OF CRUELTY

All that we have to say in particular upon this subject lies under
these two heads: first, that we do not _fall_ into anger; and secondly,
that we do not _transgress in it_. As in the case of our bodies, we
have some medicines to preserve us when we are well, and others to
recover us when we are sick; so it is one thing not to admit it, and
another thing to overcome it. We are, in the first place, to avoid all
provocations, and the beginnings of anger: for if we be once down, it
is a hard task to get up again. When our passion has got the better of
our reason, and the enemy is received into the gate, we cannot expect
that the conqueror should take conditions from the prisoner. And, in
truth, our reason, when it is thus mastered, turns effectually into
passion. A careful education is a great matter; for our minds are
easily formed in our youth, but it is a harder business to cure ill
habits: beside that, we are inflamed by climate, constitution, company,
and a thousand other accidents, that we are not aware of.

The choice of a good nurse, and a well-natured tutor, goes a great
way: for the sweetness both of the blood and of the manners will
pass into the child. There is nothing breeds anger more than a soft
and effeminate education; and it is very seldom seen that either
the mother’s or the school-master’s darling ever comes to good. But
_my young master_, when he comes into the world, behaves himself
like a choleric coxcomb; for flattery, and a great fortune, nourish
touchiness. But it is a nice point so to check the seeds of anger in
a child as not to take off his edge, and quench his spirits; whereof
a principal care must be taken betwixt license and severity, that he
be neither too much emboldened nor depressed. Commendation gives him
courage and confidence; but then the danger is, of blowing him up
into insolence and wrath: so that when to use the bit, and when the
spur, is the main difficulty. Never put him to a necessity of begging
anything basely: or if he does, let him go without it. Inure him to
a familiarity where he has any emulation; and in all his exercises
let him understand that it is generous to overcome his competitor,
but not to hurt him. Allow him to be pleased when he does well, but
not transported; for that will puff him up into too high a conceit
of himself. Give him nothing that he cries for till the dogged fit
is over, but then let him have it when he is quiet; to show him that
there is nothing to be gotten by being peevish. Chide him for whatever
he does amiss, and make him betimes acquainted with the fortune that
he was born to. Let his diet be cleanly, but sparing; and clothe him
like the rest of his fellows: for by placing him upon that equality at
first, he will be the less proud afterward: and, consequently the less
waspish and quarrelsome.

In the next place, let us have a care of temptations that we cannot
resist, and provocations that we cannot bear; and especially of sour
and exceptious company: for a cross humor is contagious. Nor is it all
that a man shall be the better for the example of a quiet conversation;
but an angry disposition is troublesome, because it has nothing else to
work upon. We should therefore choose a sincere, easy, and temperate
companion, that will neither provoke anger nor return it; nor give a
man any occasion of exercising his distempers. Nor is it enough to be
gentle, submissive, and humane, without integrity and plain-dealing;
for flattery is as offensive on the other side. Some men would take a
curse from you better than a compliment. Cælius, a passionate orator,
had a friend of singular patience that supped with him, who had no
way to avoid a quarrel but by saying _amen_ to all that Cælius said.
Cælius, taking this ill: “Say something against me,” says he, “that you
and I may be two;” and he was angry with him because he would not: but
the dispute fell, as it needs must, for want of an opponent.

He that is naturally addicted to anger, let him use a moderate diet,
and abstain from wine; for it is but adding fire to fire. Gentle
exercises, recreations, and sports, temper and sweeten the mind. Let
him have a care also of long and obstinate disputes; for it is easier
not to begin them than to put an end to them. Severe studies are not
good for him either, as _law_, _mathematics_; too much attention preys
upon the spirits, and makes him eager: but _poetry_, _history_ and
those lighter entertainments, may serve him for diversion and relief.
He that would be quiet, must not venture at things out of his reach,
or beyond his strength; for he shall either stagger under the burden,
or discharge it upon the next man he meets; which is the same case in
civil and domestic affairs. Business that is ready and practicable
goes off with ease; but when it is too heavy for the bearer, they fall
both together. Whatsoever we design, we should first take a measure of
ourselves, and compare our force with the undertaking; for it vexes
a man not to go through with his work: a repulse inflames a generous
nature, as it makes one that is _phlegmatic_, _sad_. I have known
some that have advised looking in a glass when a man is in the fit,
and the very spectacle of his own deformity has cured him. Many that
are troublesome in their drink, and know their own infirmity, give
their servant order beforehand to take them away by force for fear
of mischief, and not to obey their masters themselves when they are
hot-headed. If the thing were duly considered we should need no other
cure than the bare consideration of it. We are not angry at madmen,
children, and fools, because they do not know what they do: and why
should not imprudence have an equal privilege in other cases? If a
horse kick, or a dog bite, shall a man kick or bite again? The one,
it is true, is wholly void of reason, but it is also an equivalent
darkness of mind that possesses the other. So long as we are among
men, let us cherish humanity, and so live that no man may be either in
fear or in danger of us. Losses, injuries, reproaches, calumnies, they
are but short inconveniences, and we should bear them with resolution.
Beside that, some people are above our anger, others below it. To
contend with our superiors were a folly, and with our inferiors an
indignity.

There is hardly a more effectual remedy against anger than patience
and consideration. Let but the first fervor abate, and that mist which
darkens the mind will be either lessened or dispelled; a day, nay,
an hour, does much in the most violent cases, and perchance totally
suppresses it; time discovers the truth of things, and turns that
into judgment which at first was anger. Plato was about to strike his
servant, and while his hand was in the air, he checked himself, but
still held it in that menacing posture. A friend of his took notice of
it, and asked him what he meant? “I am now,” says Plato, “punishing of
an angry man;” so that he had left his servant to chastise himself.
Another time his servant having committed a great fault: “Speusippus,”
says he, “do you beat that fellow, for I am angry,” so that he forebore
striking him for the very reason that would have made another man have
done it. “I am angry,” says he, “and shall go further than becomes me.”
Nor is it fit that a servant should be in his power that is not his
own master. Why should any one venture now to trust an angry man with
a revenge, when Plato durst not trust himself? Either he must govern
that, or that will undo him. Let us do our best to overcome it, but let
us, however, keep it close, without giving it any vent. An angry man,
if he gives himself liberty at all times, will go too far. If it comes
once to show itself in the eye or countenance, it has got the better
of us. Nay, we should so oppose it as to put on the very contrary
dispositions; calm looks, soft and slow speech, an easy and deliberate
march, and by little and little, we may possibly bring our thoughts
into sober conformity with our actions. When Socrates was angry, he
would take himself in it, and _speak low_, in opposition to the motions
of his displeasure. His friends would take notice of it; and it was
not to his disadvantage neither, but rather to his credit, that so
many should _know_ that he was angry, and nobody _feel_ it; which
could not have been, if he had not given his friends the same liberty
of admonition which he himself took. And this course should we take;
we should desire our friends not to flatter us in our follies, but to
treat us with all liberties of reprehension, even when we are least
willing to bear it, against so powerful and so insinuating an evil;
we should call for help while we have our eyes in our head, and are
yet masters of ourselves. Moderation is profitable for subjects, but
more for princes, who have the means of executing all that their anger
prompts them to. When that power comes once to be exercised to a common
mischief, it can never long continue; a common fear joining in one
cause all their divided complaints. In a word now, how we may prevent,
moderate, or master this impotent passion in others.

