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51. BUCH. He calls him indeed King; for it is peculiar to the Lord to use the common speech of the people as often as He speaketh to a people. And therefore He maketh use of that word with the vulgar people; but, lest an ambiguous use thereof might deceive, He doth eloquently expound what the use of that word was amongst neighbouring nations.
MAIT. As that may be true, yet that of the Apostle Paul doth urge us more narrowly, who commandeth us to pray for the safety of princes; he is so far from permitting us to revile government, much less to dethrone such are invested therewith, or to kill them being thrown down. But what princes doth he recommend to our prayers? The most cruell that ever were, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero. For Pauls epistles were almost contemporary with them.
BUCH. That you make so much account of the authority of Paul, so as one sentence of his hath more weight with you than the writings of all philosophers and lawyers, I think you do well. But see that you consider well his judgement or meaning. For you must not examine the words only, but in what time, to whom, and why he wrote. But then let us see what Paul did write. for he writeth to Titus, chap. 3, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, and to be ready to every good work.” I suppose, you see what end of obedience and subjection he appoints. He likewise to Timonthy, chap. 2, doth write that we should pray for all men, even for kings and other magistrats, “That,” saith he “we may live a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” And here, you see what end of praying he appoints, namely, not for the kings safety, but for the churches tranquillity, from which it will be no difficult thing to conceive also the forme of prayer. Now in his epistle to the Romans, he doth define a king hear to a logick subtilty, for saith he, “he is a minister to whom the sword is given by God, for punishing the wicked, and for cherishing and relieving the good.” For, saith Chrisosotome, these things are not by Paul written of a tyrant, but of a true and lawfull magistrat, who is the vice-regent of the true God on earth, whom whosoever resisteth, doth certainly resist the ordinance of God. Now, albeit we ought to pray for wicked princes, we should thence conclude that their vices should not be punished; nor will it more follow that we should not punish the rapines of robbers, for whom we are also commanded to pray. And if we should obey a good prince, it will not therefore follow that we should not resist a wicked prince. But if you consider the reason which did move Paul to write these things, look that the place of argument make not much against you. For he wrote this to chastise the rashness of some who did deny the authority of magistrats to be necessary for Christians. For since the power of magistratis is ordained against wicked men, that we may all live righteously, and an example of divine justice might remain amongst men, they affirmed that there was no use thereof amongst men who abhorre so much the contagion of vices, as that they are a law to themselves. Paul does not therefore speak of those who bear rule of as magistrats, but of magistracy it self, that is, of the function and office of those who rule, nor yet of one or other kind of magistracy, but of every forme of a lawfull magistracy. Nor doth he debate with those who think that wicked magistrats should be restrained, but with those men who deny all authority of magistrats, who absurdly interpreting Christian liberty did affairme it to be an indignity for those that were made free by the Son of God, and ruled by the Spirit of God, to be under the power of any man. That Paul might refute their errour, he sheweth that magistracy is a thing not only good, but also sacred, namely an ordinance of God, and for that end institute, that the assemblies and incorporations of men might be so continued that they might acknowledge Gods benefites towards them, and might forbear to wrong one another. God commanded them to be keepers of His lawes who were constitute in dignity. Now if we confess lawes to be good (as indeed they are) and the keepers thereof worthy of honour, we will be forced to confess that the office of the keepers is a good and profitable thing.
52. But magistracy is terrible, but to whom? To the good or bad? To the good it is not a terrour, it being to them a defence from injury; but to wicked men it is terrour; it is not so for you, who are ruled by the Spirit of God. But you will say to me, “what need have I then to be subject to magistracy, if I be the Lords freeman?” Yea, that you may approve [demonstrate] your self to be the Lords freeman, obey his lawes. For the Spirit of the Lord, by whom you boast to be led and governed, is both the lawgiver and approver of magistrates, and also the author of obedience to magistrats. We therefore in this will easily agree together, that there is need of magistracy even in the best common-wealths, and that we should every honour the same. But if any man think otherwise, we account him mad, infamous and worthy of all punishment. For he doth plainly contraveen the will of God revealed to us in Scriptures. But as for Caligula, Nero, Domitian, and such like tyrants, why they should not be punished as breakers of divine and humane law, you have nothing here from Paul, who treats of the power of magistrats, but not of the wicked ministers of that power, nor will they be at all magistrats, if you examine that kind of tyrants according to Pauls rule. But if any will debate that wicked princes are also ordained by God, look that this his discourse be not captious. For (as they say in proverb) God may put a hard wedge to cleave a hard knot, so doth he set up a wicked man for punishing of wicked men; but no man in his right wits will dare affirme that God is therefore the author of evill or wickednesse, even as no man is ignorant that He is the author of punishing wicked men. A good magistrat also for the most part chooseth a wicked man to be a hangman for punishing guilty persons. And albeit indeed that a magistrat doth assume such an hangman for that office, yet no impunity is granted him of all his misdeeds. Nor will the magistrat have him to be so above the lawes as that he cannot be questioned thereby. I will not stay longer upon this similitude, lest Court flatterers cry out that I speak basely of the supreme magistrat. But however they exclaime, certainly this they cannot deny, that the hangmans function is part of the publick office, and perhaps of the royall office, or at least by the testimony of very kings, who complain that their majesty and person is wronged as oft as any of their publick ministers is wronged, or violence done to them. Now the punishment of wicked malefactors, and what evere else of that kind, doth belong to the kings office. What say you of majors [mayors] or provosts in towns? What of generals of armies? What of baillies [bailiffs]? What of shaerifs? Doth not Paul command us to be subject to them? Doth he hold them for private persons? Now an account used to be taken for maladminstration of all, not only of inferiour magistrats, but also of such as are equal to kings. I would therefore have them, who from Pauls words do dreame that so great a power is given to kings, to shew me from him that kings only are here to be understood by the name of power, and therefore they only are to be exeemed [exempted] from the punishment of lawes; or if, when we say powers, other magistrates be also understood by the same author, who are ordained by God for the same use. I would have them also to shew me where all magistrats are loosed from the lawes and pronounced free from the fear of punishment, or if this immunity be granted to kings only, but denyed to others who are set in authority.
53. MAIT. But Paul will have all to be subject to the higher powers.
BUCH. He commanded so indeed, but by this name of power he must needs comprehend other magistrats, unless perhaps we imagine that Paul doth think no power at all to be in those commonwealths which have not kingly government, but plainly an anarchy therein.
MAIT. I do not believe that, nor is it probable; and the rather I am of this opinion, because the current of all the most learned interpreters on the place make for you, who think that Pauls dispute there was against those that affirmed that no lawes and magistrats did at all belong to them.
