The politicke and militarie discourses of the Lord de La Nouue VVhereunto are adioyned certaine obseruations of the same author, of things happened during the three late ciuill warres of France. With a true declaration of manie particulars touching the same. All faithfully translated out of the French by E.A.
La Noue, François de, 1531-1591., Aggas, Edward.

The fourth Discourse.

What meanes and proceedings are most fit to vse in the re∣dresse of an estate.

IF peraduenture wee should méete with some * one that should say, that France is not in the way of destruction, what aunswer shall wee make him? Forsooth that he is both blinde and deaffe. For which way soeuer we looke, we can see nothing but confusion and miserie, neither can wee heare the sound of any thing but com∣plaints and lamentations. But if some other should then say that we ought to leaue it in the same estate wherein it now is, and ne∣uer seeke any meanes to relieue it: might wee not iustly tell him that he is an enemie to vertue, in that he abhorreth not so many vi∣ces & mischiefes as doe on all sides infect and torment vs? Let vs therefore leaue those that are so doltish or corrupt, & harken to the Page  54 voyce of the people yt soundeth of nothing but Restauration. Yea euen all other the liuing, though vnceasonable, creatures, if they could expresse their desire, would say the same, conforming them selues to the saying of S. Paule: That all creatures doe mourne and labour, wayting to be deliuered out of the bondage of corruption. But * there he meaneth to speake of the vniuersal miserie & finall renoua∣tion, where our France now groueth after her owne perticulerly.

All sorts both great & small do confesse that she is very sick, & do * wish she were healed; but as touching the meanes to do it, they are at debate among themselues. For some would haue her let blood extremely: Others doe thinke it better to minister more gentle and easie medicines. In this contrarietie we must therfore seeke which be the fittest for the state wherein we are. For the chiefest part of a good iudgement consisteth in knowledge how to choose yt that may most profite. To the finding wherof I thinke there is nothing that can better cōduct vs then ye experience passed among vs, conioyned with perfect discretion, which is the rule of all politick actions. And vnder the conduct of so safe guides wil I begin to enter the carrier.

Touching the first that are so violent in their opinions, and pro∣pound * nothing but sword and fire, I cannot me think like of them. For notwithstanding they seeme to desire the generall benefite; yet doe they indeede rather seeke their owne contentations and perti∣culer profit. Wherin seeing reason resisteth their vehemēt nature, they haue recourse to force, with the which, if it lay in them, they would not helpe themselues much better then a mad man with a sharpe sword. It is straunge to see that men in the gouernment of brute beastes, can vse moderation and patience, and yet in the regi∣ment of their like, endued with reasonable soule and which are per∣suasible, nothing may serue but cruelty! In the correction of things hurtfull we are sometymes forced to shewe rigour, which is not to be blamed, if the causes so require, and that withall wee put away all desire of reuenge. But to guide the instruments of rigour with enuious passions, is the way to marre and ouerthrowe all. And this haue we throughly experimented in our poore countrie, who is so oppressed with those calamities, which through the rage of her owne children she hath suffered, that now she doth clutter but with one wing. And what is the cause thereof, but these vyolent coun∣sailes: from whence are procéeded murders, manslaughters, begin∣nings of warres, depopulatiōs, wrongfull cōdemnatiōs, sackings, and other mischiefes, with which meanes some say that we should Page  55 helpe our selues for the sauing of the state from destruction and expelling the inconueniences alreadie happened. Howbeit, in the ende we haue found such remedies to bee farre worse then the sick∣nesse, and more meete to encrease thē to decrease the disease. They are not therefore to bee termed remedies, but rather most cruell re∣uenges, and destructions which haue rauished and caried away whatsoeuer the most excellent commodities of this realme, name∣ly the flower and aboundance of men. What can those men now say that take such felicitie in the warre & are so readie to perswade it, for now I protest that they sée that notwithstanding it hath bene sixe tymes renewed, it bringeth vs no commoditie, but rather plun∣geth our France in all desolation.

