THE Compleat Courtier: OR, THE MORALS Of the Famous Historian CORNELIƲS TACITƲS Concerning Flattery, &c.

In above One Hundred ESSAYS.

Paraphras'd and Illustrated with use­ful Observations by the Sieur Amelo de la Houssaie and M. D'Ablancourt.

Done out of French.

LONDON: Printed, and are to be sold by E. Rum­ball, at the Post-house in Russel-street in Covent-Garden, 1700.


IT was the Judgment of the Learned Philip Carriana, That a­mong all the Latin Histori­ans, there was not any one, who was to be preferr'd be­fore Tacitus, if equall'd to him, either for the Solidity of his Instructions conducing to Civil Life, or for his man­ner [Page] of Concise and Judicious Writing; which is the rea­son, that all his words are as so many Sentences. There is nothing unprofitable, says he, in his Writings, nothing of Hyperbole, nothing of Cir­cumlocution in his words.

The Marquiss Virgilio Malvezzi speaks this farther of him, That his History consists in recounting the Acti­ons of Soveraign Princes; and the Benefit that accrews to Ʋs from thence is this, [Page] that we may learn thereby those things which may be of great use to us in an Age, wherein almost all the Estates of the World are under Monarchical Government.

This Treatise then con­tains several Observations upon the Choicest Morals of that Famous Historian, writ­ten in French by the Sieur Amelot de la Houssaie, Dedicated to Monsieur Boucherat, Chancellor of France, and Printed with [Page] the Allowance of that Po­tent Monarch now Raign­ing in that Flourishing King­dom.

This is enough to recom­mend these few Sheets to your Reading; For tho' the Design may seem to require a larger Epistle, yet I am apt to believe it would be super­fluous at such a time as this, when the World is grown weary of long Prefaces; as also for that all Persons who delight in good Authours, [Page] have too much Sense, to be inform'd of the Benefit of Tacitus's Morals, and the Ʋse which ought to be made of them.



EGregious and Sparkling Wits are soon discourag'd and de­press'd, where Flattery once gets Footing and Prospers, Tacitus Annal. l. 1.

The meaning of the Text is, That there was no want of Egregious and Spark­ling Wits, till they were Stupifi'd by Adu­lation. D'Ablancourt renders it, While [Page 2] there was no speaking of Truth without a Candid Complacency, Which does not does not sufficiently express the Sence of Tacitus, whose meaning is, that where Flat­tery Reigns, there follows a decay of Towring Ingenuities, for that all Recompences and Rewards go to the Flatterers. Therefore Monsieur Harlay Chanvalon, has render'd the words much better, thus, till Noble Ingenuities had debas'd themselves by Flattery.

There needs no other Comment upon these words, then that of Tacitus himself. Many Authors, saith he, have Compil'd us the History of the Seven First Ages of the Roman Commonweal, at what time they Wrote with no less Freedom then Eloquence: but after it was the Inte­rest of Peace that the Supream Power should be devolv'd upon one single Per­son, those lofty Genius's were soon E­clips'd. And the Reason was, for that Dominion having depriv'd Equality of all Command, every one strove to please and comply with the Prince, that he might render himself capable of Honours and Preferment, to which he could not ascend, but by the steps of Servitude. For so it is, that Servitude and Flattery are two inseparable Companions: And [Page 3] it was upon the occasion of the shameful Flatteries of the Senate, that Tiberius himself was wont so often to Exclaim: Poor Souls prepar'd for Slavery. The youn­ger Pliny, whom we shall frequently cite, by reason of the Conformity of his Max­ims with those of Tacitus, whom he caus'd to examine his Writings, speaking of his Uncles Books, makes an excuse for eight, which were not wrote in the same Stile, and wanted those Sinews of Elo­quence, that gave manly force to all the Rest; because they were Written under the Reign of Nero, when the Servile Fears of Men would not permit 'em to write with Freedom. And in one of his Epistles, he adds, That he liv'd in the Reign of another Emperour, when the Senate was become altogether Mute, and meerly Stupifi'd, by reason of long Si­lence.


CAius and Lucius, the Sons of Agrippa, he introduc'd into the Family of the Cesars, and them, tho' he made a Semblance of an utter a­vers [...] [Page 4] to any such Design, he most earnestly desir'd to have Proclaim'd, Princes of the Youth, and to be No­minated for Consuls.

Princes of the Youth; that is to say, Presumptive Heirs of the Empire. D'Ab­lancourt renders it thus. He had Adopted the Sons of Agrippa, Caius and Lucius, and caus'd 'em to be Proclaim'd Princes of the Youth, and earnestly desir'd they might be in Nomination for Consuls, tho' to outward appearance, he testified an extreme unwilling­ness to have it so.

Flattery is always the Companion of Advanc'd Fortune. For Caius and Lucius were no sooner admitted into the Impe­rial Family, but the Senate and Roman People design 'em for the Empire. And that which is yet more remarkable is this, That these two Princes, who had not as yet assum'd the Robe of Manhood, and consequently were not capable of Publick Employments, were already Con­suls Elected by the Senate and People, altho' Augustus, out of an Affected Modesty, seem'd so unwilling to give his Consent. But Flattery is ingenious and studious to [Page 5] Insinuate; she devines with ease what it is that Princes desire; so that let them co­ver their Longings with never so much Art, she will find out the Secret. And this was that of which Galba gave warn­ing to Piso, when he us'd this Expression [...] much ado, how Wise, how Resolute, how Constant soever thou may'st be (Irrumpet Adulatio) Flat­tery will force thy Modesty; and make her self Mistress of oll thy Affections.


Nero was only left of all the Sons in Law: Him all the Popular Ado­ration Courted.

D'Ablancourt renders it; There remain'd no more alive then Tiberius, so that Fortune began to cast an Eye upon him alone.

While Marcellus and Agrippa, both Augustus's Sons in Law, were alive, as also Caius and Lucius, the Sons of Agrippa, Tiberius had much ado to brush off several slights and Scorns, that were put upon him in the Family of Augustus, his Fa­ther [Page 6] in Law. But when the Palace was empty by the Death of all his Rivals, then he rul'd Lord and Master: All Peo­ple made their Addresses to him; they took no notice of any Body else; Courted no Body else but only him alone. Illuc [...], as if Tacitus would seem to intimate, that they began even to neglect Augustus him­self; as it is the Custom of Subjects, more especially Courtiers to adore the Rising Beams, and forsake the Setting Sun. Flattery has been always sway'd by Interest, and Mercenary. When Princes grow in Years, and begin to stoop to­wards the Grave, Flattery removes her Altars, and offers her Incense to those who are to Succeed, to the end she may be sure betimes to make sure of their earliest Favour and good Opinion. There­fore it was a Sentence of Galba, ground­ed upon good Reason, that Flattery was vaid of Love; and that there was not any Poison more dangerous then hers. And I wish it were the Will of Heaven, that all Princes were as well Convinc'd of this Truth, as Galba. Surely it would be much better for the General Prosperity of their Affairs; and their Reputation, of which they can never be too jealous, [Page 7] would advance it self to a higher Pinacle of Grandeur. For then they would have Subjects that would adore their Persons, whereas those Many Flatterers that croud about their Thrones, Idolize nothing but their Exalted Fortune. And therefore it was, that Tiberius and Galba always con­temn'd and scorn'd 'em.


COnsuls, Fathers, Knights, all ran headlong into Slavery; and by how much the more Illustrious they were, by so much the more De­ceitful, and speedy in their Motion: And with a Compos'd Gravity, that they might not seem to be too much o­verjoy'd at the Death of the deceas'd Emperour, nor sad at such a Con­jecture as the Advancement of the Succeeding Prince, they intermix'd their Tears with Joy, and their La­mentations with Adulation.

At Rome, says D'Ablancourt, all De­grees of Men, Knights, Senators, and [Page 8] Consuls, ran headlong into Slavery, and the most Illustrious and Eminent first of all; composing so their Looks and Countenances, that they might not seem joyful for the Death of Augustus, nor sad that Tiberius was come to the Throne. Nevertheless their Tears, their Condolements and Congratulations, were all but cunning Dissimulation.

Flattery is always Excessive at the be­ginning of a new Reign: For every one strives to be Complaisant and to advance his Fortune, by Ingratiating himself. Even they themselves, who are not ad­dicted to Flattery, become Flatterers then, spurr'd on by Envy and Jealousie, not enduring that their Competitors should gain a greater ascendant over the Affections of their Prince then themselves, and fearing least Favours should advance their Equals to be their Superiours. The Grandees are oblig'd to Flatter, in re­gard there is an absolute Necessity for them to please, that so they may be able to preserve their Grandeur. Every Prince at the beginning of his Reign is subject to mistrust, not knowing whither the Great Ones are well pleas'd or disgusted at his Advancement. Therefore it is, that he makes it his business to sound the Affecti­ons [Page 9] of his Nobility; and that he studies to observe their Countenances and their Discourses. Which is the Rea [...]on that we we find all Men in all Companies, striving to outvie one another in Adulation and Servitude.


Valerius Messala added, That the Senators should every Year renew their Oaths of Fidelity to Tibe­rius: And being ask'd by Tiberius, whi­ther it was by his Order that he had given those hints to the Senate, he an­swer'd of his own accord, That in those thinge which Concern'd the Commonweal, he was not wont to follow any other Counsels then his own, not caring whither others were offended or no. That only sort of Flattery then remain'd.

Says D'Ablancourt, When Tiberius had ask'd him, whither he had given him Orders to speak what he had said, he answer'd, That what concern'd the Republic, he never took [Page 10] advice of any Person. Where he leaves out, Vel cum periculo Offensionis, Wherein chief­ly consists undiscernable spurn of absolute Controul, and the disguis'd assertion of Li­berty. And besides, he omits the follow­ing Sentence, Ea sola species adulandi super­erat, Which makes a most graceful and pleasing Epiphonema to what went be­fore.

The Question which Tiberius put to Messala, plainly shews, that there are certain Flatteties, which are so far from being grateful to Princes, that they ra­ther blush and are asham'd to hear 'em pronounc'd. But from one piece of servile Flattery, which had wounded Tiberius's Modesty, Messala drives on to another, which under the false appearance of a Bravado, and an undaunted Cou­rage, concludes in the Absolute Annihi­lation of Liberty. For while he feigns as if he thought Tiberius offended with his Advice, as one that really was resolv'd never to take upon him the Burthen of the Empire, he maintains by his Reply, That it was not the Power of the Empire to excuse Him, and by Consequence, that there was a compulsive necessity for Him to accept of the Sovereign Power [Page 11] maugre his aversion to the Contrary protesting that he would rather incur the Princes Indignation, then be debarr'd from speaking freely whatever he thought might be for the Service of his Country.


THE Fathers unanimously cry'd out, that the Body should be carry'd to the Funeral Pile, upon the Shoulders of the Senators.

D'Ablancourt renders it, Then the Senate cry'd out, that it was but decent for the Body to be carry'd to the Funeral Pile upon the Shoulders of Senators.

There needs but one Flatterer to infect a whole Society. Messala had no sooner deliver'd his fawning Opinion, but the whole Senate are for improving and stri­ving to outvye his glozing dissimulation. Messala had spoken like a Colloguing Courtier, and the Senate speaks like so many abject Slaves: For it was a Duty incumbent only to the Slaves to carry the [Page 12] Bodies of their Masters to the Funeral Pile.


NOR were the Fathers less Pro­digal of their Adulation to­ward Augusta. But Tiberius told 'em, there was a Moderation to be us'd in bestowing Female Honours.

Says D'Ablancourt, Their Flattery was not only excessive toward the Emperour, but also towards his Lady.

Princes are willing enough that Ho­nours should be bestow'd upon their Mo­thers, or their Kindred; but they can­not endure that any Person whatever, should be made their Equal. But this was that which the Senate were about to do, when they decreed that glorious Title of MOTHER OF HER COUN­TRY to Livia. For indeed Flatterers are strongly subject to one piece of Im­prudence, for that as they are a sort of People, that make their Interest the only Idol of their Adulation, looking one way [Page 13] but rowing another, they never measure their study'd Encomium's according to the Merit, or Quality, or Dignity of the Person, but give the same Panegyricks to a Judge, a Chancellor, a President, or an Earl, &c. as to a Sovereign Prince. And thus we find at this day several Illu­strious Epithites, whither before large Folio's, or Plays, or Discourses upon mean and frivolous Subjects, which are allowable to none but Kings and absolute Princes. Which is the Reason that France now mainly stands in need of a PRAGMATIC Sanction, like to that which Philip the II. set forth in the Year 1586. to prevent Abuses of the same Nature. As for Women, Tiberius like a Politic Prince, well understood how dangerous a thing it was to raise their Pride, their Vanity, their Luxury, their Avarice, their Ambition, their Insolence, and their Cruelty, which according to Tacitus, are the usual Passions incident to their Sex. And this Maxim of Tiberius, is well observ'd in Hungary, where the Queens, at the Ceremony of their Coro­nation, are never Crown'd but upon the Shoulders, to let 'em know that the King­dom has no need of their Heads, the King's being altogether sufficient for the weight of Government.


THE Name of Father of his Country, frequently by the People crouded in among his Titles, Tiberius refus'd; Nor would he per­mit any Oaths to be Sworn for the Observation of his Acts, alledging that all the Acts of Mortal Men were frail and uncertain, and the more he was advanc'd in Power, the more slippery was the Pinacle upon which he stood.

He excus'd himself, says D'Ablancourt, by urging the Inconstancy of Human Events, affirming that the higher he was Exalted, the more dangerous would be his Fall, and the more likely to happen.

Nothing better becomes a Great and Glorious Prince, then to withstand the assaults of Flattery. The Senate had decree'd, that all the Acts of Tiberius should be Sworn to; that is to say, that they should be bound to Confirm and Ju­stifie, [Page 15] whatever he did to be Legally and Warrantably done. But Tiberius was of a contrary Opinion; that he was so far from being Infallible, that he was more then others in danger of Failing in his Judgment, for that his High Employ­ment, and the Burthen of the Ponderous Charge upon his Shoulders, was not only more difficult then any other to un­dergo, but more Obnoxious also to Hu­man Accidents.

Princes have always been accustom'd to have Flatterers at their Elbows, who Swear continually to all their Acts; In­sinuating that God has given 'em a Uni­versal Knowledge, and a Judgment that cannot err. So that we must not won­der if so many Princes miscarry in their Government, for want of Faithful Ser­vants that will open their Lips to tell 'em Truth. Therefore a Politic Spaniard, giving the Reason why it was the Cu­stom for many Princes to carry their Je­ster along with 'em where ever they went:* Because, says he, they were Wise and Prudent Men; for they did not make use of those Jesters for Sport or Diver­tisement, [Page 16] but for Information. And in anothir Place, These Jesters, says he, are the Oracles of Truth, who fearlessly discover what others have unwarily ut­ter'd in their Hearing.

Which is a great Assistance to Princes, who never can Correct the Fault before they know it.


THE Tribunes and Centurions reported oft'ner what was grateful to the Ear then what was true: The Freedmen still retain'd a twang of their former Slavery: Friends were all addicted to Flatter: But 'twas his business to know the in­side of the Soldiers Hearts, when a­lone and thinking themselves secure, they freely imparted their Hopes and Fears at their Military Meals.

D'Ablancourt renders the whole thus: For that the Tribunes and Centurions made their reports rather as things were wish'd to be, [Page 17] then according to Truth. That the Freedmen still retain'd a smatch of their former Slavery, and treacherous Friendship only Flatter'd. He resolv'd himself therefore to discover what he was uncertain to know by any other Informati­on, and to penetrate the Minds of the Soldiers, when retir'd in their Tents, and familiarly dis­coursing over their Military Commons, they di­splay'd the naked verity of their Hopes and Fears.

Germanicus it seems one night took his Opportunity to walk in Disguise and un­attended through every Street of his Camp, and stopping at every Tent, heed­fully Listen'd to the familiar Discourses of the Soldiers. Several great Princes have observ'd the same Method, to make those Discoveries themselves, which they were certain others conceal'd from their Knowledge. The Spanish Author last Quoted (in his Ferdinand.) says very pertinently, That Charles the V. was be­come the Spie of his own Reputation. And that Francis the I. having spent a whole Night in the Dwelling of Simplicity, that is to say, in the Country among the Vulgar Hinds, discovered so many Things of high Imporoance to his Government, that he was often wont to repeat this saying, He had been [Page 18] lost, unless he had been lost; as he rode a Hunting. In like manner might he as well have said what the Great Antiochus utter'd, upon his having been in a little Cottage, where he Discours'd with seve­ral poor People that knew him not, That he had never heard Truth spoken till then. And the same Author adds, If it be so difficult for a private Man to know himself, what a Task must it be for a King? While Self-Love will not permit to know himself; nor, Flattery to know others. Princes have no Mirrours, and therefore muct make use of their own Industry. So then, there can­not be a more Beneficial piece of Industry to be their own Perdu's, when Men are discoursing over their Trenchers and Cups, with free and open Hearts; for then it is that they give their Tongues and Jocund Humours the liberty to Range; while Precaution and Reserv'dness are laid aside.


TIberius rejoyc'd to hear the Se­nate argue for the Laws a­gainst his Sons.

D'Ablancourt renders it, Tiberius was glad to see his Sons, in that same famous Di­spute, made equal with the Laws.

What a strange thing Flattery is! The Dispute was about the Election of a Pre­tor; for which Office there were several that stood. Drusus and Germanicus, the Sons of Tiberius, favour'd a Kinsman of their own, whereas the Roman Law pre­ferr'd those who had the most numerous Issue. However, notwithstanding the Election was hotly bandy'd and oppos'd by the Senate, yet Favour at length car­ry'd it above the Law. Which is no more then what happens every day in o­ther Courts, However let Princes be never so Vertuous and Moderate, yet they always take delight to prefer their Au­thority above the Laws, while it gives them the Opportunity of reaping to [Page 20] themselves the sole Glory of submitting afterwards. Thus it was that Tiberius one day Depress'd himself, to advance the high Opinion of his Moderation, returning in answer to the Flattery of a Senator, That the Customes of a Country prudently Establish'd, and with which the People had always all along been satisfi'd, were not to be Chang'd, but upon mature and deep Premeditation: That Princes had too much Business already, and too much Power: That while they labour'd to advance and extend their own, they did but weaken the Authority of the Law. Lastly, That there was no need of Application to a Prince, when the Laws were sufficient to reform the Grievance. Here by the way we must observe, that in Republic's they say, The Laws are a­bove Princes: But in Monarchies, Rea­son of State requires that the Prince should be above the Laws: I speak of He­reditary Monarchies; for in Elective Monarchies, the Laws are Superiour to the Prince, as in Germany and Poland, where the Government is Aristocratico-Monarchical.


HE sharply reprehended those who gave the Epithite of Di­vine to his daily Employments, and gave him the Title of LORD.

Says D'Ablancourt, He severely reprov'd those who call'd hiw Lord, and gave his daily Exercises the Epithite of Divine Occupations.

There are some Flatterys, that render Princes Odious. Tiberius, who was hated enough already, had been much more Contemn'd, had he accepted of a Title, which Augustus, whose Example had al­ways with him the force of a Law, had refus'd by a Decree. And for that reason it was that he thunder'd out his Indigna­tion against Those, who call'd him LORD. He was a Lord in Reality, but he would not that People should call him so, as being desirous they should be­lieve he did not look upon himself so to be. Politic Princes are contented with the Substance of their Power, and wil­lingly part with all the rest as meerly [Page 22] Superfluous. For Subjects are almost all of the humour of that same Parthian King, who was nothing troubl'd that his Bro­ther bore the Yoke of Roman Servitude, so long as he did not wear the Scars and Marks of it. The greater Progress Tibe­rius made in taming the Senate with the vain shew of Liberty, the more he en­larg'd and establish'd his Power. The more Popular his Words and Actions were, the more plyable he found the Great Men, and the more easily led to Servitude. He was offended with those who call'd his Occupations, Divine; for because he knew himself not undeservedly to be tax'd with the Common Stain of his Family, which was Haughtiness, he was desirous that the People should believe he went hand in hand with the Senate in the Government. I know, said he, that I am but a Mortal Man, and subject to all the Frailties of Humanity, and therefore 'tis enough for me to be Honour'd with the first Seat in the Senate, and more then enough if I supply it well.—Princes are Mortal, but the Common­wealth is Eternal. By this acknowledg­ment he was no more then a Member, and he permitted those Honours that were pay'd him no otherwise, then as they were ascrib'd to the rest of the Senators. [Page 23] Who though they gave little Credit to what he said, yet were they pleas'd to hear him deliver himself with so much Modesty, so much the rather because it was not always his luck to be Popular for all that. Observe moreover, that by the Difference which he made between Princes as Mortals, and Commonwealths as being Eternal, he seem'd to inti­mate, that he was so far from be­ing LORD of the Empire, that he had little Concern in the Government of it; only his Eternity resided in the Body of the Senate, which was Immortal, and was able alone to shake the Affairs of the Universe.


WHO fear'd Liberty, yet ha­ted Adulation.

Says D'Ablancourt, Ʋnder a Prince who hated Flattery, yet was no friend to Liberty.

To hate Flattery is to love Liberty; to hate Liberty, is to love Flattery. Nevertheless Tiberius hated both the one [Page 24] and the other. A strange thing, says Tacitus, that a Prince who left remaining not the least Footstep of Liberty, should be tir'd and discontented to behold in the Senate, such an Effeminate and Ser­vile Complacency. Certainly 'tis a very difficult thing to find the way how to please the Palate of a Politic Prince. If you Flatter him continually, you incur his Contempt; if you deal too frankly and freely with him, you meet his Indigna­tion. How Vertuous soever he be, too much Liberty offends him; because it ap­pears not so respectful as Flattery. And if they are wickedly enclin'd, Flattery then becomes suspected; because her Eu­comiums are oftentimes the Reproaches of Vices, which are opposite to Vertue. Therefore had Tacitus reason to say, that a Man has enough to do, who has to deal with a Prince that understands what Flattery is. For which reason it was an Ingenious and Witty saying of the Coun­tess D'Aranda, that there was no Regi­ster in the Heart of a King, and by con­sequence it was not to be read. More­over Princes find greater Benefit by Li­berty, then Flattery, as being deluded by one, but instructed by the other. But Courtiers take the surer Course to attain [Page 25] their ends by Flattery, then by Liberty of Speech; while the one is grateful, the other odious to the Generality of Great Personages.


THE same undestinguish'd La­mentations among all: an inter­mix'd and confus'd Throng of Mour­ners, and every one Weeping at their own rate. There could be no Adulation there, while all Men knew that the Death of Germanicus was welcom to Tiberius.

D'Ablancourt says, That it was no for­mal Funeral Pomp, or study'd Mourning, to gratifie Tiberius, who they knew was well pleas'd with the Death of Germanicus.

The Common People are not capable of Dissimulation, nor by consequence of Flattery. For when Tiberius outwardly bewail'd the Death of Germanicus, they were so far with Complying with his in­ward Joy, that they sought to spite him [Page 26] by all the Demonstrations of a Public and Real Lamentation imaginable; and celebrating the praise of the Deceas'd. And indeed there has been in all Times, a certain kind of Antipathy between the Prince and the People. They who are hated by the Prince, are generally belov'd by the Multitude. On the other side, they who are the Darlings of the People, are never favour'd by the Prince. Ger­manicus was mortally hated by Tiberius, because he was the Peoples Favourite; and the People had an Antipathy against Drusus, because Tiberius had a greater kind­ness for him, then for his Brother. The People ador'd Agrippina; Tiberius per­secuted her to Death. When the Wife of Drusus lay Inn of two Male Infants, Tiberius could not contain his Joy, nor the People their sorrow. Because the Reinforcement of Drusus's Family wea­ken'd and depress'd the Family of Ger­manicus. But when Drusus dy'd, the Peo­ple were overjoy'd to hear the Emperours Lamentations, in hopes the Family of Germanicus, against whom his Father had all along display'd his Enmity, would now revive and flourish in its former Glory.


HE nam'd Manias Lepiodus, and Junius Blesus, to choose which of the two they pleas'd to be sent Proconsul into Africa. Lepidus ex­cus'd himself by reason of the Cra­zie Constitution of his Body, and for that he had a Daughter ready to be Marry'd: But there was another Reason which was Conjectur'd at by all, tho' by him not so much as mention'd, which was, that Blesus was Uncle to Sejanus, and therefore assur'd of the Preferment: Blesus al­so refus'd the Proffer, but not with that Fervency and Sincerity as the other did, nor was he so much Ap­plauded by his Flatterers, who were also the same that flatter'd Sejanus.