BUCH. What say you to that which I lately spoke? Do you think that those tyrants before mentioned of all men the most cruell are meant by the Apostle?
MAIT. Yes, but what produce you against me to hinder me from the belief thereof, especially seeing Jeremy doth earnestly advise the Jewes, and that by command of God, to obey the King of Assyria, and by no means to reject his authority? And thence they inferre by the like reason that obedience should be given to other tyrants also, how cruell soever.
BUCH. That I may answer first to what you last spoke, you must take notice that the Prophet doth not command the Jewes to obey all tyrants, but the King of Assyria alone. Nof if you would conclude the forme of a law from that which is commanded to be done to one single person, first you are not ignorant (for logick hath taught you that) what a great absurdity you will make; next you will be in danger to be assaulted by the opposers of tyranny with the like weapons, for you must either shew what singular thing there is in that matter, or propose it to be imitat by all every where, or, if you cannot do this, you must acknowledge that whatever is enjoyned concerning any one person by any speciall command of God, it doth alike belong to all. If you shall once admit this (which you must needs do), it will be instantly objected that Ahab was killed by Gods command, and a reward was also promised and performed to him that should kill him. When ever therefore you betake your self to that refuge, you must obey all tyrants because God by His Prophet did command His people to obey one tyrant, it will be instantly replyed that all tyrants ought also to be killed, because Ahab at the command of God was killed by the captain of his host. Therefore I advise you to provide a more firme defence from Scripture for tyrants, or then, laying the same aside at present, you may have your recourse to the philosophers schoole.
MAIT. I shall indeed think upon it. But in the mean time let us returne from whence we have digressed. What do you bring from Scripture why tyrants may be lawfully killed?
54. BUCH. First of all I profer this, that seeing it is expressly commanded to cut off wickedness and wicked men, without any exception of rank or degree, and yet in no place of sacred Scripture are tyrants more spared than private persons. Next, that the definition of powers delivered by Paul doth not wholly belong to tyrants, because they accommodat not the strength of their authority for the benefit of the people, but for fulfilling their own lusts. Further, we should diligently consider how much power Paul doth grant to bishops, whose function he doth highly and truely praise, as being some way like unto kings, as far as the nature of both their functions can admit. For bishops are physicians of internall diseases, as kings are physicians of externall distempers, and yet he would neither of them to be free from, or not liable to, the jurisdiction of the other. And even as bishops are subject to kings in the exercise of their civil government, so ought kings to obey the spirituall admonitions of bishops. Now albeit the amplitude and dignity of bishops be so great, yet no law divine or humane doth exeeme them from the punishment of crimes. And to pass by others, the very Pope, who is accounted the bishop of bishops, who so exalts himself above all kings that he would be accounted a certain god amongst men, yet is he not exempted from the punishment of lawes, no not by his own canonists, a kind of men very devoted to him. For seeing they would think it absurd that God (for they do not hestitat to call him thus) should be obnoxious to mens censure, and think it unjust that the greatest crimes and most filthy abominations should pass unpunished in any, and yet they have found out a way whereby crimes may be punished and the Pope accounted sacred and inviolable. For the priviledge of the Pope is one thing, and of that man who is Pope is another, say they, and whilst they exeeme the Pope (whom they deny can erre) from the cognition of the lawes, yet do they confess him to be a man obnoxious to vices and punishment of vices; nor have they more subtilly than severely declared their judgment herein. It would be tedious to rehearse what Popes (to speak after their usuall way), what men personating Popes, who not ony alive were forced to renounce their popedome, but being dead were pulled out of their graves and thrown into Tiber. But omit old histories, the recent memory of Pope Paul the Fourth is fresh in our mind, for his own Rome did witness a publick hatred against him by a new kind of decree. For they vented their fury (he being by death taken away) against his nearest kinsfolk, his statues and painted images or pictures. Nor should this interpretation seeme more subtil, whereby we separate the power from the person in power, than philosophy doth acknowledge and the ancient interpreters do approve, nor is the rude multitude and strangers to subtile disputing ignorant thereof; for the meanest tradsmen take it for no blot upon their trade if a smith or baker be hanged for robbery, but are rather glad that their society is purged of such villains. But if there be any of another mind, I think it is to be feared that he seemes to be rather grieved at those mens punishment with whom he is associat in their villany, than for the infamy of their society. I am of the opinion, if kings would abandon the counsells of wicked men and flatterers, and measure their own greatness rather by duties of vertue than by the impunity of evill deeds, they would not be grieved for the punishment of tyrants, nor think that royall majesty is lessened by whatsomever destruction of tyrants, but rather be glad that it is purged from a most filthy blot of wickedness; especially seeing they use to be highly offended with robbers, and that very justly, if any of them in there malefices [evil deeds] pretend the kings name.
55. MAIT. Forsooth, they have just cause. But laying these things aside, I would have you go on to the other head you proposed.
BUCH. What heads do you mean?
MAIT. Namely in what time, and to whom Paul wrote those things, for I desire to know what the knowledge thereof doth make for the argument in hand.
BUCH. I shall herin obey you also. And first I shall speake of the time. Paul wrote these things in the very infancy of the Church, in which time it was not only necessary to be blameless, but none was to give occasion to such as sought occasion of reproaching, and unjust causes of staining the professors of Christianity. Next, he wrote to men of severall nations, and so gathered together into one society out of the whole body of the Roman Empire, amongst whom there were butr few very ruch, yea almost none, who either had ruled, or could rule, or were in any great account amongst their fellow citizens. They were not so many in number, and these almost but strangers, and for the most part but lately freed of bondage, and others but tradsmen and servants. Amongst them there were many who did further pretend Christian liberty than the simplicity of the Gospell could suffer. Now this company of people out of the promiscuous multitude, which did won their living, though meanly, by hard labour, was not to be so carefull of the state of the commonwealth, of the majesty of the Empire, and of the conversation and duty of kings, as of the publick tranquillity, and their domestick affairs, nor could they justly claime any more than to ly lurking under the shadow of what ever government they were under. If that people had attempted to lay hold on any part of government, they should have been accounted not only foolish, but mad. Nor should they come out of their lurking holes to breed trouble to those that did hold the helme of publick affaires in hand. Immature licentiousnes was also to be repressed, an unfit interpreter of Christian liberty. What then doth Paul write? Doubtless no new precept, but only these usuall precepts, namely, that subjects should obey their rulers, servants their masters, and wives their husbands, nor should we think the Lords yoke, how light soever, doth liberat us of the bonds of our duty, but with a more attentive mind than before to be bound therunto, so that we should omit nothing through all the degrees of duties in our relations that might any wayes make for acquiring the favour and goodwil of men. And so it should come to pass that the name of God should be well spoken of amongst the Gentiles because of us, and the glory of the Gospell more largely propagate. For performing of these things, there was need of publick peace, the keepers whereof were princes and magistrats, albeit wicked.