But what will some passionate Catholicke say: How can wee*roote out those of the new opinion, if wee may not helpe our selues with our weapons? Truely my maisters, may we aunswer, first it were re∣quisite you should proue it a iust matter and for the common commo∣ditie, to polute your hands in the bowelles of your fellowe countrimen, before you bee permitted to make such a butcherly slaughter. Were it not better for you by clemencie to bring them to concord, and by good examples in life to endeuour to cōuert them? It may be also that some Protestant, offended at things passed will say: Wee must haue no peace with these Papistes that haue done vs so much mischiefe, before our swords haue made cruell reuenge. To them would I priuatly say: Why are not you yet wearie, hauing tasted so many paines & mi∣series, but that you must reenter againe into newe? Let vs rather make warre against our imperfections then mainteyne them in our land, and endeuour to mollifie the hearts of those that hate vs, by instructions, seruices & mutuall dueties: and so will God send vs an assured peace.

Thus me thinkes wee should aunswer those men that are so sharp set vpon blood. When vpon euill will we seeke warre, it must needes be vniust: but when to repulse crueltie and defend our inno∣cencie wee are forced to beare it, it is excusable, because necessitie constrayneth. But among all the Frenchmens furies, there haue none bene so terrible as the massacres. They were, say some, the last remedies to restore France to vnion. And yet did neuer any thing happen that so farre disunited it. Hereby wee might bee taught to refraine therefro, because such vyolent waies in liew of restoring, doe destroye. And when all is sayd, such counsailors de∣serue not the name of reformers, but of deformers.

If the correction of any abuse come in question, some are not con∣tent Page  56 with the rooting of it out, but they must also spoyle, driue away and kill those whome they pretend to bee the abusers; without de∣stinction * of person or trespasse. And if the Italians (who are migh∣tely multiplyed in France) bee spoken of, they wrappe them all in one offence and say that they must be thus and thus vsed. But they should first thinke, that as among the French there bee both good and bad, so are there among them of both sortes. And a man may affirme that such of them as applye their mindes to goodnesse, doe prooue most excellent, as also those that are giuen to mischiefe are aswicked. Moreouer, is it possible to imagine any greater confu∣sion and vniustice, then for the punishment of some tenne or twelue guiltie persons, to giue in pray a thousand innocents to vnbridled furie▪ If some Italians haue brought wicked customes and inuen∣tions into France, watch them, and finding them guiltie, punish them: but doe not imitate them, for so might ye afterward be asha∣med to condemne them. Some accuse them to bee the aucthors of impositions and extraordinary taxes, which haue almost oppressed the whole communaltie. It is a cursed crime, and those that are so vnthankfull to France where they are susteyned and growe into welth, as to be the occasions of causing it to be eaten vp and so op∣pressed, are vnworthie to dwell in it. But we must marke well who they bee, and not impute the fault of a fewe vnto all. What must we then doe? For sooth we must not repose any credite in them: but in the gouernment of the state, vse such Princes, Lords & notable persons as alwaies haue bene accustomed to counsell our Kings. Neuerthelesse, if peraduenture there chaunce to bee some among them who in respect of their singuler vertue and fidelitie might de∣serue to perticipate in the chiefest honors (whereto the histories do testifie that in tymes past diuers straungers haue atchieued) who would debarre them? And herevpon I would demaund of them what Frenchmen were more affectionate to the estate then one Ia∣mes also Theodore Triuolsse: one Prince of Melphy, one Duke Horatius Fernesius, & aboue all, the valiant race of the Strossyes, of whom the last (who deserued to march in the first ranke of ye best Frenchmen) did voluntarily sacrifice his life for the turning aside of those ciuill warres that began againe to threaten our France.

I would wish we had halfe a dosen such straungers euen in our priuie councell. They haue, will some man say, (I speake of those that traficke) al the greatest Farmes of the Realme. I do not mer∣uaile thereat, sith they are giuen them. If a Frenchman could find Page  57 any such commodities in Italie, he would post thether apace. The best remedie for that, is to preferre our owne nation before them. This is not yet all, for these men can in fiue or sixe yeres make thē selues ritch. Truely if they atteyne to their wealth with either our publique or priuat detriment, they are to be condemned: but if their labour, diligence and industrie doth aduance them thereto, you may not blame them, but rather thinke your selues very doults that can not do the like. And yet if we will looke well to some of our French men, we shall finde that they haue made as good a haruest as ye rest. To be briefe, sith the most part of them are incorporate among vs, as hauing both houses, wiues and children, were it not great cru∣eltie indiscretly to rent away such a member. France hath alwaies bene very courteous to straungers, and so in my opinion she ought still to bee, namely to those that we see doe cloth themselues with the naturall affections of the homeborne, and that bring forth good example & better fruite. But the rest, who as bloodsuckers doe sucke vs vp and then goe their waies, or that bring in pernitious nouel∣ties, they are to be accused, & being conuict, to be made taste of the seueritie of the lawes of France. For the punishing of a few would correct many. Howbeit, in the state wherein our Commonwelth now standeth an Italian Frenchionized, is as much to bee estée∣med as a Frenchman Hispaniolized.

