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" venerable he becomes." His character was exactly the same in all respects, in his buildings, his furniture and his table. M. de Catinat, the worthy disciple of such a master, imitated him in his simplicity, as well as in his military virtues.
I have heard some officers say, who had served under these two great men, that in the army their tables were well supplied, but with great plainness; that they were plentiful, but military; that they eat only of common food, and drank only of the wine of the country where the troops lay.
Mareschal de la Ferte, when no longer able to serve, through his great age and infirmities, ordered his son's equipage for the campaign to be got ready. His steward having made ample provision of truffles, morilles, and all the other materials that were requisite to make excellent ragoos, by the son's direction, brought in the bill. The mareschal had scarce cast his eye upon it, before he threw it away in a passion, “ It is not thus, said he, that we made war. Coarse
meat plainly dressed was all the ragoos we had. " Go, tell my son, that I will not put myself for no
thing to so foolish an expence, and so unworthy of
a soldier.” This I was told by an officer that was present. And the same gentleman observed, that in the late war the officers, that met at Paris, seldom entertained themselves with any other food, than such as they had caten during the campaign.
Lewis XIV. in the military code he has left behind him, which contains divers regulations for the soldiery, besides what relates to plate, cquipage, and dress, [s] particularly recommends plainness and trugality in eating; and to this end enters into a very particular detail, and forbids an expensive and sumptuous table under severe penalties. Thus a prince, who knows how to govern, easily comprehends how important it is to the state to banish all luxury and magnificence from the camp; [t] to suppress the senseless ambition of such as strive to distinguish [u] themselves by a false politeness, and the study of what softens and enervates mankind; and to cover with shame such profusions as consume in a few months what might serve for several years, or be so much more nobly applied in relieving the distresses, and promoting the happiness of mankind.
gality [s] Sa majesté voulant par toutes qui non seulement incommode les voies ôter les moyens aux officiers plus riches, mais ruine entièrement généraux de ses armées de se con- les moins accommodés, qui à leur stituer en des dépenses inutiles & exemple PAR UNE FAUSSE RE'superflues, comme celles qui se font · PUTATION, croient être obligés
en leurs tables, s'étant introduit de les imiter. .. Défend sa ma. une méchante coutume de faire dans jesté aux lieutenans généraux, &c. les armées des repas plus magnifi. qui tiendront table, d'y faire servir ques & somptueux qu'ils ne sont autre chose que des potages & du ordinairement en leurs maisons : ce rôti, avec des entrées & entremets
V. HONOURS. DIGNITIES. Posts of preferment, and the marks of respect annexed to them, may flatter the ambition and vanity of mankind, but in themselves include no real Glory or solid Greatness, as they are foreign to them, as they are not always the proof and reward of merit, as they add nothing to the good qualities either of body or mind, as they correct none of our faults but often on the contrary serve to multiply and make them more remarkable, by making them conspicuous, and exhibiting them in a stronger light. Those who judge best, without suffering themselves to be dazzled by empty shew, have always held dignities as burthens which they were loaded with, rather than honoured by; and the higher they have been raised, the heavier and more dreadful the weight has appeared. There is nothing so splendid in the eyes of mankind, as royalty and sovereign power, and nothing at the same time so laborious and oppressive. The glory which qui ne seront que de grosses viandes, belli, lucrantur. Tacit. Hist. lib. sans qu'il puisse y avoir aucunes as
1. cap. 88. siettes volantes ni hors d'auvre, &c. [u] Paulatim discessum ad delini. Réglemens du 24 Mars 1672, & menta vitiorum, balnea & convivi. du premier Avril 1705.
orum elegantiam : idque apud im[i] Ambitione stolidâ luxuriosos peritos humanitas vocatur. Tacit. apparatus conviviorum, & irrita- in Vit. Agric. cap. 21. menta libidinum, ut instrumenta
surrounds it, makes us with reason admire such persons as have had the courage to refuse it; and the labour and pains which are inseparable from it, make us still more admire such as rightly discharge all the duties of it.