It is not enough to be sound ourselves, unless we endeavor to make
others so, wherein we must accommodate the remedy to the temper of the
patient. Some are to be dealt with by artifice and address: as, for
example, “Why will you gratify your enemies to show yourself so much
concerned? It is not worth your anger: it is below you: I am as much
troubled at it myself as you can be; but you had better say nothing,
and take your time to be even with them.” Anger in some people is to be
openly opposed; in others, there must be a little yielding, according
to the disposition of the person. Some are won by entreaties, others
are gained by mere shame and conviction, and some by delay; a dull way
of cure for a violent distemper, but this must be the last experiment.
Other affections may be better dealt with at leisure; for they proceed
gradually: but this commences and perfects itself in the same moment.
It does not, like other passions, solicit and mislead us, but it runs
away with us by force, and hurries us on with an irresistible temerity,
as well to our own as to another’s ruin: not only flying in the face
of him that provokes us, but like a torrent, bearing down all before
it. There is no encountering the first heat and fury of it: for it is
deaf and mad, the best way is (in the beginning) to give it time and
rest, and let it spend itself: while the passion is too hot to handle,
we may deceive it; but, however, let all instruments of revenge be
put out of the way. It is not amiss sometimes to pretend to be angry
too; and join with him, not only in the opinion of the injury, but in
the seeming contrivance of a revenge. But this must be a person then
that has some authority over him. This is a way to get time, and, by
advising upon some greater punishment to delay the present. If the
passion be outrageous, try what shame or fear can do. If weak, it is no
hard matter to amuse it by strange stories, grateful news, or pleasant
discourses. Deceit, in this case, is friendship; for men must be
cozened to be cured.

The injuries that press hardest upon us are those which either we
have not deserved, or not expected, or, at least, not in so high a
degree. This arises from the love of ourselves: for every man takes
upon him, like a prince, in this case, to practice all liberties, and
to allow none, which proceeds either from ignorance or insolence. What
news is it for people to do ill things? for an enemy to hurt us; nay,
for a friend or a servant to transgress, and to prove treacherous,
ungrateful, covetous, impious? What we find in one man we may in
another, and there is more security in fortune than in men. Our joys
are mingled with fear, and a tempest may arise out of a calm; but a
skilful pilot is always provided for it.

It is good for every man to fortify himself on his weak side: and
if he loves his peace he must not be inquisitive, and hearken to
tale-bearers; for the man that is over-curious to hear and see
everything, multiplies troubles to himself: for a man does not
feel what he does not know. He that is listening after private
discourse, and what people say of him, shall never be at peace. How
many things that are innocent in themselves are made injuries yet by
misconstruction! Wherefore, some things we are to pause upon, others to
laugh at, and others again to pardon. Or, if we cannot avoid the sense
of indignities, let us however shun the open profession of it, which
may easily be done, as appears by many examples of those that have
suppressed their anger under the awe of a greater fear. It is a good
caution not to believe any thing until we are very certain of it; for
many probable things prove false, and a short time will make evidence
of the undoubted truth. We are prone to believe many things which
we are willing to hear, and so we conclude, and take up a prejudice
before we can judge. Never condemn a friend unheard; or without letting
him know his accuser, or his crime. It is a common thing to say, “Do
not you tell that you had it from me: for if you do, I will deny
it, and never tell you any thing again:” by which means friends are
set together by the ears, and the informer slips his neck out of the
collar. Admit no stories upon these terms: for it is an unjust thing
to believe in private and to be angry openly. He that delivers himself
up to guess and conjecture runs a great hazard; for there can be no
suspicion without some probable grounds; so that without much candor
and simplicity, and making the best of every thing, there is no living
in society with mankind. Some things that offend us we have by report;
others we see or hear. In the first case, let us not be too credulous:
some people frame stories that they may deceive us; others only tell
what they hear, and are deceived themselves: some make it their sport
to do ill offices, others do them only to pick a thank: there are some
that would part the dearest friends in the world; others love to do
mischief, and stand aloof off to see what comes of it. If it be a small
matter, I would have witnesses; but if it be a greater, I would have
it upon oath, and allow time to the accused, and counsel too, and hear
over and over again.

In those cases where we ourselves are witnesses, we should take into
consideration all the circumstances. If a _child_, it was _ignorance_:
if a _woman_, a _mistake_: if done by _command_ a _necessity_; if a
_man_ be injured, it is but _quod pro quo_: if a _judge_, he _knows_
what he does: if a _prince_, I must _submit_; either if _guilty_, to
_justice_, or if _innocent_, to _fortune_: if a _brute_, I make myself
one by _imitating_ it: if a _calamity_ or _disease_, my best relief
is _patience_: if _providence_, it is both _impious_ and _vain_ to
be _angry_ at it: if a _good_ man, I will make the _best_ of it: if
a _bad_, I will never _wonder_ at it. Nor is it only by _tales_ and
_stories_ that we are inflamed, but _suspicions_, _countenances_, nay,
a _look_ or a _smile_, is enough to blow us up. In these cases, let us
suspend our displeasure, and plead the cause of the absent. “Perhaps
he is innocent; or, if not, I have time to consider of it and may take
my revenge at leisure:” but when it is once _executed_ it is not to
be _recalled_. A jealous head is apt to take that to himself which
was never meant him. Let us therefore trust to nothing but what we
see, and chide ourselves where we are over-credulous. By this course
we shall not be so easily imposed upon, nor put to trouble ourselves
about things not worth the while: as the loitering of a servant upon an
errand, and the tumbling of a bed, or the spilling of a glass of drink.