But it is not the straunger only whom they would haue to be so hardly entreated, for when their passions prick them, they set them * selues against the naturall Frenchmen. Some say that ye seate of Iustice wherevpon a certeyne forme of Iusticers doe sit, are now but traps & snares, wherein with the bayt of lawes and customes, both ritch & poore are caught & spoyled, & therfore that we must ba∣nish one part of thē & rob the rest, so to saue and reuenge our selues of their rapine, & restore iudgements into their auncient simplici∣tie: Others raging against Friers & Muncks do charge them that they are the examples of all dissolute life, idlenesse & hipocrisie, who when they haue liued of other mens labours, doe also betray their consciences, and therfore say that wee ought to set fire in the fower corners of their couents. Some of the Commons complayning of the arrogancie of the Nobilitie would entreate thē after the maner of the Suitzers, (yet the Suitzers haue not done so much as these do thinke) so to establish a quiet Cōmonwelth. Part of the Nobi∣litie likewise disdayning the pride & insolencie of the inhabitants of some mightie cities, also their redinesse to Commotions, doe wish

〈1 page missing〉

Page  60 In this case would I wish his Maiestie to establish such a lawe * as was vsed at Locres that had relatiō to another. That is, that e∣uery one that would propound any new matter in that Common∣welth, was forced to appeare before ye people with an halter about his necke: Then after the proposition heard, if it were allowed, the halter was taken away & he let go free, but if it were misliked, thē was he strangled, to ye end by this rigorous punishmēt to admonish euery one not to be ouer hastie to bring in pernitious nouelties that might bréede alteration or innouation of the state. The like were it meete his Maiestie should ordeyne, namely that whosoeuer would counsaile ciuill warre should come in like sort before him, his Prin∣ces & Counsaile, assisted with three hūdred persons accompted ho∣nest men & discréet & true Frenchmen, taken frō among the bodie of the Nobilitie, the bodie of Iustice and the bodie of the Cities, to the end as his proposition should be by them found to be profitable or hurtfull, he might be entreated: so peraduenture the issue might be such yt by this example many would be terrified & restrained frō the persuading of warre, through the continuation wherof France hath accelerated her destruction & doth frame her self to forrein bō∣dage. Much more might be yet spokē to ye weakning of this opiniō, but this may suffise for those yt will not dispute or argue thervpon.

Now let vs see what we are to iudge of the other two opinions which do seeme more receiueable. Many men are persuaded yt that * which cōmendeth the gentle & easie remedies is to be followed, as being most conuenient for vs. And this are they mooued to beléeue by the consideration of ye ruines yt the rigorous haue brought vpon vs: for thereof do they conclude yt contrary effects must be atteyned by cōtrary meanes. Secondly, they cōpare France to a body which by long sicknesse is growne into so weake & feeble an estate that it cannot scarce stand: & do say that the rules of arte do forbid the mi∣nistring of so strōg medicines to him yt is so weake least they throw him quite downe. And yt with like reason, politick rules do not per∣mit ye application of so vehemēt remedies vnto a languishing & half wasted estate. They say moreouer yt during euē our small peace we might perceiue yt many things begā alreadie to recouer, which tea∣cheth yt gentle procéedings are merueilous proper to help to reduce France into yt good order which we desire. And indéed this way sée∣meth as easie as ye first séemed hard. But for wāt of following ther∣of we are fallen into wonderfull calamities, ye remēbrance whereof hath made mē so timerous yt euen words only do make thē afeard. Page  61 So that if wee but speake of reforming of this or that, by and by they imagine that wee are about to begin to destroye them: so sore haue the passed iniuries encreased distrust. This is the reason why the most moderate rules, waies and decrees are most fit and neces∣sarie * to begin withall, to the end to giue to vnderstand to those that yet are but wilde, that wee purpose for the reestablishment of those things that are in confusion to proceed with temperance, for so by yéelding somewhat to their imaginations and feare, we shall make them afterward more readie to obey whatsoeuer shall be ordeyned, neither neede wee feare to finde any great repugnancie when men shall perceiue that the reformers doe meane well. For now many things are chaunged ouer as they were in tymes past whē some of the members only had bene displeased. Now doth the whole bodie complaine, and the patient who before would not knowe his sick∣nesse, cryeth out after the Phisition.