56. May it please you that I set before you a manifest representation hereof? I magine that one of doctors doth write to the Christians that live under the Turks, to men, I say, of mean fortune, sore dejected in mind, weak and few in number, and exposed to the injuries of all and every one. What else, I ask you, would he advise them, than what Paul did advise the Church that then was at Rome, or what Jeremy advised the exiles in Assyria? Now this is a most sure argument that Paul had a regard to those mens condition to whom he did write, and not to all others, because he diligently sets home the mutuall duties of husbands towards their wives, of wives toward their husbands, of parents towards thier children, and of children towards their parents, of servants towards thier masters, and of masters towards thier servants. And albeit he writes what the duty of a magistrat is, yet he doth not give them any particular compellation [address] (has he had done in the preceding relations). For which cause we shall judge that he gave no other precepts for kings and others in authority, especially seeing their lust was to be much more restrained <than> that of private persons? What other cause may we imagine than that at that time there were no kings or magistrats in the Church to whom he might write? Imagine that Paul doth now live in our dayes, wherein not only the people, but princes also profess Christianity. At the same time, let there be some prince who doth conceive that not only should humane lawes, but also divine lawes be subject to his lust and pleasure, and who will have not only his decrees, but also his very nods to be accounted for lawes, like that man in the Gospel who neither did feare God nor reverence man, who distributes the Church revenues amongst villains and rascals, if I may so say, and doth mock the sincere worshipers of God, and accounts them but fools and mad men or fanaticks, what would Paul write of such to the Church? If he were like himself, he would certainly deny that he should be accounted a magistrat. He would interdict all Christians to have any communion with him, either in dyet, speech, or converse, and leave him to the people to be punished by the lawes, and would think they did nothing but their duty if the should account him not to be their king, with whom they were to have no fellowship by the Law of God.
57. But there will not be wanting some Court slaves or sycophants who, finding no honest refuge, become so impudent as to say that God, being angry against a poeple, doth set tyrants over them, who as hangmen he appoints for punishing them. Which to be true I do confess, yet it is true that God many times doth stirre up from amongst the lowest of the people some very mean and obscure men to revenge tyranicall pride and weakness. For God (as before is said) doth command wicked men to be cut-off, and doth except neither degree, sexe, or condition, or yet any man. For kings are not more acceptable to him than beggars. Therefore, we may truly averre that God, being alike the Father to all, to Whose providence nothing lyes hid, and Whose power nothing can resist, will not leave any wickedness unpunished. Moreover, another will stand up and ask some example out of Scripture of a king punished by his subjects. Which albeit I could not produce, yet it will not presently follow that, because we do not read such a thing therein to have been done, that it should be accounted for an high crime and malefice. I may rehearse amongst many nations very many and sound lawes whereof in holy write there is no example. For as the consent of all nations doth approve that what the law doth command is accounted just, and what it forbiddeth is unjust, so since the memory of Man it was never forbidden that what should not be contained in lawes should not at all be done. For that servitude was never received, nor will the nature of things so fuitfull of new examples suffer the same to be received, that whatever is not by some law commanded, or recorded by some famous example, should be accounted for a great crime and malefice. If therefore any man shall ask of me an example out of the sacred Scriptures wherein the punishment of wicked kings is approven, I shall again ask him, where is the same reprehended? But if nothing done without some example doth please, how many civil statutes shall we have continued with us? How many lawes? For the greatest part thereof is not taken out of any old example, but established against new deceits and that without example.
58. But we have already answered these that require examples more than was needfull. Now if the Jewish kings were not punished by their subjects, they make not much for our purpose in hand. For they were not first created by the people, but were by God given them. And therefore very justly He Who was the author of that honour was to punish their misdeeds. But we debate that the people, from whom our kings enjoy what ever priviledge they claime, is more powerfull than their kings, and that the whole people have that same priviledge over them which they have over every one in particular of the whole people. All the rights and priviledges of forrain nations who live under lawfull kings do make for all us; all the nations which are subject to kings chosen by them selves do commonly agree herein, that what ever priviledge the people hath given to any, the same they may require again very justly. All commonwealths have still retained that priviledge. Therefore Lentulus, having conspired with Catiline for overturning the commonwealth of Rome, was compelled to renounce his praetorship, and the Decemviri, the makers of the Roman lawes, were taken order with, even whilst they enjoyed the supream authority. Some Dukes of Venice, and Chilpericus King of France, laying aside their royall honours, as private men spent their dayes in monasteries. And not long ago Christiernus King of the Danes, twenty years almost after he was deprived of his kingdome, did end his life in prison. Now the dicatorship (which was a kind of tyranny) was in the peoples power. And this priviledge hath been constantly observed, that publick benefices granted amiss, and the liberty granted to ingrate persons set at liberty (whom lawes do very much favour), might be taken back again. These things we have spoken of forrain nations, lest we alone seeme to have usurped any new priviledge against our kings. But as to what properly belong to us, the matter might have been handled in few words.
MAIT. What way? For this I am very desirous to hear.
59. BUCH. I might enumerat twelve or more kings, who for great crimes and flagitious deeds have been either adjudged to perpetuall imprisonment, or escaped the just punishment of their wickedness either by exile or voluntary death. But lest any blame me for relating old and obsolete stories, if I should make mention of Culen, Even, and Fercard, I shall produce some few within the memory of our forefathers. All the Estates in a publick convention judged James the Third to have been justly killed for his great cruelty and flagitious wickedness towards his subjects, and did caution that none of them who had aided, consented, or contributed money, or had been active therein be called thereafter into question therefore. That they therefore did judge the deed to be duely and orderly done; it being once done, doubtless they desired it might be set down for an example in time coming, surely no less than L. Quinctus, sitting in judgment, did commend Servius Ahala for having killed before the bench Spurius Melius, turning his back and refusing to compear [appear] into judgement, that he was not guilty of blood shed, but thought him to be nobilitat [ennobled] by the slaughter of a tyrant, and all posterity did affirme the same. What subject hath ever approved the slaughter of one affecting tyranny? What do you supposed would he have done with a tyrant robbing the good name of his subjects and shedding their blood? What hath our men done? Do not they seeme to have made a law, who by a publick decree without any punishment have past by a flagitious crime committed, if such like shall happen in time coming? For at most there is no difference whether you judge concerning that which is done, or make a law concerning what is to be done. For both wayes a judgment is past concerning the kind of the crime and concerning the punishment or reward of the actor.
