have means to live; but population went on, howsoever sustentation followed; and taught by necessity, as some writers report, when they found themselves surcharged with people they divided their inhabitants into three parts; and one third, as the lot fell, was sent abroad and left to their adventures. Neither is the reason much unlike (though the effect hath not followed in regard of a special diversion) in the nation of the Swisses, inhabiting a country which, in regard of the mountainous situation and the popular estate, doth generate faster than it can sustain. In which people, it well appeared what an authority iron hath over gold at the battle of Granson, at what time one of the principal jewels of Burgundy was sold for twelve pence by a poor Swiss, that knew no more a precious stone than did Æsop's cock. And although this people have made no plantations with their arms, yet we see the reputation of them such, as not only their forces have been employed and waged, but their alliance sought and purchased, by the greatest kings and states of Europe. So as though fortune, as it fares sometimes with princes to their servants, hath denied them a grant of lands, yet she hath granted them liberal pensions, which are made memorable and renowned to all posterity by the event which ensued to Lewis the twelfth; who being pressed uncivilly by message from them for the inhancing their pensions, entered into choler and broke out into these words, What! will these villains of the mountains put a tax upon me? which words cost him his duchy of Milan, and utterly ruined his affairs in Italy. Neither were it indeed possible at this day, that that nation should subsist without descents and impressions upon their neighbours, were it not for the great utterance of people which

they make into the services of foreign princes and estates, thereby discharging not only number, but in that number such spirits as are most stirring and turbulent.

And therefore we may conclude, that as largeness of territory, severed from military virtue, is but a burden; so that treasure and riches, severed from the same, is but a prey. It resteth therefore to make a reduction of this error also unto a truth by distinction and limitation, which will be in this


Treasure and moneys do then add true greatness and strength to a state, when they are accompanied with these three conditions:

First, (the same condition which hath been annexed to largeness of territory,) that is, that they be joined with martial prowess and valour.

Secondly, That treasure doth then advance greatness, when it is rather in mediocrity than in great abundance. And again better when some part of the state is poor, than when all parts of it are rich.

And lastly, That treasure in a state is more or less serviceable, as the hands are in which the wealth chiefly resteth.

For the first of these, it is a thing that cannot be denied, that in equality of valour the better purse is an advantage. For like as in wrestling between man and man, if there be a great overmatch in strength, it is to little purpose though one have the better breath; but, if the strength be near equal, then he that is shorter winded will (if the wager consist of many falls) in the end have the worst: so it is in the wars, if it be a match between a valiant people and a cowardly, the advantage of treasure will not serve; but if they be near in valour, then the better monied state will be the better able to continue the war, and so in the end to prevail. But if any man think that money can make those provisions at the first encounters, that no difference of valour can countervail, let him look back but into those examples which have been brought, and he must confess that all those furnitures whatsoever are but shews and mummeries, and cannot shrowd fear against resolution. For there shall he find companies armed with armour of proof taken out of the stately armouries of kings who spared no cost, overthrown by men armed by private bargain and chance as they

could get it: there shall he find armies appointed with horses bred of purpose and in choice races, chariots of war, elephants, and the like terrors, mastered by armies meanly appointed. So of towns strongly fortified, basely yielded, and the like; all being but sheep in a lion's skin, where valour faileth.

For the second point. That competency of treasure is better than surfeit, is a matter of common place or ordinary discourse; in regard that excess of riches, neither in public nor private, ever hath any good effects; but maketh men either slothful and effeminate, and so no enterprisers, or insolent and arrogant, and so overgreat embracers, but most generally cowardly and fearful to lose, according to the adage, Timidus Plutus; so as this needeth no further speech. But a part of that assertion requireth a more deep consideration, being a matter not so familiar, but yet most assuredly true. For it is necessary in a state that shall grow and inlarge, that there be that composition which the poet speaketh of, Multis utile bellum; an ill condition of a state (no question) if it be meant of a civil war, as it was spoken; but a condition proper to a state that shall increase, if it be taken of a foreign war. For except there be a spur in the state that shall excite and prick them on to wars, they will but keep their own, and seek no further. And in all experience and stories you shall find but three things that prepare and dispose an estate to war: the ambition of governors; a state of soldiers professed; and the hard means to live of many subjects. Whereof the last is the most forcible and the most constant. And this is the true reason of that event which we observed and rehearsed before, that most of the great kingdoms of the world have sprung out of hardness and scarceness of means, as the strongest herbs out of the barrenest soils.1

For the third point, concerning the placing and distributing of treasure in a state, the position is simple; that then treasure is greatest strength to a state, when it is so disposed, as it is readiest and easiest to come by for public service and use: which one position doth infer three conclusions.