It is a madness to be disordered at these fooleries; we consider the
thing done, and not the doer of it. “It may be he did it unwillingly,
or by chance. It was a trick put upon him, or he was forced to it. He
did it for reward perhaps, not hatred; nor of his own accord, but he
was urged on to it.” Nay, some regard must be had to the age of the
person, or to fortune; and we must consult humanity and candor in the
case. One does me a _great mischief_ at _unawares_; another does me a
very _small_ one by _design_, or peradventure none at all, but intended
me one. The latter was more in fault, but I will be angry with neither.
We must distinguish betwixt what a man cannot do and what he will not.
“It is true he has once offended me; but how often has he pleased me!
He has offended me often, and in other kinds; and why should not I bear
it as well now as I have done?” Is he my friend? why then, “It was
against his will.” Is he my enemy? It is “no more than I looked for.”
Let us give way to wise men, and not squabble with fools; and say thus
to ourselves, “We have all of us our errors.” No man is so circumspect,
so considerate, or so fearful of offending, but he has much to answer
for.

A generous prisoner cannot immediately comply with all the sordid and
laborious offices of a slave. A footman that is not breathed cannot
keep pace with his master’s horse. He that is over-watched may be
allowed to be drowsy. All these things are to be weighed before we give
any ear to the first impulse. If it be my duty to love my country,
I must be kind also to my countrymen; if a veneration be due to the
whole, so is a piety also to the parts: and it is the common interest
to preserve them. We are all members of one body, and it is as natural
to help one another as for the hands to help the feet, or the eyes the
hands. Without the love and care of the parts, the whole can never
be preserved, and we must spare one another because we are born for
society, which cannot be maintained without a regard to particulars.
Let this be a rule to us, never to deny a pardon, that does no hurt
either to the giver or receiver. That may be well enough in one which
is ill in another; and therefore we are not to condemn anything that is
common to a nation; for custom defends it. But much more pardonable are
those things which are common to mankind.

It is a kind of spiteful comfort, that whoever does me an injury may
receive one; and that there is a power over him that is above me. A man
should stand as firm against all indignities as a rock does against
the waves. As it is some satisfaction to a man in a mean condition
that there is no security in a more prosperous; and as the loss of
a son in a corner is borne with more patience upon the sight of a
funeral carried out of a palace; so are injuries and contempts the more
tolerable from a meaner person, when we consider, that the greatest
men and fortunes are not exempt. The wisest also of mortals have their
failings, and no man living is without the same excuse. The difference
is, that we do not all of us transgress the same way; but we are
obliged in humanity to bear one with another.

We should, every one of us, bethink ourselves, how remiss we have
been in our duties, how immodest in our discourses, how intemperate
in our cups; and why not, as well, how extravagant we have been in
our passions? Let us clear ourselves of this evil, purge our minds,
and utterly root out all those vices, which upon leaving the least
sting, will grow again and recover. We must think of everything, expect
everything, that we may not be surprised. It is a shame, says Fabius,
for a commander to excuse himself by saying, “I was not aware of it.”

It is not prudent to deny a pardon to any man, without first examining
if we stand not in need of it ourselves; for it may be our lot to ask
it, even at his feet to whom we refuse it. But we are willing enough to
do what we are very unwilling to suffer. It is unreasonable to charge
public vices upon particular persons; for we are all of us wicked,
and that which we blame in others we find in ourselves. It is not a
paleness in one, or a leanness in another, but a pestilence that has
laid hold upon all.

It is a wicked world, and we make part of it; and the way to be quiet
is to bear one with another. “Such a man,” we cry, “has done me a
shrewd turn, and I never did him any hurt.” Well, but it may be I have
mischieved other people, or at least, I may live to do as much to him
as that comes to. “Such a one has spoken ill things of me;” but if I
first speak ill of him, as I do of many others, this is not an injury,
but a repayment. What if he did overshoot himself? He was loth to lose
his conceit perhaps, but there was no malice in it; and if he had
not done me a mischief, he must have done himself one. How many good
offices are there that look like injuries! Nay, how many have been
reconciled and good friends after a professed hatred!

Before we lay anything to heart, let us ask ourselves if we have not
done the same thing to others. But where shall we find an equal judge?
He that loves another man’s wife (only because she is another’s) will
not suffer his own to be so much looked upon. No man is so fierce
against calumny as the evil speaker; none so strict exactors of modesty
in a servant as those that are most prodigal of their own. We carry our
neighbors’ crimes in sight, and we throw our own over our shoulders.
The intemperance of a bad son is chastised by a worse father; and the
luxury that we punish in others, we allow to ourselves. The tyrant
exclaims against homicide; and sacrilege against theft. We are angry
with the persons, but not with the faults.

Some things there are that cannot hurt us, and others will not; as good
magistrates, parents, tutors, judges; whose reproof or correction we
are to take as we do abstinence, bleeding, and other uneasy things,
which we are the better for, in which cases, we are not so much to
reckon upon what we suffer as upon what we have done. “I take it ill,”
says one; and, “I have done nothing,” says another: when, at the same
time, we make it worse, by adding arrogance and contumacy to our first
error. We cry out presently, “What law have we transgressed?” As if the
letter of the law were the sum of our duty, and that piety, humanity,
liberality, justice, and faith, were things beside our business. No,
no; the rule of human duty is of a greater latitude; and we have many
obligations upon us that are not to be found in the _statute-books_.
And yet we fall short of the exactness event of that _legal
innocency_. We have intended one thing and done another; wherein only
the want of success has kept us from being criminals. This very thing,
methinks, should make us more favorable to delinquents, and to forgive
not only ourselves, but the gods too; of whom we seem to have harder
thoughts in taking that to be a particular evil directed to us, that
befalls us only by the common law of mortality. In fine, no man living
can absolve himself to his conscience, though to the world, perhaps, he
may. It is true, that we are also condemned to pains and diseases, and
to death too, which is no more than the quitting of the soul’s house.
But why should any man complain of bondage, that, wheresoever he looks,
has his way open to liberty? That precipice, that sea, that river, that
well, there is freedom in the bottom of it. It hangs upon every crooked
bow; and not only a man’s throat, or his heart, but every vein in his
body, opens a passage to it.

To conclude, where my proper virtue fails me, I will have recourse to
examples, and say to myself, Am I greater than Philip or Augustus, who
both of them put up with greater reproaches? Many have pardoned their
enemies, and shall not I forgive a neglect, a little freedom of the
tongue? Nay, the patience but of a second thought does the business:
for though the first shock be violent; take it in parts, and it is
subdued. And, to wind up all in one word, the great lesson of mankind,
as well in this as in all other cases, is, “to do as we would be done
by.”

