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It very greatly concerns all men on whom a higher nature has impressed the love of truth, that, as they have been enriched by the labor of those before them, so they also should labor for those that are to come after them, to the end that posterity may receive from them an addition to its wealth. For he is far astray from his duty — let him not doubt it — who, having been trained in the lessons of public business, cares not himself to contribute aught to the public good. He is no "tree planted by the water-side, that bringeth forth his fruit in due season." He is rather the devouring whirlpool, ever engulfing, but restoring nothing. Pondering, therefore, often on these things, lest some day I should have to answer the charge of the talent buried in the earth, I desire not only to show the budding promise, but also to bear fruit for the general good, and to set forth truths by others unattempted. For what fruit can he be said to bear who should about to demonstrate again some theorem of Euclid ? or when Aristotle has shown us what happiness is, should show it to us once more? or when Cicero has been the apologist of old age, should a second time undertake its defence ? Such squandering of labor would only engender weariness and not profit.
But seeing that among other truths, ill-understood yet profitable, the knowledge touching temporal monarchy is at once most profitable and most obscure, and that because it has no immediate reference to worldly gain it is left unexplored by all, therefore it is my purpose to draw it forth from its hiding-places, as well that I may spend my toil for the benefit of the world, as that I may be the first to win the prize of so great an achievement to my own glory. The work indeed is difficult, and I am attempting what is beyond my strength; but I trust not in my
own powers, but in the light of that Bountiful Giver, “Who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not."
Now, therefore, we must see what is the end of the whole civil order of men ; and when we have found this, then, as the Philosopher* says in his book to Nicomachus, the half of our labor will have been accomplished. And to render the question clearer, we must observe that as there is a certain end for which nature makes the thumb, and another, different from this, for which she makes the whole hand, and again another for which she makes the arm, and another different from all for which she makes the whole man; so there is one end for which she orders the individual man, and another for which she orders the family, and another end for the city, and another for the kingdom, and finally an ultimate one for which the Everlasting God, by His art which is nature, brings into being the whole human race. And this is what we seek as a first principle to guide our whole inquiry.
Let it then be understood that God and nature make nothing to be idle. Whatever comes into being, exists for some operation or working. For no created essence is an ultimate end in the Creator's
purpose, so far as he is Creator, but rather the proper operation of that essence. Therefore it follows that the operation does not exist
for the sake of the essence, but the essence for the sake of the operation.
There is therefore a certain proper operation of the whole body of human kind, for which this whole body of men in all its multitudes is ordered and constituted, but to which no one man, nor single family, nor single neighborhood, nor single city, nor particular kingdom can attain. What this is will be manifest, if we can find what is the final and characteristic capacity of humanity as a whole. I say then that no quality which is shared by different species of things is the distinguishing capacity of any one of them. For were it so, since this capacity is that which makes each species what it is, it would follow that one essence would be specifically distributed to many species, which is impossible. Therefore the ultimate quality of men is not existence, taken simply; for the elements share therein. Nor is it existence under certain conditions; for we find this in minerals too. Nor is it existence with life; plants too have life. Nor is it percipient existence; for brutes share in this power. It is to be percipient with the possibility of understanding. The 4
1 The common title for Aristotle from the first half of the thirteenth century.
distinguishing quality of humanity is the faculty or the power of understanding. And because this faculty cannot be realized in act in its entirety at one time by a single man, nor by any of the individual societies which we have marked, therefore there must be multitude in the human race, in order to realize it.
The proper work of the human race, taken as a whole, is to set in action the whole capacity of that understanding which is capable of development; first in the way of speculation, and ! then, by its extension, in the way of action. And seeing that what is true of a part is true also of the whole, and that it is by rest and quiet that the individual man becomes perfect in wisdom and prudence ; so the human race, by living in the calm and tranquillity of peace, applies itself most freely and easily to its proper work; a work which, according to the saying: “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,” is almost divine. Whence it is manifest that of all things that are ordered to secure blessings to men, peace is the best. And hence the word which sounded to the shepherds from above was not riches, nor pleasure, nor honor, nor length of life, nor health, nor strength, nor beauty; but peace. For the heavenly host said: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.” Therefore also, “ Peace be with you,” was the salutation of the Saviour of mankind. For it behoved Him, who was the greatest 'of saviours, to utter in His greeting the greatest of saving blessings. And this custom His disciples too chose to preserve; and Paul also did the same in his greetings, as may appear manifest to all.