It is vnpossible, will some say, to see so great consent in seeking * reformation: for such as gaine by disorders would haue them still to continue. Hereto I aunswer, that wee knowe well enough there will be contrariers. But on the other side, when men shall see the greatest number well disposed, being gouerned by authoritie and lawe, the rest will soone be brought into order. The principall signe hereof is example and authoritie royall, couragiously commaun∣ding: without which nothing will be performed. And now will I * set downe some of the disorders of our estate, therby to sée whether the same bee as easie to remedie, as many doe imagine they bee: so from the lesser and most easie I will procéede to the greater and hardest.

The first place will I attribute to superfluity in aparrell that ex∣ceedeth * euery where, whereof proceedeth generall pouertie: which to redresse seemeth but small difficultie, and yet it cannot bee tou∣ched but two millions of men will crye out and exclaime. What meanes is there then to prouide for it? Euen to laugh at all those lamentations, complaints and rages. For from a foole if you take his bable, he will storme, and yet is it requisite to do it least he hurt others. But, which is yet worse: these excesses that we speake of doe hurt those especially that commit them, though at the first they be as pleasant, as in the ende they be pinched, when their liuing is morgadged out. He that would perticulerly touch all these kindes of folly, (as the inuenters of auriculer confession haue deuided mortall and veniall sinnes into an infinite number of rootes and Page  62 braunches) should neede a whole volume. It hath in all ages bene a hard matter to cut off the things that men haue esteemed to bee their principall delights, yea some histories doe reporte that euen the Romaines were much troubled therewith. Yet is there great difference betwéene vs and them. For they excéeded when they had aboundance of all things, but wee doe it now that we haue almost nothing: Neither doe I feare that we shall enter into sedition for this poynt. They that keepe the Custome house at Lions will say, that vnlesse euery man may haue libertie of apparell the King shall lose aboue three hundred thousand crownes of yeerely rent. But if we turne ouer the leafe, wee shall finde that there is yeerely transported out of the Realme aboue fower millions of Francks, which is caried into Italie for such warres, and doe cause the King and his subiects to spende aboue twelue millions in superfluous apparell that might well bee spared. In the tyme of Phillip the Conqueror vnder whom France florished and was aloft, Veluet was out of vse with them, neither had they any store of Silkes, at the least fewe men did weare them. Neuerthelesse, the great men were neuer better obeyed, each one in his degrée, then in those daies. So long as nothing but ritch garments doe procure reue∣rence and loue, there is but small sted fastnesse therein, and there∣fore there must be stronger bonds to bring vs to our dueties. Yet doe I not meane that we should order our garments after the sim∣plicitie of olde tyme: for now doe many things abound that were then very rare. The third parte of the Nobilitie at the least could wish there were some good order taken herein, so should they bee better furnished with money and lesse endebted. And I beleeue they could be content rather to spend that which they doe consume in such superfluities, in the Kings seruice in the field, where their expenses should be better employed, thē to empouerish themselues in these follies: and in liew of so many gay hosen and cloakes bro∣dered with gold and siluer, to buy good horses, armour & furniture, therewith to bee worthely furnished in these honorable necessities. So should wee finde aboue 1200, gentlemen able without pay to accōpanie him, which are yet good relickes of our decayed France, and might worke as great miracles as euer did S. Mathurin of l' Archant. And as these doe cure fooles (as yt report goeth) so would the others heale certeyne dolts yt think vs Frenchmen to be euen in the Hospitall. Who thē would make any stirre for these things: Peraduenture the women, who are wonderfully affected to these Page  63 goodly ornaments, and would bee very forie they should be cut off. Indeede they should bee allowed much more then men, as well to content their curiositie, as also because they loue to haue somewhat that may giue a glosse to their beautie. Howveit, Aristotle saith that women are the one moitie of the Commonwelth, and there∣fore ought to bee brideled by good lawes, but they will not beléeue him, but say that he is an hereticke.