The young Sidonians, who refused the sceptre which was offered them, well understood, as Hephæstion tells them, that it was far more glorious to despise, than to accept royalty [.2] Primi intellexistis, quanto majus esset regnum
fastidire, quàm accipere. And the answer of Abdalonymus, whom they had raised from the dust to a throne, sufficiently explains his opinion of it. Alexander asking him how he had borne his condition of poverty and misery; “Would
to God, says he, I could bear royalty with as much
courage and resolution !" Utinam, inquit, eodem animo regnum pati possim! The phrase, regnum pati, “ to bear royalty,” is very expressive, and plainly shews that he thought it a heavier and more dangerous burden than poverty.
We shall see hereafter in what manner the Romans were forced to offer violence to Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, before he would accept of an authority, which seemed to him the more formidable, as it gave him an almost unlimited power, and, under the specious title of king and master, made him the actual servant and slave of all his subjects.
[y] Tacitus and Probus, who did so much honour to the royal dignity, were both advanced to the empire against their will
. The first urged his great age and weakness, which made him incapable of marching at the head of an ariny; [-] but the whole senate answered, that the empire was entrusted to his understanding and prudence, that it was his merit they chose and not his body. And a letter which Probus
. wrote to one of the principal officers of the empire, fully explains his real sentiments. “I never desired,
[x] Q. Curt. lib. 4. n. 1. tem facimus. Tu jube, milites D] Vopisc.lin Vit.Probi & Tacit. pugnent; animum tuum, non cor
[x] Quis melius quàm senex im- pus, eligimus. perat ? Imperatorem te, non mili
says says he, the place I possess; I was raised to it against my will, and continue in it only through
an apprehension of exposing the republic and my“self to new dangers by deserting it.”
[a] Upon the death of the emperor Maximilian, there arose very powerful factions in behalf of those who laid claim to the empire. The two principal competitors were Francis I. and Charles V. The electors, to put an end to these disputes, resolved to exclude them both as being foreigners, and to place the imperial crown upon one of their own nation, and of the number of the electors. They therefore unanimously chose Frederic of Saxony, sirnamed the Wise, who desired two days to consider of it; on the third he thanked the electors with great modesty, but told them that at his aue he found himself unable to support so great a burden. And continuing firm in this resolution, notwithstanding all their remonstrances, the electors desired he would nominate the person he judged most proper, and assured him they would conform to his advice. Frederic long refused it, but at last being forced upon it by the pressing instances of the electors, he declared in favour of the catholic king
What we have here said of sovereign power may be applied to all posts in the state, and all offices of magistracy. The wisest princes have set aside the ambitious, and raised such as declined employments.
[b] They saw, notwithstanding the darkness of infidelity, that the republic could only be trusted with security to such as had merit enough to fear the
administration of it.” And they enquired with so much care after persons worthy of the great offices of state, that they found men to whom it was necessary to use violence, before they would accept of them, as Pliny observes of Trajan.
All these examples prove, that there is nothing really great in honours and dignities, but the danger which surrounds them; that true glory consists in [a] Vie de Charles V. par Leti. [b] Lamp. in Vit. Alex. Sever.
knowing knowing how to look upon them with a generous contempt, or in accepting them only for the public good; that solid greatness consists in renouncing greatness itself; that a man becomes a slave from the moment he is fond of it, and that he is superior to it only when he contemns it.
VI. VICTORIES. NOBILITY OF BLOOD. ABILI
I join all these under one title, though very different in themselves, because they have all something in them extremely flattering and delusive, and seein to have somewhat more directly personal and peculiar to their possessors. But though they are far superior to the advantages already spoken of, yet solid Glory and real Greatness do not however consist in them.
Victories. If there be any thing capable of exalting man above his nature, and giving him a superiority that distinguishes him from the rest of mankind, it seems to be the glory which results from battles and victories. A prince, a general, marching at the head of a numerous army, whose eyes are all bent upon him; who by a single signal actuales that yast body, of which himself is the soul, and sets an hundred thousand arms in motion; who carries terror and conster nation along with him wherever he goes; who sees the strongest ramparts and highest towers fall down before him; at whose presence, in a word, the whole universe trembling and attrighted keeps silence; such a man seems to be something mighty grand, and to come very near the Divinity.
And yet if we coolly, rationally, and without prejudice examine the famous heroes of antiquity, those illustrious conquerors, we shall often find, that this glittering shew of warlike actions is but a vain phantom, which may impose upon us at a distance, but disappearsand vanishes in proportion as we approach