MAIT. These things will perhaps have some weight among us. But I know not how other nations abroad will take them. You see I must satisfy them, not as in a judiciall way I were to be called in question crime, but openly amongst all concerning the same not mine (for I am far from any suspition thereof), but of my countrey men. For I am afraid lest forrain nations will rather blame the decrees wherewith you suppose you are sufficiently protected, than the crime it self, full of cruelty and hatred. But you know, if I mistake not, what is usually spoken according to the disposition and opinion of every one on both hands concerning the examples you have proposed. I would therefore (because you seeme to have expeded [handled briefly] what is past, not so much from the decrees of men, as from the springs of nature) you would briefly expound if you have ought to say for the equity of that law.
60. BUCH. Albeit that may seeme unjust to stand at the bar to plead amongst forrainers for a law approved from the very first times of our Scots government by kings, by the constant practice of so many ages ago, necessary for the people, not unjust for kings, but lawfull, but now at last accused of illegality, yet for your sake I shall try it. And as if I were debating with those very men who would trouble you, I first ask. What do you think here worthy of reprehension? Is it the cause? Why is it sought for? Or is it the law it self which you reprehended? For the law was sought for repressing the unjust lusts of kings. Whoever doth condemne this must likewise condemne all the lawes of all nations, for all lawes were desired for the very same cause. Do you reprehend the law it self? Do you think it lawfull that kings be exempted of, or not lyable to the lawes? Let us then see if that be also expedient. And for proving that it is not expedient for the people, there needs not many words. For if in the former discourse we have rightly compared a king to a physician, as it is not expedient for people that impunity be permitted to a physcian for killing whom he pleaseth, so it is not for the good of all that a promiscuous licence be granted to kings for making havock of all. We have no cause then to be offended with a people, whose chief power it is in making lawes, as if they desire a good king to be set over them, even so a law over a king none of the best. But if this law be not for the kings use or profit, let us see if the people should be dealt with to remit somewhat of their priviledge, and of abrogating it, not for the space of three dayes, but according to our usuall way we indict a Parliament to meet within fourty dayes. In the mean time, that we may reason together concerning the law, tell me, doth he seeme to respect the good of a mad man, who looseth his bonds?
MAIT. Not at all.
BUCH. What do you think of him who giveth to a man sick of a feaver, so as he is not far from madness, a drink of cold water through earnestly craving it, do you think he deserveth well of that sick man?
MAIT. But I speak of kings of a sound mind. I deny there is any need of medicine for such as are in health, nor of lawes for kings of a sound mind. But you would have all kings to seeme wicked, for you impose lawes upon all.
61. BUCH. I do not think that all kings are wicked. Nor do I think all the people to be wicked, and yet the law in one voice doth speak to the whole people. Now wicked men are afraid at that voice, good people do not think it belongs [pertains] to them. Thus good kings have no cause to be offended at this law, and wicked kings, if they were wise, would render thanks to the law giver, who hath ordained what he understood would not be profitable for them, nor to be lawfull for them to do. Which indeed they will not do, if so be thay shall once returne again to their right mind. Even as they who are restored to health do render thanks to their physician, whom before they had hated because he would not grant their desires whilst they were sick. But if kings continue in their madness, who ever doth most obey them is to be judged their greatest enemy. Of this sort are flatterers, who by flattering their vices do cherish and increase their disease, and at last together almost with kings are utterly ruined.
MAIT. I cannot indeed deny but that such princes have been and may be restrained by law-bonds. For there is no monster more violent and more pestiferous than Man, when (as it is in the poets fables) he is once degenerate into a beast.
BUCH. You would much more say so, if you consider how many wayes a man becomes a beast, and of how many severall monsters he is made. Which thing the old poets did acutely observe and notably express, when they say that Prometheus in the framing of Man did give him some particle out of every living creature. It would be an infinite work for me to relate the natues of all one by one. But certainly two most vile monsters do evidently appear in Man, wrath and lust. But what else do lawes act or desire, but that these monsters be obedient to right reason? And whilst they do not obey reason, may not lawes by the bonds of their sanctions restrain them? Who ever then doth loose a king or any other from these bonds doth not loose one man, but throwes in against reason two monsters exceeding cruell, and armeth them for breaking asunder the barrs of lawes, so that Aristotle seemeth to have rightly and truely said that he who obeyeth the law doth obey both God and law, but he that obeyeth the king doth obey both a man and a beast.
MAIT. Albeit these things seeme to be said appositely enough, yet I think we are in a mistake two wayes. First, because the last things we have spoken seem not to agree well enough with the first. Next, because, as well may well know, we seem not to have yet come to the main point of our debate. For a litle before we were in agreement that the voice of the king and law ought to be the same; here again we make him subject to the lawes. Now though we grant this to be very true, what have we gained by this conclusion? For who shall call to an account a king become a tyrant? For I fear priviledge without strength will not be powerfull enough to restrain a king forgetful of his duty, and unwilling to be drawn unto judgement to answer for maladministration.
62. BUCH. I fear ye have not well pondered what we have before debated concerning the royall power. For if ye had well considered it, you had easily understood what you now you have said, that betwixt them there is no contradiction. But that you may the more easiliy take it up, first answer me, when a magistrat or clerk doth utter the words of a proclamation before an herauld, is not the voice of both one and the same? I say of an herauld and of a clerk?
MAIT. It is the same indeed.
BUCH. Which of the two seeme greatest?
MAIT. He who first doth utter the words.
BUCH. What is the king who is the author of the edict?
MAIT. Greater than both.
BUCH. Then according to this similitude, let us set down the king, the law, and the people. The voice is the same both of king and law. Which of the two hath the authority from the other? The king from the law, or the law from the king?
MAIT. The king from the law.
BUCH. From whence collect you that?
MAIT. Because the king was not sought for to restrain the law, but the law to restrain the king. And from the law he hath that whereby he is a king, for without the law he would be a tyrant.
BUCH. The law, then, is more powerfull than the king, and is as a governess and moderatrix both of his lust and actions.
MAIT. That is already granted.
BUCH. What? Is not the voice of the people and the law the same?
MAIT. The very same.
BUCH. Which of the two is most powerfull, the people or the law?
MAIT. I think the whole people.
BUCH. Why do you think so?
MAIT. Because the people is, at were, the parent of the law, certainly the author thereof, they being able to make or abrogat it as they please.
BUCH. Seeing then the law is more powerfull than the king, and the people more powerfull than the law, we must see before which we may call the king to answer in judgment. Let us also discuss this. Are not the things which for some others sake are institute of less account than those for whose sake they are required or sought?
63. MAIT. I would have that more clearly explained.
BUCH. Follow me thus: is not a bridle made for the horse sake?
