Utopia

Utopia by Sir Saint Thomas More Read Free Book Online

Book: Utopia by Sir Saint Thomas More Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sir Saint Thomas More
rather than be severe when he has suffered them to be too common. Let him not rashly revive laws that are abrogated by disuse, especially if they have been long forgotten and never wanted. And let him never take any penalty for the breach of them to which a judge would not give way in a private man, but would look on him as a crafty and unjust person for pretending to it.
To these things I would add that law among the Macarians--a people that live not far from Utopia--by which their king, on the day on which he began to reign, is tied by an oath, confirmed by solemn sacrifices, never to have at once above a thousand pounds of gold in his treasures, or so much silver as is equal to that in value. This law, they tell us, was made by an excellent king who had more regard to the riches of his country than to his own wealth, and therefore provided against the heaping up of so much treasure as might impoverish the people. He thought that moderate sum might be sufficient for any accident, if either the king had occasion for it against the rebels, or the kingdom against the invasion of an enemy; but that it was not enough to encourage a prince to invade other men's rights--a circumstance that was the chief cause of his making that law. He also thought that it was a good provision for that free circulation of money so necessary for the course of commerce and exchange. And when a king must distribute all those extraordinary accessions that increase treasure beyond the due pitch, it makes him less disposed to oppress his subjects. Such a king as this will be the terror of ill men, and will be beloved by all the good.
    "If, I say, I should talk of these or such-like things to men that had taken their bias another way, how deaf would they be to all I could say!" "No doubt, very deaf," answered I; "and no wonder, for one is never to offer propositions or advice that we are certain will not be entertained.
Discourses so much out of the road could not avail anything, nor have any effect on men whose minds were prepossessed with different sentiments.
This philosophical way of speculation is not unpleasant among friends in a free conversation; but there is no room for it in the courts of princes, where great affairs are carried on by authority." "That is what I was saying," replied he, "that there is no room for philosophy in the courts of princes." "Yes, there is," said I, "but not for this speculative philosophy, that makes everything to be alike fitting at all times; but there is another philosophy that is more pliable, that knows its proper scene, accommodates itself to it, and teaches a man with propriety and decency to act that part which has fallen to his share. If when one of Plautus' comedies is upon the stage, and a company of servants are acting their parts, you should come out in the garb of a philosopher, and repeat, out of Octavia , a discourse of Seneca's to Nero, would it not be better for you to say nothing than by mixing things of such different natures to make an impertinent tragi-comedy? for you spoil and corrupt the play that is in hand when you mix with it things of an opposite nature, even though they are much better. Therefore go through with the play that is acting the best you can, and do not confound it because another that is pleasanter comes into your thoughts.
It is even so in a commonwealth and in the councils of princes; if ill opinions cannot be quite rooted out, and you cannot cure some received vice according to your wishes, you must not, therefore, abandon the commonwealth, for the same reasons as you should not forsake the ship in a storm because you cannot command the winds. You are not obliged to assault people with discourses that are out of their road, when you see that their received notions must prevent your making an impression upon them: you ought rather to cast about and to manage things with all the dexterity in your power, so that, if you are not able to make them go well, they may be as little

Similar Books

Death in the Kingdom

Andrew Grant

An Accidental Death

Phyllis Smallman

Inherit the Dead

John Connolly, Jonathan Santlofer, Charlaine Harris, Heather Graham, Val McDermid, Lawrence Block, Lee Child, Max Allan Collins, Stephen L. Carter, Alafair Burke, Ken Bruen, Mark Billingham, Marcia Clark, Sarah Weinman, James Grady, Bryan Gruley, S. J. Rozan, Dana Stabenow, Lisa Unger, C. J. Box

In the Life

Will Blue

Thorn

Joshua Ingle

The Sixth Man

David Baldacci