D'Ablancourt says, That Lepidus ground­ed his refusal upon his Indisposition of Body, alledging besides, that he had a Daughter to Marry; but that there was another Rea­son [Page 28] which he durst not discover; because his Rival was Ʋncle to Sejanus, and therefore would be sure to be preferr'd before him. Blesus also made a refusal; but not with half that Earnestness, nor so loudly Applauded by those that flatter'd him.

When Tiberius propos'd Lepidus and Blesus to the Senate, he propounded a Choice between Merit and Favour. Lepi­dus was a Person of Merit, as being a Person whom Augustus had adjudg'd wor­thy and fit to Govern the Empire. But Blesus was the Favourite, as being Uncle to Sejanus. Tiberius nam'd Lepidus in the first place, seemingly designing to give the Precedency to Merit; but he knew well, that Flattery would bequeath it to Favour. The excuses which Lepi­dus alledg'd were receiv'd with Applause and Acclamation, as being no less grate­ful to Tiberius, then to Sejanus and Ble­sus. But the excuses which Blesus pro­duc'd could not be heard; while every one knew there was a willing force de­sign'd to engage him to acceptance. For Favour and Flattery go hand in hand to­gether; they never part Company, at­tended by Injustice that follows close at their Heels.


CEstius the Senator discours'd, That Princes indeed were like the Gods, but that neither Gods bow'd down their Ears to the unjust Supplications of their Adorers.

Says D'Ablancourt, Cestius declar'd, That Princes were like the Gods, but that the Gods never listen'd to Prayers that were unjust.

Princes are oftentimes compar'd to God; and indeed they may be said to be Corporeal Gods; according to that of Vegetius, There is a faithful Devotion to be paid to the Emperour, as to our present and Terrestrial God. God himself also gives them the same Title, I have said ye are Gods. But the Illustrious and Caelestial Title should put 'em in remembrance of their Principal and God-like Office, which is to distribute Justice to their Subjects, and prevent the Oppression of the Poor. 'Tis a usual thing for them that Kneel at their Feet for Favours and Preferments, to tell 'em they are absolute in Power, [Page 30] and that they are the Images of the Al­mighty: But for the same reason, they are oblig'd to take care that all their Grants be just, for fear of defacing that same glorious Similitude. 'Tis a great Weakness in a Prince to be so timorous, as not to dare justly to deny what others dare demand without regard to Justice. Certainly, that King spoke like a Ver­tuous Prince, who being press'd to keep an Illegal Promise, reply'd, That 'twas impossible he should ever have made an Unjust Promise. Thus Charles the V. being inform'd that he had sign'd a Grant that was contrary to Equity, sent for it again, and after he had tore it, I love my Soul, said he, much better then my Wri­ting.


DOlabella Cornelius, while he strove to outvie the rest, stum­bled into a most absur'd piece of Flattery, and Decreed, that he should make an Ovant entry into the City, returning from Campania.

Says D'Ablancourt, Dolabella desirous to surpass all others, fell into a Ridiculous piece of Flattery, proposing to decree Tibe­rius the Honour of a Petty Triumph.

Could there be a more Impertinent piece of Flattery then this, to decree a Triumphant Entrie to a Prince, meerly upon his Return from a bare Progress? But Tiberius had too much Wit to be in the humour to accept of such an Honour, which had render'd him more ridiculous then the Curry-Favour that decreed it him. I am not so indigent of Honour, said he to the Senate, after having Tam'd so many Warlike Nations, and receiv'd and refus'd so many Honours in my Youth, as in my Declining Age to beg a Counterfeit Tri­umph [Page 32] for a Journey of Pleasure almost within view of Rome it self. Princes that have acquir'd a substantial Reputation, as Ti­berius had done, in the East, in Germany and Pannonia, or Hungary, scorn all false Honours: And to flatter 'em, is to incur their Displeasure; because their Renown has no need of borrow'd Augmentation. When their Praises flow from the Lips of Flatterers, they become suspected; for it is with Flatterers as with Lyars, whom no body believes, even when they speak Truth. So that Princes have the greatest reason to abhor their vain Idolizers, who rob their Vertue of more true Glory, then the Sophisticate Ho­nour comes to, so sedulously prepar'd for a false and unseasonable Glitter.


ONly Rubellius Blandus held with Lepidus; the rest all sided with Agrippa.

Says D'Ablancourt, Of all the Consular Senators, only Rubellius Blandus was of Lepidus's Opinion? the rest condemned Pris­cus to Death.

[Page 33] Agrippa had adjudg'd to Death a cer­tain Roman Knight accus'd to have cheat­ed Tiberius, in presenting him an Elegie upon the Death of Germanicus, which he had made for Drusus, who was recovered from a Disease, of which 'twas thought he would have dy'd. Lepidus, according to his Custom, which was to moderate the rigour of severe Sentences, insisted, that the mild Temper of the Prince, and the Ex­ample of their Ancestors, would not ad­mit that they should run to that Heighth, as not to make a distinction between Words and Actions; and that Ostenta­tion was not to be punish'd as a Criminal Offence: That they might find out such a Medium, so that the Offender might be punish'd, and yet they have no occa­sion ever to repent of too much Clemen­cy, or too unwary Severity. That a Man who made it his study to write Verses and read 'em to Women, to ac­quire the reputation of being a Poet, was neither in a Capacity to do the Pub­lic any harm, if they suffer'd him to live; nor considerable enough, to be made an example of Terrour, if they put him to Death, and therefore that it was suf­ficient to Banish him, and Confiscate his Estate. But this Prudent and Grave [Page 34] Advice had but one only Person to ap­plaud it; while Agrippa, tho' his Opi­nion and Intentions were unjust, had all the rest of the Voices of his side, because he flatter'd the Inclinations of the Prince, who was both cruel and greedy of Re­venge. One Flatterer makes many, while they are afraid to be less forward then He, to support the Prince's Interests, if they do not side with that Opinion which flatters most.


HE spoke Modest Things con­cerning the Manners of the Young Man, nor did he add any thing of untruth to set a higher va­lue upon his Parts.

Says D'Ablancourt, He added something, as to Drusus, but without Flattery.

When Tiberius mention'd Germanicus, to whom he bare a particular Spleen and Envy, he spar'd for no Words, nor no Applauses, because he Flatter'd him, and was willing the Senate should believe he [Page 35] said more then he meant. But when he spoke of Drusus, who was his own Son, he was always thrifty of his Expressions, as being desirous they should believe all that he said; as indeed he never did speak any thing of him but what every one knew to be Truth. Behold here the difference between Praising and Flatter­ing. To Praise, is truly to declare the real Worth and Merits of any Person and no more: Whereas he who Flatters, either Aggravates, or Lyes. He that Aggravates, attributes more to the Per­son then he deserves: And he may be said to Lye, who gives to Vices the appella­tion of Vertues, that are their Opposites, as it is the custom of all that Flatter.


THE Fathers had study'd his Oration before hand; so that the Flattery was the more finely Spun.

Says D'Ablancourt, The Senators waited for this Request, which render'd the Flattery more delicate.

[Page 36] If Flattery be generally so suttle and Ingenious as it is, what is there which it is not able to invent to shew her Com­placency, after a serious Meditation? If she be so pliant and submissive, when her Acts are unconstrain'd and voluntary, to what a low degree of Pusilanimous Base­ness will she not condescend and poorly stoop, when once necessity and awful force compel her?


M. Silanus, in contempt of the Consulship, labour'd for the Honour of the Princes, and de­liver'd it, as his own Opinion that the Names of the Consuls should be no longer affix'd to Public or Pri­vate Acts, as the Rule of Kalenders and Chronologies, but the Names of those that had the Tribunitial Pow­er. But as for Quintus Haterius, when he propos'd that the Decrees of the Senate for that day, should be set up in the Court in Letters of Gold, the Old Man became the [Page 37] Laughter of the whole Court, who having so small a time to Live, could think of carrying the Infamy of such a notorious piece of Flattery to his Grave.

Says D'Ablancourt, Haterius expos'd himself to public Laughter, for having propos'd to Engrave their Decrees in Letters of Gold, as one that could not hope to reap the fruit of his Flattery, but the Ignominy that at­tended it. But this does not come up to the sense of Tacitus, who the better to set out the poor Spirit of Haterius, tells us, that he was an Old Man, who by Con­sequence not having long to live, could expect no other, then to go to his Grave loaden with Infamy.

The same thing happen'd to Tiberius, which had befallen Augustus. When Au­gustus made Tiberius his Associate in the Tribuneship, then thither Cuncta Vergere. The Flatterers began to pay their Ado­rations all to Tiberius: And so soon as Tiberius summons Drusus to Partnership in the Dignity and Authority, every one strives to adore the Rising Sun, all the Flatterers; all the Senators like Emulous [Page 38] Champions, dispute for Preheminence in Flattery, and to gain the Favour of the New Prince, generally the Prize of early Sedulicie. Silanus therefore, a person Illustrious for his Extraction and Elo­quence, steps up, and proposes that the Public Accounts of the Years should be no longer taken from the Names of the Consuls, but from the Sovereign Tribune­ship, little heeding that while he Honour'd Drusus, he Dishonour'd Tiberius, who having been four times Consul, receiv'd the same Affront as the rest of the Con­suls, if he suffer'd a Dignity to grow into Contempt, which he himself had taken upon him, after he was Emperour. Be­sides, that if the Alteration of Chrono­logical Computation should Commence from no longer a Date then the Tribune­ship of Drusus, he must be Inferiour to his Son; or at least be beholding to him for being Nam'd with Him in all Public Acts and Registers: Which is a Thing highly injurious to Majesty, that en­dures neither Equality nor Dependency. And thus see how Flattery oft-times splits it self upon the Rocks of Imprudence, and becomes Affrontive where she studies most Obsequiousness. As for Quintus Haterius, his Flattery was so ill resented by [Page 39] Tiberius, that his Proposal was look'd upon as Extravagant. And that which render'd him most ridiculous, was his Old Age, that put him out of hopes of ever living to reap the Fruit of Drusus's acknowledgement; so that there nothing more remain'd for him, but the ignominy of having been the Author of a Proposal so much beneath a Person of his Years and Quality: for he was of an Illustrious Family, and moreover highly esteem'd for his Eloquence. Whence you may ob­serve by the by, that Eloquence and Flat­tery wonderfully sympathize one with the other; and that it is a difficult thing to be a cunning and dextrous Flatterer without Eloquence; or to be Eloquent without Adulation. And this is that per­haps, which the younger Pliny means, That Eloquence is not to be learnt, with­out good Manners; to let us understand, that Eloquence is a dangerous Talent in them, who are not endu'd with a Since­rity capable to make a right use of it.


I Think it to be the chiefest Duty of a Historian, to take care that Vertue be not smother'd, and to de­ter Men from evil Actions and Say­ings, for fear of being branded with Ignomy to Posterity.

In my Opinion, says D'Ablancourt, 'tis the Duty of a Historian, to give to Vertue the recompence which she deserves, and to beget an abhorrency of Vice, by awing Men with the shame of Eternal Infamy.

It is the custom of Flatterers to extol Vice, while by a wrong impression of Interpretation, they make it pass for currant Vertue; and to cry down as Crimes, the Vertues of such as are hated by those Princes whom they Flatter. Of all People therefore in the World are Flatterers the most unfit, and improper to undertake a History, which ought to have Truth for its Guide, and for its Object the Instruction of Posterity. And here we must not omit to give that wor­thily [Page 41] deserved Character of Monsieur Me­zeray, to be the only Modern Author, that has honour'd France with a Sincere Story, and left in his Writings the lively Image of its ancient Liberty.


ENnius a Roman Knight, accus'd of High Treason, because he had melted down the Princes Statue, and turn'd it into Silver Plate, Cesar forbad to be Register'd among the Guilty; Aseius Capito openly oppo­sing him under the Pretence of Li­berty, alledging that such a Hainous Crime ought never to go Unpun­ish'd; that he might be remiss in pard'ning Offences against himself; not be so lavish to forgive notorious Injuries done the Public.

Says D'Ablancourt, Ennius a Roman Knight was accus'd of High Treason, for having melted a Statue of the Prince, to change it into Silver Plate for his own use. But Tiberius discharg'd him; tho' Capito [Page 42] oppos'd him, crying out as if he had stood up in defence of the Public Liberty, that it be­came him not to let so great an Offender go Ʋnpunish'd; that he might Pardon his own, but not the Injuries of the Commonwealth.

Flattery is never more wicked, then when she disguises her self in the habit of Liberty. Capito was not to learn that Tiberius hated Flattery, and that on the other side he was no Friend to Liberty; and therefore he intermixes both toge­ther. What? says he, will you let go a Criminal, that has thus daringly display'd his contempt of your Person, by melting down one of your Statues; and had this Offence been committed against You alone, you might have pardon'd it, and the Senate could not have oppos'd it; but since it is a Crime that Ennius has committed against the whole Re­public, the Punishment belongs to Ʋs; since it is not just that you should be so merciful at the Expence of our Authority.

Certainly no piece of Flattery could ever have out-done this Reprimand. Capito, who was not ignorant of the cruel Tem­per of Tiberius, would insinuate that all the Injuries done to the Prince, should be look'd upon as done to the Common­weal; to the end that under that speci­ous [Page 43] pretence, while the Senate satisfi'd the Emperours Revenge, Tiberius might be discharg'd of the Odium which was like to fall upon him, had he been Carver for himself. Thus Sycophants cherish and foment the Vices of Princes, and teach 'em how to be Tyrants. Observe by the way, that this Capito was a Person highly learn'd in the Laws, both Human and Di­vine, and moreover accounted one of the Chief Men in the Senate, yet all his Learning serv'd but to stain his Reputa­tion with Eternal Reproach; consider­ing the ill use which he had made of it, as well under Augustus as under Tiberius. There are always at the Elbows of Princes, says Commines in his Memoires, l. 1. c. 6. some or other of the Long Robe; a lovely sight, when Vertuous; but dangerous, when Wicked. And in his Fifth Book, toward the end of the Chapter, Too much Know­ledge corrupts the Wicked; but the Vertuous are much the better for it.


LAbeo, an untainted Asserter of Liberty, and for that Reason, of a more celebrated Reputation; but Capito's Obsequiousness was more approv'd by those that had the Sovereign Power.

Says D'Ablancourt, Labeo more Frank and Generous, and therefore more Famous among Men, the other more Complaisant, and better belov'd by his Prince.

I have already said, that how Vertuous soever Princes may be, they are unwil­ling however to suffer absolute Liberty: Whatever their aversion may be to Flat­tery, yet too much Freedom is that which more offends their Ears. Majesty is so accustom'd to Respect and Adoration, that whatsoever is not Complaisance or Submission, proves insupportable to it. Augustus was a mild and vertuous Prince, but yet he never lov'd Labeo, because he did not seem to demean himself as be­came him, like a Subject; therefore [Page 45] he preferr'd Capito, his Competitor, tho' his inferiour in Birth, in Merit, and in Honesty, only surpassing him in Complai­sance. Labeo was more esteem'd by all the World, and Capito more valu'd by his Prince. Labeo deserv'd the Consul­ship but never had it; Capito's Advance­ment was early to the same Dignity; tho' no otherway deserv'd it then by his Cringing Obsequiousness. Labeo's Hu­mour gains a Reputation among the Peo­ple, but he who strives to be a Favourite at Court, must observe the Method that Capito follow'd; according to the Court Maxim, That Favour acquir'd is more durably preserv'd by Complaisance, then by Courage.


A Dulation and Pride kept equal pace together.

Says D'Ablancourt, Servile and Proud both together.

Flatterers (I mean the Flatterers in Courts of Princes) are for the most part [Page 46] Tainted with two sorts of Vices, which seem however to be contrary to each o­ther; that is to say, Servility and Pride. They are flexible pliant, and obsequious to their Prince, but arrogant and haughty toward their Inferiours. And this was the meaning of Tacitus, where he says, that Mucianus was an Intermixture of Affability, and Arrogance: And of what the Orator Passienus said of Caligula, who had been a most Servile Flatterer of Tibe­rius, that there was never known a bet­ter Slave nor a worse Master. Plutarch also records in Sylla's Life, That he al­ways humbled himself to those with whom he had to do; but expected Ado­ration from those that had to do with him; so that it was hard to say of him, which of the two were his chiefest Ex­cellency, his Flattery, or his Pride.


THose that were too lavish of their Flatteries, He himself restrain'd and reprov'd.

Says D'Ablancourt, And if any suffer'd [Page 47] themselves to run into high-strain'd Flattery, those the Prince was the first that repre­hended.

This was the True means to preserve himself from being mislead. For it is with many Princes, as with Women that are given to tell Stories, that their Ears are too open to the Charms of pleasing Impertinents. If Flatterers never open'd their Lips, Princes would never be mis­guided, for Verity would take place of Untruth. For this Reason it was, that the prudent Senator Helvidius, deliver­ing his Opinion concerning the Deputies which the Senate had resolv'd to send to Vespasian, to Congratulate his Advance­ment to the Empire, alledging, That it was for the Interest of the Public Weal, and the Honour of the Prince, to depute the first time, such of their Number, whose Lives and conversations were free from stain or reproach, that they might accustom his Ears to whole­some Counsel; that Thraseas, Soranus, and Sentius, (who were three of the Since­rest Persons in the Senate) having been Honour'd already with Vespasians Friendship, it behov'd 'em to be careful to let him see their Accusers. That a Deputation so judicious would be as it were a tart Intimation which [Page 48] the Senate gave him of those Persons, who were most worthy his Esteem and Favour; and likewise of those other whom he had rea­son to mistrust. That is to say, Flatter­ers, and other wicked People, that build their Fortunes upon the Ruin of others.


THE same Honors were De­creed to the Memory of Dru­sus, as to that of Germanicus, tho' with several Additions, as the latter Adulation will be always contriving to do.

Says D'Ablancourt, They Decreed the same Honours to Drusus, as were decreed to the Memory of his Brother: But some new Ceremonies were added, as the latter Flattery is always the moct Ingenious.

By the means of this same Novelty it is, that Flatterers always support them­selves in the Favour of their Princes. They would be weary of her Flatteries, had Adulation but one string to the tune­ful Harp of their Encomiums. They [Page 49] only value those Honours that are pecu­liarly invented for themselves. For eve­ry Prince new Incense and Perfumes. Hence it comes to pass, that he who sits at present in the Throne, is more ap­plauded, then all those that Reign'd be­fore him. As Ridiculous and Stupid as the Emperor Claudius was, the slave to his own enfranchiz'd Bondmen, yet he fail'd not to find one Consul, who was not asham'd to propose the giving him the Title of Father of the Senate, alled­ging that Father of his Country was too Common; and that a Prince who blest the Empire every day with new Accumu­lations of his Favour, deserv'd at least to be Honour'd with a Sirname that never had been given to any of his Prede­cessors.


THE chief Priests also when they made their Vows for the Welfare of the Prince, recommend­ed likewise Nero and Drusus to the Gods, not so much for love of the young Men, as out of Flattery, the [Page 50] Omission of which as equally begets Suspition, as the Excess.

The High Priest, says D'Ablancourt, when they made their Vows for the Emperour, recommended to the Protection of the same Gods, Nero and Drusus, not so much through any Affection as out of Flattery, the Excess or Omission of which are equally dangerous.

We have already asserted, that Flat­terie is void of Love, and that by strain­ing at Flattery, Men often loose them­selves in the Mazes of Folly and Impru­dence. And certainly it was a great piece of Imprudence to equal to the Person of the Emperour, two young Striplings that were but just coming into the World. Majesty endures no Companion or Part­nership in Honours. When others mount, she must descend. Flattery's mer­cinary; and is always for him that bids most. Tiberius was now in his declining years, and Nero and Drusus in the prime of their Youth. The High Priests look'd upon the Reign of Tiberius, as a Reign that would be soon at an end; and the Fortune of Nero, as a Sovereignty that was shortly to Commence. Therefore [Page 51] it was not through Affection but Inte­rest, that they made so little a distin­ction between the two Brothers and Ti­berius, who having lost his Son, seem'd to have no more then a precarious and languishing Authority. And this was the meaning of Tiberius, when he told the Pontiffs, That he was glad to see Chil­dren equall'd to his Hoary Age; which was a wipe by the by, to let 'em under­stand they had been too hasty to appoint him a Successor. And thus you see what an ill reception Flattery finds, when once it knows no bounds. But the Omission of Flattery is no less displeasing to Princes, as ascribing the cause of that neglect to Haughtiness, to Contumacy, or Contempt. And therefore it was that Tiberius so often complain'd of the Arro­gance, and Indocibility of Agrippina, Germanicus's Wife; and that under Nero, it was objected against Thrasea, for no less then High Treason, that he had ne­ver either applauded, or countenanc'd the Flatteries of others, and that he al­ways absented himself on purpose, when the Magistrates were to take their Oaths of Allegiance, or made any Vows for the Prosperity of the Prince: That he had never Sacrific'd in return of Thanks for [Page 52] his Charming and Celestial Voice, that he would never acknowledg Poppea for a Goodess; that he had forboru coming to the Senate for three Years together, because he would not consent to his De­crees; to shew that none of his Majesties Actions pleas'd him, though he would not declare his mind by any open Contra­diction or Opposition. That he left the Senate one day, when they were making Speeches against the Memory of Agrip­pina, the Mother of Nero. And thus you see in one Man, almost all the sins of Omission, which a Courtier could com­mit in the concerns of Flattery. More­over, there are some Occasions where the Subject cannot dispence with Flattery as others do. Such are those which we call Congratulation, or Condolement. Tho' had Thrasea been present when the Ma­gistrates took their Oaths, had he made his Vows for the Prince, or appear'd at the Funeral of Poppea, it could have been no stain to his Reputation. And there­fore it does not become a Subject to be too stiff neither; but on the other side to comply with the Times and Humours of the Prince, as much as it is possible, more especially so far as the Rules of good Breeding and Civility extend.

[Page 53] Thus the younger Pliny being design'd Consul, refus'd to decree new honours to Trajan, as the Consuls Elect had wont to do to other Princes. But, said he, I did not abstain from this same outward Appearance of Flattery, through any motive of Liberty infring'd, or of Constancy, but because I was assur'd of the Moderation of my Prince, therefore believing it would be much more to his Honour, for me to refuse the making any such Decree; altho' so just a Duty could not be tax'd of Flattery. Those Grandees and other Persons who are ob­lig'd to live at Court, can never learn a better [...] then this, to preserve them­selves in their several Stations. 'Twere well, there were no Flatterers at all; but there is no need of such remarkable Demonstrations to prove Men are not so; in regard it shews like a piece of Contu­macy and Mutinous Insurrection against the Majesty of a Prince. So that Seneca spoke rather like a Philosopher that con­temn'd death, then a Courtier when he answer'd the Tribune whom Nero sent, to bring back his Justification, that he was not of a humour to Flatter, as no body better knew then Nero himself, who had had more frequent Experience of Se­neca's freedom then his Complaisance.


IN the Senate he gave a severe charge in a set Speech, that no Man for the future should attempt to Elevate the fluctuating and un­steady Minds of the Young Men with over hasty Honours.

In the Discourse which he made to the Se­nate, says D'Ablancourt, he gave a strist Caution, that no Man should swell the Vola­tile Minds of the Young Men with Honours above their Age.

This Admonition concerns the Gover­nours and Tutors of young Princes, for whom there is nothing so necessary as these Lessons of Moderation and Mode­sty. The Children of Princes know too soon that they are Princes, and by conse­quence that they are born to Command over Men, tho' sometimes they learn too late that they are but Men themselves. They are told upon every occasion, that all belongs to them; but the same Instru­ctors at the same time forget to tell 'em [Page 55] likewise, that their Persons belong to the Commonweal; that all their Time belongs to the Public; that the Burthen which they are one day to undergo, is very troublesome and painful; and be­sides that, extremely subject to the acci­dents of Fortune; that the Higher they are Advanc'd, the greater is the danger of their Fall; that they will never be be­lov'd, unless they love Reciprocally; for Love it self is Masterless, that to be be­lov'd of God, it behoves 'em to be be­lov'd of Men; that Flatterers mislead 'em, if they listen to their Charms; that when they are Flatter'd, 'tis not their Persons, but their Fortune that is fawn'd upon; since no Flatterer can be capable of sincere and real Love. That Princes can never know all things, nor bear the whole burthen of their Sovereign Em­ployment, and therefore for the good of the Kingdom, and their own Honour, they ought to make choice of able and faithful Ministers, to assist 'em with their Counsels and their Industry; Dominion and Absolute Power, which commands all other Things, not having any more to desire, then their dextrous and truly Loyal Assistance. And lastly, That the safest and shortest Expedient to Reign [Page 56] well, is for a Prince to propose to him­self, as the Rule and Ballance of all his Actions to be no other then he would wish a Prince to be, were he a Subject.


VArro the Consul gratifi'd the hatred of Sejanus, by the loss of his own Reputation.

The Consul Varro [...] D'Ablancourt, became his own [...] and was not asham'd to sacrifice [...] and to the Interests of Sejanus.