MAIT. It is so.
BUCH. Are not sadless, girdings and spurrs made for horses?
MAIT. They are.
BUCH. Now if there were no horse, there should be no use of such things.
MAIT. None at all.
BUCH. A horse is then better than all these.
MAIT. Why not?
BUCH. Why? A horse, for what use is he desired?
MAIT. For very many uses, and first of all for obtaining victory in war.
BUCH. We therefore do esteeme the victory to be of more worth than horses, armes and other things which are prepared for the use of war.
MAIT. Of more worth indeed it is.
BUCH. What did men especially regard in creating a king?
MAIT. The peoples good, as I suppose.
BUCH. But would there be no need of kings, if there were no societies of men?
MAIT. None at all.
BUCH. The people, then, is better than the king.
MAIT. It must needs be so.
BUCH. If the people be better, they are also greater. When a king then is called to judgement before a people, the lesser is called in to judgment before the greater.
MAIT. But when shall we hope for that happiness that the whole people agree unto that which is right?
BUCH. That indeed is scarce to be hoped for. And to expect it is certainly needless, otherwise a law could neither be made, nor a magistrate created. For neither is almost any law alike to all, nor is there almost any man in that popular favour, so as to have no man either an enemy to him, or envious or slanderer of him. This now is desired, that the law be usefull for the greatest part, and that the greatest part have a good opinion of him that is to be chosen. What if the greatest part of the people may enjoyne a law to made, and creat a magistrat, what doth that hinder but that they also may judge him, and appoint judges over him? Or if the Tribunes of the People of Rome, and the Lacedemonian Ephori were sought to modify the power of magistracy, should it seeme unjust to any man, if a free people, either upon the like or different account, did foresee their own good in suppressing the bitterness of tyranny?
64. MAIT. Now I seem almost to perceive what a people can do, but it is a matter of difficulty to judge what they will do, or appoint to be done. For the greatest part almost doth require old and usuall customes, and hateth novelty, which the rather is to be admired, seeing there is so great an inconstancy in meat, apparell, buildings, and in all household furniture.
BUCH. Do not think that these things are spoken by me that I would have any thing in this kind to be done, but that I might shew you it hath been of old, that a king should answer in judgment before judges, which you did believe to be almost incredible, or at least a novelty. For to pass over how often it hath been done by our ancestors, as partly before we have said, and you may also easily collect from history, did you never hear of those who contended for the kingdome to have appealed to arbiters?
MAIT. I have indeed heard it to have been sometimes done amongst the Persians.
BUCH. And our writers affirme that the same was done by Grimas and Milcolumbus. But lest you alleadge that that kind of arbiters were wount to be assumed by the contenders own consent, let us come to the ordinary judges.
MAIT. Here I am afraid you may as far prevail as if a man should spread nets in the sea to catch whales.
BUCH. Why so, I pray you?
MAIT. Because all apprehending, restraint, and punishment is carryed on by the more powerfull against the weaker. But before what judges will you command a king to compear? Before them over whom he hath the supream power to judge? Whom he can compesce [stifle] by this one word, “I forbid?”
BUCH. What if some greater power be found which hath that right, priviledge, or jurisdiction over kings, which kings have over others?
MAIT. I desire to hear that.
BUCH. We told you, if you remember, that this power is in the people.
MAIT. In the whole people, indeed, or in the greatest part thereof. I also yeeld thus further, that it is in those to whom the people, or the greatest part of them, shall transmit that power.
BUCH. You do well in holding in my pains.
65. MAIT. But you know that the greatest part of the people is corrupted either through fear or reward, or through some hope of abribe and impunity, so as they preferre their own benefit and pleasures or lusts to the publick utility, and also safety. Now there are very few who are not hereby moved, according to that of the poet, “Good people are indeed rare, scarce so many in number as there be gates in Thebes, or issues of the River Nilus.” Now all the rest, being a naughty rable fatned with blood and rapine, enjoy their venal liberty and envy the liberty of others. Now that I may pass from those with whom the name of wicked kings also is sacred, I also omit those who, albeit they are not ignorant what is lawfull and just or right, yet preferre a quiet slougfulness to honest hazards, and, hesitating in their minds, do frame their consultations on the expectation of the event, or follow the good fortune of either party, but not the cause. How great this multitude will be, you see.
BUCH. Great indeed, but yet not very grerat. For the wrong of tyrants may reach many, but their good deeds very few. For the avarice of the vulgar is insatiable, as a fire is the more vehemently kindled by adding fewall thereto. But what is by force taken away from many doth rather increase the hunger of some few than satiat their lust. And further, the fidelity of such men for the most part is unstable. As saith the poet, “Fidelity doth stand and fall with fortune.” But if they would also continue firme in their judgment, they should not be accounted in the number of good subjects, for they are the violators, or rather betrayers of humane society; which vice, if not sufferable in a king, is far less tolerable in a private person. Who then are to be accounted the right subjects? They who give obedience to the lawes, maintain and defend humane society, who rather undergo all paines and labours, and all hazards for common safety, than spend their time sluggishly in idleness void of all honesty. Who set before their eyes, not their present enjoyments, but the remembrance of eternity. But if there be any whom fear and self interest recall from hazards, yet the splendor of some notable atchievement, and the beauty of vertue will raise up dejected minds, and those who dare not be authors or leaders will not decline to become associats. If therefore subjects be reckoned, not by number, but by dignity and worth, not only the better part, but also the greater part will stand for their liberty, honesty and safety. But if the whole common people dissent, this sayes nothing to our present debate, for we demand not what is to be done, but what may lawfully be done. But now let us come to the ordinary judiciall sentences.
66. MAIT. That I just now look for.
BUCH. If any private man contend that his inheritance or some part of his land is unjustly detained by the king, what do you think this privat man should do? Shall he pass from his land because he cannot set a judge over the king?
MAIT. Not at all, but he may command not the king, but his proxy to compear in judment.
BUCH. Now see what strength that refuge hath whereof you make use. For it is all one to me whether the king compear, or his proxy or advocat, for both wayes, the litis-contestation [suit] will redound to the kings loss, the dammage or gain will redound to him, not his advocat, by the event of the sentence. In end he is found guilty, that is, his whole cause is agitat. Now I would have you considernot only how absurd it is, but also unjust, to pass sentence against a king for a petty inheritance for lights in a house, or for ease droppings thereof, and no sentence to be past for parricide, witchcraft, or treason; to make use of the severity of the law in lesser matters, and the greatest licence and impunity to permitted in the greatest crimes. So that the old proverb seemes plainly true, “lawes are very like spiders webs, which hold flies fast but let bigger beasts pass through.” Nor is that complaint and indignation of some just, who say that it is neither honest nor equitgable that judgment should pass against a king by a man of an inferiour rank, seeing they see it received and admitted in debate about money or land, and the greatest peers next to the king for the most part compear before the judges, who are inferiour to them in riches, nobility, and valour, and not much above the vulgar rank, and far more below the guilty than the greatest peers are below kings. Nor yet for all of this do these noble men or peers think it any derogation in their dignity.