There be many other superfluities which I will not speake of, * as hauing touched them els where. Only I haue chosen this kind which is as hurtfull as common, which also I haue layed open to the ende to shewe that sith it may bee amended, so may others like∣wise that make vs worse and more needie. Which if any man de∣sire me to name, I must report these; excessiue expences wasted in sumptuous Feastes vppon small occasion: Maskes, Playes, superfluous retenues, stately builoings, precious moueables: with many other pomps and pleasures which all do stand in great néede of reformation, because that many doe passe their dueties and ha∣bilities: neither should a man lye, that should say, that they are rea∣dier to spend 1000, crownes in such vanities, thē to giue half a one to a poore soule that dyeth for hunger; or tenne to a friend that stan∣deth in great neede. The cause whereof is ouermuch selfe loue and want of charitie toward others.

Now will I speake of matters which seeme necessarie to be tou∣ched, * if we minde to reforme the estate, notwithstanding it be daun∣gerous stirring of thē. There be that thinke that if in this our po∣uertie those mén be not visited that haue so vnreasonably enritched themselues by our confusions, the King shall bee defrauded of a woonderfull cōmoditie that would arise of the restitutions that di∣uers * should be forced to make, which also being applyed to good v∣ses, would stop great gaps. This proposition is plausible & groun∣ded vpon equitie, but ye execution therof is very difficult, cōsidering the great nūber of those whose consciences are larger then a Friers léeue, some in receiuing too much, others in seruing their owne 〈…〉es, and others in catching and snatching. And vndoubtedly, if wée should driue them to giue accompt of their administration past, it would bréede some iarre. Yet if there were but a fewe ex∣chetors in this number, (who now should deale faithfully in their offices, if they could remember what shipwracke they had once almost fallen into) was should bee sure enough from any warre there about. But to close with those that weare Swordes: that Page  64 can both commaund and strike: and that haue authoritie, friendes, and intelligences, vndoubtedly it would breede great alterations. Was it not one of the causes that moued Caesar to take armes, because they would haue visited him and his partakers, about the wealth that he had gathered in Gaule? When the Gracchies pro∣pounded and purposed to put in execution the law Agraria which cut off the possessions of the ritch, what bloodie sedition did ensue? For although a thing be lawfull yet is it not expedient to put it al∣waies in vse, because that neither the indisposition of the affayres can beare it, neither the tyme require it.

Some will say that it is a gentle way, to redemand that thing by lawe that hath bene vsurped against lawe. True. But if we doe well marke the consequences, wee shall finde them so daungerous, that it were a great ouersight for the gathering vp of a fewe small profites, to encurre great losses. For sith they that will not lose the goodes that they haue gotten, will not for the kéeping of them ab∣steyne from vyolence, the surest way were now to wincke at some incurable mischiefes and to looke vpon those that be curable. The lawe of obliuion which wee haue alwaies placed first in our out∣cryes, which also the Romaines and Athenians after their ciuill warres did put in practise, doth warne vs in these chaungeable tymes to forget many things.

The like consideration is there to bee had of the Clergie: for as many did affirme that it were good to take away halfe their goods * (which most of them doe abuse) to discharge the Kings debts, con∣sidering that the people in respect of their pouertie are not able to doe it: these great words, as tending to deminish their temporall possessions, did so terrefie them, that calling together their wittes, they haue with wonderfull sleights oftentymes ouerthrowne these motions, wherein men began to take some small taste, shewing that they could neuer be any whit enclined to relieue his maiestie, vnlesse he first set free the Church of Rome from the oppressions of the Protestants; & after the rooting out of thē they would worke merueiles. To be briefe, by such meanes and deuises they haue so runningly giuen vs the turne, (as we vse to say) that they are best in rest whiles the others are by warre pursued. And sometymes when they haue bene disposed to take the bit in the mouth, what haue they done? It was seene in the States holden at Blois in the yéere 1577. For they there so played their parts that they set one part of France against the other, while themselues indged of Page  65 the blowes: Yea some went so farre as to to say that the Clergie possessed aboue fifteene millions of Francks in yerely rent, so that if any sought to oppresse them, they would make those that had bitten them to let goe well enough. These examples doe shew that it is not for vs to vse force against those that are able by force to re∣sist. But I presume that in as much as they are Frenchmen, they will neuer see their King fall in necessitie, but will succour him, in case they finde that by courtesie they be required. Besides that see∣ing they employe not the Church goodes to that vse to the which they were bequethed, they ought not to refuse to helpe him whose auncestors haue permitted them the possession of the same.