There is so near an affinity betwixt _anger_ and _cruelty_, that many
people confound them; as if _cruelty_ were only the _execution_ of
_anger_ in the payment of a _revenge_: which holds in some cases,
but not in others. There are a sort of men that take delight in the
spilling of human blood, and in the death of those that never did them
any injury, nor were ever so much suspected for it; as Apollodorus,
Phalaris, Sinis, Procrustus, and others, that burnt men alive; whom
we cannot so properly call _angry_ as _brutal_, for _anger_ does
necessarily presuppose an injury, either _done_, or _conceived_, or
_feared_, but the other takes _pleasure_ in _tormenting_, without so
much as pretending any _provocation_ to it, and _kills_ merely for
_killing sake_. The _original_ of this _cruelty_ perhaps was _anger_,
which by frequent _exercise_ and _custom_, has lost all sense of
_humanity_ and _mercy_, and they that are thus affected are so far
from the countenance and appearance of men in _anger_, that they will
_laugh_, _rejoice_, and _entertain themselves_ with the most _horrid
spectacles_, as _racks_, _jails_, _gibbets_, several sorts of _chains_
and _punishments_, _dilaceration_ of _members_, _stigmatizing_, and
_wild beasts_, with other exquisite inventions of torture; and yet, at
last the cruelty itself is more horrid and odious than the means by
which it works. It is a bestial madness to _love_ mischief; beside,
that it is _womanish_ to _rage_ and _tear_. A generous beast will scorn
to do it when he has any thing at his mercy. It is a vice for wolves
and tigers, and no less _abominable_ to the _world_ than _dangerous_ to
itself.

The Romans had their _morning_ and their _meridian spectacles_. In
the _former_, they had their combats of _men_ with _wild beasts_; and
in the _latter_, the _men_ fought _one with another_. “I went,” says
our author, “the other day to the _meridian spectacles_, in hope of
meeting somewhat of mirth and diversion to sweeten the humors of those
that had been entertained with blood in the _morning_; but it proved
otherwise, for, compared with this inhumanity, the former was a mercy.
The whole business was only murder upon murder: the combatants fought
naked, and every blow was a wound. They do not contend for _victory_,
but for _death_; and he that kills one man is to be killed by another.
By wounds they are forced upon wounds which they take and give upon
their bare _breasts. Burn that rogue_, they cry _What! Is he afraid
of his flesh? Do but see how sneakingly that rascal dies._ Look to
yourselves, my masters, and consider of it: who knows but this may come
to be your own case?” Wicked examples seldom fail of coming home at
last to the authors. To destroy a _single_ man may be dangerous; but
to murder whole nations is only a more _glorious wickedness. Private
avarice_ and _rigor_ are condemned, but _oppression_, when it comes to
be _authorized_ by an act of state, and to be publicly _commanded_,
though particularly forbidden, becomes a point of _dignity_ and
_honor_. What a shame is it for men to interworry one another, when
yet the fiercest even of beasts are at peace with those of their own
kind? This brutal fury puts philosophy itself to a stand. The drunkard,
the glutton, the covetous, may be reduced; nay, and the mischief of
it is that no vice keeps itself within its proper bounds. Luxury runs
into avarice, and when the reverence of virtue is extinguished, men
will stick at nothing that carries profit along with it; man’s blood is
shed in wantonness—his death is a spectacle for entertainment, and his
groans are music. When Alexander delivered up Lysimachus to a lion, how
glad would he have been to have had nails and teeth to have devoured
him himself: it would have too much derogated, he thought, from the
dignity of his wrath, to have appointed a _man_ for the execution of
his friend. Private cruelties, it is true, cannot do much mischief, but
in princes they are a war against mankind.

C. Cæsar would commonly, for _exercise_ and _pleasure_, put _senators_
and _Roman knights_ to the _torture_; and _whip_ several of them like
_slaves_, or put them to _death_ with the most acute _torments_,
merely for the satisfaction of his _cruelty_. That Cæsar that “wished
the people of Rome had but one neck, that he might cut it off at one
blow;”—it was the employment, the study, and the joy of his life. He
would not so much as give the expiring leave to groan, but caused their
mouths to be stopped with sponges, or for want of them, with rags of
their own clothes, that they might not breathe out so much as their
last agonies at liberty; or, perhaps, lest the tormented should speak
something which the tormentor had no mind to hear. Nay, he was so
impatient of delay, that he would frequently rise from supper to have
men killed by _torch-light_, as if his life and death had depended
upon their dispatch before the next morning; to say nothing how many
_fathers_ were put to death in the same night with their _sons_ (which
was a kind of mercy in the prevention of their mourning). And was not
Sylla’s cruelty prodigious too, which was only stopped for want of
enemies? He caused seven thousand _citizens_ of Rome to be slaughtered
at once; and some of the senators being startled at their cries that
were heard in the _senate-house_, “Let us mind our business,” says
Sylla; “this is nothing but a few mutineers that I have ordered to be
sent out of the way.” A _glorious spectacle_! says Hannibal, when he
saw the trenches flowing with human blood; and if the rivers had run
blood too, he would have liked it so much the better.

Among the famous and detestable speeches that are committed to memory,
I know none worse than that impudent and _tyrannical maxim_, “Let them
hate me, so they fear me;” not considering that those that are kept
in obedience by fear, are both malicious and mercenary, and only wait
for an opportunity to change their master. Beside that, whosoever is
terrible to others is likewise afraid of himself. What is more ordinary
than for a tyrant to be destroyed by his own guards? which is no more
than the putting those crimes into practice which they learned of
their masters. How many slaves have revenged themselves of their cruel
oppressors, though they were sure to die for it! but when it comes
once to a _popular tyranny_, whole nations conspire against it. For
“whosoever threatens all, is in danger of all,” over and above, that
the cruelty of the prince increases the _number_ of his enemies, by
destroying some of them; for it entails an hereditary hatred upon the
friends and relations of those that are taken away. And then it has
this misfortune, that a man must be wicked upon necessity; for there
is no going back; so that he must betake himself to arms, and yet he
lives in fear. He can neither trust to the faith of his friends, nor
to the piety of his children; he both dreads death and wishes it; and
becomes a greater terror to himself than he is to his people. Nay, if
there were nothing else to make cruelty detestable, it were enough that
it passes all bounds, both of custom and humanity; and is followed upon
the heel with sword or poison. A private malice indeed does not move
whole cities; but that which extends to all is every body’s mark. One
sick person gives no great disturbance in a family; but when it comes
to a depopulating plague, all people fly from it. And why should a
prince expect any man to be good whom he has taught to be wicked?