67. Now, if we shall once admit this, that no man can be sifted before a judge unless the judge be every way superiour to the person arraigned, the inferiour rank must attend and wait on untill the king either please, or be at leisure, to cognosce [give a hearing] concerning the guilty noble man. But what if their complaint be not only unjust, but also false? For no man coming before a judge doth come before an inferiour person, especially seeing so great an honour is by God Himself conferred upon the order of judges, that He calleth them not only kings but also gods, and, as much as can be, doth communicat to them His own dignity. Therefore those Roman Popes who did graciously indulge kings to kiss their feet, who did send for honours sake to such as came to meet them their mules, who did trad upon the necks of Emperours, being called to answer in judgment, did obey, and, being compelled by judges, renounced their Popedome. John the Twenty-Second, being from flight brought back, was thrust into prison, and scarce at last relieved by money, and submitted to him that was put into his place, and therefore he did approve the sentence of the judges. What did the Synode of Basile? Did it not appoint and ordain by the common consent of all the members thereof, that the Pope is subject to the Councill of priests? Now these fathers were perswaded upon what account they did so, which you may find out of the Acts of these Councills. Kings, then, who confess the majesty of Popes to be so far above them, as that it doth overshadow them all with the top of its celsitude, I know not how they think therein their dignity to be diminished, wherein the Pope did not think he was disparaged to descend from so high a throne, namely to stand in the judgment and sentence of the Cardinals. Hereby you may see how false their complaint is, who disdain to be arraigned at the bar of an inferiour judge. For it is not Titius, Sempronius, or Stichus that doth in a judiciary way condemne and assoile [absolve], but the law, to which <that> kings should yeeld obedience, the most famous Emperours Theodosius and Valentinianus accounted honourable. I shall here set down their own words, because they deserve the memory of all ages. “It is (they say) a word well beseeming the majesty of a king to confess he is a prince tyed to the lawes. And we declare that it is more to submit a principality to the lawes than to enjoy an empire. And what we now declare by this our edict, we will not suffer to be infringed.” These things the very best princes judged right and by law established, and some of the worst see the same. For Nero, being apparelled in the dress of harpers, is said to have not only observed their carriage and motions, but also, when it came to be judged who had done best, that he stood solicitous betwixt hope and fear for the victory. For albeit he knew he would be declared victor, yet he thought the victory would be the more honest if he should he should obtain it, not by the flattery of the judges, but by due debate, and he thought the observation of the law did contributie, not for the diminution of his authority, but for the splendor of his victory.
68. MAIT. Your discourse, I perceive, is not so insolent as at first I took it, when you said you would have kings obedient to the lawes. For it is not so much founded upon the authority of philosophers as of kings, emperours and Councils of the Church. But I do not well understand that you say it is not Man but the law that judgeth.
BUCH. Call to mind what was said a little before: did we not say that the voice of the king and of the law is the same?
MAIT. We did so.
BUCH. What the voice of the clerk and herauld is, when the law is published?
MAIT. The very same.
BUCH. But which of the two hath the authority from the other: whether the judge from the law, or the law from the judge?
MAIT. The judge from the law.
BUCH. The strength of the sentence is then from the law, and the pronunciation of the words of the law is alone the judges.
MAIT. It seemes so.
BUCH. Yea, there is nothing more certain, for the sentences of judges are ratified, else they are rescinded.
MAIT. There is nothing more true than that.
BUCH. You see then that the judges authority is from the law, and not the lawes authority from the judge.
MAIT. I see it is so.
BUCH. The low and mean condition of him that proclaimeth the law doth not diminish the dignity thereof, but the dignity of the lawes is still the same, whether the king, a judge, or an herauld proclame it.
MAIT. It is so indeed.
BUCH. The law then, being once established, is first the voice of the king and then of others.
MAIT. It is so.
BUCH. Whilst, then, the king is condemned by a judge, he seemes to be condemned by the law.
MAIT. That is very clear.
BUCH. If by the law, then he is condemned by is own voice.
<MAIT. By his own voice,> as seemes, no less than if it were written with is own hand.
69. BUCH. Why, then, do we so much weary our selves concerning a judge, seeing we have the kings own confession, that is to say, the law? Let us also consider this, which is but presently come into my minde. When a king in what cause soever doth sit in judgment as a judge, should he not lay aside the person of all others, and to have no respect to brother, kinsman, friend or foe, but retain only the person of a judge?
MAIT. He ought to do so.
BUCH. Ought he not to remember that person only, whose proper act it is he is about?
MAIT. I would have you tell me that more clearly.
BUCH. Take heed then: when any man doth secretly take away another mans goods, what do we say he hath done?
MAIT. I think he hath stollen them.
BUCH. How do you call him for this deed?
MAIT. A thief.
BUCH. How do you say he hath done, who makes use of his neighbours wife as his own?
MAIT. We say he hath committed adultery.
BUCH. How shall we call him?
MAIT. An adulterer.
BUCH. How do we call him that judgeth?
MAIT. A judge.
BUCH. To others also after this manner, from the actions they are about, names may be rightly given.
MAIT. They may.
BUCH. When a king, then, is to pass a sentence, he is to lay aside all other persons.
MAIT. Indeed he should, especially those that may prejudge either of the parties in judging.
BUCH. How do you call him against whom the sentence is past, from that act of judgment?
MAIT. We may call him guilty.
BUCH. And is it not equitable that a judge lay aside such persons as may prejudge the sentence?
MAIT. Certainly he should, if so be such persons be more regarded than the cause, yet such persons pertain not to the judge, seeing God will have no respect to be had to the poor in judgment.
BUCH. If, then, any man who is a painter or a grammarian debate before a judge concerning the art of painting against a painter, he is not a grammarian, for the science of grammer should not herein availe ahim.
MAIT. Nothing at all.
BUCH. Nor the art of painting availe the other, if the debate be concerning grammer.
70. MAIT. Not a white more.
BUCH. A judge, then, in judgement must acknowledge but one name, to wit, of the crime or guilt whereof the adversary or plaintife doth accuse his party or defendant to be guilty.
MAIT. No more.
BUCH. What if a king be guilty of parricide, hath he the name of a king, and what ever doth belong to a judge?
MAIT. Nothing at all, but only of a parricide, for he commeth not into controversy concerning his kingdome, but concerning his parricide.