The same moderate procéeding is in my opinion to bee taken * with the Protestants, because all the extremities that haue bene practised against them to reclaime them (as the speech goeth) haue brought them with force to defende themselues. For it is not possible that so bloodie a worke of conuersion can bee perfected ac∣cording to the first intent of those that began to frame it, and there∣fore the best way is to leaue it. If we presume that they erre, they must be reformed by the words of Christ and his Apostles, and not by the persecutions and fires that haue many yeeres flamed in France. Fire belongeth to Sodomites, and not to those who in the middest thereof call vpon the sonne of God only. Our Kings ha∣uing by their Churchmen bene perswaded that the rooting of them out of their territories should be an acceptable sacrifice vnto God, thinking to doe well, haue done their endeuours, and to that effect consumed more money, men, and tyme then Caesar did in his Con∣quest of Gaule, Spayne, and England. Sith therefore experience teacheth that all this haue nothing profited, should wee not seeke more milde & conuenient waies to preserue, rather then to destroye men? His maiestie might doe well to say to his Clergie: My mai∣sters, seeing the materiall sword hath not in so many yeeres bene able to bring your counsaile to passe, labour you another while with the spi∣rituall, which is teaching and preaching, adding thereunto good life, to redresse pietie and godlinesse. I would thinke that either part should take the same course to conuert one another, which so many excellent personages haue done heretofore: As Irineus, Policar∣pus, Athanasius, with other good Shepheards, that haue guided an innumerable quantitie of poore soules (which before were the bondslaues of ignorance and sinne) into the way of saluatiō. With the sword you may well bereaue some of them of their liues, but Page  66 the taking of perswasions out of the hart cannot be compassed by any materiall instrument: but rather by better perswasions of truth. Obseruing this rule, it were moreouer requisite, to the ende to see some apparant rest in the Church., that his Maiestie should call a nationall, franke and free counsaile (for the Pope will neuer agree to any generall, which he feareth as thunder) consisting of honorable Deuines, charitable and louers of concord, who being holily assembled may finde some indifferent meanes able to reduce vs to a Christian vniou, which we all ought to wish, where before we fled one from an other through deuision. Our maisters may peraduenture hereunto aunswer, that the Catholicke Romish re∣ligion must not bee brought into question or argument, but rather the newe opinions, as being full of error: But if any Heretick will dispute let him come to the facultie of Deuinitie, there shall he bée talked withal with the great teeth. Hereto I say that our maisters haue too great an aduauntage, when they are in their maine Bul∣warkes, as at Rome, in the Spanish Inquisition, and in Sorbon∣ne. For there is not so subtile a Gospeller, but should lose his la∣tine. Yea Aristotle himselfe with all his Greeke, if he were in the stay should finde himselfe hardly beset: for there haue they more important arguments then those of the first figure. For when they heare any that oppugneth their opinions, and pricketh them with the stinges of the Scripture, by and by they deliuer him a sillo∣gisme to dissolue, which is either of fire, water, or halter, whereto he must aunfwer in person, not in figure, so as a poore condemned man before he bee conuict is forced corporally to yéeld to the force of their arguments which doe necessarily conclude in death. The best way therfore were to giue ouer all these passed euill customes, and to followe those remedies that I haue propounded, or others more meete to attaine to liue in peace withall: for feare least our maisters endeuouring to compell others to admit their heauenly opinions happen to lose their earthly possessions, as alreadie they haue done in a great parte of Europe. As also wée doe alrea∣die in France see the ritchest members of their Demaines in the handes of the Catholicke warriours, who hauing receiued such benefites for the rewardes due vnto their seruices, it will shortly followe that (if the ciuill warres doe continue) necessitie and coue∣toufnesse will procure many of them to appropriate to themselues the things whereof before they were but farmers, as heretofore it happened in this Realme in the tyme of Charles the Simple.Page  67 This briefe aduertisement I thought good to giue them, as being assured that they would bee loth either by power or pollicie that a∣ny man should presume to thrust his hand inio their cauldron, espe∣cially the Protestants, who as they say, haue no right or authori∣tie in the imposition of hands.