But what if it were _safe_ to be _cruel_? Were it not still a sad
thing, the very state of such a _government_? A _government_ that
bears the image of a _taken city_, where there is nothing but
_sorrow_, _trouble_, and _confusion_. Men dare not so much as trust
themselves with their friends or with their pleasures. There is not any
entertainment so innocent but it affords pretence of crime and danger.
People are betrayed at their _tables_ and in their _cups_, and drawn
from the very _theatre_ to the _prison_. How horrid a madness is it
to be still _raging_ and _killing_; to have the rattling of _chains_
always in our _ears; bloody spectacles_ before our _eyes_; and to carry
_terror_ and _dismay_ wherever we go! If we had _lions_ and _serpents_,
to rule over us, this would be the manner of their _government_,
saving that they agree better among themselves. It passes for a mark
of greatness to burn cities, and lay whole kingdoms waste; nor is it
for the honor of a prince, to appoint this or that single man to be
killed, unless they have whole _troops_, or (sometimes) _legions_, to
work upon. But it is not the spoils of _war_ and _bloody trophies_ that
make a prince _glorious_, but the _divine power_ of preserving _unity_
and _peace. Ruin_ without _distinction_ is more properly the business
of a general _deluge_, or a _conflagration_. Neither does a fierce
and inexorable _anger_ become the _supreme magistrate_; “Greatness of
mind is always meek and humble; but cruelty is a note and an effect of
weakness, and brings down a governor to the level of a competitor.”

SENECA OF CLEMENCY.

The humanity and excellence of this virtue is confessed at all hands,
as well by the men of _pleasure_, and those that think every man was
made for himself, as by the Stoics, that make “man a sociable creature,
and born for the common good of mankind:” for it is of all dispositions
the most _peaceable_ and _quiet_. But before we enter any farther upon
the discourse, it should be first known what _clemency_ is, that we may
distinguish it from _pity_; which is a _weakness_, though many times
mistaken for a _virtue_: and the next thing will be, to bring the mind
to the _habit_ and _exercise_ of it.

“Clemency is a favorable disposition of the mind, in the matter of
inflicting punishment; or, a moderation that remits somewhat of the
penalty incurred; as _pardon_ is the total remission of a deserved
punishment.” We must be careful not to confound _clemency_ with
_pity_; for as _religion worships_ God, and _superstition profanes_
that worship; so should we distinguish betwixt _clemency_ and _pity_;
_practicing_ the _one_, and _avoiding_ the _other_. For _pity_ proceeds
from a _narrowness of mind_, that respects rather the _fortune_ than
the _cause_. It is a kind of moral sickness, contracted from other
people’s misfortune: such another weakness as laughing or yawning for
company, or as that of sick eyes that cannot look upon others that are
bleared without dropping themselves. I will give a shipwrecked man a
plank, a lodging to a stranger, or a piece of money to him that wants
it: I will dry up the tears of my friend, yet I will not weep with him,
but treat him with constancy and humanity, as _one man_ ought to treat
_another_.

It is objected by some, that _clemency_ is an insignificant virtue; and
that only the bad are the better for it, for the good have no need of
it. But in the first place, as physic is in use only among the sick,
and yet in honor with the sound, so the innocent have a reverence
for clemency, though criminals are properly the objects of it. And
then again, a man may be innocent, and yet have occasion for it too;
for by the accidents of fortune, or the condition of times, virtue
itself may come to be in danger. Consider the most populous city or
nation; what a solitude would it be if none should be left there but
those that could stand the test of a severe justice! We should have
neither judges nor accusers; none either to grant a pardon or to ask
it. More or less, we are all sinners; and he that has best purged his
conscience, was brought by errors to repentance. And it is farther
profitable to mankind; for many delinquents come to be converted. There
is a tenderness to be used even toward our slaves, and those that we
have bought with our money: how much more then to free and to honest
men, that are rather under our protection than dominion! Not that I
would have it so general neither as not to distinguish betwixt the good
and the bad; for that would introduce a confusion, and give a kind of
encouragement to wickedness. It must therefore have a respect to the
quality of the offender, and separate the curable from the desperate;
for it is an equal cruelty to pardon all and to pardon none. Where
the matter is in balance, let mercy turn the scale: if all wicked men
should be punished, who should escape?

Though mercy and gentleness of nature keeps all in peace and
tranquillity, even in a _cottage_; yet it is much more beneficial
and conspicuous in a _palace. Private men_ in their _condition_ are
likewise _private_ in their _virtues_ and in their _vices_; but the
words and the actions of _princes_ are the subject of _public rumor_;
and therefore they had need have a care, what occasion they give
people for discourse, of whom people will be always a talking. There
is the _government_ of a _prince_ over his _people_, a _father_ over
his _children_, a _master_ over his _scholars_, an _officer_ over his
_soldiers_. He is an unnatural father, that for every trifle beats his
children. Who is the better master, he that rages over his scholars for
but missing a word in a lesson, or he that tries, by admonition and
fair words, to instruct and reform them? An outrageous officer makes
his men run from their colors. A skilful rider brings his horse to
obedience by mingling fair means with foul; whereas to be perpetually
switching and spurring, makes him vicious and jadish: and shall we
not have more care of _men_ than of _beasts_? It breaks the hope of
generous inclinations, when they are depressed by servility and terror.
There is no creature so hard to be pleased with ill usage as man.

Clemency does _well_ with _all_ but _best_ with _princes_; for it makes
their power comfortable and beneficial, which would otherwise be the
pest of mankind. It establishes their greatness, when they make the
good of the public their particular care, and employ their power for
the safety of the people. The prince, in effect, is but the soul of the
community, as the community is only the body of the prince; so that
being merciful to others, he is tender of himself: nor is any man so
mean but his master feels the loss of him, as a part of his empire: and
he takes care not only of the lives of his people, but also of their
reputation. Now, giving for granted that all virtues are in themselves
equal, it will not yet be denied, that they may be more beneficial to
mankind in one person than in another. A beggar may be as magnanimous
as a king: for what can be greater or braver than to baffle ill
fortune? This does not hinder but that a man in authority and plenty
has more matter for his generosity to work upon than a private person;
and it is also more taken notice of upon the bench than upon the level.

When a gracious prince shows himself to his people, they do not fly
from him as from a tiger that rouses himself out of his den, but they
worship him as a benevolent influence; they secure him against all
conspiracies, and interpose their bodies betwixt him and danger. They
guard him while he sleeps, and defend him in the field against his
enemies. Nor is it without reason, this unanimous agreement in love and
loyalty, and this heroical zeal of abandoning themselves for the safety
of their prince; but it is as well the interest of the people. In the
breath of a prince there is life and death; and his sentence stands
good, right or wrong. If he be angry, nobody dares advise him; and if
he does amiss, who shall call him to account? Now, for him that has so
much mischief in his power, and yet applies that power to the common
utility and comfort of his people, diffusing also clemency and goodness
into their hearts too, what can be a greater blessing to mankind than
such a prince? _Any man_ may _kill_ another _against_ the law, but only
a _prince_ can _save_ him so. Let him so deal with his own subjects as
he desires God should deal with him. If Heaven should be inexorable to
sinners, and destroy all without mercy, what flesh could be safe?