First, that there be quantity sufficient of treasure as well in the treasury of the crown or state, as in the purse of the private subject.

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Secondly, that the wealth of the subject be rather in many hands than in few.

And thirdly, that it be in those hands, where there is likest to be greatest sparing and increase, and not in those hands wherein there useth to be greatest expense and consumption.

For it is not the abundance of treasure in the subject's hands that can make sudden supply of the want of a state; because reason tells us, and experience both, that private persons have least will to contribute when they have most cause; for when there is noise or expectation of wars, then is always the deadest times for monies, in regard every man restraineth and holdeth fast his means for his own comfort and succour, according as Salomon saith, The riches of a man are as a strong hold in his own imagination: and therefore we see by infinite examples, and none more memorable than that of Constantinus the last Emperor of the Greeks, and the citizens of Constantinople, that subjects do often choose rather to be frugal dispensers for their enemies than liberal lenders to their princes. Again, wheresoever the wealth of the subject is engrossed into few hands, it is not possible it should be so respondent and yielding to payments and contributions for the public; both because the true estimation or assessment of great wealth is more obscure and uncertain; and because the burden seemeth lighter when the charge lieth upon many hands; and further, because the same greatness of wealth is for the most part not collected and obtained without sucking it from many, according to the received similitude of the spleen, which never swelleth but when the rest of the body pineth and abateth. And lastly, it cannot be that any wealth should leave a second overplus for the public, that doth not first leave an overplus to the private stock of him that gathers it; and therefore nothing is more certain, than that those states are least able to aid and defray great charges for wars, or other public disbursements, whose wealth resteth chiefly in the hands of the nobility and gentlemen. For what by reason of their magnificence and waste in expence, and what by reason of their desire to advance and make great their own families, and again upon the coincidence of the former reason, because they are always the fewest; small is the help, as to payments or charges, that can be levied or expected from them towards the occasions of a state. Contrary it is of such states whose wealth resteth in the hands of merchants, burghers,

tradesmen, freeholders, farmers in the country, and the like; whereof we have a most evident and present example before our eyes, in our neighbours of the Low-Countries, who could never have endured and continued so inestimable and insupportable charges, either by their natural frugality or by their mechanical industry, were it not also that there was a concurrence in them of this last reason, which is, that their wealth was dispersed in many hands, and not ingrossed into few; and those hands were not much of the nobility, but most and generally of inferior conditions.

To make application of this part concerning treasure to your majesty's kingdoms:

First, I suppose I cannot err, that as to the endowments of your crown, there is not any crown of Europe, that hath so great a proportion of demesne and land revenue. Again, he that shall look into your prerogative shall find it to have as many streams to feed your treasury, as the prerogative of any of the said kings, and yet without oppression or taxing of your people. For they be things unknown in many other states, that all rich mines should be yours, though in the soil of your subjects; that all wardships should be yours, where a tenure in chief is, of lands held of your subjects; that all confiscations and escheats of treason should be yours, though the tenure be of the subject; that all actions popular, and the fines and casualties thereupon, may be informed in your name, and should be due unto you, and a moiety at the least where the subject himself informs. And further, he that shall look into your revenues at the ports of the sea, your revenues in courts of justice, and for the stirring of your seals, the revenues upon your clergy, and the rest, will conclude that the law of England studied how to make a rich crown, and yet without levies upon your subject. For merchandizing, it is true it was ever by the kings of this realm despised, as a thing ignoble and indign for a king, though it is manifest, the situation and commodities of this island considered, it is infinite what your majesty mought raise, if you would do as a King of Portugal doth, or a Duke of Florence, in matter of merchandise. As for the wealth of the subject1

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