Concerning the lawe, which is a very vnproportionate mem∣ber, * it would deserne seuere reformation, were it not that wee are partly the cause that many of the ministers thereof doe abuse it: because that to recouer and recompence themselues they doe (as some say) sell by retayle that which they haue bought by great. But the most especiall remedie for this, were by little and little and that without iniurie, to suppresse halfe this mightie armie with all their superfluous formalities, which bréede so many delayes. So would it followe that halfe their suites would fléete away with the streame. But what excesse is there in the order of receiuers, as well in the multiplicitie of offices as in their fees: which say they that knowe it, do amount yerely vnto 1200000. crownes: Is not this wast of treasure, considering that vnder 100000. would suffise to mainteyne a reasonable number that might haue that office. The whole reuenues of ye great Duke of Florence or Saxonie amount to no more: which make mée to wonder at our France, seeing the least péeces of our ruines doe counteruaile some small King∣domes.

To atteyne therefore to the correction of all these disorders and * many other that are to bee seene in other vocations, it were re∣quisite his Maiestie should duely and without partialitie call the generall Estates, by whose meanes he might take good aduice and necessarie resolutions, so shoule they reape but a fewe curses of those whome they shall haue a little plucked and he the profite. For whatsoeuer men say, or in whatsoeuer sorte wee take the Frenchmen, they still loue their King. Here might rise a doubt that might breede blame to the vse of moderate meanes, if the same were not opened and decided. That is, that many would thinke much that as well vnder the colour of clemencie, as also in∣duced through a false feare, least by touching them wée might bring out of taste sundrie persons to the preiudice of the Estate, we should leaue so many vices vnpunished. Truely they might reaso∣nably bée reiected, if they tended to restrayne politicke iudgements, without which Cōmonwelths cannot consist. But it is to be consi∣dered yt there is a difference betwéene the courts of ordinarie iustice Page  68 (which should alwaies, if it were possible, beare an equall course) and the meanes and proceedings which customably are holden in the correction of disorders happened as well in gouernment, as v∣niuersally in maners: for in these things sometyme we are forced to accommodate our selues to those persons, that are either ouer many or ouer mightie: to those meanes and power that are small: Also according to the tyme when an estate is deuided, for that cau∣seth release of all seueritie, attending more fit oportunitie to vse it. But when the lawe commaundeth that blasphemers, murderers, adulterers and theeues be punished, wee must not haue regarde to so many circumstances: for it is our dueties to obeye it, because it is God that speaketh: and in truth, that is the way whereby wee should begin to reforme deformed estates.

Now it remaineth that we discourse of the other opinion which * mixeth clemencie with rigour. The allowers thereof doe say that the meetest remedies for France must bee so compounded if wee purpose to reape any profite of them. For as the vyolent which do empayre the disease are to be reiected, so likewise y gentle through want of strength to deminish it doe proue vnfruitfull. They doe consider that the mischiefes and disorders are tyed to the whole bo∣die of France, euen as the rust is tyed to the Iron: Also that as for the getting of it of and making the Iron bright, it is requisite not onely to wash and drye it, but also to powre oyle vppon the rust to eate it, and then diligently to skoure and cleanse it: so likewise the vices that haue taken footing doe not auoyde, as wee say, simply, but must be forcibly thrust out as a straunger should bee thrust out of a house from whence he is vnwilling to departe. If, say they, our calamities were like to the calamities of an offender, who hauing receiued the sentence of his condemnation, doth suffer one only of∣ficer to leade him where he list, it might easely be banished: but re∣sembling rather an vntamed Horse, who when the rider toucheth him with the spurre, endeuoureth with his hinder heeles to strike him, or with his teeth to byte him, must by him that mindeth to breake him frō the same be led lustely, and somewhile stroken with the rod, and somewhile chidden and threatned with a sharp voyce: so must we thinke that most of our vices are haughtie and proude, and knowing that you feare them, they doe face you: but if you ap∣plye vnto them the seueritie of the lawe with some punishment, they are afearde and doe hide themselues. Moreouer, when they that mislike of offences doe see that wee doe with too much len••ie Page  69 and too softly proceede to correction, they imagine some secrete winking thereat, and so are offended at the Magistrate: by reason where of they conclude that a moderate seueritie must bee added to the remedies, or els neuer to hope for much profite.