Flatterers are always no less Servile then Cruel: And seeing they Sacrifice so willingly their Honour to Favour, 'tis no wonder we are so easily induc'd to sacrifice to the Interrest of Topping Fa­vorites, the Objects of their Hatred. If the Favourite, says Commines, would lay an Imposition of a Penny, they cry two. If the Prince do but threaten a Man, they cry, let him be Hang'd. And be sure Sir, to render your self formidable; and for themselves, their Deportment and their [Page 57] Frowns discover nothing but Pride and Seve­rity, as if Authority and Power were their Inheritance. Observe by the way, that Tacitus when he mentions Flattery, fre­quently associates with it Calumny, which is indeed one of the most usual means, that Flatterers make use of to the Ruine of others.


LEpidus for the most part, devi­ated for the better, from the severe Adulations of others; and yet he carry'd himself so exactly poys'd that he flourish'd under Tibe­rius with an equal share of Autho­rity and his Princes Favour. So that I am constrain'd to doubt whi­ther the Inclination of Princes to some, and their Aversion to others, be not guided as many other things are by fate and the ruling Con­stellations at our Birth: And whi­ther it be in our power to walk in a Path free from Ambition and Dan- [Page 58] between untractable Contumacy, and deformed Servility.

Says D'Ablancourt, Many times he al­lay'd the over-rigorous advice of others, not failing nevertheless in his Respect to his Prince, and by that means preserv'd two things most difficult to be preserv'd; the Ho­nour of his Employment, and his Majesties Favour. Which makes me frequently doubt whither the Favour of Great Men, and their Hatred, be not rather the effects of Destiny, and the Stars that governour Nativities, as are all other Accidents that happen in the World, then of Human Prudence, that so much pretends to have a share therein.

The Moderation of Lepidus, is a re­markable Testimony, that rhere may be some great Personages, impenetrable to Flattery and Injustice under the Domini­on even of the most wicked Princes, and that there never was any Age so barren of Vertuous Courage, but has offer'd us Examples of such a noble Generosity. Prudence understands to choose out such a way that leads neither to the Precipice of Liberty, nor the Abyss of Servitude. She is neither Libertine nor Slave, but observes an equal Temper, so as neither [Page 59] to be offensive to Majesty nor Justice. Sh [...] gives to Caesar, that which belongs to Caesar; that is to say, Obedience and Duty: To God, that which is Gods, or whatever is required by a sincere Consci­ence. If at any time she Flatters, (for she cannot always avoid it) she makes use of such a sort of Flattery, that ra­ther informs then misleads the Prince, and serves as an Incitement to provoke him to some Generous Act, which other­wise perhaps he might not think of. For example, Lepidus to save the Life of Lutorius Priscus, whom Haterius Agrippa had sentenc'd to Death, for a certain Elegie made upon Drusus, makes it his business to applaud the Moderation of Tiberius; telling him, That after he had several times heard him complain of those that had prevented his Clemency, he could not believe so just a Prince would ever confirm so rigorous a Sentence. In short, when Ti­berius, (who was then in the Country) understood that Drusus was Executed, he blam'd the Senate, tho' the Reprimand were very gentle, and commended the Prudence of Lepidus, tho' on the other side, he did not rebuke Agrippa for his severity. Now it is certain, that if Pris­cus had been repreiv'd, Tiberius would [Page 60] never have taken away his Life, Lepidus so well understood to make him sensible of Honour.

In Nero's time, the President was quite the contrary. For the Pretor, Antistius, who had made a bloody Lampoon against him, was sav'd by Thrasea, who after he had spoken of Nero, as it is Customary to speak of a good Prince, and had bit­terly enveigh'd against the Insolence of the Pretor, further added that the cruelty of preceding Reigns was out of date; that without putting the Criminal to those Torments which he deserv'd, he might be Punish'd in such a manner, that he should have no reason to object against his Judges; and lastly, That his Life would be a solemn Testimonial of Pub­lic Clemency. This Advice was no less prudent nor less respectful, then that of Lepidus; but it was as ill receiv'd by Nero, as the other was well receiv'd by Tiberius. Thrasea incurr'd the Hatred of Nero, and in a few years after lost his Life, for having sav'd Antistius, whom the Prince would fain have put to death. Tiberius and Nero, resembl'd each other in Cruelty; Lepidus and Thrasea were Competitors in Vertue, Priscus and An­tistius equall'd each other in Arrogance [Page 61] and Sawciness; for the one had the va­nity to repeat his Elegy to a company of Ladies, and the other to read his Lam­poon at a Public Feast. Thrasea pleaded for Antistius, as Lepidus had done for Priscus; and yet that which made for Le­pidus's Honour, turn'd to the perdition of Thrasea. And thus you see the diffe­rent effects of that Fatality, which Taci­tus attributes to that same natural Incli­nation which Princes have for some, and that natural Antipathy which they have for others. But if we more narrowly pry into the real Character of Lepidus, and Thrasea's Genius, we shall easily per­ceive, that tho' they were both highly Prudent, and equally averse to Flattery, yet there was a Remarkable difference between 'em; for assur'dly, Lepidus was the more prudent of the two. Lepidus was Feasible and Complaisant, yet without any thing of low-spirited Meanness, or abject Condescention: Thrasea prided himself altogether in his Stedfastness and Constancy. Lepidus shap'd himself ac­cording to the Times he was born in, and the Humour of the Reigning Prince, as it is the duty of every good Subject so to do. Thrasea was a little too obstinate and hardy in what he thought Just and [Page 62] Reasonable, which occasion'd that saying of Nero, That he wish'd Thrasea lov'd but him, as well as he did Justice. The latter was the better Man, the other the better Subject. By which Parallel it is apparent, that Prudence has a great share in the Conduct of Human Affairs, and that the Favour and Aversion of Princes, are not always the Effects of their Fancies.


SOme things he had added more Contumaciously, then safe to be gather'd in by haughty Ears, and prone to be Captious.

Says D'Ablancourt, Serenus had re­proach'd his Ingratitude, in terms more In­solent then the nice and tender Ears of a Prince could endure.

The Ears of Princes are not accustom'd to the rude touches of Insolence and Ex­postulation. When we speak to Princes, (said one of the Ancients) we must make choice of words either all Silken, or all [Page 63] Honey; that is to say, our Language must be temper'd with Modesty, Pru­dence, and Submission. The Contumacy of Inferiours, causes the Superiours to lay aside his Clemency. Let a Subject have never so just reason to complain, he is not however allow'd to do it Arrogant­ly; for Submission and Respect are claims and rights never to be alienated from Majesty: There remains to the Subject nothing but the honour of Obedience. He that upbraids him with his Services, destroys the Fortune and Grandeur of a Prince; and generally such Reproaches are the fore-runners of Rebellion. And therefore upon this Foundation it was, that the Accusation was grounded, de­sign'd against Serenus by his Son, that he had Conspir'd against Tiberius, and sent Incendiaries into Gallia, to kindle a War in that Province. Lastly, It better be­comes a Subject to be a Flatterer, then to be too lavish of his Tongue, when he speaks to his Prince: But if he can avoid it, 'tis better for him to be neither the one, nor the other.


NEither is it such a Mysterie to understand, when the Acti­ons of Princes are truly and really Congratulated, and when with a Fictitious Joy.

'Tis no great Difficulty, says D'Ablan­court, for great Personages to discover, when the Praises which are given 'em proceed from Flattery, and when from a real sentiment of Affection.

Politic Princes are not easily to be de­luded by Flattery, for they consult not their Ears, but their Hearts, which are sufficiently Conscious, whether or no they merit those Praises that are bestow'd upon 'em. They understand by what their Flatterers say, the undisclos'd con­ceptions of their Hearts; well knowing, that when such People make their Ad­dresses to their Persons, 'tis their For­tunes that they Court; a Truth that ne­ver deceives 'em, when ever they put it to the Tryal. Real Encomiums are most [Page 65] delightful to their Ears, because they are apt to believe they Merit what is gi­ven 'em; but false Applauses are distast­ful, because they look upon 'em as By-reproaches of their Defaults. The youn­ger Pliny reports, that Trajan wept for joy, and blush'd to hear himself call'd, The Truly Vertuous, because he knew it was to Trajan that they spoke, and not the Em­perour. And afterwards he adds, That he was not afraid least Trajan should think, that while he discours'd of the Mildness, the Frugality, the Munificence, the Clemency, and Vigilancy of a Prince, he had any design to upbraid those Vices, which were their Opposites.


THE Fathers decreed the Books to be Burnt, but they were not all found; some being hid up, and Publish'd afterwards. Which gives us an occasion to deride the Simpli­city of those People, who think that the Memorials of Posterity can be stifl'd by present Dominion. For [Page 66] on the other side, the Authority of Punish'd Ingenuities encreases, and Princes who have made use of that Severity, have only purchas'd Disho­nour to themselves, and enhaunc'd the Glory of the Authors sup­press'd.

Says D'Ablancourt, The purport of the Decree was this, That the Books should be Burnt, but they were privately preserv'd, (he leaves out and afterwards publish'd, which is that which both Tacitus and Suetonius seem to have inserted for particular Observation) which makes me laugh at their Impertinency, who think by vertue of a soon Expiring Pow­er, to extinguish the Memorials of Future Ages. For on the other side, Punishment en­livens their works with new Authority, and all those Princes who have made tryal of that same Artifice, have only augmented their own Disgrace, and the Glory of their Ene­my.

Flattery and History could never well agree together, for the one is wholly de­voted to Falshood, the other to Truth. The one deludes, the other informs and disabuses Princes. Sejanus order'd Cordus to be abus'd for having applauded Brutus [Page 67] in his Annals, and call'd Cassius, the Last of the Romans. And this was look'd upon as but newly imputed for a Crime, the ra­ther for that all the preceding Historians, and among the rest, Livie and Pollio, had mention'd them with Honour; and for that Augustus himself, by whom they were Vanquish'd, had always had such a Veneration for their Memory, that he never remov'd their Images. Besides that, but three Years before, Tiberius himself, had permitted the Funeral Rites of Junia, Sister to Brutus, the Wife of Cass [...]us, and Cato's Neece, to be Solem­niz'd with all the Ceremonies that apper­tain'd to her Illustrious Birth. Never­theless, the Senate, to please Sejanus, condemn'd both Cordus and his History, the purport of which was, that the last of the Romans was dead, and that at Rome there remain'd alive no other then such as sacrific'd all to Favour. For here the Senate gave the Appellation of Par­ricides and Robbers to two Men, whom History had celebrated for Illustrious and Famous Personages. So that Cordus's only Crime was this, That he had spoken like a faithful Historian, and that he was adjudg'd capable, to Write with the same Liberty, the Reign of Tiberius, who [Page 68] after the death of Drusus, began to grow worse and worse; and to display the Actions of Sejanus, who so insolently a­bus'd his Favour. Great Favourites infi­nitly delude themselves, when they think their Reputation shelter'd by the suppres­sion of Books, that discover their Miscar­riages. For to burn Books, is but to kindle in others a Curiosity to read 'em, whereas the taking little or no notice at all of 'em, renders 'em less priz'd by those that have already read 'em, and cures that Itch in others, to be prying into a subject little regarded. 'Tis an easie thing for Men in Power to be reveng'd upon Historians, whose Lives are in their Hands, but their Authority will not prevail against the Hi­story, which is Immortal, and will devolve it self to the Judgment of Permanent Po­sterity. 'Twas very cunningly done, says Tacitus, to burn the Writings of Rusticus Arulenus, and Seneca, as if that Fire could stifle the Voice of the Roman People, the Liberty of the Senate, and the Memory of Mankind. Posterity, says Cordus, renders to every one their due, and they who will re­member Brutus and Cassius, will not fail to remember me as well. Meaning, that Po­sterity would honour his Memory, as it had honour'd the Memory of those great Men.


AND the Honour of Augustus will vanish, when prophan'd with promiscuous Adorations.

Says D'Ablancourt, For this would be to lessen the Honour of Augustus, to Commu­nicate it to every Body without Distinction.

Princes despise those Honours that are common to others, esteeming only those that are new and only invented for them­selves. They are likewise for the most part jealous of their Honour, that they hard­ly will admit an equality of Comparison with their Predecessors, how Illustrious soever they were. Flattery, said Pliny to Trajan, has so drain'd the Fountain of En­comiums, that we have not any remaining more, that are new, to give Thee. The only Honour which we can pretend to pay Thee is, not to decree Thee any; so well assur'd we are of thy Modesty and Bashfulness. A Com­mendation worthy the Prince who re­ceiv'd it, and the Subject that Address'd it. And therefore Cardinal Richlieu, tho' [Page 70] he lov'd Applause, yet would not accept of Balzac's Praises, alledging, 'Twas no Honour to be extoll'd by a Person that equally prais'd all Men alike; so prone that Authour was to Hyperboles.


THrough the Benevolence of Au­gustus ratifi'd by Tiberius him­self, it has been the custom, that the Supplicant, e'er he put up his Prayers and Wishes to the Gods, should first address them to his Prince's Ears.

Says D'Ablancourt, The purport of his Letter was, That his Obligation was such to the Memory of Augustus, and to the Testi­monies of Tiberius's Affections, that he ad­dress'd his Prayers rather to the Emperour then the Gods.

This Language well befits the Flat­terers at Court, who adore no other Deity but Fortune. This is a Theme so plain, it needs no Commentary: Be­sides [Page 71] that, my design is only to Inform, and not to Offend.


TIberius heard the Opprobrious Language with which his Re­putation was wounded, and was so deeply concern'd, that he cried out, he would immediately clear himself, and stand a Tryal. Nor could the Persuasions of nearest Relations, or the Flatteries of all his Followers compose his Mind, but with Elabo­rate Importunity.

Says D'Ablancourt, Tiberius heard the Defamations that were thrown upon him, and cry'd out in a great Fury, that he would at the same instant clear himself of those Ca­lumnies; so that it was a difficult task of the Senate, and all his Friends together, to ap­appease him with all their Flatteries and Prayers.

Flattery is never so seasonable, nor runs to that excess, as when the Prince [Page 72] is wound [...]d in his Honour. Tiberius had receiv'd a Bloody Affront. For a certain Officer in the Army, coming in as an Evi­dence against one Montanus, who had ut­ter'd hainous Language against the Em­perour, in a full Senate repeated the Words as they were spoken, to add the more weight to his Testimony; and the more the Senators shew'd their unwil­lingness to understand him, as detesting his Impudence, the more obstinate the Officer was to make good his Accusation. So that considering Tiberius's humour, a Prince so politic and dextrous in con­cealing his Vices, and designing 'em into Vertues, it was no wonder he should be more enrag'd against the Testimony, then against the Person accus'd. And this was that which oblig'd him to protest with so much Violence, and be so earnest to clear himself of what was laid to his Charge.

Now when a Prince goes about to insist upon his Justification, especially when the Imputation from which he thinks to clear himself is true, and known to all the World, then it is, that Flattery becomes most pleasing to him; and that he is o­verjoy'd when they tell them, that he has no need to purge himself from Scan­dals [Page 73] and Reproaches which no Body be­lieves; that it redounds to his Honour to be hated by Wicked and Vicious Peo­ple; that it is peculiar to Princes to do well; and for Subjects to talk Malici­ously and Scandalously of Princes. More­over, as Flattery is always excessive to­ward bad Princes, as being fear'd and dreaded most of all; so are Scandal and Oblcquie most outragious, when they believe themselves most secure; that is to say, when Men are venting their dis­gusts among their Intimate and most Fa­miliar Acquaintance, where every one discovers the very bottom of his Heart. So that it is the most certain Mark of a good Prince, when his Subjects discourse of him in their Private Houses and Re­tirements, as he is cry'd up at Court. And this it was which the younger Pliny intended, when speaking to Trajan. This day, said he, it is, that we have just reason to complain, that our secret discourses are not spy'd and observ'd but by Princes which hate us: For if good Princes were so Inqui­sitive as the bad, what a pleasure would it be to Thee, to hear what we discourse of Thee in our private Dwellings, to our Wives, our Children, and our Servants? Then thou would'st know the full extent of our Love [Page 74] and Admiration of thy Vertues, and how we power forth our Prayers continually for thy long and prosperous Reign. Then, tho' Love and Hatred are perfect Contraries, thou wouldst understand, that in our Houses there is so far a kind of Reconciliation between those opposite Passions, that we adore and reverence Vertuous Princes with the same excess of Cordial Affection, as with detesta­tion we abominate unruly Tyranny.


WHen the Conflagration had consum'd all things round about it, the Effigies of Tiberius only remain'd untouch'd: So that the Claudii were look'd upon as pe­culiarly favour'd by the Gods, and there was a farther addition of Re­verence and Adoration to the Place, wherein the Gods had shew'n so high an Honour to the Prince.

Says D'Ablancourt, It was a Remarkable Testimony that the Cla [...]dian Family was Sa­cred and Favour'd by the Gods, and that the [Page 75] Place deserv'd a particular Reverence where they had shew'd a Miracle so particular in fa­vour of the Prince.

Flatterers conster all things to the Princes Honour, and cry up for Testimo­nials of their Vertue, those Accidents which are the effect of Chance and Ha­zard only. They never mind, that Flat­tery becomes Ridiculous, unless it be such as is pleasing to the Prince. And such was this same Adulation of the Se­nate, upon this occasion; for that Tibe­rius had a custom to appropriate Honours to himself from all Accidents, that would bear a favourable Construction. On the other side, he could not chuse but be highly satisfi'd, to see the Senate make a Construction so different from that of the People, who laid the Fire to his Charge, and all the other Calamities that had befallen the City, as having left it a little before, in spight of the unlucky Signs and Omens that appear'd upon the Augur's Consultations. The good For­tune of Princes, many times supplys the place of Merit; for Men have always a high Opinion of their Worth, so long as they are happy. Let the Accidents that happen, be ne're so meerly Casual, they [Page 76] are taken for assur'd Omens of their Grandeur, and are of great importance to improve that Veneration which Men pretend to be their due.


NEither was it the Care of the Senate, to prevent loss of Honour upon the Frontiers of the Empire. An inward Consternation had possess'd their Spirits, for which the only remedy they could provide was Flattery. So that altho' they had several Affairs of higher Impor­tance that requir'd their Debates, they decreed an Altar to Clemency, another to Friendship, and Statues to Caesar and Sejanus round about.

Says D'Ablancourt, The Senate troubl'd and amus'd with inward fears, neglected the Frontiers of the Empire; and to shelter themselves under some signal piece of Flat­tery, never minding those more Important Affairs which they had under their Conside­ration, [Page 77] decreed Altars to Clemency and Friendship, and Statues to the Emperour and Sejanus.

Under evil Princes the Grandees take little Care of the Public Misfortunes, as being solely imploy'd to secure them­selves. The more in fear Men are, the more they abandon themselves to Flat­tery. Especially those Persons that live at Court, or else have high Employments to lose; in regard their Advancement, exposes them to greater Dangers then others. And then again, when a Prince dissembles the bad Condition of his Af­fairs, then it is that he is Flatter'd most of all; every one affecting to shew his absolute reliance upon the Fortune and the Prudence of his Prince.


BUT as for Junius Gallio, who had decreed that the Pretorian Soldiers having serv'd out their full time, might have the Priviledge to place themselves in the Amphi­theatre upon the first Fourteen Benches among the Knights, he chid him severely. Such was the Re­ward that Gallio had for his preme­ditated piece of Adulation, to be Expell'd the Senate.

Junius Gallio, says D'Ablancourt, was severely handl'd, for having propos'd, that the Soldiers of the Guard, might sit upon the Fourteen first Rows of Benches in the Theatre, after they had serv'd their time in the Wars.—And Gallio, for the Re­ward of his premeditated Flattery, was Eje­cted out of the Senate.

He that Flatters, ought to understand the nice Temper of the Person to whom he makes his Addresses; for otherwise [Page 79] he loses his Aim, while contrary to his Expectation, his Flattery becomes offen­sive. Gallio thought he had highly ob­lig'd Tiberius, in decreeing a new Ho­nour to the Soldiers of the Pretorian Guards. But Tiberius was offended, that he should take upon him to meddle with rewarding the Soldiers. What has Gallio to do, said he, in his Answer to the Se­nate, with the Priviledges of the Pretorian Soldiers? who being under the Command of none, but only the Emperour, ought not to have their dependance but upon him alone? Does he believe he has found out an Expedient which Augustus never dream't of? Rather may it not be thought that this same Crea­ture of Sejanus, sought to bring an Innova­tion into Military Discipline, on purpose to prepare the Soldiers for Rebellion? These Expressions of Tiberius demonstrate, that he had reason to be offended with a Pro­posal, which perhaps a Prince less Poli­tic then he, would have taken for an Ho­nour. For had the Soldiers of the Guards obtain'd this Priviledge to sit equal with the Roman Knights, they had been be­holding for their Honour only to the Se­nate. To which we may add, that such an Honour would have rather serv'd to [Page 80] swell their Pride, then encrease their Af­fections to their Prince.


LƲcius Piso, chief Pontiff, di'd in his Bed about this time; (which was rare for a Man so emi­nent in Dignity) a Person who wil­lingly never utter'd an expression that savour'd of Servility; or if neces­sity constrain'd him, temper'd his words with Prudence and Sobriety.

Says D'Ablancourt, The Pontiff, Lucius Piso, di'd a Natural Death, which was a rare thing at that time, considering his high Reputation. A Person that never propounded any Advice that misbecame the Dignity of his Employment; and when he was constrain'd to approve the Flatteries of others, would be always sure to moderate their high flown Ex­cesses.

A Man may both preserve his Life, and his Dignity, yet neither be a Slave nor a Flatterer, as is apparent from the Ex­ample [Page 81] of Piso, who liv'd Fourscore Years, and yet neither lost his Employment, nor suffer'd in his Reputation either under Augustus, or Tiberius, by whom he was always highly esteem'd. But who ex­pects the same good Fortune, must take the same Course. Tacitus says, that he ne­ver miscarry'd in any servile piece of Flattery: But he adds, that sometimes he surrendr'd to the Flatteries of others upon some occasions. To teach Great Men to comply with the Experi­encies of Seasons and Business. Genero­sity is a Vertue that becomes 'em, how­ever they must be careful, least it dege­nerate into Obstinacy and Rashness: For as Pliny says, Necessity is a part of Rea­son. Had Piso always oppos'd his Col­legues, he had never been in a condition by the preservation of his Authority, to have allay'd their Heats; because they would have concerted together, to thwart his Counsels: Whereas they many times gave way to him, as he sometimes sub­mitted to them.


FRom whence Vitellius returning to Rome, partly for fear of Caius Cesar, and partly through his intimate Familiarity with Claudius, he abandon'd himself to such a de­gree of Abject Slavery, that he be­came an Exemplar to Posterity of Obsequious Infamy.

Says D'Ablancourt, At his Return de­bauch'd by his dread of Caius, and the Fa­vours of Claudius, he only serv'd to Poste­rity an example of Ignominious Servitude.

Fear and Favour are commonly the Ori­ginal Sources of Flattery. He that stands in fear of his Life, Flatters to preserve it; and he that is warm in the Favour of his Prince, betakes himself to Adulation, that he may not lose it. And thus, were it not for Self-interest, there would be no Flattery.


THey that dwelt by the River, brought news that Euphrates, in a season free from Rain, or any immoderate Showres, was swell'd to an unusual and prodigious height; and carry'd a Foam that curl'd upon the Water in white Circles like so many Diadems; from whence they gather'd a prosperous Omen, to en­courage his crossing the Stream with his Army.

They brought News, says D'Ablancourt, that the River Euphrates was swell'd, and yet no Showres had fallen, and seem'd to curle its Waters in the shape of a Diadem. Some took this for a happy Omen, &c.

Flattery interprets all things to the Advantage of Princes, and particularly at the beginning of their Reigns. For then it is, that she feeds their Humours with vain hopes; and that all People who [Page 84] make their approaches to the New Sove­reign, are equally contending to excel each other in quaintness of Addresses. Nor is it enough for Princes to be delu­ded by their Flatterers, Astrologie, the ancient Companion of Falshood, intrudes for a share, and then chiefly succeeds in her Designs, when she meets with an easiness in the Prince, to believe the greatest Uucertainties in the World. There is not any Prince, to whom, at his first coming to the Crown, she does not pretend, but that he shall be more happy then Augustus, and that he shall Live till he is grown weary of his Gran­deur. But the most numerous part of Princes are deceiv'd by these vain Calcu­lations, and reap no other Fruit of their Credulity, then the Misfortunes of their unwary Confidence.


AND labours by Obloquie to be inform'd of the Truth, to which Adulation is an Enemy.

D'Ablancourt has omitted this Expression.