BUCH. What if two parricides be called to answer in judgment, the one a king and the other a poor fellow, shall not there be a like was of procedure by the judge of both?
MAIT. The very same with both, so that I think that of Lucan is no less true than elegantly spoken, viz., “Caesar was both my leader and fellow in passing over the Rhine. Whom a malefice doth make guilty, it maketh alike.”
BUCH. True indeed. The process, then, is not here carried on against a king and a poor man, but against their parricides. For then the process should be led on concerning the king, if it should be asked which of the two ought to be king. Or if it come into question, whether Hiero be king of a tyrant, or if any other thing come into question which doth properly belong to the kings function. Even as if the sentence be concerning a painter, when it is demanded hath he skill in the art of painting.
MAIT. What if a king will not willingly compear, nor by force can be compelled to compear?
BUCH. Then the case is common with him as with all other flagitious persons. For no thief or warlock will willingly compear before a judge to be judged. But I suppose you know what the law doth permit, namely to kill any way a thief stealing by neight, and also to kill him if he defend himself when stealing by day. But if he cannot be drawn to compear to answer but by force, you remember what is usually done. For we pursue by force and armes such robbers as are more powerfull than that by law they can be reached. Nor is there almost any other cause of all the warres between nations, people and kings than those injuries which, whilst they cannot be determined by justice, are by armes decided.
71. MAIT. Against enemies, indeed, for these causes warres use to be carried on, but the case is far otherwise with kings, to whom by a most sacred oath interposed we are bound to give obedience.
BUCH. We are indeed bound, but they do first promise that they shall rule in equity and justice.
MAIT. It is so.
BUCH. There is, then, a mutuall paction betwixt the king and his subjects.
MAIT. It seems so.
BUCH. Doth not he who first recedes from what is covenanted, and doth contrary to what he hath covenanted to do, break the contract and covenant?
MAIT. He doth.
BUCH. The bond then being loosed which did hold fast the king with the people, what ever priviledge or right did belong to him by that agreement and covenant who looseth [dissolves] the same, I suppose, is lost.
MAIT. It is lost.
BUCH. He, then , with whom the covenant was made becometh as free as ever he was before the stipulation.
MAIT. He doth clearly enjoy the same priviledge and the same liberty.
BUCH. Now, if a king do those things which are directly for the dissolution of society, for the continuance where of he was created, how do we call him?
MAIT A tyrant, I suppose.
BUCH. Now, a tyrant hath not only no just authority over a people, but is also their enemy.
MAIT. He is indeed an enemy.
BUCH. Is there not a just and lawfull war with an enemy for grievous and intolerable injuries?
MAIT. It is forsooth a just war.
BUCH. What war is that which is carried on with him who is the enemy of all mankind, that is, a tyrant?
MAIT. A most just war.
BUCH. Now, a lawfull war being once undertaken with an enemy, and for a just cause, it is lawfull not only for the whole people to kill that enemy, but for every one of them.
MAIT. I confess that.
72. BUCH. May not every one out of the whole multitude of mankind assault with all the calamities of war a tyrant who is a publick enemy, with whom all good men have a perpetuall warfare?
MAIT. I perceive all nations almost to have been of that opinion. For Thebe is usually commended for killing her husband, Timoleon for killing his brother, and Cassius for killing his son, and Fulvius for killing his own son going to Catiline, and Brutus for killing his own sons and kinsmen, having understood they had conspired to introduce tyranny again, and publick rewards were appointed to be given, and honours appointed by severall cities of Greece to those that should kill tyrants. So that (as before said) they thought there was no bond of humanity to be kept with tyrants. But why do I collect the assent of some single persons, since I can produce the testimony almost of the whole world? For who doth not sharply rebuke Domitius Corbulo for neglecting the safety of mankind, who did not thrust Nero out of his empire when he might very easily have done it? And not only was he by the Romans reprehended, but by Tyridates the Persian king, being not at all afraid lest it should afterward befall an example unto himself. But the minds of most wicked men enraged with cruelty are not so void of this publick hatred against tyrants, but that sometimes it breaketh out in them against their will, and forceth them to stand amazed with terrour at the sight of such a just and lawfull deed. When the ministers of Caius Caligula, a most cruel tyrant, were with the like cruelty tumultuating for the slaughter of their lord and master, and required those that had killed him to be punished, now and then crying aloud who had killed the Emperour, Valerius Asiaticus, one of the Senators, standing in an eminent high place from whence he might be heard, cryed out aloud, “I wish I had killed him.” At which word these tumultuary persons void of all humanity stood, as it were, astonished, and so forbore any more to cry out tumultuously. For there is so great force in an honest deed that, the very lightest shew thereof being presented to the minds of men, the most violent assaults are allayed, and fierce fury doth languish, and madness, nill it, will it, doth acknowledge the soveraignty of reason. Neither are they of another judgment who with their loud cryes mixe heaven and earth together. Now this we do easily understand either from hence, that they do reprehend what now is done, but do commend and approve the same seemingly more more atrocious, when they are recorded in an old history, and thereby to evidently demonstrat that they are more obsequious to their own particular affections than moved by any publick dammage. But why do we seek a more certain witness what tyrants do deserve than their own conscince? Thence is that perpetuall fear from all, and chiefly from good men, and they do constantly see hanging above their own necks the sword which they hold still drawn against others, and by their own hatred against others they measure other mens minds against them. But contrariwise good men, by fearing no man, do often procure their own hazard, whilst they weigh the good will of others towards them, not from the vicious nature of men, but from their own desert towards other.
73. BUCH. You do then judge that to be true, that tyrants are to be reckoned in the number of the most cruell brute beasts, and that tyrannical violence is more unnaturall than poverty, sickness, death, and other miseries which may befall men naturally.
MAIT. Indeed when I do ponder the weight of your reasons, I cannot deny but these things are true. But whilst hazards and inconveniences do occure, which follow on the back of this opinion, my mind, as it were tyed up with a bridle, doth instantly, I know not how, faile me, and bendeth from that too Stoicall and severe right way towards utility, and almost falleth away. For if it shall be lawfull for any man to kill a tyrant, see how great a gape you do open for wicked men to commit any mischief, and how great hazard you creat to good men; to wicked men you permit licentiousness, and lets out upon all the perturbation of all things. For he that shall kill a good king, or at least none of the worst, may he not pretend by his wicked deed some shew of honest and lawfull duty? Or if any good subject shall in vain attempt to kill a prince worthy of all punishment, or accomplish what he intended to do, how great a confusion of all things do you suppose must needs follow there upon? Whilst the wicked to tumultuat, raging that their head and leader is taken away from them, neither will all good men approve the deed, nor will all those do approve the deed defend the doer and author of their liberty against a wicked crew. And many under an honest pretext of peace will vaile their own laziness, or rather calumniat the vertue of others, that confess their own slothfulness. Surely this rememberance of self interest, and excuse of leaving the publick cause, and the fear of dangers, if it doth not break the courage, yet it weakneth the same, and compelleth it to preferre tranquility, albeit not very sure, to an uncertain expectation of liberty.