This aduice vppon better examination doe I finde to bee very * well founded, and by applying it to some matters propounded may better appeare, as the Surgions doe applye their oyntments vnto wounds, to the end by their effects to gather the more know∣ledge of their vertues. But if any seeke to accuse mee of taking delight in taxing of diuers persons, I will aunswer that if we en∣deuour to wipe away the blemishes happened in any degree, wee must first shewe them. Neither will I bring for example hereof a∣ny other then those of the same bodie whereof I am a member, namely the Nobilitie and men of warre. Let vs now therefore looke vpon the misdemeanours of the latter sorte against the people in the tyme of peace when they goe to their musters or returne home againe, either when they chaunge garrison: There shall we see that notwithstanding themselues haue their pay, yet for the most parte they will pay nothing, yea and must be set at the twen∣tie souse messe, as we tearme it, and at their departure their hoast must shewe them courtesie. This oppression may peraduen∣ture seeme to bee but small, but I thinke it amounteth to aboue 1200000. Franckes by the yeere. Neither may it be remedied by verball perswasions, or publique prohibitions, but rather with armed iustice must some of them bee seuerely corrected to the ende to terrefie the rest. Or who doubteth but there be some Capteynes of the Infanterie, who hauing pay for one hundred men doe scarce retaine thirtie in their andes, and yet doe scorne the others that haue no skill in turning the Staffe, calling them doults▪ These excessiue theeueries, which redound to the great hinderance of the Kings seruice, can no way be reformed but by exemplary punish∣ments. At the least if they yet robbed Gentleman like, it were somewhat tollerable, considering the course of the tyme: but to proceede thus farre is but clownish theft. The Souldier may per∣aduenture say: They vse our seruice, but of money we heare no newes: In this case being depriued of the benefite of their pay, they are to bee exempt from the rigour of lawe, so that they liue with discretion: But when vnder colour of non payment they shall exceede to all violent and infamous actions, they are not to bee excused, as not hauing any further priuiledge but to liue mode∣ratly Page  70 vpō the people as is aforesaid. There are likewise of the No∣bilitie who either for their priuate quarels, either to the end co en∣croach the spoyle of some fat benefite, doe without reason beare Armes, whereof doth often tymes ensue many murders, neither is there any Prouince in the Realme free from this abuse: Then if you sende some inferiour Sergeant at the mace to forbid them, neuer was pilferer better swinged then he shall bée: To send like∣wise the gouernors letter, that is as could, because in these daies the gouernors in liewe of commaunding, doe pray, and this haue our dissentions brought to passe. What is then to bee done in the restraynt of these pettie warres, which followed in the countrie, do kindle againe hatred and breede partakings? For sooth euen trusse vp fiue or sixe of these warriers, so to make fiue or sixe hundred wise. To be briefe, sith by the continuation of eiuill warres, impu∣dencie, mallice, and disobedience are so sore encreased, we must not now thinke with proclamations and decrees to suppresse them, vnlesse those also to whom it doth appertaine doe take the rodde in hand therewith to minister waight to their wordes. And although in this reformation, considering things in generall, we are to pro∣ceede with much moderation for feare of Commotions or trouble, yet if wée perticulerly looke into many vitious qualities which hin∣der the reestablishment of order, I think it not amisse to mixe some sower with the sweete.

Thus may wee iudge which remedie may bee most profitable, whether this or the more moderate: For my parte I suppose that * in some matters the mixed were necessarie, although in other some the moderate: as being assured that there will be lesse difficultie in making this difference then in setting the matter in hande. But wee driue of soo long, for our mischiefes are growne to that passe, that wee are no lenger to consult how to cure them, but rather to wonder that we haue not alreadie done it.