[Page 85] This is a Maxim, of which if Princes and great Men were fully convinc'd, they would never be so ready to hearken to their Flatterers, or at least to credit their Flatteries, who make it their only busi­ness to disguise and conceal from their Knowledge, the real certainty of Things that most concern 'em.


BUT the Seleusences were they, who out did the rest in Flattery. —They loaded Tiridates not only with the Honours of their Ancient Kings, but with all the profuse and quaint Additions of later Ages.

Says D'Ablancourt, Seleucia surpass'd all the other Cities in Magnificence.— Tiridates was receiv'd with Honours of all sorts. He leaves out, That Seleucia added modern Adulation to their Ancient Ho­nours; wherein consists the stress of the Sen­tence.

The latest Flattery is always the most Ingenious: And this same charming No­velty [Page 86] it is, by which she gains and en­croaches upon the Favour and Affection of Princes, that nauseate vulgar Honours worn threadbare by Custome. Seleucia, tho' she were then a free Republic, would needs be so Obsequious, as to surpass in Servitude all the other Cities through which Tiridates had March'd. Such is the eager desire that Subjects have to Gratifie a new Prince, not so much out of any love to his Person, as the Novelty of the Government.


BUT upon Artabanus they powr'd forth all their Scorn and Contempt, of the Race of the Arsacidae by the Mothers side, and otherwise Degenerate and Mean.

Says D'Ablancourt, They publicly debas'd the glory of his Enemy. For they upbraided Artabanus, that he had nothing in him of the Blood of the Arsacidae, tho' he were de­scended from 'em by his Mothers side. It is a Cotnradiction to say, That he had no­thing in him of the Royal Blood of the Arsa­cidae, [Page 87] and yet allow his Mother to be a Branch of the same Family; and therefore, what Tacitus affirms, should D'Ablancourt have also said, that he was of the Ancient Family of the Arsacidae by his Mothers side, however he came to Degenerate in other things.

They dispis'd Artabanus, to heap the greater Honour upon Tiridates, who was bred up from his Infancy in all the Effe­minacy and Softness of Roman Educati­on. Whereas Artabanus setting aside his Cruelty, was a Heroic Prince, who had put a happy and successful end to several Wars with his Neighbours. A proof sufficient of the Impertinency of Flatte­ry, that lessens and ecclipses the Glory of so great and famous a Name, to advance the honour of weak and sloathful Effe­minacy.


THen Vitellius, with Tears in his Eyes, alledging the antiquity of the Friendship contracted between 'em, repeating in the next place the good Services which Asiaticus had [Page 88] done the Commonweal, and his late Expedition against Brittain, or what­ever else seem'd proper to raise Compassion, besought his Judges that he might have leave to choose his Death; and he was seconded by Claudius, who mov'd for the same Clemency.

Says D'Ablancourt, Vitellius in few words related the first beginning of their Friendship, and running over cursorily all the past Services which Asiaticus had done the Public, and particularly mentioning his last Enterprise against Brittain, he propos'd to permit him to make choice of his own Death; to which the Emperour consented, as a particular favour done him. Which latter words pass by the Ironie of Tacitus, who tells ye, that Claudius interceded for the same Cle­mency.

I have already observ'd, that all Flat­terers are naturally Cruel; nor need we a clearer Example, then this of Vitellius, to prove this Assertion. Messalina, the Emperour Claudius's Wife, caus'd Asia­ticus to be accus'd of several Crimes a­gainst the State, thirsting after his Life, [Page 89] and his delicious Gardens. Claudius con­sulted Vitellius, Messalina's confident, and it may be, one of her Adulterers also: Vitellius therefore, that he might not lose her Favour, betrays his old Friend, and throws away his Life, under a pretended Mitigation of his Punishment. And thus you see the Trust of Courtiers Friend­ship. Their Love and Friendship with­out Hesitation plie to Interest. They readily bestow their Praises, and under­mine your Life at the same time: They utter Clemency with their Lips, but Cruelty is in their Hearts.


VItellius voted a Remuneration of Five and twenty thousand Crowns to be given Sosibius, for in­structing Britanicus with his Pre­cepts, and the Emperour with his Counsel.

Sosibius, says D'Ablancourt, had a re­ward of Five and twenty thousand Crowns, by the Advice of Vitellius, under pretence of the good Services which he did the Em­perour [Page 90] and his Son, by assisting the one with his Precepts, and the other with his Coun­sels.

Sosibius, Tutor to Britanicus the Son of Claudius, was made use of as an Evidence against Asiaticus; and for this piece of of Service it was, that Vitellius would needs vote him a Reward so considerable, under the fair and specious pretence of Merit and Desert. And thus it is, that Flattery adorns and beautifies deformed Villany, with honourable and graceful Titles. Vitellius calls that Counsel, to which Men of Vertue and Integrity, would have given the Appellation of Ty­ranny. Sosibius had told the Emperour, that the excessive Riches of private Persons many times prov'd fatal to Princes, on purpose to provoke him to a suspition of Asiaticus's Wealth, and a seisure of his Estate; which being once design'd by Messalina, the officious Peda­gogue was no less diligent to appear as a Witness against the Innocent Gentleman, whose Crimes were ready multiply'd to take away his Life. Certainly, if the Instruction which he gave Britanicus, were answerable to the Maxims which [Page 91] he instill'd into the Father, he was a dan­gerous Tutor for a young Prince.


BUT Claudius reprov'd the Con­sul, as urging his Flatteries a little too high.

Says D'Ablancourt, A little too concise, The Emperour reprov'd the Consul for his Flattery.

Princes have as great an Antipathy a­gainst those that Flatter too openly and excessively, as against those that are too sparing of their Respect: For the for­mer seem to have a mean opinion of their Parts, and the latter of their Actions. Of their Parts, as if they thought their Prince not able to discern the Vanity of such Hyperboles. Of their Actions, be­cause a Prince may well believe, that they who vouchsafe 'em a kind Commendation, either can find out nothing worth their Applause, or else discover much that de­serves Reproof and Censure. Witness that Senator Thrasea, whose silence was [Page 92] laid to his Charge by his Accusers, as a sufficient mark of his dislike of the Princes Government.


THerefore Vitellius covering his Servile Fallacies with the name of Censor, and foreseeing a new Tor­rent of Usurpation ready to supplant the true Successour, that he might purchase the good opinion of Agrip­pina, began betimes to intregue himself in her Designs.

Says D'Ablancourt, Vitellius to gain the good will of Agrippina, who, as he saw was mounting into Favour. But he leaves out the words (Ingruentium Dominationum pro­visor) by which Tacitus intended to shew that Vitellius foresaw that Agrippina would labour to set up Nero to the Exclusion of Britannicus.

This same Conduct of Vitellius, is a perfect demonstration of that which Flat­terers put in practice every day. Before [Page 93] he had devoted all his Grandeur and Re­putation at Court to serve Massaline; when she was dead, he employ'd all his Interest to second Agrippina, who was forming a Design, to supplant Britannicus the young Prince, and lawful Heir to the Empire, meerly for the Advancement of her own Son. And thus are Flatterers no less Ungrateful then Cruel, as having no other aim then their own Interest. For Acknowledgment can only proceed from Love, and consequently is never to be expected from the Breasts of Flatterers, who are incapable of real Affection.


NOR would they venture yet to Solemnise the Nuptials; there being no President to be found of an Uncle, that ever espous'd his Neece.—Nor did this Hesita­tion cease, till Vitellius by his won­ted Artifices undertook to remove the Obstacle:

[Page 94] Says D'Ablancourt, They durst not open­ly Celebrate the Marriage; for that there ne­ver had been any such thing seen before in Rome. But at length Vitellius to remove those Difficulties, &c. where he again sup­presses those Emphatical words, (Nec ante Omissa cunctatio.)

Claudius was afraid least his Marriage with Agrippina should be look'd opon as Incestuous; and consequently draw from Heaven some dire Calamity upon the Em­pire. Vitellius therefore to gratifie this Princess, who resolv'd to Reign, at the expence of Honour, Vertue, Modesty, and Prostitution it self, declar'd in a full Senate, That the welfare of the Empire depended upon this Marriage; that it was a visible effect of the Providence of the Gods, that Agrippina, who was of the Imperial Blood, and had given suffi­cient Testimonies of Foecundity, and of all the noble Qualities requir'd in an Em­press, should happen to be a Widow, at the same time, that the Emperour was in a condition to Espouse her: That in truth, it was a Novelty at Rome, for a Man to Marry his Brothers Daughter; yet that there was no Law which forbid it, and that all other Nations authorz'd [Page 95] the Act by publick Presidents: That as Marriages between Cosin Germans, here­tofore but rarely known, were now by allowance of Time, become the frequent Mode, succeeding ages would permit the same liberty also in this Case; and there­fore that was their duty to accommodate their Debates, to the present necessity of Affairs. Thus that which Claudius thought to be a Crime, (and was so indeed a­mong the Romans) was by Vitellius bur­nish'd over with the specious Titles, not only of the Welfare of the Empire, but the Will of the Gods. And thus we see how Flatterers mislead unsteady Princes, and embolden 'em to do those things, which of themselves they dread. For Tacitus makes this Marriage so great a Crime, that he affirms it to be the Source and Original of all Agrippina's Impieties.


NOR were there any wanting who crowded out of the Se­nate, crying out, they would make use of Force, if Caesar delay'd. And a promiscuous Multitude being got together, clamour'd aloud, that it was the Voice of the Roman Peo­ple. Then Claudius without farther Hesitation enter'd the Senate, and demanded a Decree, declaring all Marriages for the future Legitimate, between Uncles and Neeces.

Says D'Ablancourt, There were some so Insolent, as to rise from their Seats, and rush out of the Senate, as it were to constrain the Emperour if he made any Difficulties; and the Multitude cry'd out in the Streets, that it was the Will of the Roman People. Then Claudius without any farther delay entring the Senate, demanded a Decree to Legitimate this Marriage, and that it might be lawful for the future, for the Ʋncle to Marry the Neece.

[Page 97] Princes are misguided by their Flat­terers, and the People are led astray by the Examples of their Princes. How pleasing and how acceptable is that sort of Adulation, which Imposes upon Princes a necessity to do the Thing, which they desire themselves with far more ear­nestness, then they with all their Zeal make shew of, who put the Force upon 'em. They reap all the Pleasure, and their Subjects all the Infamy.


AND yet there was not found but one, who attempted such a Marriage, Talledius Severus, a Ro­man Knight; to which, as it was re­puted, he was meerly instigated, to serve his Mistress Agrippina.

However, says D'Ablancourt, there was but one single Person who follow'd the Exam­ple; which by report he always did, to plea­sure Agrippina.

A certain Proof, that Subjects think quite otherwise then they speak. When [Page 98] they find that the Prince's desires are eagerly bent for speedy Satisfaction, they shew themselves more eager still to gra­tifie his Impatience: Yet afterward they shew their Dislike, in forbearing to fol­low the Example; which is the most cer­tain Symptom which the People can give of their ill Resentment of the Act. Claudius had caus'd his Marriage to be de­creed Legitimate by the Senate, belie­ving the Romans would follow his Exam­ple, and authorize those Marriages by Custom. However notwithstanding the Decree, which was a sufficient shelter from Punishment or Infamy; yet there was but one single Person who follow'd his President. Nor did he neither marry his Wife out of any true persuasion that his Marriage was Just and Lawful, but out of a desire to please the Empress, and to raise his Fortune by an Act, of which there was no Body car'd to share the Reward.


HOwever thanks was return'd the Prince, intermix'd with more exquisite Adulations of Tiberius; and a Law enacted, that the Name of Nero should be Transferr'd into the Claudian Family.

Says D'Ablancourt, The Senate return'd thanks to the Emperour, wherein they cun­ningly interwove the Praises of Nero, who was oblig'd to quit the name of Domitius for that of Nero, in favour of his Adop­tion.

Here Claudius had the Thanks of the Senate for a great piece of Injustice which he had done Britannicus, his own Son, as if he had perform'd some noble Exploit, And Nero, according to the custom of Flattery, which always ad­dresses her Adorations to the Rising Sun, was applauded, as if he had been wor­thy of the Empire, whereas all his Pre­tensions had no other Foundation then [Page 100] an Incestuous Marriage, and a pernicious Adoption made by a weak and misguided Prince. But whether Princes do well or ill, they are always applauded, and have always Thanks return'd 'em for what they do, and never more then when they least deserve either the one or the other. And this is an easie and certain Rule, by which to know a Sycophant.


TO which it was added by Scipio Cornelius, that Thanks should be publickly given to Pallas, for that he being Sprung from the Kings of Arcadia, prefer the Public Benefit before his Ancient Nobility, and condescended to be still a Ser­vant to the Emperour.

Scipio added, Says D'Ablancourt, that Thanks should be given to Pallas, for that being descended from the Arcadian Kings, he preferr'd the Interest of the Empire when his Grandeur was so Sublime, and chose rather to be counted one of the Emperours Ministers.

[Page 101] Thus we find what comes to pass, when the Ministers are more Powerful then the Prince; or at least, when the Prince suffers himself to be Govern'd by his Ministers, as Claudius did. Flatterers who adore the Favour only, will not allow the Prince to honour the Minister, but will have the Minister to be an honour to the Prince. Pallas was no more then one of Claudius's Bondmen, by him made Free, and for this a Noble Senator has the confidence to applaud him in a full Senate, for contenting himself with the Quality of a Chief Minister. As if he would have said, that he deserv'd to sup­ply his Masters Throne, who indeed ac­cording to the younger Pliny's Expressi­on, was no more then a Slave to his Bondmen.


AND a Decree of the Senate was Engrav'd in Marble, and publickly Erected, wherein an En­franchis'd Slave, in possession of a­bove seven Millions in Gold, was ex­toll'd [Page 102] for his Frugality, equal to the Parcimony of Ancient Times.

Says D'Ablancourt, They made a Decree by which an Enfranchis'd Slave, that was worth above seven Millions in Gold, had the praises of Ancient Frugality.

The Consul, Barea Soranus, having de­creed to Pallas, the Pretors Ornaments, and a Present of a Million of Money, in recompence of his Services, Claudius de­clar'd, That Pallas was satisfi'd with the Honour, and was unwilling to renounce his primitive Poverty. An Expression befitting the poorness of Claudius's Spi­rit, who 'tis very probable could not be Ignorant, that his Bondman was at that time Richer, then all the Kings of Ar­cady, his pretended Ancestors.

The younger Pliny makes mention of this Decree in two of his Letters, in such Terms as will serve in this place, for a most excellent Commentary. There is, saith he, upon the High-way to Tivoly, a Monument of Pallas, with this Inscription: The Senate has decreed to Pallas the Or­naments of the Pretorship, and the Gift of a Million, for his Fidelity and Zeal [Page 103] toward his Masters, but he is contented with the Honour.

But certainly I was never an Admirer of those things that proceed rather from For­tune then Judgment. More especially this Inscription taught me a new Lesson, what a strange Impertinency those Men were guilty of, who decreed Honour to d Scoundrel; and what an unusual Impudence possess'd that Rascally Fellow to accept the one, and refuse the other; and to transfer these refusals to Posterity, for an Example of Modesty. But to what purpose doe I seem to be offended at it? Were it not more proper for me to make it the subject of my Derision, to the end they may not think to have gain'd any great Mat­ter, who by their good Fortune, do but serve to be the Sport and Contempt of other Men?

In another Letter, after he has told ye, that as Lofty as this Inscription seems to be, yet it appear'd both Modest and Humble, in respect of the Decree which he found among the Registers of the Se­nate, he adds the following words. I omit to tell ye, that the Pretorian Ornaments were offer'd to a Slave, because they were Slaves themselves that offer'd 'em: And that it was Decreed, not only to beseech him, but also to force him to wear the Rings of [Page 104] Gold. For it was a Dishonour to the Ma­jesty of the Senate, for a Pretorian to wear Rings of Steel. But this is nothing; that which is most worthy Observation, is this, That the Senate return'd Thanks to the Em­perour, in the name of Pallas, for having spoken so advantageously in his behalf, and given leave to the Senate, to give him those Testimonials of their Respects and good Will toward him. For what could be more Ho­nourable to the Senate, then to shew their Gratitude to Pallas? The Senate knowing how averse Pallas was from such Am­bitious desires, ordain that an Address should be made to the Emperour, to beseech him that he would oblige Pallas to accept the Se­nates Kindness. There could not be a more Servile Condescention then this, that the Public Authority was made use of, and the Intercession of the Emperour implor'd, to mollifie the haughty Moderation of Pallas so far, as to bring him to vouchsafe the ac­ceptance of the Senates Present.—Now do but imagine you saw Pallas opposing the Decree of the Senate, and moving in Miti­gation of the Honours which they offer'd him; refusing a Million, which was given him as a Present, tho' an excessive Gift, after he had accepted the Ornaments of the Pretor­ship, as a thing of mean Value; suppose [Page 105] you saw the Emperour, who submits to th [...] Intreaties, or rather Commands of a Bond▪ man Enfranchis'd, in the presence of the Senate. Then take a view of the Senate, who recite in their Decree, that among other Honours decreed to Pallas, they thought it material to add this Donative, in recom­pence of the Services he had done the Em­pire, and that they did not desist from their Importunities to Pallas, that he would be pleas'd to accept their Donative, but only in Obedience to the Emperour, whose Will and Pleasure it was not lawful for them to gain­say in any respect. The conclusion will be, that it requir'd no less then all the Modesty of Pallas, and all the Complaisance of the Senate, to excuse Pallas from accepting a whole Million of the Public Treasure. To which the Senate would never have consented, but that they thought it contrary to their Duty to disobey the Emperour. Now do you believe that this is all? No, there is some­thing worse behind. It was Ordain'd that this Decree should be Engrav'd in Brass, and set up next the Armed Statue of Julius Cae­sar. 'Twas not enough for the Senate to be the Testimony of so great a piece of Infamy, they made choice of a most remarkable Place, where it was to be read by the Living▪ and transmitted to Posterity. It was their care, [Page 106] that all the Honours offer'd to an Insolent Slave, should be Engrav'd in Brass; what he had refus'd, and what he had accepted. His Pretorian Ornaments were Inscrib'd upon Public and Eternal Monuments, like the An­cient Leagues, and Alliances, nay like the Sacred Laws of the Empire. Such of the Prince, such of the Senate, such of Pallas himself, was that I know not what to call it. While all Three expos'd to the view of all the World; Pallas his Insolence, the Empe­rour his Patience, and the Senate their Obse­quious Servility.

Certainly the Roman Flattery far out-did the Adulation of the Greeks.


WHile he discours'd the An­tiquity of his Extraction, and number'd up the Consulships and Triumphs of his Ancestors; while he Commemorated his Incli­nations to Learning, and the Libe­ral Arts, and insisted upon the Pro­sperity of his Reign, in all which time the Commonweal had suffer'd [Page 107] no Disaster, he was attentively and willingly heard by all: But when he came to applaud his Providence and his Wisdom, there was hardly any Person could refrain from Laughter.

Says D'Ablancourt, Nero spoke his Fu­neral Oration, wherein he highly extoll'd the Antiquity of his Descent, and the Gran­deur of his Ancestors, Enumerating at length their Consulships and their Triumphs. Thence he proceeded to applaud his Learn­ing; and told the People how that the Empire had suffer'd no Dammage during all his Reign. All which was heard attentively without the least Murmur; but when he be­gan to talk of his Prudence and his Wisdom, they could not forbear Laughing.

Flatterers often fall into the same Im­prudent Errors; while they strive to be excessive in their Praises, they render both themselves, and those they applaud Ridiculous. Many People Flatter, but few are Masters of the Art. Witness Seneca, who as great and piercing a Wit as he was, was not sensible of the Imper­tinency of the Harangue which he had [Page 108] made for his Pupil, till he found it to be derided by all that heard it. For to ex­tol the Wisdom and Understanding of Claudius, who was so generally known to be a Person of weak and sottish Intelle­ctuals, was to accuse all Mankind of Stupidity.


HE forbids any Statues of Mas­sie Gold or Silver to be Ere­cted, in Honour of his Person.— And when the Magistrates took their Oaths, in Confirmation of the Acts of his Predecessors, he would not suffer Antisthius, one of his Consuls, to hear the Confirmation of His; for which the Senate loaded him with Encomiums, in hopes that since his youthful Thoughts were thus enclin'd to Vertues of a lower Rank, he would continue greater.

Nero, Says D'Ablancourt, would not suffer his Collegue to pay him that Honour; which was receiv'd with Acclamations more [Page 109] then ordinary, on purpose to excite the youth­ful Prince to the love of Vertue. Which last words come far short of the sense of Tacitus.

Modesty is a powerful means to pro­cure both Love and Esteem to a young Prince, at the beginning of his Reign. For as it is then the time that Flattery sets all her Springs at work, to make her self the Darling of his Favour, so is it likewise then that he acquires a solid Re­putation, if he ward off the first Assault of Adulation. And therefore it was, that the Senate were so profuse of their Praises to Nero, to pre-ingage him by their own, against the Flatteries of o­thers. For there is a sort of Adulation allowable and wholesome, which infuses into Princes and great Personages a love of Vertue, wherein consists their chiefest Glory.


AS lately too severe in Restrain­ing his Son, now as immode­rately Submissive.

Says D'Ablancourt, Agrippina was con­strain'd to change her Severity into Caresses, and to repent her past Severity; and that with as much Submission now, as Rigour and Arrogance before.

Of all the sorts of Flatterers, there are none so bad as those that are forc'd to stoop, in hopes to regain the favour of a Prince, whom they have disoblig'd either by their Severity, or over sawcy Freedom. For being then to repair the Faults of their Ingratitude, they spare for no submission to recover what they have lost, either by their Moroseness, or their unwary Zeal. For there is a far greater mixture of Vanity then Integrity in that same Hardiness, which many Men assume in reprimanding Princes. Who are never to be contradicted, but when we are assur'd, that our Arguments are [Page 111] such as will not offend their Ears; and that it may prove the more Successful, the Admonition must be such as may seem to relish of Commendation. Ita repre­hendat ut laudet, says Pliny, Ep. 12. l. 3. Thus Gundamore, the Spanish Ambassa­dour in England, perceiving that James I. particularly valu'd himself for his Scho­lastic Learning, very facetiously told him one day, that his Majesty spoke Latin, as it became Gundamore to speak it: Where­as Count Gundamore spoke it, as it rather became his Majesty to do; insinuating that Pedantic Learning was beneath a Prince, from whose Lips there is al­ways expected something more Weighty and Sublime.


THereupon the Senate enacted Public Processions, and Days of Thanksgiving; Statues also, Tri­umphal Arches, and continual Con­sulships were decreed the Prince: And that the Days upon which the Victory was won, when the Ti­dings [Page 112] were brought, and the Rela­tion of it made, should be num­ber'd among the Solemn Festivals; with several other Additions altoge­ther so Exorbitaut, that Caius Cassius readily consenting to the former Ho­nours, farther declar'd, That if the Solemn Thanks to be repay'd the Gods were to be measur'd according to the merit of their Benignity, the whole Year would be too small a time for Public Supplications; and therefore that the Holy-days and Worky-days, ought only so to be divided, as that the Worship of the Gods might not be a hinderance to secular Business.

Says D'Ablancourt, The Senate ordain'd Public Processions, Triumphal Arches and Statues, together with a new Consulship in Honour of the Prince; and farther that the Day wherein the City was taken, when the News was brought, as likewise when the De­crees were made, should be solemnly observ'd as Public Anniversaries, with several other Flatteries so excessive, that Caius Cassius [Page 113] who consented to all the rest, was constrain'd to add, That if they were to render Thanks to the Gods proportionable to their Favours, the whole Year would not suffice; only some days were to be set a part and excepted, that the Worship of the Gods might not hinder Human Commerce.

This Article has no need of any Com­mentary. Only I will observe this by the way, That what Cassius spoke of Nero's Reign, might be well said of Lewis the Great, which has been a com­pleat Kalender of nothing else but Com­bats, Victories, and Triumphs. So that if Paterculus observ'd of Caesar, That his Atchievements were so great, that he who durst attempt and bring to pass such wondrous Enterprises, could hardly be other then some Deity: What would he have said of a Prince, that in a few days won those Cities, which Caesar could not take in many Months?


IN this same Consternation, the Flattery of the Centurions and Tribunes first erected his drooping hopes, crowding to kiss his Hands, and congratulate his Escape from the unsuspected and horrid Contri­vances of his Mother. Then the Courtiers resorted thick and three-fold to the Temples; and thus the Example being set, the Neighbour­ing Municipal Towns of Campania testify'd their joy by Sacrifices, and public Addresses.

Says D'Ablancourt, Burrhus was the first who rais'd his Hopes, persuading the Of­ficers of the Guard to Complement him upon the Danger he had escap'd, and testifie their Joy to see him deliver'd from the Ambushes of his Mother. After that, the Courtiers frequented the Temples, and Addresses came from all the Neighbouring Cities, &c.

