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Sir Francis Bacon: Essays of Francis Bacon
15. Of Seditions
SHEPHERDS of people, had need know the calendars of tempests in state; which are commonly greatest, when things grow to equality; as natural tempests are greatest about the Equinoctia. And as there are certain hollow blasts of wind, and secret swellings of seas before a tempest, so are there in states:
--Ille etiam caecos instare tumultus Saepe monet, fraudesque et operta tunescere bella.
Libels and licentious discourses against the state, when they are frequent and open; and in like sort, false news often running up and down, to the disadvantage of the state, and hastily embraced; are amongst the signs of troubles. Virgil, giving the pedigree of Fame, saith, she was sister to the Giants:
Illam Terra parens, irra irritata deorum, Extremam (ut perhibent) Coeo Enceladoque sororem Progenuit.
As if fames were the relics of seditions past; but they are no less, indeed, the preludes of seditions to come. Howsoever he noteth it right, that seditious tumults, and seditious fames, differ no more but as brother and sister, masculine and feminine; especially if it come to that, that the best actions of a state, and the most plausible, and which ought to give greatest contentment, are taken in ill sense, and traduced: for that shows the envy great, as Tacitus saith; conflata magna invidia, seu bene seu male gesta premunt. Neither doth it follow, that because these fames are a sign of troubles, that the suppressing of them with too much severity, should be a remedy of troubles. For the despising of them, many times checks them best; and the going about to stop them, doth but make a wonder long-lived. Also that kind of obedience, which Tacitus speaketh of, is to be held suspected: Erant in officio, sed tamen qui mallent mandata imperantium interpretari quam exequi; disputing, excusing, cavilling upon mandates and directions, is a kind of shaking off the yoke, and assay of disobedience; especially if in those disputings, they which are for the direction, speak fearfully and tenderly, and those that are against it, audaciously.
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