Home / News
20. Of Counsel (continued)
Let us now speak of the inconveniences of counsel, and of the remedies. The inconveniences that have been noted, in calling and using counsel, are three. First, the revealing of affairs, whereby they become less secret. Secondly, the weakening of the authority of princes, as if they were less of themselves. Thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully counselled, and more for the good of them that counsel, than of him that is counselled. For which inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some kings' times, hath introduced cabinet counsels; a remedy worse than the disease.
As to secrecy; princes are not bound to communicate all matters, with all counsellors; but may extract and select. Neither is it necessary, that he that consulteth what he should do, should declare what he will do. But let princes beware, that the unsecreting of their affairs, comes not from themselves. And as for cabinet counsels, it may be their motto, plenus rimarum sum: one futile person, that maketh it his glory to tell, will do more hurt than many, that know it their duty to conceal. It is true there be some affairs, which require extreme secrecy, which will hardly go beyond one or two persons, besides the king: neither are those counsels unprosperous; for, besides the secrecy, they conunonly go on constantly, in one spirit of direction, without distraction. But then it must be a prudent king, such as is able to grind with a handmill; and those inward counsellors had need also be wise men, and especially true and trusty to the king's ends; as it was with King Henry the Seventh of England, who, in his great business, imparted himself to none, except it were to Morton and Fox.
For weakening of authority; the fable showeth the remedy. Nay, the majesty of kings, is rather exalted than diminished, when they are in the chair of counsel; neither was there ever prince, bereaved of his dependences, by his counsel, except where there hath been, either an over-greatness in one counsellor, or an over-strict combination in divers; which are things soon found, and holpen.
This is page 41 of 123. [Mark this Page]
Mark any page to add this title to Your Bookshelf. (0 / 10 books on shelf)
Buy a copy of Essays of Francis Bacon at Amazon.com
Customize text appearance:
(c) 2003-2012 LiteraturePage.com and Michael Moncur.
For information about public domain texts appearing here, read the copyright information and disclaimer.