[Page 115] Flattery is a Contagion that spreads it self from Man to Man. When ever any one has led the way, all the rest are pre­sently at strife who shall out do him. Nero had but just embru'd his Hands in a most inhuman Parricide, and the People stood gazing one upon another with Fear and Astonishment. Nero himself was almost at his Wits end. But no sooner had the Pretorian Officers kiss'd his Hands, and assur'd him of their Fidelity, but the Courtiers, a sort of People always ready to unmask, were not asham'd to kneel before the Gods; nor the Neighbouring Cities to offer Sacrifices for joy of such a perpetrated Crime, which cry'd aloud for Vengeance on the Detestable Mur­derer. Horrid Thanksgivings, more Impious then the Parricide it self. But the Senate acted higher yet, and worse: They decreed Public Intercessions for the Welfare of the Prince, and put the day of his Mothers Nativity among the Un­fortunate Days; and that upon which her pretended Conspiracy was discover'd, among the most Solemn Festivals of the Year. So true it is, that never greater Honours are decreed to Princes, then when they are extreamly hated. For Dissimulation is more ingenious then [Page 116] Truth, says the younger Pliny; Servi­tude then Freedom; and Fear then Love.


WHile he was hesitating in the Cities of Campania, how he might return to the City, and no less anxious whether to expect ei­ther the Addresses of the Obsequi­ous Senate, or the Favour of the People, all the most infamous of his Adherents argu'd against his vain fears, that Agrippina's name was be­come odious, and that by her Death he had inflam'd the affection of the People toward him; and therefore that he should go with an undaunt­ed Courage, and try the effects of their veneration upon the Place.

Says D'Ablancourt, While the Emper­our staid in the Cities of Campania, uncer­tain whether he should return to Rome, or seek the Applauses of the Senate and the [Page 117] People first: (Tacitus does not say whether he should seek, but wait for, considering the Enormity of his Crime.) His Courtiers ad­vis'd him to go on, and fear nothing; for that they should find the Affections of the People redoubl'd by the death of Agrippina, whose very memory they Execrated; and therefore that he should go Couragiously to reap the fruit of his Renown and Glory.

Tho' Princes are made believe that they have an absolute Liberty to do what er'e they please, yet are they touch'd with an inward Remorce, when they ei­ther do or have committed any Act which is in it self unlawful. After Nero had caus'd his Mother to be murder'd, he durst not shew his Face, he wander'd from City to City, thinking to dissipate those Fears and Jealousies with which the apparition of his Crime that haunted him where er'e he went, continually tor­mented his mind. But his Flatterers, accustom'd to extoll the most hainous miscarriages of great Personages, soon Cur'd him of his Shame and his Fear; persuading him that all the People of Rome rejoyc'd at Agrippina's death, and thought themselves beholding to him for having rid her out of the way, tho' every Body [Page 118] in secret detested the Action, and had a bad opinion of Seneca, for the Letters which he wrote to the Senate, in Justifi­cation of Nero. Ill done in Seneca, tho' seasonably perhaps, who after he had been beholding to Agrippina for all his Fortune, had the grace to lay to her charge all the Mischiefs, and all the acts of Injustice, that had been committed in Claudius's Reign. He whom she had re­call'd from Exile, and advanc'd to be Tu­tor to her Son, where he had rammass'd together above seven Millions of Gold in four Years. A fair Proof, that he knew how better to discourse of Benefits and Kindnesses then to acknowledge 'em; and that it is but too true, that how deeply soever Men are oblig'd to those who fall into Misfortue, they then believe the En­gagement fully satisfy'd.


HEnce resuming his wonted Pride, and victor over Pub­lic Servitude, he enters the Capital, pays his Thanks, and abandons him­self to all manner of Luxury and Lasciviousness.

Says D'Ablancourt, He ascended into the Capital, triumphing over Public Servitude, and having paid his Thanks to the Gods, gave himself over to all manner of Voluptu­ousness.

Behold the Effects of Flattery. Nero, who fear'd to return to Rome, observing that the Senate and the People paid him greater Honours, then his Flatterers had promis'd; and that the City had set up Scaffolds to behold him make his Entry, as if he had led all the Barbarian Kings in Triumph, began to believe, that his Parricide was lookt upon as a noble Ex­ploit; and that by consequence, there was not any thing which he might not [Page 120] boldly undertake for the future. Thus when Princes once have laid aside all Fear and Bashfulness, small are the hopes of any farther good from Them. And here it was, that Burrhus and Se­neca, both Men of great Prudence and Policy, were much deceiv'd, while they thought, that their condescension to any single Ridiculous Pleasure of their Pupil, would in a short time make him weary of that Vice. For after he had spent his time one while in playing the Charioteer in an enclos'd piece of Ground, where no body had liberty to enter; he would needs have Spectators afterwards, whose Applauses did but serve to encourage him in the continuance of that Exercise, which his Governours were in hopes would soon have tir'd him. In short, after he had been a Charioteer, and had engag'd the Principal of the Nobility to ascend the Theatre, he took his place himself there also, to sing to the Harp before his Courtiers, and the Soldiers of his Guard: Well pleas'd with the Ap­plauses of a company of young Roman Knights, who immediately admir'd his Beauty and his Voice, for Divine Perfe­ctions. Whence Tacitus concludes, that if Modesty and Bashfulness, be so diffi­cultly [Page 121] preserv'd by Vertuous Education, how are they possibly to be preserv'd in a Court, where Vices contend and only emulate each other; and where men are only esteem'd for being double Hearted, and they accounted Best, who are the Worst.


NO Man carry'd away the Prize for Eloquence, but Caesar was pronounc'd the Victor.

Says D'Ablancourt, No Man carry'd away the Prize of Eloquence, but they gave the Victory unanimously to the Emperour.

Tacitus relates, That the Funeral Ora­tion which Nero pronounc'd at the Obse­quies of the Emperour Claudius, seem'd to savour of Seneca's Stile; which gave an Occasion for some to observe, that Nero was the first Emperour that ever stood in need of another mans Eloquence, for that he employ'd his Parts quite ano­ther way; as in Painting, Sculpture, Musick, and sometimes in Poetry, to [Page 122] which he had a great Inclination. There­fore it could be no other then pure Flat­tery, which adjudg'd him the Prize of Eloquence; as it is the custom to ascribe to Princes all those Qualities, which add to the Lustre of Majesty.


THE Temple also erected to Deifie Claudius, was look'd upon as the Tower, as Others will have it, the Pledge of Perpetual Do­mination.

Says D'Ablancourt; The People also look'd upon the Temple dedicated to Claudius, as a Gage of Perpetual Servitude.

These People, meaning the Britains, who were not yet accustom'd to Servi­tude, finding themselves tyranniz'd over by the Romans, without any hopes of be­ing better dealt with for the future, re­volted from their forc'd Obedience, cut their Soldiers in pieces, and in two days made themselves Masters of this Temple, which seem'd to have been built for no [Page 123] other purpose but to let 'em understand, that their Liberty was exterminated for ever. When Princes subdue great Ci­ties, their Flatterers are the most diligent Persons in the World to erect Magnifi­cent Trophies in their Honour, which rather serve to exasperate the Vanquish'd, then to instruct the Victor what is abso­lutely necessary for the preservation of his Conquest. Thus the Brazen Statue of the Duke of Alva trampling under feet two other lesser Figures, representing the People and Nobility of the Low Coun­tries, cost the King of Spain the Revolt of Antwerp, and several other fortify'd Cities.


NERO then not well in health, when his Flatterers told him, The Empire would be at an end, should it be his Fate to die, made answer, &c.

Says D'Ablancourt; One day that he was ill, his Courtiers, in Flattery, told him that the Empire would expire with him.

[Page 124] This piece of Flattery is a certain proof of the Impertinency of Flatterers. For, for a Man to tell such a Prince as Nero, who made it his chiefest Glory, to be an excellent Charioteer, a good Musician, and an elegant Poet, as much as to say, Eminent in every thing that was beneath a Prince, that the Welfare of the Empire depended wholly upon him, and that expiring with his Life, it was never to rise again, was either to laugh at the Emperor, or make himself ridiculous. Nevertheless we meet with Compliments every day altogether as vain and impertinent, which however are kindly accepted. So true is that Re­mark of Tacitus, That Assiduous Adula­tion corrupts and blinds the understand­ing of Great Personages.


NERO inclin'd to the more Vi­cious. They assail Seneca with various Accusations. They objected his assuming to himself alone the Pre-eminence in Eloquence, and his making Verses more frequently, since [Page 125] Nero had addicted himself to the study of Poetry: That he openly ex­claim'd against the Prince's Plea­sures: That he contemned his Agi­lity in the management of Horses; and derided his Voice when he sang.

The Prince (says D'Ablancourt) was na­turally enclin'd to follow the worst Counsels. Thereupon it was laid to Seneca's Charge, That he ascrib'd to himself the Glory of being the only Eloquent Person in the City; and had made Verses more frequently, since Nero began to esteem Poetry. That he forbore not in public to find fault with his Divertisements, and to laugh at his Activities in driving Cha­riots; and derided his Excellency in Music.

When once a Prince begins to lend his Ears to Flatterers, Calumny forthwith makes open War with Men of Vertue. They that accus'd Seneca, were certain of over-ruling Nero, to his Destruction: For that Burrhus and He were always averse to his Pleasures. For the Court is always full of certain People, who make it all their business to sound the Disgusts and Discontentments of Princes, & incense 'em against them who are both [Page 126] the Object & the Cause of them. And thus it was, that Sejanus exasperated Tiberius against Asinius Gallus, and that Cossuria­nus Capito and Eprius Marcellus perswaded Nero to rid himself of Thrasea. As to what the Courtiers laid to Seneca's Charge, that he ascrib'd to himself the sole Glory of surpassing all others in Elo­quence, that was only an Artifice, by which they render'd him so much the more odious to Nero, in regard that he, continually making use of him for the composing those Orations and Speeches which he had to make to the Senate, should thereby take notice, that Seneca made Merchandize of this Eloquence; while 'twas the general saying, that whatever he spoke or did, either Handsom and Noble, still Seneca reap'd all the Ho­nour of it, as being the first Composer. However, that Nero was past a Child, and by consequence needed no more Tu­tors, the Examples of his Ancestors being sufficient to instruct and advise him in the management of his Government. By the way observe, that Tacitus seems obliquely to reprove the Vanity, or rather Vain­glory of Senca, in saying, That he caus'd Nero to pronounce several Popular Ha­rangues, to shew the good Education [Page 127] which he had given his Pupil, or else in Ostentation of his own Wit. So true it is, that the wisest of Men are subject to an ardent love and desire of Glory: And according to the Greek Proverb, 'Tis the last Shirt they put off.


TIgellinus growing daily more powerful, and believing his wicked Artifices, wherein his chief­est Excellencies lay, would prove more acceptable, could he but en­gage the Prince to be an Accomplice with him in his Crimes, he dives into his Fears, and found that Plan­tius and Sylla were the objects of his Terror.

Says D'Ablancourt; Tigellinus grew more and more in Credit every day; and to render himself yet more considerable, he re­solv'd to plunge Nero deeper & deeper in Vice, as being the only Craft of which he was the absolute Master. Seeing therefore that the Persons whom the Prince most fear'd, were [Page 128] Sylla and Rubellius, he endeavour'd to ren­der their Exile suspected.

Rubellius Plautus and Cornelius Sylla, were Persons suspected and dreaded by Nero- The first, because he was descen­ded from Augustus by the Mothers side, and in the same degree next of Kin to Nero; besides that, he was vastly Rich. The second, for that having espous'd Antonia the Daughter of Claudius, and Si­ster to Octavia, Nero's Wife, he seem'd to have some Right, or at least some Pre­tension to the Empire. For which reason he had procur'd their Exilement, the one being Banish'd into Asia, and the other into Gallia. But Nero (as it is the custome of bad Princes to be prone to Fears and Jealousies) had still the same suspitions of these two Men, notwithstan­ding the distance of their Consinement: Wherefore Tigellinus, who was not igno­rant of the innate Cruelty of his Master, and understanding from whence his Jea­lousies arose, infuses into his mind, That two Persons of such Illustrious Extracti­on, had the ready opportunity to revenge themselves in their Exile, where they were at hand to debauch both the Eastern and German Armies. That Nero might [Page 129] secure himself from the Contrivances of his Enemies at Rome, where his presence was sufficient to curb the growing Inso­lencies of Mutiny and Disorder, but that it would be a difficult thing for him to put a stop to Designs well laid in distant Provinces. That the Gaules already cast their Eyes upon Sylla, as a Noble Branch of the Dictators Family; and that the hopes of Asia were no less in the Grand­child of Drusus. That Sylla's Poverty was a sufficient incitement to push him forward in the prosecution of bold and daring Attempts, and that he only affe­cted a counterfeit Supidity, till he met with an opportunity to shew his Cou­rage. On the other side, that Plautus was a Person of prodigious Wealth, and so far from seemiog to love Repose and Quiet, that he took a pride in imitating the Ancient Romans, and in practising the Maxims of the Stoicks, a Sect that teaches Men to be arrogant, turbulent, and daring. These are the dangers that attend Great Personages: The Flatterers tell the Prince, that the excessive Wealth of a Subject, is fatal to Domination; that they are too High for the Condition of a Private Person, and over-shadow the Grandeur of a Prince. And therefore it [Page 130] was, that the Prince of Conde made An­swer to a Proposal that was made him, only to beg and have such a Government as he should himself desire, That he had Wealth and Estate sufficient, to preserve himself by his good Services and Loyalty; that if he had more, it would but render him justly suspected to the King, who could have no other reason to Ruine him, but only because he was too Great.

If they are Poor, then they are repre­sented to the Prince as Malecontents, who study all opportunities to meliorate their Fortunes at the Expence of the Public Tranquillity; that if they are not pre­vented, their Misery will hurry 'em to Despair; and their Despair to Revolt; and that therefore there is a necessity to hast'n their Destruction. If they are Persons of mean Parts or little Courage, those Feeblenesses are interpreted to be refin'd Policy and Dissimulation. But if they are Persons of Courage and Merit, then they are branded for Dangerous Persons, that will soon be their Sove­reign's Masters, if once admitted to the Helm of State. Or if excluded, that they will meditate Revenge, unless cropt in the budd of their Resentment. Taci­tus tells us, That Plautus led a retir'd [Page 131] Life, went mean and plain, and kept his Family in good order: But the more he conceal'd himself in privacy from the stratagems of Envy, the more his Reputa­tion expos'd him. Therefore that Phi­losopher was in the right, who said, That Great Men were born to afford Subjects for Tragedies.


AFter he found that all his Crimes were applauded as Egregious Acts, he turns Octavia out of doors, pretending Sterility, and Marries Poppaea.

Says D'Ablancourt; The Emperour fin­ding that all his Crimes were consecrated by the Senate, Divorc'd Octavia, as being Bar­ren, and Espouses Poppaea.

Tacitus tells us, That when the Head of Plautus was brought to Nero, he thus discours'd to himself! What fear'st thou Nero, now that Plautus and Sylla are dead? Why dost thou not forthwith Espouse Poppaea, and send Octavia home again, tho' she be [Page 132] truly Complaisant and Modest, but yet a bur­then to thee, for the sake of her Father's Me­mory, and the affection of the People?

Nero dur'st not repudiate her while Sylla her Father-in-Law was alive, and Plautus her near Kinsman, who might have reveng'd her Quarrel. But so soon as these Obstacles were remov'd, he ne­ver scrupl'd to dissolve a Marriage that had advanc'd him to the Empire. So true it is, that bad Princes cannot en­dure the sight of those to whom they are too deeply oblig'd. Now Nero could not see Octavia, without recalling to mind those Obligations which he had receiv'd from her Father, who had preferr'd him before Britannicus his only Son; and therefore it was that the Memory of Claudius was offensive to his Mind. More­over the Marriage of Nero with Poppaea, is a clear demonstration, that when once a bad Prince is rid of his Fears, he lays aside his Shame as soon.


OCTAVIA is commanded to die—And to this, a Scorn more hainous then the Cruel­ty was added, that Poppaea saw her Head cut off, and brought into the City. For this, Gifts were decreed to be offer'd to the Temples of the Gods: Which I have on purpose deliver'd to Posterity, that whoever shall read the Story of those Times, whether written by our selves, or any other Author, may understand, that so often as any Murther was commanded by the Prince, Thanks were return'd to the Gods; and those things which were formerly the Signals of prosperous Success and Triumph, were now the Concomi­tants of Public Desolation.

Says D'Ablancourt; He commanded Octavia to die—And for an addi­tion of Cruelty, they cut off her Head, to glut [Page 134] the greedy eyes of her Rival. The Senate for this ordain'd, that Offerings should be made in the Temples: Which I mention'd to this end, that They who shall hereafter read this History, may understand, that as often as the Prince had perpetrated any Crime, so often Thanks were return'd to the Gods; and that that which was formerly a Mark of our Triumphs, was become the Witness of our Miseries.


BUT the Child dying within fourth Months, new Flatteries repay'd that Loss, while the Senate decreed the Infant the Honour of a Goddess, a Cushion of State, a Temple, and a Preistess.

Says D'Ablancourt; The Child dy'd four Months after, which made 'em have recourse to new Flatteries; so that they decreed her a Temple, with Divine Honours, and all things thereto belonging.

Nero having honour'd the Infant with the Title of Augusta, upon the day of [Page 135] her Birth, which was a thing for which there was no President before, the Se­nate, according to the custome of Flat­tery, which always strives to exceed, would also needs decree her Divine Ho­nour, that had never yet been given to any Infant. For when the Prince himself opens the way to Flattery, the Conten­tion then runs high among the Croud of Flatterers, who shall bear away the Prize, especially when he is under the pangs of Affliction: For that being the time, when Tenderness and Compassion softens the haughty humours of Men, it affords the most proper opportunities to conquer their Affections.


CErealis Anicius, the Consul E­lect, pronounc'd as his peculi­ar Sentence, that a Temple should be erected with all the speed imagina­ble, at the Public Charge, to Divine NERO. Which he decreed him, as having surmounted Human Gran­deur, and deserving now the Ado­ration [Page 136] of Men. Which was after­wards number'd among inauspicious Omens of his Death; for the Honours due to the Gods, were never attributed to the Prince, till he ceas'd to live among Men.

Says D'Ablancourt; Anicius Cerealis propounded the building him a Temple at the Publick Charge, and in his Proposal gave him the Title of a God, meaning thereby, that he was exalted above Human Frailty, and deserv'd to be ador'd by Men. But that was afterwards taken as an ill Omen of his Death, for that the Emperors were never honour'd with that Title, till they were departed out of this World.

Nero having escap'd a Conspiracy, wherein were engag'd almost all the chief Nobility of Rome, and with them, Persons of all sorts and conditions, and many Women among the rest, the Senate de­creed Thanksgivings and Offerings to the Gods, and particular Honours to the Sun, who had discover'd the Enterprize, just as it was ready to have been put in execution; and to Salus or Safety, out of whose Temple the Senator Sevinus [Page 137] had taken the Dagger, with which he was to have given the first stroke: All this was done in Honour to the Gods, and had been highly commendable, had not Nero been so wicked a Prince. But that there might be nothing wanting of addition to the Public Misfortune, (for to use the words of Tacitus, the Gods, in preserving Nero, plainly shew'd, that they design'd their Vengeance, not their Saving Fa­vour to the Roman People) one of the Consuls propos'd the Consecrating of a Temple to NERO THE GOD, as if he meant the World should under­stand, that the Emperor was beholden for his Deliverance to his Deify'd condi­tion, which exalted him above all Acci­dents of Fortune, and render'd him Im­mortal. Certainly this was the utmost extent of human Adulation, above which it was impossible for human Wit to soar a Higher strain. And if 'twere Fear which made the Gods, a Pagan might have been excus'd to Deifie a Prince, who after he had murther'd his Brother Britannicus, his Mother, his Wife, his Tutor, seem'd only born to exterminate the Race of Hu­man kind. But how shall we excuse those Christians, who make profession of Ver­tue in its purity, and particularly of [Page 138] Evangelic Simplicity, who abandon themselves to that degree of Flattery, as to compare a Temporal Prince to the True God, ascribing to him those Attri­butes which the Sacred Scripture only gives to the Majesty of Heaven. As if among so many Famous and Renowned Actions with which the Universe rings, they could not have found Matter for the most Noble Panegyric in the World, without robbing God of that which in­communicably belongs to Him, to give it to Caesar.


HEnce the Orators took occa­sion to spend all their Stu­dies upon Panegyrics and Enco­miums in honour of the Prince. The Earth (cry'd they) produces not only her usual Fruits, and Gold con­fus'd with other Metals, but as if infertiliz'd by Thy Rays with a new access of Plenty, teems with unac­custom'd Productions, while the Gods throw down their obvious [Page 139] Riches to encrease her Store. With several other servile Raptures, com­pos'd with no less Eloquence then Adulation, as being secure of the Credulity of their Hearers.

Says D'Ablancourt; The Orators made choice of no other Themes for their Panegyrics, crying out, that the Earth produc'd not only Fruits and Flowers, or Metals within its bowels, but from her bosome discover'd new Treasures, to augment the felicity of so flourishing a Reign. With many other things of the same nature, which their own servile Inclinations, and the Prince's Credulity, pro­duc'd with as much Eloquence as Flattery.

Princes are the more easily induc'd to flatter themselves with the enjoyment of those successes with which Adulation sooths their Fancies, as being made be­lieve that all things must be obedient to their Fortune; and that there is no con­tending with their Fate. Nero therefore, who naturally coveted things the most in­credible, with ease gave credit to his own Wishes; and his Courtiers were no less careful how they undeceiv'd him, seeing how lavish and profuse he was in his [Page 140] Expences, in hopes of Dido's pretended Treasures.

Thus it is, that unwary Princes are frequently abus'd and gull'd by their Flat­terers, impoverishing their Treasures by immense Profusions, while they feed 'em with vain Expectations. For his expe­ctancy of promis'd Wealth, was one of the causes of publick Poverty. 'Tis the course of Flatterers still to be buzzing in the Sovereign's Ears, that Princes should never mind good Husbandry; whereas they should have told 'em, they could not be well too thrifty, considering there is no end of their Expences.

The Favourites of Hen. 3. (says Meze­ray in his Life) had instill'd into his mind, that all the Estates of his Subjects were absolutely at his disposal; and that France was such an inexhaustible Fountain of Wealth, that no Prodigality whatever could draw it dry. But this ill Advice, and worse bad Husbandry (says he) caus'd such scarcity of Money, that many times there was not sufficient to defray the Ex­pences of the King's Kitchin.


SOme there were who admonish'd him to make Caesar his Heir of the greatest part of his Estate, which would be the way to preserve the rest for his Grand-children. Which he refus'd to do, that he might not tarnish with servile condiscension a Life that he had lead, the nearest that might be to Liberty—And (speaking of Petronius) neither would he Flatter in his Will either Caesar, or Tigellinus, or any of the Great Men then in Favour.

Says D'Ablancorut; Some advis'd him to leave the best part of his Estate to the Em­peror, and to save the rest; but he reply'd, That after he had liv'd so long in Honour, he would not fully the end of his Life with a servile Act—Nor would Petronius Flatter in his Will, either Nero, or Tigel­linus, or any other of the Favourites, as most of those there that suffer'd had done.

[Page 142] They who never committed any dege­nerate Act in their life-time, are careful to preserve their Reputation to the last gasp. Nor can there be a smarter incen­tive to die like a Man of Honour, then to have always been so. Therefore Cocceius Nerva, the best Friend Tiberius had, see­ing that the Emperor grew more vicious every day then other, while his Health & Estate were yet in a good condition, and his Reputation unblemish'd, chose to die. And Thrasea, whom Tacitus calls the Patern of true Honour, made answer to those who advis'd him to delay his Death, That he had nothing more to do but to die as he had liv'd; that is to say, untain­ted, unpolluted, and imitating the glo­rious Exit of those whom he had emula­ted in his life-time. For it is not enough for Great Personages to be distinguish'd from Others by the Magnificence of their Funerals, unless at their Deaths they like­wise leave a distinct remembrance to Po­sterity.


TRuth was several ways ecclips'd and interrupted; first through ignorance of Public Affairs, now mannag'd by a few; then by the contagious lust of Adulation, or else by the general hatred of those that were in Power. So that what be­tween those that were Disgusted, and those that were Obnoxious, there was no care taken of Posterity. But 'tis easie for thee to discry and ward off the Flatteries of a Histori­an; tho' Detraction and Envy are heard with willing Ears. For there is a kind of resemblance between the foul Crime of Servility and Adula­tion, but in Malignity, there seems to be some similitude of Liberty. We cannot deny our Preferment begun by Vespasian, augmented by Tiberius, and farther advanc'd by Domitian; but they that pretend [Page 144] to an inviolate Fidelity, must never be sway'd by the Affections either of Love or Hatred.