But as the faults of great men are not presently punished with thunder
from above, let them have a like regard to their inferiors here upon
earth. He that has revenge in his power, and does not use it, is the
great man. Which is the more beautiful and agreeable state, that of
a calm, a temperate, and a clear day; or that of lightning, thunder,
and tempests? and this is the very difference betwixt a moderate and
turbulent government. It is for low and vulgar spirits to brawl, storm,
and transport themselves: but it is not for the majesty of a prince to
lash out into intemperance of words. Some will think it rather slavery
than empire to be debarred liberty of speech: and what if it be, when
government itself is but a more illustrious servitude?

He that uses his power as he should, takes as much delight in making
it comfortable to his people as glorious to himself. He is affable
and easy of access; his very countenance makes him the joy of his
people’s eyes, and the delight of mankind. He is beloved, defended,
and reverenced by all his subjects; and men speak as well of him in
private as in public. He is safe without guards, and the sword is
rather his ornament than his defence. In his duty, he is like that of a
good father, that sometimes gently reproves a son, sometimes threatens
him; nay, and perhaps corrects him: but no father in his right wits
will disinherit a son for the first fault; there must be many and great
offences, and only desperate consequences, that should bring him to
that decretory resolution. He will make many experiments to try if he
can reclaim him first, and nothing but the utmost despair must put him
upon extremities.

It is not flattery that calls a prince _the father of his country_;
the titles of _great_ and _august_ are matter of compliment and of
honor; but in calling him _father_, we mind him of that moderation and
indulgence which he owes to his children. His subjects are his members;
where, if there must be an amputation, let him come slowly to it; and
when the part is cut off, let him wish it were on again: let him grieve
in the doing of it. He that passes a sentence _hastily_, looks as if he
did it _willingly_; and then there is an injustice in the excess.

It is a glorious contemplation for a prince, first to consider the
vast multitudes of his people, whose seditious, divided, and impotent
passions, would cast all in confusion, and destroy themselves, and
public order too, if the hand of government did not restrain them;
and thence to pass the examination of his conscience, saying thus to
himself, “It is by the choice of Providence that I am here made God’s
deputy upon earth, the arbitrator of life and death; and that upon
my breath depends the fortune of my people. My lips are the oracles
of their fate, and upon them hangs the destiny both of cities and of
men. It is under my favor that people seek either for prosperity or
protection: thousands of swords are drawn or sheathed at my pleasure.
What towns shall be advanced or destroyed; who shall be slaves, or who
free, depends upon my will; and yet, in this arbitrary power of acting
without control, I was never transported to do any cruel thing, either
by anger or hot blood in myself or by the contumacy, rashness, or
provocations of other men; though sufficient to turn mercy itself into
fury. I was never moved by the odious vanity of making myself terrible
by my power, (that accursed, though common humor of ostentation and
glory that haunts imperious natures.) My sword has not only been buried
in the scabbard, but in a manner bound to the peace, and tender even
of the cheapest blood: and where I find no other motive to compassion,
humanity itself is sufficient. I have been always slow to severity, and
prone to forgive; and under as strict a guard to observe the laws as if
I were accountable for the breaking of them. Some I pardoned for their
youth, others for their age. I spare one man for his dignity, another
for his humility; and when I find no other matter to work upon, I spare
myself. So that if God should at this instant call me to an account,
the whole world agree to witness for me, that I have not by any force,
either public or private, either by myself or by any other, defrauded
the commonwealth; and the reputation that I have ever sought for has
been that which few princes have obtained, the conscience of my proper
innocence. And I have not lost my labor neither; for no man was ever so
dear to another, as I have made myself to the whole body of my people.”
Under such a prince the subjects have nothing to wish for beyond what
they enjoy; their fears are quieted, and their prayers heard, and
there is nothing can make their felicity greater, unless to make it
perpetual; and there is no liberty denied to the people but that of
destroying one another.

It is the interest of the people, by the consent of all nations, to run
all hazards for the safety of their prince, and by a thousand deaths to
redeem that one life, upon which so many millions depend. Does not the
whole body serve the mind, though only the one is exposed to the eye
and the other not, but thin and invisible, the very seat of it being
uncertain? Yet the hands, feet, and eyes, observe the motions of it. We
lie down, run about and ramble, as that commands us. If we be covetous,
we fish the seas and ransack the earth for treasure: if ambitious, we
burn our own flesh with Scævola; we cast ourselves into the gulf with
Curtius: so would that vast multitude of people, which is animated but
with one soul, governed by one spirit, and moved by one reason, destroy
itself with its own strength, if it were not supported by wisdom and
government. Wherefore, it is for their own security that the people
expose their lives for their prince, as the very bond that ties the
republic together; the vital spirit of so many thousands, which would
be nothing else but a burden and prey without a governor.

When this union comes once to be dissolved, all falls to pieces; for
empire and obedience must stand and fall together. It is no wonder then
if a prince be dear to his people, when the community is wrapt up in
him, and the good of both as inseparable as the body and the head; the
one for strength, and the other for counsel; for what signifies the
force of the body without the direction of the understanding? While the
prince watches, his people sleep; his labor keeps them at ease, and
his business keeps them quiet. The natural intent of monarchy appears
even from the very discipline of bees: they assign to their master the
fairest lodgings, the safest place; and his office is only to see that
the rest perform their duties. When their king is lost, the whole swarm
dissolve: more than one they will not admit; and then they contend who
shall have the best. They are of all creatures the fiercest for their
bigness; and leave their stings behind them in their quarrels; only
the king himself has none, intimating that kings should neither be
vindictive nor cruel.

Is it not a shame, after such an example of moderation in these
creatures, that men should be yet intemperate? It were well if they
lost their stings too in their revenge, as well as the other, that they
might hurt but once, and do no mischief by their proxies. It would tire
them out, if either they were to execute all with their own hands, or
to wound others at the peril of their own lives.