74. BUCH. If you well remember what is before spoken, this your fear will be easily discussed. For we told you that there be some tyrannies allowed by the free suffrages of a people, which do honour with royall titles, because of the moderat administration. No man, with my will, shall put violent hand on any such, nor yet on any of those who even by force or fraud have acquired, providing they use a moderat way in their government. Such amongst the Romans were Vespasianus, Titus, Pertinax, Alexander amongst the Grecians, and Hiero in Syracusa, who, albeit they obtained the government by force and armes, ket by their justice and equity deserved to be reckoned amongst just kings. Besides, I do only shew what may be lawfully done, or ought to be done in this case, but do not exhort to attempt any such thing. For in the first a due consideration of the case, and a clear explanation thereof is sufficient; but in the last there is need of good counsell in undertaking, of prudence in assaulting, and courage in acting. Now, seeing these things are either promoved [promoted] or overturned by the circumstances of time, person, place, and other instruments in carrying on the business, if any shall rashly attempt this, the blame of his fault can be no more imputed to me, than his fault to a physician who hath duely described the remedies of diseases, but were given by another to the patient unseasonably.
MAIT. One thing seemes yet to be wanting to put an end to this dispute, which if you shall add, I shall think I have received a very singlar kindness of you. The matter is this: let me understand if there be any Church censures against tyrants.
BUCH. You may take it when you please out of the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, where the Apostle doth forbid to have any fellowship either at meat or discourse with openly lewd and flagitious men. If this were observed amongst Christians, such lewd men, unless they did repent, might perish by hunger, cold, and nakedness.
MAIT. A grievous sentence indeeed that is. But I do not know if a people that allow so much liberty every way to their rulers will believe that kings should be punished after this manner.
75. BUCH. Surely the ancient ecclesiastick writers without exception did thus understand that sentence of Paul. For Ambrise did hold out of the assembly of the Christians Theodosius the emperour, and Theodosius obeyed the said bishop; and for what I know, antiquity doth more highly extoll the deed of no other other so much, nor is the modesty of any other emperour more commended. But to our purpose, what difference is there betwixt the exclusion out of Christian fellowship and the interdiction from fire and water? This last is a most grievous sentence imposed by rulers against such as refuse to obey their commands, and the former is a sentence of Church men. Now the punishment of the contempt of both authorities is death, but the seculiar judge denounceth the death of the body, the ecclesiastick judge denounceth the destruction of the whole man. Therefore the Church will not account him worthy of death whom it doth expell out of the fellowship of Christians while he is alive, and banisheth him into the fellowship of divils when dead. Thus according to the equity of the cause I think I have spoken abundantly. If therewith any forrainers be displeased, I desire they would consider how unjustly they deal with us. For whilst there be many nations both great and wealthy in Europe, having all their own peculiar lawes, they deale arrongantly who would prescribe to all that modell and forme of government which they them selves enjoy. The Helvetians government is a common wealth, Germany useth the name or title of Empire as a lawfull government. Some cities of Germany (as I am informed) are under the rule of princes. The Venetians have a seignory tempered of these. Muscovia hath a very tyranny in stead of government. We have indeed but a little kingdome, but we enjoy it these two thousand years free of the empire of forraine nations. We did creat at first lawfull kings, we did impose upon our selves and them equall and just law4s, the long continuance of time doth shew they were usefull. For more by the observation thereof than by force of armes hath this kingdom stood intire hitherto.
76. Now what iniquity is this, that we should desire either to abrogat or neglect the lawes, the good whereof we have found by experience for so many ages? Or what impudence is that in others, that where as they cannot scarce defend their own government, endeavour to weaken the state and good order of another kingdome? What? Are not our lawes and statues usefull not only to our selves, but also to our neighbours? For what can be more usefull for keeping peace with our nearest neighbours than the moderation of kings? For from immoderat lust unjust wars are for the most part rashly undertaken, wickedly prosecuted and carried on, and shamfully with much disgrace left off. And further, what more hurtfull can there by to any common wealth than bad lawes amongst their nearest neighbours, whereof the contagion doth usually spread far and wide? And why do they thus trouble us only, seeing so many nations round about have their severall lawes and statues of their own, and no nation hath altogether the same lawes and statutes as others about them have? And why are they now offended at us, seeing we make no new law, but continue to observe what we had by an ancient priviledge, and seeing we are not the only persons, nor the first persons, nor yet is it at this time that we <first> make use use of our lawes? But our lawes are displeasing to some. Perhaps their own lawes displease them also. We no not curiously enquire what the lawes of other nations are. Let them leave us our own, well known by the experience of so many years. Do we trouble their councills? Or in what business do we molest them? “But you are seditious,” say they. I could freely give then an answer: what is it to them? We are tumultuous at our own perrill, and at our own dammage. I might enumerat a great many seditions that are not hurtfull either to common wealths or kingdoms. But I shall not make use of that defence. I deny any nation to be less seditious than we. I deny that any nation hath ever been more moderat in seditions than we. Many contentions have fallen out for lawes, and right of government, and administration of the kingdome, yet the main business hath been still kept safe. Our contentions never were, as amongst many others, with the destruction of the people, nor with the hatred of our princes, but only out of love to our own countrey and desire to maintain our lawes.
77. How often in our time have great armies stood in opposition to one another? How oft have they retired and withdrawn from one another, not only without wound, but without any harme, yea without so much as a reproach? How often hath the publick utility setled the private grudges? How often hath the rumor of the enemies approache extinguished our intestine hatred and animiostity? In all our seditions we have not been more modest than fortunat, seeing for the most part the party most just hath been alwayes most fortunat, and even as we have moderately vented our hatred, so have we to our profit and advantage condescended to an agreement. These things at present do occurre which might seeme to compesce [stifle] the speeches of malevolents, refute such as are more pertinacious, and may satisfy such as are of a more temperat disposition. But by what right other nations are governed, I thought it not much to our purpose. I have briefly rehearsed our own way and custome, but yet more amply than I intended, or than the matter did require, because I undertook this pain for you only. And if it be approved by you, I have enough.
MAIT. As for me, you have abundantly satisfied me. But if I can satisfy others also, I shall think I have received much good by your discourse, and my self eased of very much trouble.