Truth, Says D'Ablancourt, was clouded and obscur'd through ignorance of Public Affairs, wherein few were concern'd; and sophisticated either by Flattery or Hatred. The Historians took no care of Posterity, minding only their Revenge or their Prefer­ment. But tho' Flattery and Obloquie both equally disguise the Truth, it is more easie for a Man to secure himself from the one which is odious to all the World, then from the other, which deceives us under the false shew of Liberty. 'Tis true, I owe the first rise of my Fortune to Vespasian, and the progress of my Advancement to his Children. But when a Man once goes about to write a History, he must forget Favours as well as In­juries. Wherein D'Ablancourt mistakes the words of Tacitus, who says no such thing, but only that no Historian should suffer him­self to be byass'd, either by his Love or by his Hatred.

Were it absolutely necessary for a Hi­storian to understand not only the Events of things, but also the Reason and [Page 145] Causes which produc'd those Events; it would be impossible for any Man to be a good Historian, that never had any share in the mannagement of Public Affairs. For the Success and Events of things are known to all the World, but the Mo­tives, the Interests, the Accidents, the Springs, that enliven'd, mov'd, and ma [...] ­nag'd those Affairs, and were the Causes of their prosperous accomplishments or miscarriage, are only known to the Con­trivers and Artificers themselves. And for that Reason it is, that Historians of Republics have more advantage to write the Truth of things, then the Subjects of Soveraign Monarchs: Where the Se­cret lies lockt up in the Breast or Cabinet of the Prince, so that they may be well call'd strangers to the Government.

The second thing which disguises and disfigures History is Flattery, which in Republics is but little practiz'd, where Servility is incompatible with Equality: But is of absolute use in Monarchies, where it is hard to attain to Honours and Imployments, or long to enjoy 'em, but by gaining the favour of the Ruling So­veraign, by the customary and usual ways of Assentation and Obsequiousness.

[Page 146] The third Rock that Shipwracs Truth, is Hatred; which takes place of Flat­tery, after the Decease of the Prince. So long as Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero Reign'd, says Tacitus, Fear dis­guis'd and ecclips'd the Truth, but so soon as they were Dead, Hatred pub­lish'd with aggravations, what Fears suppress'd before. Whence we may in­fer, that the Histories of bad Princes, are never faithfully Written, neither when they are Alive, as being dreaded then; nor after their Decease, when Ca­lumny takes her full swinge to disgrace their Memories. When Princes are ha­ted, men are willing to believe whatever is reported of 'em, tho' never so hainous and horrid; nay, many things too, which are altogether impossible. And for this Reason it is, that Tacitus desires of those that shall read his Works, ne­ver to prefer vulgar Reports and Tales Incredible, tho' greedily swallow'd, be­fore plain and downright Truths, not yet corrupted into miracle. There are some Historians that seem to have no other design, then to abuse Posterity, transmitting to future Ages, Things not to be believ'd. And some Persons there are, so unjust and empty in their Judge­ments, [Page 147] that no Histories will please their Appetite, but such as are stuff'd with Scandals and Absurdities. And this proneness of the one to Credulity, and of the other to Falshood it is, which is the occasion that all Affairs of Importance are communicated to our understandings, quite otherwise then as they were really transacted. Add to this, that many times they who have been the mannagers of these Affairs, and encourage the Au­thor of the Story, having sometimes acted by the sway of bad Principles, fur­nish the Writer with Memorials, so far from discovering the real Truth, that they rather stifle it in those politic Am­biguities, from whence it is impossible to Disinvelop it. Whence it comes to pass, that the Historians themselves be­ing first deceiv'd, the Reputation of their Fidelity serves only to delude o­thers. Moreover the severity of History is such, as not to suffer that her Authors should discover the least resentment of Injuries or Favours; She would be shown to the World without Hatred or Flat­tery; without Fear or Hope; without refin'd Subtlety or Affectation; not to Criticise, but to Instruct; nor to kindle [Page 148] any hatred against the men themselves, but a detestation of their Vices.


AFelicity of the Times but rare­ly known, when it was law­ful to think what ever thou wouldst; and what thy Thoughts were, those to utter freely.

Says D'Ablancourt, A Subject more Am­ple and less Thornie, upon which a Man might fearless utter whatsoe're he thought, which was no small Happiness.

Court Flatterers observe this for a cer­tain Maxime, Never to speak what they think, but always to speak what they ne­ver think, or at least never intend. And thence it is, that Princes being accu­stom'd to understand 'em, those Persons that are Sincere and Real-hearted, are at a Nonplus how to please their Hu­mours, and by consequence to make their Fortunes. Besides, 'tis no such Errour in Princes, as generally the Common sort [Page 149] believe, not always to favour and esteem those Persons, who freely and frankly speak their own Thoughts. For besides, that freedom of Speech approaches too near forbidden Licence, it is also no less subject to heighten into Imprudent Zeal, which frequently leaves behind most mor­tal stings in the nice Breasts of Princes. The simplicity of the Dove at Court sig­nifies nothing, if it be not manag'd by the wisdom of the Serpent.


PRosperity and Success, with sharper Probes, explore the Minds of Men; for Miseries are en­dur'd, but we are corrupted by Feli­city. Thou perhaps wilt retain thy Fidelity, thy Liberty, thy Friend­ship, the chiefest blessings and per­fections of the Mind; but others will endeavour to vitiate thy good Nature by their Flatteries. Adulati­on, and glozing Sycophantries, the most pernicious poyson of a vertuous [Page 150] Inclination, while every one seeks his own Profit and Interest, will break in upon thee. Thou and I discourse this day together with Sincerity and Cordial Integrity, others more wil­lingly address themselves to our For­tune then to us. For to persuade a Prince to what it behoves him to do, is a task of great difficulty. But to Flatter any Prince, there's no Affe­ction requir'd. To be Begotten or Descend from Princes is meerly Fi­ctitious, nor is valu'd any farther. Nero will be also always wish'd for by the worst of Men; however it must be both Our Cares, that he be not wish'd for by the Good and Vertu­ous. But this is not a time to insist longer upon Admonitions. The most profitable and the shortest Me­thod in the regulation of thy Acti­ons, is to consider what thou wouldst require, and what not, from ano­ther Prince. For thou art now to Govern a People that will not brook [Page 151] an Absolute Servitude, add will be as impatient of Absolute Liberty.

Says D'Ablancourt, Prosperity has more powerful Incentives then Adversity, for we give way to the one and resist the other. (Which words are more obscure then the Text it self.) Tho' thy Inclinations prompt thee to preserve thy Vertue, they that have access to thee, will have lost their own. (Which is quite contrary to the sense of Tacitus.) There is nothing so easie as Complaisance, and therefore all Men are ready to make use of it. But there are few Persons that ad­vise Princes what they ought to do, because it is a Task of too great difficulty. (Here al­so is the sense of Tacitus again mistaken.) 'Tis by Fortune that Men are born Sovereign Princes. (Here again Tacitus expresses himself more at large.) Only, Do thou learn that the shortest way to Govern well, is to consider what is to be Approv'd, and what Condemn'd in other Princes; to avoid the one, and follow the example of the other. (Which latter words are superfluous.) Ne­ver were more Noble, nor more Ʋniversal Admonitions given to Princes, to guard them­themselves from the contagion of Flattery. Here they are warn'd, that Prosperity runs 'em headlong into more Impieties then Adver- [Page 152] for that it usually plunges 'em into all man­ner of Luxury, and all that Tacitus calls the Licence of Regality. Which was the Reason of that Saying of Tiberius himself, That the more Puissant he was, the more in danger he was of Falling; and that he could not have his Authority, without Diminishing the Law.

Thus what Galba says to Piso, that the obsequious Respect which all men would pay to his Person would corrupt his Ver­tue, is a wholesom Admonition which he gives to all Princes, not to confide in the constancy of their own Resolutions, nor in their natural inclination to Justice, in regard that if they bow their Ears to their Flatterers, Adulation by vertue of her alluring Blandishments, will glide at length through the Ears into the Heart, and tear from thence all Shame, all Mo­deration, Docility, Gratitude, Clemen­cy, and all other Vertues whatever that harbours there. Mezeray gives us a re­markable Example of this, in the Person of Henry III. His Reign, saith he in his Life, might be call'd the Reign of Favorites (and consequently of Flatterers) they brought to perfection their Design, and abso­lutely Enervated whatever he had of con­stant [Page 153] Resolution, and at length dissolv'd him into all Voluptuousness. And that they might possess him wholly to themselves, they persua­ded him not to shew himself so frequently and so publicly to his Subjects as his Predecessors had done, but to keep himself reserv'd and close like the Eastern Monarchs; or if he did at any time appear among 'em, that it should be with all the dazling Pomp and Magnifi­cence imaginable, or else to let 'em know him by the Absoluteness of his Commands; but above all, to break the Neck of that Custom among the French of making Remonstrances, and to make 'em understand that there was no other Justice but his Will. (For according to the Dictates of Flattery, 'tis but a precarious Reign, and an Acquiescence in single Authority, which extends it self no farther, then only Things permitted.) With these Flatteries they rais'd him to a high Opinion of himself, and fill'd him with a Conceit, that he was the Greatest Prince in the World: That all the Politics of his very Youth, were Master pieces; and that all the Prudence of the most Cunning Artists in that Profession, was but meer Ignorance in compa­rison of his.

Nor is there any Prince whatever, to whom at least some of their Flatterers do not say as much: A sufficient demonstra­tion [Page 154] that they speak not to the Person, but the Fortune of the Prince, which is the sole object of their Adorations. As for the advantage of being born a Prince, Galba tells Piso 'twas only an accident of Fortune, to let him understand, that it was not an Honour to be so highly glo­ry'd in by Princes, as being that which they receiv'd from another, and was no Honour to 'em farther, then they gave it lustre by the brightness of their own Vertue. They that told Nero he needed no other Rule whereby to govern himself then the Examples of his Ancestors, while they Flatter'd him with the great­ness of his Birth, did but give him an oblique hint, that having Augustus for his Great Grand-father, and Germanicus for his Grand-father, it best became him to derive his Glory from the Imitation of those two Persons: For it is not No­bility of Extraction that makes a Prince. Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, were all Illustrious by Descent, but Scandals to the Empire and the Family of the Caesars. Neither is it the vast extent of Domini­on that makes an Emperour; but on the contrary 'tis rather a Burthen, which on­ly serves to display the Weakness of the Prince, and by consequence to render [Page 155] him Contemptible, when he is found to be incapable of Government. Witness Galba, who when he came to the Em­pire, through his want of Parts, lost all the Reputation which he had acquir'd, while he was only Governour of a Pro­vince; whom all Men would have judg'd most fit for the Imperial Dignity, unless he had Reign'd.

A Prince therefore is never to be ac­compted a Great Prince, unless the glo­ry of his Merit be equal to those of his Fortune. Historians, says Matchiavel, gave greater Applauses to Hiero of Syra­cuse, while he was but as yet a private Person, then to Perseus, when he was King of Macedon; for that Hiero wanted nothing but a Kingdom to be a Prince, whereas the other had nothing in him of a King, but his Kingdom. An Argument, that Posterity considers neither Royal Birth, nor Royalty it self, as not deser­ving its Esteem, but how the Prince ma­nag'd his Affairs, and carry'd himself in so high and difficult an Employment▪ And in this sense it was, that Tiberius pray'd the Gods to grant him a quiet Mind to the end of his Life, and all ne­cessary Understanding of the Law of God and Man, that after his Decease, his [Page 156] Name and his Actions might be Honour'd with the remembrance and approbation of all his Subjects. Observe by the way, that in the same place he tells the Senate, how highly Honour'd should he deem himself, if Posterity do him but that Ju­stice to acknowledge him for a Prince worthy his Ancestors, Vigilant, Resolute in Dangers, and Zealous for the Public Welfare, fearless of Envy or Hatred. To inform those who are Born Princes, that it ought to be their chiefest Ambi­tion to shew themselves worthy of their Illustrious Extraction, in performing glo­rious Actions, deserving the Remem­brance of all succeeding Ages. And this was that which Octavius himself con­firm'd, when his Mother and his Father in Law dissuading him, to acknowledge himself Heir to Julius Caesar, he rejected their Counsel, affirming, 'twould be a shame for him to think himself above a Fortune that Caesar thought him worthy of: To whose Opinion he would rather stand then theirs, who understood not his Worth. But to return to Galba.

Nero, said he, will be always lamented and wish'd for by the Wicked; but it must be our Duty so to behave our selves that good Men too, may have no reason [Page 157] to lament his loss; which certainly they will do, if we prove no better then He. This is an Admonition so much the more necessary for Princes, in regard that Flat­terers, by applauding their Actions whether good or bad, and by infusing a Conceit into their minds, that they sur­pass all their Predecessors, make 'em sometimes worse then they, whose me­mories are become most odious. 'Tis a burdensom thing to succeed a Vertuous Prince, says Pliny in his Panegyric, in re­gard it is a difficult labour to gain that Affection which he had done. Which was the Reason that the younger Pliny told Trajan, that no Body would covet to Succeed him, because no Body could presume to equal him. But it is no less dangerous to succeed a bad Prince; for instead of this happy Effect, that the vertue of a Predecessor should serve to enflame the Emulation of him that suc­ceeds, it happens that while he fears to be despis'd or hated upon the neglect of his Duty, the Vices of the Predecessor seem to authorise, or at least excuse the the miscarriages of the succeeding Prince. Whence it happens that the latter, not having any recent Example of moderati­on to upbraid his Liberties, and check [Page 158] his Irregularities, he throws of his Mask, and abandons himself to all manner of Luxury and Impiety, insomuch that his Predecessor, though he had been very in­ordinate, is many times recall'd again in wishes for a good Prince. Thus the loss of Tiberius was bewail'd in the Reign of Caligula, Caligula in the Reign of Nero, and Nero in the Reign of Domitius: So true it is, that wickedness finds out new Rivals every day, especially among bad Princes, that suffer themselves to be gui­ded by their Flatterers; that bad Exam­ples can never stop their career, when once they have begun; but that when once they are stray'd out of the high Road, they never stop till they precipitate themselves into an Abyss of all Disorders.

Lastly, says Galba, if thou wouldst know in short, what method is most pro­per to gain the Esteem and Love of the People over which thou art to Rule, call to thy remembrance whatever has been applauded or condemn'd in the Princes that have Reign'd in thy time, and then do thou of thy own accord, as formerly Mecaenas advis'd Augustus, so ma­nage the conduct of thy Rule, as thou wouldst expect another Prince should do, wert thou a Subject to the same Person. [Page 159] The Younger Pliny commends Trajan for his observance of this Precept. Long hast thou liv'd among us (said he) and ventur'd with us through the same danger, and thereby thou giv'st us an apparent demonstration, that thou art not forgetful of the Wishes and Com­plaints which thou weret wont to make among us, for in thy Sovereignty dost thou fulfil, whatever thou didst once desire so ardently, when a private Subject; only with this difference, that thou art more benign and clement toward us, then thou didst then desire the Prince should be moderate toward thy Self. And thence, whereas before we wisht for no other happiness, then to have a Prince but somewhat better then the worst of all that ever we had (speaking of Domitian) we are now, by thy means, become so nice and difficult, that we cannot endure any other then the Best of Emperors.

And in several other parts of the same Panegyric, Thou mak'st the choice of thy Friends, among the most Vertuous; and truly it is but just, that they should be belov'd hy a good, who have been hated by a wicked Prince. Thou know'st the difference between Domination & Supreme Rule, which is the rea­son that they who are now most acceptable to the Prince, have the greatest Antipathy to a Tyrannical Master. Thou know'st, that there [Page 160] can be no Power so great conferr'd on any single Person, but that Liberty still is more desirable then Masterless Superiority. And yet so far art thou from triumphing over our Patience, that thy Triumphs are only o'er the pride of wicked Princes. Thou liv'st among us like a Father with his Children. 'Tis lawfull to approach thy presence, to ac­company, and speak to thee. Nor is it thy Pride that puts a conclusion to the Discourse, but a modest shame and fear of being too im­portunate. Thou Govern'st us, and we Obey, but yet no othewise then we Obey the Laws. Thou hast barr'd up the passage to thy Ears against greedy Sycophants, who excited thy Predecessors to nothing but Rapine and Violence. And now there being no such Prince that will afford a ready Ear to pernicious Counsels, there are none that now will undertake to give it. Insomuch that being highly oblig'd to Thee, for the Integrity of thy Manners, we are yet more engag'd to thy Vertues, for the amendment of our own, which the Servility of former Times had so horribly perverted. So powerful is the Example of a Vertuous Prince, whether out of that veneration which all Men pay him, or the desire which we have to please him in our Imitation.


PIso's Oration was modest and civil; nor did he want the Fa­vour of the Father's; many out of pure good will and affection; more vehemently they that least desired it; the Middle sort, and the Moderate party were the most, all meditating private Interest, while obviously ob­sequious without Care of the Public.

Says D'Ablancourt; Piso's Oration was very modest, and receiv'd with applause by the Flattery of some, and the Affection of others. They who had the least desire, testi­fy'd the most, and every one suffer'd himself to be busy'd by his particular Interest, without any Care of the Republic.

A new Prince always occasions the growth of new Interests, new Expecta­tions, and new Sycophants. And Flat­tery was the more excessive toward Piso, while every one believ'd that Sycophan­try could not choose but be acceptable to [Page 162] a Person who had always been the Mark of Adverse Fortune. For there is nothing so lulling to the Sences, as to be Flatter'd, Caress'd and Honour'd, after a Man has been a long time Unfortunate. And for that reason it was that Galba, putting him in mind of his former condition, Hi­therto (said he) thou hast only experimented the Cruelties of Fortune; now she begins to look upon thee with a favourable Eye: How­ever be sure to stand upon thy Guard, for it is more easie constantly to undergo Adversity, as thou hast done, then to resist Allurements of Prosperity, so ingenious in depraving our In­clinations. 'Tis not to be question'd but that thou art a Person of great Vertue, but if once thou giv'st admision to Flattery, she will soon impair thy Vertue. These and such like were Galba's Expressions (says Tacitus) to Piso, as to a Private Person, whom he was about to make an Absolute Prince, but all the rest he spoke as to a Prince al­ready Enthron'd. To let us understand that Galba spoke to the Person of the Prince, whereas Sycophants make their Addresses only to his Fortune: That the first Ad­monish'd him, as a Father and a Prince; but that others Flatter'd him, as the Per­son that already was their Lord and Ma­ster: That Subjects are only capable of [Page 163] Flattery, because they only seek to please; whereas the Prince who makes his Choice of a Successor, bespeaks him cordially and sincerely, and gives him no other then only the best of Counsel.


THE most Favour'd of his en­franchiz'd Slaves, and other Servants, laid before him the Pomp of Nero's Court, his Luxury, his Adulteries, his Divorces, and ince­stuous Wedlocks, and all those other Pleasures of Imperial Reign, all which he thirst'd after, and which if he had the Courage, were his own; but if he trifled away his Op­portunity, would be another's.

His principal Domestics, (says D'Ablan­court) ceas'd not to lay before him the Luxury and Licence of Princes, and to upbraid him secretly, for abandoning to another, that which was in his power to seize as his own.

[Page 164] Thus we see the gay Allurements that Sycophants make use of to provoke the Appetites of Princes, and incense 'em to Luxury. This is that which they call, Releasing Kings from the Subjection of Ward­ship; but indeed (says Mezeray) Is the putting them beside their Sences and their Reason. Otho had spent his Youth in De­bauchery, and had insinuated himself into Nero's Favour and Confidence, by the imi­tation of his Voluptuousness and Vices. Piso, on the other side, had always liv'd a sober Life, and without Scandal, but the severity of his Manners, which pleas'd Galba, displeas'd the old Court, which Nero had accustom'd to honour a Vo­luptuous Prince, no less then former­ly they were wont to reverence a Pru­dent and Moderate Sovereign. There­fore it was that Otho, who was of the same temper with Nero, and as such a one, desir'd by all the Courtiers, was so highly encourag'd by his Domestics, and his Friends, to take Possession of the Empire. For the looser and more extravagant sort of Courtiers are afraid of nothing more then a Vertuous and Vigilant Prince, be­cause their Interest is incompatible with his Duty. The young King (says Meze­ray, speaking of Charles VIII.) was natu­rally [Page 165] enclin'd to the study of Vertue, addicting himself, as much as his leisure would permit him, to the reading of good Authors, and to converse with learned Men. But the Syco­phant, to whose humour, a serious and pru­dent Prince is a burthensom Master, before the Year was out, plung'd him again into the love of Toys and Women.

I find moreover two or three things more to be observ'd upon the Choice which Galba made of Piso to succeed him, rather then Otho, who being the first who had declar'd himself for Galba, was in hopes to have been adopted for his Son. The first is, that Galba rather chose to expose himself to Otho's Resentment, to whom he was so highly oblig'd, then to advance to the Empire a Person, who was guilty of all Nero's Vices; consider­ing, that would be of little benefit to the Publick-weal to have escap'd Nero's Vio­lencies, should it relapse under the power of his Companion in Debauchery. The second thing is, that Vertuous Prin­ces make it their chiefest Glory to choose a good Successor; whereas a bad Prince en deavours to find a worse then himself, to the end he may be miss'd, when gone. Augustus (said Galba to Piso) made Choice of a Successor out of his own Family, but I [Page 166] choose mine out of the Commonwealth: Not that I am destitute either of Kindred or Friends, but because of all my own and thine, thou seem'st to me most worthy to be the Heir of my Fortune. My Age permits me not to do the Roman People any other kindness, but only to leave them a Vertuous Successor. But thou who art in the flower of thy Youth, hast it within thy power to bless 'em with a Ver­tuous Prince and long Tranquility. The Younger Pliny tells us, that Nerva was belov'd and lamented by all good Men, for that he had made such Provision, that no body should have cause to miss him, and being a most worthy Prince himself, he was not afraid to make Choice of one that might exceed him. And in another Place he says, That a good Successor is a most evident Mark of the Divinity of the Prince that makes the Election.

The last thing is, the difference be­tween the Advice which Princes give to their Successors, and that which Syco­phants give to Princes. When a Prince admonishes another, 'tis his usual custom to tell him, that Sovereignty is a weighty Burthen, and a Condition above all others most subject to the Capriccio's of Fortune: That the Higher a man is exalted, the more in danger he stands of the Precipice: [Page 167] That Power is never truly secure, when excessive, and rarely longer permanent then the Life of him that exercises it: That there is nothing in the World so unstable, or so difficult to preserve, as the Fame of Power that rests not on its proper foundation, of Justice and Rea­son: That it is impossible for a Prince to know or act all things himself, and there­fore had need of good Counsel and Assi­stance: That his Ministers and He, trans­acting unanimously together, the Public Affairs will be better manag'd: That he ought not to study Dominion over Slaves, but equal Government over Children and Subjects accustom'd to rational and not to blind Obedience: That Loyal Subjects never grudge to pay Taxes or Impositi­ons, but ill brook the Violence, the Cru­elty and Avarice of the Officers: That a Government cannot long subsist between unjust Command and forc'd Obedience. I do not Interest my self, said Tiberius, in in the Choice of Edils, Pretors or Con­suls; something greater and more sublime is expected from a Prince; nor do I make use of Power, where I can act by Law. Then he goes on, that Liberality, when excessive, proves pernicious, as forcing to repair by Injustice, what Extravagancy [Page 168] has dissipated; That Clemency advan­ces the Reputation of Princes; and that having all things at their Command, there remains nothing for them to desire more, then only to Eternize their Happy Memories. These are the Temples, those the Noble Statues, said Tiberius, that I desire to be erected in your minds; for as for those that are built of Stone, should I deserve the hatred of succeeding Ages, they would be scorn'd, and soon defac'd.

On the other side, Sycophants infuse into the ears of Princes, that they have not only an Absolute Power, but a Uni­versal Understanding, and that their Sub­jects can pretend to nothing but only the Honour of a blind Obedience: That the Will and Pleasure of a Prince, is the Rule of Justice, and by consequence, that all the Actions of Kings are Infallibly Just: That a Prince who Governs according to Laws, is only a Precarious Prince; and that he who listens to the Advice of his Counsel, is a Pupil: That all ways and means whatever which conduce to the preservation of Authority, are honest and lawful, provided they be successful: That the Impov'rishing of the People, and keeping the Nobility Low, are the main Pillars of Imperial Power. That [Page 169] Privileges, Exemptions and Moderate Taxes serve only to render the People untractable and mutinous; whereas they are supple, submiss and yielding, when they have nothing to lose: That Luxury, Adulteries, Revelling and choice of Wo­men, are the Rewards of Principality: That it is of little importance to be be­lov'd, but of great moment to be fear'd; for that Fear is supported by the dread of Punishment, which never ceases; but that Love is preserv'd only by a certain tie of Complaisance, which Men as often break, as fancy and humour inspire 'em: That Clemency is a dangerous Vertue, and Modesty fitting only for a Citizens Wife. And lastly, That Princes never need take any care what Posterity says of 'em, as being no competent Judge of the Truth or Falshood of those that applaud or discommend, since 'tis the Fate of Hi­storians, to be always suspected either of Flattery or Malice.