A prince should behave himself generously in the power which God has
given him of life and death, especially towards those that have been
at any time his equals; for the one has his revenge, and the other his
punishment in it. He that stands indebted for his life has lost it;
but he that receives his life at the foot of his enemy, lives to the
honor of his preserver: he lives the lasting monument of his virtue;
whereas, if he had been led in triumph, the spectacle would have been
quickly over. Or what if he should restore him to his kingdom again?
would it not be an ample accession to his honor to show that he found
nothing about the conquered that was worthy of the conqueror? There is
nothing more venerable than a prince that does not revenge an injury.
He that is gracious is beloved and reverenced as a common father; but a
tyrant stands in fear and in danger even of his own guards. No prince
can be safe himself of whom all others are afraid; for to spare none
is to enrage all. It is an error to imagine that any man can be secure
that suffers nobody else to be so too. How can any man endure to lead
an uneasy, suspicious, anxious life, when he may be safe if he please,
and enjoy all the blessings of power, together with the prayers of
his people? Clemency protects a prince without a guard; there is no
need of troops, castles, or fortifications: security on the one side
is the condition of security on the other; and the affections of the
subject are the most invincible fortress. What can be fairer, than for
a prince to live the object of his people’s love; to have the vows of
their heart as well as of their lips, and his health and sickness their
common hopes and fears? There will be no danger of plots; nay, on the
contrary, who would not frankly venture his blood to save him, under
whose government, justice, peace, modesty, and dignity flourish? under
whose influence men grow rich and happy; and whom men look upon with
such veneration, as they would do upon the immortal gods, if they were
capable of seeing them? And as the true representative of the ALMIGHTY
they consider him, when he is gracious and bountiful, and employs his
power to the advantage of his subjects.

When a prince proceeds to punishment, it must be either to vindicate
himself or others. It is a hard matter to govern himself in his own
case. If a man should advise him not to be credulous, but to examine
matters, and indulge the innocent, this is rather a point of justice
than of clemency: but in case that he be manifestly injured, I would
have him _forgive_, where he may _safely_ do it: and be _tender_ even
where he cannot _forgive_; but far more exorable in his own case,
however, than in another’s.

It is nothing to be free of another man’s purse, and it is as little to
be merciful in another man’s cause. He is the great man that masters
his passion where he is stung himself, and pardons when he might
destroy. The end of punishment is either to comfort the party injured,
or to secure him for the future. A prince’s fortune is above the need
of such a comfort, and his power is too eminent to seek an advance of
reputation by doing a private man a mischief. This I speak in case of
an affront from those that are below us; but he that of an equal has
made any man his inferior, has his revenge in the bringing of him down.
A _prince_ has been _killed_ by a _servant_, destroyed by a serpent:
but whosoever preserves a man must be greater than the person that he
preserves. With citizens, strangers, and people of low condition, a
prince is not to contend, for they are beneath him: he may spare some
out of good will, and others as he would do some little creatures that
a man cannot touch without fouling his fingers: but for those that
are to be pardoned or exposed to public punishment, he may use mercy
as he sees occasion; and a generous mind can never want inducements
and motives to it; and whether it be _age_ or _sex_, _high_ or _low_,
nothing comes amiss.

To pass now to the vindication of others, there must be had a regard
either to the amendment of the person punished, or the making others
better for fear of punishment, or the taking the offender out of the
way for the security of others. An amendment may be procured by a
small punishment, for he lives more carefully that has something yet
to lose—it is a kind of _impunity_ to be incapable of a _farther
punishment_. The corruptions of a city are best cured by a few and
sparing severities; for the multitude of offenders creates a custom of
offending, and company authorizes a crime, and there is more good to
be done upon a _dissolute age_ by _patience_ than by _rigor_; provided
that it pass not for an _approbation_ of _ill-manners_, but only as an
_unwillingness_ to proceed to _extremities_. Under a merciful prince, a
man will be ashamed to offend, because a punishment that is inflicted
by a gentle governor seems to fall heavier and with more reproach:
and it is remarkable also, that “those sins are often committed which
are very often punished.” Caligula, in five years, condemned more
people to the _sack_ than ever were before him: and there were “fewer
parricides before the law against them than after;” for our ancestors
did wisely presume that the crime would never be committed, until by
law for punishing it, they found that it might be done. _Parricides_
began with the _law_ against them, and the punishment instructed men in
the crime. Where there are few punishments, innocency is indulged as a
public good, and it is a dangerous thing to show a city how strong it
is in delinquents. There is a certain contumacy in the nature of man
that makes him oppose difficulties. We are better to follow than to
drive; as a generous horse rides best with an easy bit. People _obey
willingly_ where they are _commanded kindly_.

When Burrhus the prefect was to sentence two malefactors, he brought
the warrant to Nero to sign; who, after a long reluctancy came to it at
last with this exclamation: “I would I could not write!” A speech that
deserved the whole world for an auditory, but all princes especially;
and that the hearts of all the subjects would conform to the likeness
of their masters. As the head is well or ill, so is the mind dull or
merry. What is the difference betwixt a _king_ and a _tyrant_, but a
_diversity_ of _will_ under one and the _same power_. The one destroys
for his pleasure, the other upon necessity; a distinction rather in
fact than in name.

A gracious prince is armed as well as a tyrant; but it is for the
defence of his people and not for the ruin of them. No king can ever
have faithful servants that accustoms them to tortures and executions;
the very guilty themselves do not lead so anxious a life as the
persecutors: for they are not only afraid of justice, both divine and
human, but it is dangerous for them to mend their manners; so that
when they are once in, they must continue to be wicked upon necessity.
An universal hatred unites in a popular rage. A temperate fear may
be kept in order; but when it comes once to be continual and sharp,
it provokes people to extremities, and transports them to desperate
resolutions, as wild beasts when they are pressed upon the _toil_,
turn back and assault the very pursuers. A turbulent government is a
perpetual trouble both to prince and people; and he that is a terror
to all others is not without terror also himself. Frequent punishments
and revenges may suppress the hatred of a few, but then it stirs up the
detestation of all, so that there is no destroying one enemy without
making many. It is good to master the _will_ of being _cruel_, even
while there may be cause for it, and matter to work upon.

Augustus was a gracious prince when he had the power in his own hand;
but in the _triumviracy_ he made use of his sword, and had his friends
ready armed to set upon Antony during that dispute. But he behaved
himself afterwards at another rate; for when he was betwixt forty and
fifty years of age he was told that Cinna was in a plot to murder him,
with the time, place and manner of the design; and this from one of
the confederates. Upon this he resolved upon a revenge, and sent for
several of his friends to advise upon it. The thought of it kept him
waking, to consider, that there was the life of a young nobleman in the
case, the nephew of Pompey, and a person otherwise innocent. He was
off and on several times whether he should put him to death or not.
“What!” says he, “shall I live in trouble and in danger myself, and the
contriver of my death walk free and secure? Will nothing serve him but
that life which Providence has preserved in so many civil wars—in so
many battles both by sea and land; and now in the state of an universal
peace too—and not a simple murder either, but a sacrifice; for I am
to be assaulted at the very altar—and shall the contriver of all this
villainy escape unpunished?” Here Augustus made a little pause, and
then recollecting himself: “No, no, Cæsar,” says he, “it is rather
Cæsar than Cinna that I am to be angry with: why do I myself live any
longer after that my death is become the interest of so many people?
And if I go on, what end will there be of blood and of punishment?
If it be against my life that the nobility arm itself, and level its
weapons, my single life is not worth the while, if so many must be
destroyed that I may be preserved.”