Now that we have declared these matters, it is plain what is the better, nay the best, way in which mankind may
attain to do its proper work. And consequently we have seen the readiest means by which to arrive at the point, for which all our works are ordered, as their ultimate end; namely, the universal peace, which is to be assumed as the first principle for our deductions. As we said, this assumption was necessary, for it is as a sign-post to us, that into it we may resolve all that has to be proved, as into a most manifest truth.
The first question is whether Temporal Monarchy (or the Empire] is necessary for the welfare of the world ; and that it is necessary can, I think, be shown by the strongest and most manifest arguments; for nothing, either of reason or of authority, opposes me. Let us first take the authority of the Philoso
pher in his Politics. There, on his venerable authority, it is said that where a number of things are arranged to attain an end, it behoves one of them to regulate or govern the others, and the others to submit. And it is not only the authority of his illustrious name which makes this worthy of belief, but also reason, instancing particulars.
If we take the case of a single man, we shall see the same rule manifested in him; all his powers are ordered to gain happiness; but his understanding is what regulates and governs all the others; and otherwise he would never attain to happiness. Again, take a single household : its end is to fit the members thereof to live well; but there must be one to regulate and rule it, who is called the father of the family, or, it may be, one who holds his office. As the Philosopher says: “Every house is ruled by the oldest.” And, as Homer says, it is his duty to make rules and laws for the rest. Hence the proverbial curse: * Mayst thou have an equal home." Take a single village : its end is suitable assistance as regards persons and goods, but one in it must be the ruler of the rest, either set over them by another, or with their consent, the head man amongst them. If it be not so, not only do its inhabitants fail of this mutual assistance, but the whole neighborhood is sometimes wholly ruined by the ambition of many, who each of them wish to rule. If, again, we take a single city: its end is to secure a good and sufficient life to the citizens; but one man must be ruler in imperfect as well as in good forms of the state. If it is otherwise, not only is the end of civil life lost, but the city too ceases to be what it was. Lastly, if we take any one kingdom, of which the end is the same as that of a city, only with greater security for its tranquillity, there must be one king to rule and govern. For if this is not so, not only do his subjects miss their end, but the kingdom itself falls to destruction, according to that word of the infallible truth: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation.” If then this holds good in these cases, and in each individual thing which is ordered to one certain end, what we have laid down is true.
Now it is plain that the whole human race is ordered to gain some end, as has been before shown. There must, therefore, be one to guide and govern, and the proper title for this office is Monarch or Emperor. And so it is plain that Monarchy or the Empire is necessary for the welfare of the world.
Wherever there is controversy, there ought to be judgment,
otherwise there would be imperfection without its proper remedy, which is impossible ; for God and Nature, in things necessary, do not fail in their provisions. But it is manifest that there may be controversy between any two princes, where the one is not subject to the other, either from the fault of themselves, or even of their subjects. Therefore between them there should be means of judgment. And since, when one is not subject to the other, he cannot be judged by the other (for there is no rule of equals over equals), there must be a third prince of wider jurisdiction, within the circle of whose laws both may come.
The strongest opponent of Justice is Appetite, as Aristotle intimates in the fifth book to Nicomachus. Remove Appetite altogether, and there remains nothing adverse to Justice; and therefore it is the opinion of the Philosopher that nothing should be left to the judge, if it can be decided by law; and this ought to be done for fear of Appetite, which easily perverts men's minds. Where, then, there is nothing to be wished for, there can be no Appetite, for the passions cannot exist if their objects are destroyed. But the Monarch has nothing to desire, for his jurisdiction is bounded only by the ocean; and this is not the case with other princes, whose kingdoms are bounded by those of their neighbors; as, for instance, the kingdom of Castile is bounded by the kingdom of Aragon. From which it follows that the Monarch is able to be the purest embodiment of Justice among men.
Again, the human race is ordered best when it is most free. ... This liberty, or this principle of all our liberty, is the greatest gift bestowed by God on mankind; by it alone we gain happiness as men ; by it alone we gain happiness elsewhere as gods. But if this is so, who will say that human kind is not in its best state when it can most use this principle ? But he who lives under a Monarchy is most free. Therefore let it be understood that he is free who exists not for another's sake but for his own, as the Philosopher, in his Treatise of simple Being, thought. For everything which exists for the sake of some other thing is necessitated by that other thing, as a road has to run to its ordained end. Men exist for themselves, and not at the pleasure of others, only if a Monarch rules; for then only are the perverted forms of government set right, while democracies, oligarchies, and tyrannies, drive mankind into slavery, as is obvious to any who goes about among them all; and public power is in