THen from all Parts of the City, as Othonians met Othonians, some augmented the general Fears, others minc'd the Truth, not then refraining from their wonted Adula­tion.

Says D'Ablancourt; People crouded toge­ther from all Parts of the City, some augmen­ting the danger, others lessening it as much, not forgetting their usual Flattery even in that extremity.

Otho was Proclaim'd Emperor, and Galba now no longer in Possession of the Sovereignty; nevertheless there were some People that Flatter'd the Unfortu­nate Prince, as if after he had lost the Empire, he had something of higher Ad­vantage to lose. An evident proof, that Sycophants never can find in their hearts to speak sincerely to Princes; and that Princes are Flatter'd, because 'tis the Mode, without the least anxiety for their [Page 171] good or ill success. Sycophants never tell 'em any thing but what is grateful, tho' it be ne'er so prejudicial. They who sooth'd up Galba at such a Conjuncture, when the preservation of the Imperial Dignity, and his Life lay at stake, were so much the more to blame, in regard they knew that Galba was always desirous that the Truth should be told him, as one that detested Flattery; and that his Safe­ty then depended upon true Intelligence of the imminent danger. But in short, it is the Fate of Princes to be deluded, even to the last minute of their Lives. Mezeray tells us, That after the French had lost the Castle of St. Angelo, between Padua and Milaine the most prudent Captains (and particularly Lewis de la Tremouille) were of opinion, that Francis the First should raise his Siege, laying before him, That his Army was wasted a third part more then he was made believe it was; that five thousand Grisons had deserted him, under pretence of going to defend their own Country against the Milaneses, who per­haps with their connivance, had taken Cla­venna from them; and that the Enemies Army, for want of Pay, would certain­ly Disband within fifteen days at far­thest. But those Reasons were not of force [Page 172] sufficient to alter his Resolutions. The Syco­phantries of his Favourites, over-rul'd the Counsels of his Experienc'd Captains. And that was the reason that his Enemies, not able any longer to keep their Forces in a Body re­solv'd to give the King Battel; who was there taken Prisoner, together with the Chief Nobility of the Kingdom. So that it was held for Prophetical, what a Jester told the King, when he had concluded upon the War of Italy: Sir (said he) your Counsellors seem to me, to be a company of Fools. They say very true, that your Ma­jesty shall enter Italy; but they do not tell you how you shall get out again.


I Shall not boast of my Nobility or Moderation (said Piso to the Pretorians,) nor is there any nece­sity for me to dispute my Vertues in competition with Otho. His Vices, in which he only glories, ruin'd the Empire, even then, when he acted Nero's Friend.

Says D'Ablancourt; There was no need [Page 173] for him to urge his Vertues there, nor those of his Ancestors, in comparison with Otho's vices, which had ruin'd the Empire, when he was no more then a private Person. But this does not express the sense of Tacitus (Cum amicum Imperatinis Agecet) by which he plainly gives us to understand, that Otho was Nero's Confident, and the Pandar to his Plea­sures, and consequently the cause of the Dis­orders of his Reign.

To be a good Prince, 'tis not suffi­cient for him to be only better then one that has been very vicious. Otho had liv'd a life so licentious, while he was one of Nero's Courtiers, that Piso, whose Manners were without reproach, would have thought himself dishonour'd to have made a Parallel between his De­serts, and Otho's Vices. On the other side, Sycophants observe this method, that when a Prince is guilty of those Mis­carriages which are abhorr'd by all the World, they still amuse 'em with stories of the Vices of his Predecessors, or of such and such Princes living at the same time; which they aggravate to that de­gree, that his own seem Peccadillo's and Trifles in respect of their Enormities. Whence it comes to pass, that instead of Amendment, he grows Worse. And [Page 174] therefore if it were true that Comines spoke those words to Lewis XI. whose Fa­vourite he was, which he repeats in his Memoire, we may suspect him to have been as much a Sycophant as any of the Rest.

Comines, says Mezeray, represents him extremely prudent in Adversity, on that pene­trated to a Miracle into the Interests and Thoughts of Men, and then made a dex­trous use of 'em to his own ends, ragingly suspitious and jealous of his Power; absolute in his Will; Inexorable; a terrible Oppres­sor of his Subjects, and yet one of the best Princes of his Time.

Certainly the rest were then most hai­nous Criminals, or else Comines was a great Sycophant. As for what Piso said, that Otho had a mind to the Empire in the Reign of Nero, whose chiefest Confident he had been, for three or four Years to­gether, thereby we are instructed that Sycophants (for Otho, while a private Person, was his Crafts-master in that goodly Calling) are the common Pests of Kingdoms, by reason of the pernicious Counsels which they infuse into the Ears of Princes, which is the reason that Ta­citus calls 'em the Corrupters of Govern­ment, and Pedagogues of Tyranny.


NOR was it Judgment or Truth that sway'd their Affe­ctions, but according to Custom, licence of Acclamation, and a habit of Flattering any Person whatso­ever.

Says D'Ablancourt, 'Tis neither Affecti­on nor Judgment, but Custom and Flattery. Far short of the Author's sense.

There are very few Princes that are belov'd, or indeed that can escape Irra­tional and Bruitish Hate: But they are all Flatter'd without exception. For that Flattery never makes its Addresses to the Person, generally the Objects of it will, but to their Fortune which is always a­dor'd; Galba was despis'd because of his Old Age, and hated for his Severity, and his Covetousness: Nevertheless, both People and Grandees could not forbear to Flatter him, while they demanded Otho's Life, and the Banishment of all his Ac­complices, so long as they thought the [Page 176] Conspiracy would be crush'd before it got to a head. And when the Report was spread abroad that Otho was kill'd, they not only express'd their Joy by public Acclamations and Congratulations, but a great number of the Knights and Sena­tors who thought Otho dead, crouded to the Palace to Congratulate him, bemoan­ing their hard Fortune, that had rescu'd Otho from their Revenge. An evident Example to teach us how little trust or heed there is to be given to the fair words or services of Sycophants, and how un­wary those Princes are that put their Confidence on such weak and failing Sup­port: They were therefore in the Right, who to encourage Flavius Salinus to take up Arms for his Brother Vespatian against Vitellius, told him, that the People, who seem'd to love Vitellius, would change both their Opinions and their Notes, so soon as he should declare himself; and that all the Flatteries, and Acclamations, which the Multitude hollow'd forth to Vitellius, would as loudly fill the Fire and Honour of Vespatian, so soon as they found the strength of his Party.


OF Menaces an undaunted Con­temner; impenetrable to Flat­tery.

Says D'Ablancourt, Invincible both to Flattery and Fear.

The greatest part of Princes make a much stouter Resistance against Fear then Flattery. For Menaces provoke their Courage; but Adulation poysons the ve­ry Mind, and depraves their Inclinations▪ Menaces waken 'em, soft and soothing Sycophantry lulls 'em asleep. And they lend an ear the more willingly to their Sycophants, in regard that Complaisance being one of the Properties of Love, they believe themselves to be belov'd by those that please their Humour. Cabrera tells us, that Philip the Second, King of Spain, had a custom to interrupt his Sycophants▪ with this Expression, Dex ad esso, y de zid lo que importa: Let this alone, and talk something to the purpose. Words that become the Lips of all Princes, to whom [Page 178] their Sycophants never prattle other then what is either Prejudicial or Unprofita­ble. Besides, that if Princes would not listen to their Stories, but only to mat­ters of Importance, Flatterers would have little or nothing then to say.


ALL throng'd in heaps to the Camp, got before the next, strove to out-run the formost, up­braided Galba, extoll'd the Soldiers Judgment, kiss'd Otho's Hand; and the greater their Dissimulation was, the more was the Bustle and the Ceremony.

Says D'Ablancourt, Every one made haste before his Companion to get to the Camp, where the Curs'd Galba, applauded the Sol­diers, and kiss'd Otho's Hand, redoubling their Caresses, the more feign'd they were.

What I have already observ'd in the IV. and LXXXI. Articles may serve for an Explanation of this, and therefore [Page 179] I shall add no more then one single Re­flection of Particulars, which is, That Flattery is for the most part attended by Treachery. For in regard that Syco­phants adore the Fortune only, not the Person of the Prince, they soon exchange their Person, when the Person exchanges once his Fortune. Witness their Inve­ctives against Galba, meerly to reconcile themselves to Otho, whose Life they had demanded but some few Hours before, for a Sacrifice to their fury. So that Ta­citus might well say, that whoever had beheld those Hurries, would never have believ'd but that they had been another Gang of People, and quite another Se­nate. Which brings to my remembrance what a Roman Senator said to Plancus, who was Secretary to Antonius, who ac­cus'd his Master and his Benefactor of several Crimes, after he had been one of his most obsequious Flatterers. Certain­ly, said he, Antonius must have committed a world of wicked Actions, the day before thou left'st him. Thus it is with Syco­phants, while the Prince's Liberality and Favours last, they Deifie him; but when he either grows weary of their Com­pany, or by any Misfortune to be de­priv'd of his Grandeur, they are the first [Page 180] to render and leave his Reputation. So true it is, that all sorts of Friends never believe themselves to be any way concern'd in Gratitude to those who are in Adver­sity; or that the Fidelity of those that have receiv'd the greatest Favours, is of any longer permanency then the good Fortune of their Benefactor.


THE Magistrates contend to outvie each other in Adula­tion: The Fathers flock in haste to the Senate: The Tribunitial Power: The Title of Augustus, and all the rest of the Imperial Dignities, are decreed Otho; every one striving to bury in Oblivion the scurrilous In­vectives and opprobrious Language that had been promiscuosly bestowed upon his Reputation before.

Says D'Ablancourt; The Pretor as­sembl'd the Senate, where the principal Men strive to outvie each other in Submission and Flattery. They bequeath Otho the Tribunitial [Page 181] Authority, the Title of Augustus, and all the rest of the Imperial Honours, in hopes he might forget the Affront and Injuries he had receiv'd.

Injuries done to Princes, are always repair'd by excess of Flatteries; and that so much the rather, because that sort of Reparation costs the Sycophants nothing, who have neither Honour nor Shame to expend. And then again, the Dread which terrifie the Roman Grandees, lest Otho should revenge their former Oblo­quies, and abusive Scurrility, serves as a Document to Great Personages to keep within the bounds of Decency in season of Turbulency and Disorder, when the Common People let loose the reigns of Vulgar Malice and Contempt. The Peo­ple are always exempted, by reason of their number. On the other side, the Nobility are always expos'd, by reason of their Wealth, which causes all their Words and Actions to be narrowly scann'd and pry'd into. The People however are over-joy'd when such Ring-leaders once abet, encourage and accom­pany their Insolence: Tho' indeed, it should be the consideration of Great Per­sonages, that the Favour of the Mobile, [Page 182] are no shelter against a Prince's Resent­ment. For to lay a Foundation upon the Multitudes (says Machiavil) is to build upon the Mud.


VItellius, among the more pru­dent and ridgid sort, was thought to be a Man of a poor and pitiful Spirit; which his Favourers call'd his Affability and Mildness, as being a Person that squander'd away his own, and was no less pro­fuse of other Mens, without either Moderation or Judgment: And thus they interpreted for Vertues, most Egregious Vices, in greedy hopes to Command their Master.

Says D'Ablancourt; His readiness to give away both his own and the Estates of other Men, without rule or measure, was look'd upon as Liberality and Genorosity, tho' they that censur'd more severely, call'd it his Weakness and Prodigality. But the eager [Page 183] desire of Dominion, made 'em disguise his Vices under Vertuous Appellations.

Sycophants extol the Vices of Great Men, because it is their Interest to foment and cherish 'em. So that if Princes had not their Vices, at what a loss would Flatterers be, who have only that Sally-Port open to creep into their Favour, and only that same ignominious means to pre­serve what they have once attain'd? The Younger Pliny says, that Princes have no need of Masters to instruct 'em to be wicked; yet let 'em be ne'er so bad, yet they learn many things which else they never would have thought of, had not Sycophants been their Tutors. Nor is there any Vice to which a Prince may be prone, which they more seduliously labour to foster and cherish, then his Lux­ury and his Prodigality, in regard they are Persons that get the largest share of his Profusions. Henry III. of France, was one of the best Princes in the World, but Francis D'O, one of his principal Syco­phants, and as an addition to the King's Misfortune, Super-intendent of his Exche­quer, made swift haste to corrupt and vitiate his good Nature. He was a Per­son (says Dlozeray) entirely devoted to [Page 184] Luxury, who every day persuaded the King to make new Edicts, which were called Bursal, and to go to the Parliament, by his Presence to force their Confirmation. And this was one of the chief Causes of the ruine of that Prince, by his losing insensibly that Respect and Affection which the People had for him: Nor did the Heads of the LEAGVE fail to make their advantage of it, by augmenting their Contempt and Aversion to his Person. To which the Insolency of his Favourites did not a little contribute, who acted the parts of more then Sovereign Princes, and dispos'd of all things with an absolute Will and Pleasure.


A Loud shout ensu'd and the Ac­clamations of the People no less immoderate then dissembl'd: As if they had been pouring forth their Wishes for the Prosperity of Caesar the Dictator, or the Emperor Augustus; with equal strife did they implore the Gods for the Prosperity of his Expedition; not out of Fear or Love, but an inflam'd desire of Servitude.

[Page 185] Says D'Ablancourt; The Oration was receiv'd with great applause, and attended by the feign'd and excessive Praises, as if they had been to honour the Departure of Cae­sar Augustus; and this not for Fear or Affe­ction, but by the instinct of Custom and Flat­tery.

I have observ'd in several places, that Flattery and Love are incompatible, and never makes its Addresses but only to the Fortune of Princes. So that altho' Otho fell short of Caesar's Worth, or the Me­rits of Augustus, nevertheless the People pay'd him the same Honours which they would have render'd to either of Them, because he was exalted to the same Dig­nity. For the People measure their Re­putation by the present Grandeur of the Prince, and not by his Credit and Repu­tation, of which they are not capable to judge. They despis'd Galba, for that being Old, his Reign could be of no long endurance. On the other side, Otho, far inferior to Galba for his Parts and Inte­grity, was reverenc'd because his Youth promis'd a long Reign.


OTHO was desirous of Battel: And his Brother Titianus, and Proculus the Captain of his Guards, as being Persons of little Experience in War urg'd him on; assuring him that as Fortune, the Gods and Otho's Genius were present at his Councils, so would they also assist his Enter­prises: A piece of Flattery which they made use of, lest any one should oppose their Advice.

Otho (says D'Ablancourt) was willing to give Battel, seconded by his Brother, and the chief of the Pretoriun Countiers, who spunr'd him on for want of Experience, and cry'd out, That the Gods who had assisted Otho in managing the Design, would never abandon him in the execution of it; adding Flattery to Impatience, lest any one should pre­sume to oppose 'em.

There is no sort of Flattery so bad, as that which precipitates a Prince to the [Page 187] rash and over-hasty execution of a De­sign, where there can be no miscarriage twice committed. In the most Impor­tant Affairs of Private Persons, there is always some hope, or something of last remedy, to which he may have recourse; so that a Man with the absolute ruine of himself, may try a second Fortune. But the Affairs of Princes, especially such as are advanc'd of a sudden from a Private Condition to Absolute Dominion, and whose unstable Fortune is still upon the Totter, are subject to so many Accidents, and depend upon so many Circumstances, that the smallest Error is enough to un­hinge the whole Frame of their Designs for ever. History furnishes us with a re­markable Example of the Fatality of Sy­cophant Advice in the Person of Francis Duke of Anjou, Brother to Henry III. of France, who lost Flanders and Brabant by miscarrying in his Design upon Antwerp. They, by whom he was more particularly govern'd (says Mezeray▪) were Persons without Honour or Fidelity, among the rest Quinsay his Secretary, Fervaques, and Aurilly his Son▪ in-Law, the Son of a Serjeant of La Terte near Blois, with his Playing upon the Lute, his Voice, his Dancing, and such other Effeminate Qualities, more proper [Page 188] for the Affection of a Young Lady, then a Great Prince, had rais'd to the highest degree of his Master's Favour. These People keeping him still at defiance with the Duke of Mont­pensier, and other Men of Honour, spurr'd him on continually to make himself Master of those Towns and Places of which he promis'd them the Government. For the Counsels of Sycophants are always byass'd. And for that reason it is that all Princes, who lay the Foundations of great Designs, ought seriously to deliberate, whether their intended Enterprises will turn to their Honour, and the Benefit of the Public; whether the Execution will be easie; or at least, whether it be not be­yond their Strength and their Industry; and, whether they that advize 'em, have Courage and Fidelity enough to venture equal Dangers with 'em and for 'em: For many times they happen to Engage themselves in a War, of which they know not how to make an Honourable end when they have begun it: In regard that if they repent, their coming fairly off is in the power of another. Besides that, their own Authority lessens, as the Re­putation of their Generals encreases. Therefore Tiberius rather chose to termi­nate his Differences by Treaty, then by [Page 189] Arms; and always conceal'd his Losses upon the Frontiers of the Empire, because he would not be oblig'd to give the Command of his Armies to Persons that might find him work at home. There is not the same equality of Prosperity and Adver­sity (said Mucienus to Vespatian) between Thee and Me: For if we Vanquish, I shall enjoy no more Honour, then what thou wilt be willing to confer upon me. But if we fail in our Enterprize, we shall share alike in our Misfortune. All Generals speak the same words; but when once they become Victors, they change their Language, and many times their pretensions are too excessive, that their Victory would prove a Burthen to the Prince and State, should they be gratify'd to the utmost of their demands. For, according to the saying of M. de la Rochefoucauld, 'Tis a difficult thing for a Man to contain himself within the limits of Moderation, after the perfor­mance of great Services, which inspire subli­mer Thoughts of Rule and Dominion into those that never think their Merits rewarded to the full. Then as to the point of giving Battel (says Comines) whoever he be, it is expedient for him to consider, before he ha­zards his Kingdom upon a Battel; for the loss of a small number of Men, dismays the [Page 190] Courages of all the rest beyond belief; and instead of terrifying the Enemy, begets a Con­tempt of the Loser. And some few lines after, Let it be how it will, a Battel lost, draws a large Train behind it, to the prejudice of whoever is vanquish'd. And in another place (speaking of Lewis XI.) The King, said he, whatever could be said or argu'd to the contrary, was resolv'd he would not Fight, as being resolv'd not to venture the Fortune of a Battel. And in my Opinion, he took the most prudent course. To conclude, I shall only add one single Reflexion more, and more remarkable then the former, out of the same Comines, upon another usual piece of Adulation which Flatterers daily insinuate into the ears of Princes, that they should rely upon their own good Fortune, and despise their Enemies. A notable Example, says he, (speaking of Ed­ward IV. King of England, who was driven out of his Kingdom in fifteen days,) for Princes to take notice of, who pretend to be always fearless of their Enemies, and to dis­dain and scorn an Armed Foe. 'Tis true, the chiefest part of their Courtiers, uphold 'em in their vain Conceits, to please their Humours: And they think they are to be esteem'd and valu'd for it; and that People will applaud 'em for their couragious advice. [Page 191] But the wiser sort look upon those Rodomon­tadoes as meer Folly; since it is a vertue to fear with Prudence, and provide against it. 'Tis a great Treasure for a Prince to have a Wise Man at his Elbow, provided he believe him, and that he have permis­sion to tell him the Truth. For no Person is more likely to Ruine himself, then he that lays aside all Fear, his Security and Confidence being generally the beginning of his Destruction.


TItianus and Proculus being over­rul'd in their Counsels, betook themselves to the Prerogative of their Generalship.

Says D'Ablancourt, They seeing that they were vanquish'd by Reason, fled to the Authority and Commands of the Emperour.

Otho had in his Army three, the most Prudent and most Experienc'd Captains of that Age, Suetonius Paulinus, Annius Gallus, and Marius Celsus, who were all three of a contrary opinion to Titian [Page 192] and Proculus, That it was not the safest course to give Vitellius Battel; alledging that Vitellius had all the reason in the world to be desirous of Combat, and Otho to spin out the time in delay; for that the Enemy had all the Force he could make, as not being out of hopes of any Succour from Gallia, that began already to totter; nor could they expect any Recruits from the Rhine, which would be then expos'd to the Incursions of the Barbarians; that his supplies out of Eng­land had the Seas to cross, and an Enemy to oppose 'em already; that Spain had but few Soldiers. That Gallia Narbonen­sis was sufficiently Infested by Otho's Navy, and had not yet forgot the misfortune of their last Engagement: That the Army of Vitellius lay enclos'd between the Po, and the Alpes, without any hopes of Re­lief by Sea, and could not subsist long in a Country harrass'd as that had been, by the continual March of so many Legions; that if they could but spin out the War till Summer, the very change of the Cli­mate would bring Diseases among the Germans, who were the most hardy Sol­diers among all the Vitellians; and that many Armies who have driven all before 'em at first, had been forc'd to dissipate [Page 193] for want of meeting an Enemy to fight with. On the other side, that Otho had plenty of all things; that Pannonia, Moe­sia, Dalmatia, and all the East were at his Devotion, with numerous Succours; and more then all this, that he had Rome at his back, the Seat and Rudder of the whole Empire; together with the fa­vour of the Senate, whose Majesty had been always held in Veneration, tho' it might be for a time Ecclips'd; that the Immense Treasures which he had in his Possession, would soon render him Master of the whole; in regard that Money was far more prevalent in a Civil War, then the edge of the Sword; that the Soldi­ers were accustom'd to the heats of Italy: That the River Po was a sufficient stop to impead the farther march of the Enemy, upon which he had several Cities well Fortifi'd and Garrisons, which as he found already by the Resistance that Pla­centia had made, would with no less Vi­gour and Fidelity oppose the Enemy: That therefore his business was to spin out the War, or at least to stay for the fourteenth Legion, so highly esteem'd for their Valour, together with the Forces out of Moesia, which were all expected within a few days: That then Otho [Page 194] might again deliberate what he had to do, and if he thought it his wisest course then to give Battel, he might do it much more to his Advantage, with the As­sistance of that new Reinforcement.

These Reasons were so Convincing, that neither Titianus nor Proculus had any thing to reply. But in regard that Otho was so extreamly desirous of Battel, as one that was impatient of Languishing so long between Hope and Fear, both Titi­anus and Proculus Flatter'd him to his De­struction, by telling him, that all things would give way to his Fortune. A piece of Sycophantism, that was one of the principal Causes of his Ruine; whereas if they had listen'd to the wholesome Advice of Paulinus and his Collegues, Otho might have been persuaded to have chang'd his Resolution. But that which is here most observable is this, that Pro­culus (as it is the custome of Favourites, and Sycophants) had not only a parti­cular Antipathy against those three Gene­rals, to whom he was inferiour both in Probity and Understanding, but made it his business to Calumniate, the high Reputation of Paulinus, Celsus's vigour, and the accomplish'd Experience of Gal­lus; so that being now mistrusted [Page 195] and suspected by their Soveraign, they were only Nominal Generals, whose un­happiness and chief perplexity it was, to see their Prudence made a Cloak to cover the Miscarriages and Ignorance of others. A misfortune that happens too often in the Courts of Princes, that suf­fer themselves to be made a Prey to the passions of their Favourites.


THE Death of Otho being known, the Senate presently decreed him all those Honours that had been study'd in the longest Reigns of Preceding Princes. A return of Thanks was also order'd to the German Armies, and Commis­sioners were sent likewise to Of­ficiate their Obsequious Congratu­lations.

Says D'Ablancourt, The Senate heap'd upon the new Emperour all the Honours, which others had obtain'd during a long Reign, and order'd Thanks to the German Legions, with [Page 196] a Deputation to the Prince, to Congratulate his coming to the Imperial Crown.

Here are three Things to be observ'd. First, That upon the first intelligence of Otho's death, and that the Soldiers had sworn Allegiance to Vitellius, at the In­stigation of the Governour of the City, the People Crown'd with Flowers and Lawrel Garlands, carry'd the Images of Galba round the Temples as it were in Procession; and passing by the place where he had spilt his Blood, they cover'd it with a Pyramid of Garlands, as it were to Erect him a Monument. Which was done to blacken Otho's Memory, who had wrested from him both the Empire and his Life; and in Honour to Vitellius, who seem'd to be the Avenger of his Death.