His wife Livia gave him here an interruption, and desired him that
he would for once hear a woman’s counsel. “Do,” says she, “like a
physician, that when common remedies fail, will try the contrary: you
have got nothing hitherto by severity—after Salvidianus there followed
Lepidus—after him Muræna—Cæpio followed him, and Egnatius followed
Cæpio—try now what mercy will do—forgive Cinna. He is discovered,
and can do no hurt to your person; and it will yet advantage you in
your reputation.” Augustus was glad of the advice, and he gave thanks
for it; and thereupon countermanded the meeting of his friends, and
ordered Cinna to be brought to him alone; for whom he caused a chair
to be set, and then discharged the rest of the company. “Cinna,” says
Augustus, “_before I go any farther_, you must promise not to give me
the interruption of one syllable until I have told you all I have to
say, and you shall have liberty afterwards to say what you please. You
cannot forget, that when I found you in arms against me, and not only
made my _enemy_, but _born_ so, I gave you your life and fortune. Upon
your petition for the priesthood, I granted it, with a repulse to the
sons of those that had been my fellow-soldiers; and you are at this
day so happy and so rich, that even the conquerors envy him that is
overcome; and yet after all this, you are in a plot, Cinna, to murder
me.” At that word Cinna started, and interposed with exclamations,
“that certainly he was far from being either so wicked or so mad.”
“This is a breach of conditions, Cinna,” says Augustus, “it is not your
time to speak yet: I tell you again, that you are in a plot to murder
me;” and so he told him the time, the place, the confederates, the
order and manner of the design, and who it was that was to do the deed.
Cinna, upon this, fixed his eye upon the ground without any reply:
not for his word’s sake, but as in a confusion of conscience: and so
Augustus went on. “What,” says he, “may your design be in all this? Is
it that you would pretend to step into my place? The commonwealth were
in an ill condition, if only Augustus were in the way betwixt you and
the government. You were cast the other day in a cause by one of your
own _freemen_, and do you expect to find a weaker adversary of Cæsar?
But what if I were removed? There is Æmilius Paulus, Fabius Maximus,
and twenty other families of great blood and interest, that would never
bear it.” To cut off the story short; (for it was a discourse of above
two hours; and Augustus lengthened the punishment in _words_, since he
intended that should be all;) “Well, Cinna,” says he, “the life that
I gave to you once as an enemy, I will now repeat it to a _traitor_
and to a _parricide_, and this shall be the last reproach I will give
you. For the time to come there shall be no other contention betwixt
you and me, than which shall outdo the other in point of friendship.”
After this Augustus made Cinna _consul_, (an honor which he confessed
he durst not so much as desire) and Cinna was ever affectionately
faithful to him: he made Cæsar his _sole heir_; and this was the _last
conspiracy_ that ever was formed against him.

This moderation of Augustus was the excellency of his mature age; for
in his youth he was passionate and sudden; and he did many things which
afterward he looked back upon with trouble: after the battle of Actium,
so many navies broken in Sicily, both _Roman_ and _strangers_: the
_Perusian altars_, where 300 _lives_ were _sacrificed_ to the _ghost_
of Julius; his frequent _proscriptions_, and other severities; his
_temperance_ at last seemed to be little more than a _weary cruelty_.
If he had not _forgiven_ those that he _conquered_, whom should
he have _governed_? He chose his very _life-guard_ from among his
_enemies_, and the _flower_ of the Romans owed their _lives_ to his
_clemency_. Nay, he only punished Lepidus himself with _banishment_,
and permitted him to wear the _ensigns_ of his _dignity_, without
taking the _pontificate_ to himself so long as Lepidus was living;
for he would not possess it as a _spoil_, but as an _honor_. This
_clemency_ it was that secured him in his greatness, and ingratiated
him to the people, though he laid his hand upon the government before
they had thoroughly submitted to the yoke; and this clemency it was
that made his _name famous_ to _posterity_. This is it that makes us
reckon him _divine_ without the authority of an _apotheosis_. He was
so tender and patient, that though many a bitter jest was broken upon
him, (and _contumelies_ upon princes are the most _intolerable_ of all
_injuries_) yet he never punished any man upon that subject. _It is_,
then, generous _to be_ merciful, _when we have it in our_ power to
_take_ revenge.

A son of Titus Arius, being examined and found guilty of _parricide_,
was banished Rome, and confined to Marseilles, where his father allowed
him the same annuity that he had before; which made all people conclude
him guilty, when they saw that his father had yet _condemned_ the son
that he could not _hate_. Augustus was pleased to sit upon the fact in
the house of Arius, only as a _single member_ of the _council_ that was
to examine it: if it had been in Cæsar’s palace, the judgment must have
been Cæsar’s and not the _father’s_. Upon a full hearing of the matter,
Cæsar directed that every man should write his opinion whether _guilty_
or _not_, and without declaring of his own, for fear of a partial
vote. Before the opening of the books, Cæsar passed an oath, that he
would not be Arius’s _heir_: and to show that he had no interest in
his sentence, as appeared afterward; for he was not condemned to the
ordinary _punishments_ of _parricides_, nor to a prison, but, by the
mediation of Cæsar, only banished Rome, and confined to the place which
his father should name; Augustus insisting upon it, that the father
should content himself with an easy punishment: and arguing that the
young man was not moved to the attempt by _malice_, and that he was
but half resolved upon the fact, for he wavered in it; and, therefore,
to remove him from the city, and from his father’s sight, would be
sufficient. This is a glorious mercy, and worthy of a prince, to make
all things gentler wherever he comes.

How miserable is that man in himself, who, when he has employed his
power in rapines and cruelty upon others, is yet more unhappy in
himself! He stands in fear both of his domestics and of strangers; the
faith of his friends and the piety of his children, and flies to actual
violence to secure him from the violence he fears. When he comes to
look about him, and to consider what he _has_ done, what he _must_,
and what he is _about_ to do; what with the _wickedness_, and with the
_torments_ of his _conscience_, many times he fears death, oftener he
wishes for it; and lives more odious to himself than to his subjects;
whereas on the contrary, he that takes a care of the public, though of
one part more perhaps than of another, yet there is not any part of it
but he looks upon as part of himself. His mind is tender and gentle;
and even where punishment is necessary and profitable, he comes to it
unwillingly, and without any rancor or enmity in his heart. Let the
authority, in fine, be what it will, clemency becomes it; and the
greater the power, the greater is the glory of it. “It is a truly royal
virtue for a prince to deliver his people _from other_ men’s anger, and
not to oppress them _with his_ own.”

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