The second Thing is, That when Ti­dings were brought to Rome of the Re­volt of the German Legions, and the Ele­ction of Vitellius to the Empire, the Se­nate and People of Rome openly declar'd the Calamity of the Commonwealth, which was fallen into the hands of two, the Vilest and most Infamous Persons in the World. Shall we repair to the Temples cry'd they, to offer up our [Page 197] Prayers for Otho or Vitellius? Certainly, most Impious and Detestable will be our Devotions, either for the one or the o­ther of those two Rivals, of which two whoever proves the Victor, will be still the worser Nevertheless the same Se­nate and People that Curs'd Otho and Vitellius, as two Subjects fatally elected the Ruine of the Empire, now decreed to Vitellius those Honours which were ne­ver given to Augustus himself. So strangely do Sycophants and Flatterers differ from themselves, and so subject are they like Bulrushes, to bend with every wind of the Court.

A third Remark is this, That when the two Armies that had Proclaim'd these two Emperours, came to understand how unfit they were to manage so high an Em­ployment, and consequently began to re­pent of the bad Choice they had made so much to their Dishonour, presently some time before Otho's death, they fell to deliberate Considerations about a Re­conciliation one among another, for the Election of an Emperour to the general Satisfaction, and to restore Peace and Concord to the Empire. For the Senate therefore to give the German Legions thanks for the Choice which they had [Page 198] made of Vitellius, the Scorn and Con­tempt of Mankind, was one of the poorest and meanest Condescensions imaginable. And thus you see there is nothing so vile and abject, which Flattery will not stoop to.


BUT when the Army impor­tun'd him to honour with the Dignity of Knighthood his Enfran­chiz'd Vassal Asiaticus, he reprov'd their Immodest Flattery.

Says D'Ablancourt; But upon the request of the Army, to make his Enfranchiz'd Slave a Knight of Rome, he put a stop to their Flattery.

'Tis one of the meanest and the lowest condescensions of Flatterers, to seek to ingratiate themselves with the Prince, by soliciting the Interests and Aggran­dizement of such as they know to be their Favourites, tho' Persons of never so base an Extraction, without Merit or Honour. In the Fifty fourth and Fifty fifth Princi­pal [Page 199] Heads, we have discours'd at large of all the servile Flatteries, to which the Senate stoop'd, while they labor'd to heap up Honours upon the Enfranchiz'd Vassal of Claudius. We Courted Satrius and Pomponius (said a Roman Knight to Tiberius) and we held it for an inestimable Honour to be accounted then Enfranchiz'd Slaves and Porters to Sejanus. Mezeray reports, That the Cardinal Chancellor de Birague, had a greater esteem for one of his Lacquies that was his Favourite, then for all the Laws of the Kingdom: For it was his saying, That he was not the Kingdoms, but the King's Chancellor. An Expression becoming an Italian Sycophant. As for Vitellius, we are to observe, that after he he had refus'd to grant this favour at the request of his whole Army, which was to bestow Gold Rings upon Asiaticus, and thereby to dignifie him with the Order of Roman Knighthood, yet he conferr'd the Honour upon him afterwards at a great Banquet. So difficult a thing it is for Luxurious Princes to withstand the force of Flattery, and to guard themselves from the insinuating Artifices of certain small Officers that creep into their favour by unwarrantable means, as Asiaticus did. Therefore it was the saying of the Youn­ger [Page 200] Pliny, That a Prince who preferrs mean and abject People, can be no great Prince himself. And in another place he thus addresses himsel to Trajan. Tho' thou bestow'st the marks of thy favour upon thy Enfranchiz'd Vassals, yet they are no other then such as are only convenient for their Quality. Thou form'st 'em so, and hast such an eye over 'em, that they dare not presume to measure themselves by thine, but by their own Fortune.


BEing heard, they made use of Justifications rather useful then seemly: For they acknowledg'd themselves guilty of Treachery to Otho, of their own accords; as if they had design'd the long march of the Army before the Battel, the Ti­ring of the Othonians, and the Pester­ing the Battalions with Carriages on purpose, and attributed to their own perfidiousness several fortuitous Events, which only Chance produc'd. [Page 201] Thereupon Vitellius seem'd to be­lieve their Perfidie, and absolv'd 'em from the Crime of forfeited Fi­delity to Otho.

Paulinus and Proculus (says D'Ablan­court) had Audience, and defended them­selves by Excuses not so honest as necessary: For they ascrib'd to their own Cunning the long march of the Army before the Battel, and the encumbrances of the Baggage, with several other accidents of Fortune, to make out their Fidelity to Vitellius by a suppos'd Betraying of Otho.

Behold an Example of what I have in other places alledg'd, that Flattery is always byass'd by Interest. Paulinus and Proculus rather chose to be accounted Traytors, then Persons of Honour. Be­cause their Treason was a meritorious act, and advautagious to Vitellius, and by consequence secur'd 'em from his Indigna­tion. Another Prince then Vitellius, who had no sentiments of Generosity, would have despis'd their Submissions. For if Traytors are odious to themselves, whose Party they embrace, the suppos'd Tray­tors, that is to say, they who to ingra­tiate [Page 202] themselves with the new Prince, falsly accuse themselves to have betray'd his Rival, are no less Treacherous and Criminal then others. And for that rea­son Tacitus tells us, That the Justifica­tions of Paulinus and Proculus, were rather such as necessity requir'd, then honesty. For, for a Man to boast himself a Tray­tor, to the Person to whom he had been Faithful in his Life-time, was an open acknowledgment, that he ne'er was faith­ful, but for his own Interest; and that he only study'd to enrich himself by op­portunities of Treachery. For that rea­son it was, that the Consul Marius Cel­sus, who never stirr'd from Galba's Inte­rest, frankly confessd before Otho, that he had always adheard to Galba's Fortune; and that if he liv'd longer, he would have serv'd him with an inviolable Fidelity. And that with the same integrity he stuck to Otho against Vitellius, who nevertheless continu'd him in his Consulship, for which another had offerr'd Money. So highly is fidelity esteem'd by them, that have us'd all their endeavours themselves to vitiate it in another. And therefore Ti­berius not only acquitted a person that had the courage to acknowledge himself one of Sejanus's Friends, and caus'd his [Page 203] Accusers to be punish'dd with either Death or Exilement. Augustus had always a high esteem for Asinius Pollio, tho' he ne'er would attend him to the War of Actium; in excuse of which he gave him such a reason, as ever after afterwards excus'd him to his favour. The good Ser­vices (said he) which I have done for An­thony, are greater then the Benefits which I have receiv'd from Him; but what he has done for me, is better known to the World, then what I did for him: And therefore I leave him to determin your Differences, with­out declaring for the one or the other, resol­ving to be a prey to the Victor.

Thus Men of Courage always abomi­nate whatever has the least Tincture of Treason; whereas Flatterers, who are only the Friends of Fortune, believe them­selves disingag'd from all Obligations of Loyalty or Fidelity, to those whom She abandons.


Vitellius upon the coming of his Brother, and Preceptors of Tyranny creeping into favour, be­came more lofty and more cruel.

Says D'Ablancourt; Vitellius became more lofty and more cruel upon the coming of his Brother, and the Courtiers from Rome, who taught him to act the the Tyrant. Not to act the Prince, as the Translator erro­neously renders it; for Tacitus and the Younger Pliny always oppose Domination to Principality.

I have already told you in several of the preceding principal Heads, that Sycophants are always of a cruel humor. Which is the reason that Princes who listen to their Charms, cannot choose but be very sanguinary. Nor need we crouds of Examples in this place, to clear what has been sufficiently made out al­ready.


AS Vespasian came out of the Bed-Chamber, some few Sol­diers that waited in the next Room, instead of saluting him, as the Em­peror's Lieutenant, bid him All hail, by the Title of Emperor. Then crouds of others press'd in, and heap'd upon him the Titles of Caesar and Augustus, with all those Appel­lations belonging to Imperial Sove­reinty.

Says D'Ablancourt; As he came out of his Chamber, the Soldiers that were upon the Guard, saluted him Emperor; whose Exam­ples others follow'd, that came running in shoals, and gave him the Names of Caesar and Augustus, with all those other Titles that are usually given to Emperors them­selves.

What has been said already in the 4. 26. 44. 77. 14. & 89. Articles, may [Page 206] serve as a Commentary sufficient for Ex­planation of this. I shall here add but only one Reflexion of Tacitus himself, That the first Attempts of Men aspiring to Sovereign Dominion, are full of du­bious Thoughts, and tottering Resolu­tions; but when they have once laid vio­lent Hands upon the Throne, they shall not want for Encouragement, Counsel and Assistance.


VEspasian in the Infancy of his Empire, not being so obsti­nate in Licencing Injustice, till his Indulgent Fortune, and the Flat­teries of his Tutors taught him to dare more boldly.

Says D'Ablancourt; There were nothing but Accusations of the Rich, and Confisca­tions of Estates; Violences insupportable to the People, but excus'd through the ne­cessity of the War. Nevertheless Vespasian corupted by his good Fortune, and instructed by his evil Tutors, practic'd the same Oppres­sion in Peace toward the end of his Reign, [Page 207] notwithstanding his Reserv'dness at the be­ginning.

Avarice was a Vice predominant in Ves­pasian, Equal but only for that (says Ta­citus) to the Ancient Roman Captains. His Flatterers fomented and cherish'd this same failing of his, which he had some thoughts of reforming at the beginning of his Reign, at which time he carry'd himself with so much Moderation, that it was said of him, That he was the only Private Person advanc'd to Sovereignty, who ever chang'd for the Better. But they that are always at the Elbows of Princes, make it their study to corrupt and enervate their vertuous Intentions by the force of Pleasure, which they strive no less to make habitual to 'em, that so they may have neither leisure, nor any de­sire to look after the Publick Affairs. If Pri­vate Men (says the Younger Pliny) change their Manners and their Conduct in so short a time, Princes are more easily al­lur'd to the same Effects of Human Frailty, how excellent soever their Natural Incli­nations may be; because there are so few that study to cultivate and improve those blooming Excellencies, while all Men rather labour on the other side, out of [Page 208] servile Complaisance, to encourage and augment whatever they discover amiss or irregular in his Disposition. Francis I. (says Mazeray) had been a most Renowned Prince in all particulars, had he not suffer'd himself sometimes to be led astray by the evil Counsels of his Ministers▪ who to advance their own Authority, screw'd up his Prerogative be­yond the Anncient Laws of the Kingdom, to irregular Domination. And that Henry II. who was greatly enclin'd to acts of Ju­stice, Was the cause of all the Mischief which they who Govern'd him committed, in regard he never was the absolute Master of himself.


THE Multitude grew burthen­som through the vast num­ber of Senators and Knights that throng'd out of the City to meet him, some through Fear, many out of Adulation, the rest, and all by degrees, lest others going, they should remain behind.

[Page 209] Add to this (says D'Ablancourt) the nu­merous Train of the Court, always Proud and Insolent ev'n under the best of Princes, all the Senators and Knights, went out to meet him, some in Honour to his Person, others out of Flattery, or for Fear, and all at length, that they might not be seen to remain alone behind.

The Fourth Article may serve as a suf­ficient Commentary for this, to which I refer the Reader, to avoid Repetition.


THE next day he made a long Harangue in Commendation of Himself, wherein he extoll'd his Industry and his Temperance with high Encomiums, tho' all that were present had been Eye-witnesses of his Debaucheries, and all Italy, through which he had march'd, had seen himnotorious for his drousie Luxury and Gluttony. Ne­vertheless the Vulgar, unable to distinguish between Truth and Falshood, made a hideous noise [Page 210] with their Acclamations and Ap­plauses, and clamour'd to him to accept the Title of Augustus, which he refus'd.

The next day, says D'Ablancourt, he made a Harange to the People and Senate, wherein he commended his Industry and his Temperance, as if he had spoken to Stran­gers, and that all Italy had not been able to testifie the contrary. The People however, who are accustom'd to Flattery, void of all Sentiments of Honour, applauded his Im­pertinences, and forc'd him to assume the Ti­tle of Augustus, which he had refus'd.

When Princes applaud themselves, 'tis a sign they expect to be Extoll'd and Ad­mir'd by those that hear 'em. And Sy­cophants when they Flatter out of Cu­stome, they never fail to magnifie a bad Prince, who is so vain as to commend himself. Some there are therefore who have stil'd Sycophants the Eccho of Princes, and indeed it is a Definition that pro­perly befits 'em; for they always speak whatever the Princes say, and always re­peat the Princes own words. Tacitus re­ports that Caligula affected as much as in [Page 211] him lay, all the Expressions of Tiberius; and then when Nero sang upon the Thea­tre, all the Company, but more especi­ally, the Senators and Roman Ladies ex­toll'd his Voice, observing the same Time and Measure in their Acclamations that he kept in Singing.


BUT neither had Aponius writ­ten to him the whole Truth, and his Flattering Sycophants made a more slight Interpretation of his Intelligence, as being only the Mu­tiny of one Legion, while all the rest of the Armies continued in their Obedience.

Says D'Ablancourt, The first Intelligence that Vitellius receiv'd of Vespasians Re­volt, was from Aponius Saturninus, who sent him word that the first Legion had de­declar'd for his Enemy. But as one that was himself astonish'd at the Action, he had not given him an account of all the particu­lars; so that the Emperour's Favorites made [Page 212] slight of the News, assuring him that it was only thi Revolt of a single Legion, but that all the rest continu'd their Fidelity to Him­self.

This Article is explain'd by the 79. Ar­ticle, where it is said, That Princes are Flatter'd, even in the most Perillous Con­junctures of their Affairs. So far Vitel­lius was well inform'd, that one Le­gion was already Revolted, but that other piece of Intelligence, so absolutely necessary for him to have known, was suppress'd, that the Legions of Egypt, Syria, and Judea, had already Elected and Proclaim'd another Emperour. They made him believe, and he himself had divulg'd It among his Soldiers, that there was no fear of a Civil War, and yet at the same time there was one al­ready begun, while the Empire was shar'd between two Emperours. Then he de­manded Succours from the Germans, the English and the Spaniards, and yet not one of those Provinces made haste to send him any, in regard that through the per­nicious Councels of his Flatterers, he dissembl'd the present necessity of his Af­fairs. A piece of Dissimulation which Tacitus calls Impertinent, while it de­lays [Page 213] the Remedy instead of putting a stop to the Distemper: 'Tis very probable, that Portugal had still been subject to the Crown of Spain▪ if the Conde D'Olivares, Chief Minister to Philip the Fourth, had had a better Opinion of the Courage of the Portugueses; and had put a higher Va­lue upon the Prudence of the Vice-Queen Margaret of Savoy, Dutches Dowager of Montoua, who adviss'd him several times to dispel the Tempest, which she else foresaw would fall upon the Spanish Monarchy. But the Duke was born to be an Example, that the too great Confi­dence which the Grand Ministers of State have of their Abilities and their Fortunes, is most commonly the foundation of their Destruction; and that God infatuates the Counsels of Princes, whom He de­signs to punish.


VItellius having made an Ora­tion to the Senate full of Pomp and Ostentation, was applauded with all the most exquisite Flatteries which the Fathers could devise.

[Page 214] Says D'Ablancourt, He made a most Maguificent Oration to the Senate, which was receiv'd with no less Pompous Adula­tion.

There needs no other Explanation of this Text, then what has been already said in the 96. Article.


VItellius enquiring the cause of so much Light in a certain Tower, word was brought him that several Persons Supp'd with Laecina Tuscus, among whom the most considerable for Honour, was Junius Blesus; at what time they that brought the News aggravated much more then it was, the Splendor of the Feast, and the dissolute Riot of the Guests: Nor were there want­ing some that accus'd Tuscus himself and others, but Blesus more hainous­ly, for Debauching so publickly when the Prince was Sick.

[Page] Says D'Ablancourt, Vitellius lay very ill in Servilius's Garden; at what time he observ'd a great Company of Lights in a House adjoyning, and demanding the reason, he was told that Tuscus Cecina made a great Entertainment for Junius Blesus, and seve­ral others of meaner Condition. Nor did they fail to give him an Account of the Mag­nificence of the Banquet, and the Excess of their Debauchery, and to blame the Master of the Feast, but more especially Junius Blesus, for Debauching so scandalously when the Emperour lay Sick.

There can be nothing said more per­haps to this Subject, then what Tacitus himself repeats concerning the Death of Blesus.

So soon, says he, as certain of the Cour­tiers who make it their Business to dive into the secret Jealousies and Disgusts of Princes, perceiv'd that Vitellius was Exasperated, and that Blesus might be made the victime to his Indignation and their Envy, they made their Addresses to Vitellius's Brother, who out of a deprav'd Emulation hated Blesus, whose high Reputation was an Eyesoar to a person sully'd with all manner of Infamy, and engag'd him to undertake the Accusation of his Rival. L. Vitellius thereupon entring [Page 216] the Emperour's Chamber, took his little Son in his Arms, and throwing himself at his brothers Feet, told him that the Trouble he was in, and the Supplications he made him with Tears in his Eyes, proceeded from no other cause, but his real good Wishes for the Welfare of the Emperour and his Children. That his most dange [...]ous Enemy was not Vespasian, whom so many faithful and couragious Le­gions, and so many Loyal Provinces prevent­ed from approaching Italy; but a Person that Rome fomented in her Bosom, who boasted his Descent from the Family of the Caesars, and a Branch of the Junius's and Antonius's, and who daily corrupted the Ale­giance of the Soldery, by his Trayterous Li­berality and Caresses. That all the World lookt upon him as already Emperour, to the contempt of Vitellius, who slighting equally both his Friends and his Enemies, suffer'd the Fortune of a Rival to grow great, who rejoyc'd to behold in the midst of a Luxuri­ous Feast, his Soveraign languishing upon the Bed of Sickness. And therefore it be­hov'd him to let him taste the sorrows of a sad and dismal Night for his unseasonable Jollity, that he might both understand and feel Vitellius was alive and Emperour, and had a Son too to succeed him.

[Page 217] And thus we see how Sycophants enve­nome the most Innocent Actions of Men, of whom the Prince has once a Jealousie, and spur their Soveraigns on to Cruelty and Tyranny. And this Example of Blesus may serve to serve to admonish great Personages, how much it behoves 'em to be careful of themselves, and to 'em understand the Dangers to which their Birth and Fortune expose 'em.


COntrary to the Opinions of the most experienc'd of the Cen­turions who would have frankly gi­ven him their Advice, might they have been Consulted. But the Fa­vourites of Vitellius would not per­mit 'em to come near him, besides that the Ears of the Prince were so possess'd, that all things profitable sounded harsh, and nothing would be admitted but what was Grateful and Destructive.

[Page 218] Says D'Ablancourt, Against the Opinion of his most Experienc'd Captains who would have given him their Advice, if he would have requir'd it: But he had been accustom'd for a long time to hear nothing but what was pleasing and prejudicial.

Sycophants understand so well to pos­sess the Ears of the most part of unwary Princes, that in time they render 'em not much unlike Vitellius; there being very few that will endure to hear Truth spo­ken without Offence. Therefore it was that one of the Ancients resembl'd Syco­phants to Thieves, who when they go about to break open a House in the Night time, put out their Candles for fear of being discover'd. For the first thing that Flatterers do in the Courts of Princes, is to remove from about their Persons all Men of sharp and penetrating Appre­hensions, though bold and able to give wholesome Advice to their Soveraigns, and discover the Artifices which they make use of, to the prejudice of the de­luded Prince. Thus Nero became a Prey to his Flatterers, when once they re­mov'd Burrhus and Seneca out of their way, who labour'd by consent, and made it their Business to infuse into him Senti­ments [Page 219] becomming a Vertuous and Magna­nimous Governour.


BUT Envy lay conceal'd, and Adulation practiz'd openly.

Says D'Ablancourt, The Senate conceal'd their Sentiments, as well of Hatred as En­vy, only their Flattery shew'p it self openly.

Observe here in two words, the Por­traiture of the Court, where Hatred lurks in the Heart, while the Lips of Men are full of Adulation. The Chief Ministers who ever they be, are still Flat­ter'd by reason of their high Advance­ment, but Envy'd always by reason of their Power. It being the Custom of Men to behold with murmuring and re­pining, Superiour Authority in the hands of those that have been their Equals. Mucianus having written to the Senate, the Senate murmur'd in their Private Cabals. If Mucianus be a private Person, cry'd they, why does he Write like a public Minister? Had he had any thing to say to [Page 220] us, he might as well have stay'd till his Re­turn to Rome, at what time he might have propos'd it himself in the Senate. But when they were met in a Body, then they strove who should most applaud what they had condemn'd in private, even to the decreeing Triumphal Orna­ments to Mucianus for a Civil War, which he had kindl'd by inciting Vespa­sian to Revolt against Vitellius. And this that the Senate acted at Rome in respect of Mucianus, is no more then what is daily Practiz'd in all the Courts of the World, where the Chief Ministers and Favourites hear nothing but Encomiums of themselves, because all People fawn upon their present For­tune. But they are much deceiv'd who judge by their own Ears, of the inward Sentiments of their outward Adorers.


A Certain Person known to have been long Blind, imploring with Tears the Cure of his Blind­ness, besought the Prince to rub his Cheeks and the Balls of his Eyes with the Excrement of his Mouth. Another lame of his Hand, begg'd the favour that Caesar would vouch­safe to Tread upon him with his Feet. Vespasian at first refus'd and laugh'd at the Petitions of both, as fearing the vain Issue of such an at­tempt; till tyr'd with the Suppli­cations of the Afflicted People, and the Encouragements of his Adula­tors, he was induc'd to have a bet­ter Conceit of himself.

Says D'Ablancourt, One that was Blind and well known by the People, besought him to rub his Eyes with his Spittle, as being the only means to recover his Sight; and another that was lame of one Hand, implor'd him [Page 222] likewise but only to touch the part Affected with the sole of his Foot. The Emperour rejected both their Sollicitations at first with Scorn and Laughter, till press'd by their continual Importunities, he enquir'd of the Physitians whither such a thing were possible to be done, waving between the Flatteries of his Courtiers, and the fear of rendring him­self Ridiculous.

Tacitus makes the Commentary upon this place himself. Vespasian, says he, Commanded the Physitians to consult among themselves, whether Humane Remedies could surmount the Nature of those two Infirmities. The Physitians after they had argu'd the Point, concluded, that the Blind Man not having as yet quite lost his visual Faculty, the sight of his Eye not being utterly Corro­ded away, his sight might be restor'd, pro­vided the Impediments were remov'd: And that the other's Hand might be recover'd, so that the Nerves that were shrunk, could be mollifi'd and stretch'd out to ther natural use: That the Gods perhaps made choice of him to effect this great Miracle: Moreover, that the Glory of the Cure would redound to his Immortal Honour, whereas if it did not succeed, all the Laughter and Derision of the Cure in vain attempted, would fall upon the [Page 223] Credulity of those unfortunate Persons. Vespasian therefore believing all things would submit to his Fortune, with a chearful Air went on, and condescended to their Suppli­cations.

Thus Princes at first withstand the Corruptions of Flattery, but sooner or later suffer themselves to be Vanquish'd by its Temptations. They may be Mo­dest, Prudent, Constant, Resolute, Po­litic, and Judicious, yet Flattery always finds a way to steal into their Affections, and supplant those Vertues which she meets with in their Inclinations.


WHen Domitian read Agri­cola'r Will, wherein he left him Coheir with the best of Wives, and a most Pious Daughter, he re­joyc'd at it were to find so great an Honour done his Brother by so judi­cious a Person. So blinded and cor­rupted was his Judgment by conti­nual Adulations, as not to discern that a Vertuous Father never left a [Page 224] Prince his Heir, unless he were a bad one.

Says D'Ablancourt, When Domitian read Agricola's last Will and Testament, and saw that he had left him his Heir toge­ther with his Wife and Daughter, he took it for an Honour; being so Infatuated by Flat­tery, as not to apprehend that a bad Prince was never the Heir to one that was Ver­tuous.

Princes that have a Kindness for Syco­phants, are soon mistaken in their Judg­ments, while the t'other make use of all their Art and Cunning, to disguise the Truth of things. Self-love it is indeed that blinds the greatest part of Men. But they have a Remedy which Princes want, in regard that either their Su­periours or their Equals, are not a­fraid to tell 'em Truth, which is an easie step to Reformation; whereas Princes having neither Superiours nor Companions, unless they please them­selves; all the World studies to please or rather to misguide 'em. Whence it comes to pass that they delight in ma­ny things, which they would shun as the [Page 225] Rocks of their Reputation, and as eter­nal Stains upon their Memories, had they but Faithful and Uninterrested Friends, who had the Courage to discover what their Sycophants conceal from their Knowledge. I wish to Heaven this little Treatise may prove acceptable to others as perhaps it may be unpleasing to them, who raise their Fortunes by Adulation.


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