Billeder på siden

known; no times were fuller of action, nor shewed the instability of worldly honours more, than the occurrences that happened in Italy in his time.

Now from a man wholly employed in court affairs, when it was thought a madness to look beyond second causes, worse things might have been with better reason expected, than these so bitterly con: demned; which are indeed but the history of wise impieties, being before imprinted in the hearts of ambitious pretenders, and by him made legible to the meanest understandings; yet, he is more blamed for this fair expression, than they are that daily commit far greater impiety, than his or any pen else is capable to express.

Most of the estates of Italy did in his time voluntarily, or were compelled to change their masters; neither could that school teach him any thing more perfectly, than the way to greatness; nor he write a more acceptable treatise than Aphorisms of state.

He saw the kingdom of Naples torn out of the house of Anjou, by Ferdinand, and the people kept in tyranny both by the father and the son.

He saw the no less mad, than disloyal, ambition of Lodowick, Duke of Milan, who took the government upon him, out of the hands of young Galeas, with as much treachery and cuoning as Francis Sforza, father to Galeas, had done from the Duke of Orleans,

He beheld Charles the Eightb, king of France, brought into Italy, by the said. Duke of Milan, to keep the people at gaze, whilst he poisoned his nephew, who was to expect the dukedom, when he was of age.

He saw the descent of Charles winked at by Pope Alexander the Sixth, in hopes to raise a house for his son Cæsar, out of the ruins of some of the princes, in which he was deceived; for the French king made himself master of all Italy, entered Rome twice, put the Holy Father, to take sanctuary, in the castle of St. Angelo, and to subscribe to such conditions, as the victorious king was pleased to prescribe him ; upon which his holiness came out, and though Charles, in shew of reverence, did kiss his foot, yet he took his son Cæsar for hostage, to secure the performance of his promise, though he covered it with the name of Ambassy, ever to reside with the king, in token of amity.

And after Cæsar made his escape, the holy father, contrary to his oath, made a league against the French king.

He was an eye-witness of an amity, contracted between the vicar of Christ and his known enemy, the Turk; with whom he agreed, for money, to poison his brother, who was fled into christendom, for fear of his brother Bajazet, then reigning, and was under the pope's protection at Rome; he saw the French king lose all Italy, within the small time he had gained it. ne

He saw both Pope Alexander and his son overthrown, by one draught of poison, prepared by themselves for others; of which the father died presently, but the son, by reason of youth, and antidotes, had leisure to see what he had formerly gotten torn out of bis


hands, and he forced to fly to his father-in-law, the King of Navarre, in whose service he was murthered,

He was an observer of ambitious practices of princes ; of the domestical impiety of the pope, who was corrival with his two sons, in the love of his own daughter, the Lady Lucretia, whom they all three enjoyed; which bred such a hatred between the brothers, that Cæsar, being jealous, that the other had a greater share in her affection, killed him one night, and threw him

into the. Tyber. He observed that men in soft raiment might be found at court, but their consciences seared and hard. · He saw how princes never kept their promises so exactly, as not to fail, when they see a greater profit falling out, another time, by breaking them.

Is not falsehood and deceit their true dialect, nay cozenage, duced into so necessary an art amongst them, so that he, that knows not how to deceive, knows not how to live? Let any one judge, that reads their stories,

Breach of faith in private men is accounted dishonourable and damnable, but kings claim a larger character, by reason of their universal commerce; and, as ambassadors ought to be excused, if they lie abroad for the good of their country, because they represent their masters persons, with far greater reason, then, may they do it, that employ them.

Many governments are like natural bodies; outwardly they shew a comely structure, but search into the in: rails, from whence the original and true nourishment proceed, and there will be found nothing but blood, filth, and stench.

His fortune is to be commiserated, that he in particular should bear the infamous marks, which belong to the vilest statesmen in general.

It was his profession, to imitate the behaviour of princes, were it never fo unseemly; nay, religion itself cannot condemn the speculation of ill, in ministers of state, without laying herself and professors open to all injury.

What are chronicles, but registers of blood, and projects to procure the spilling of it? The princes, there named, put in red letters, yet none blames them that write them.

Who could advise better than this Florentine, a member of the Roman church? And he is in that regard to be less blamed, for discovering the wicked practices of ambitious men, because he had as much converse with the pope, then in being, as any man, and with whom all impieties were as familiar as the air he breathed in.

If any can pretend a just quarrel with Machiavel, they are kings ; for as it is the ordinary course of light women, to find fault with the broad discourse of that they maintain their power by : so statesmen may best blame the publication of those maxims, that they put in practice, with more profit and security.

If the unjust steward was commended for his worldly wisdom, what doth he say more of Cæsar Borgia, than that he was a politick tyrant? And if, without leave of the text, he proposes him, for an

example, yet it is of ill; and who is more fit to be a pattern of, or to villainy, than one of the same coat?

If the lives of Lewis the Eleventh, or the Fourteenth, were examined, it will be found they acted more ill than Machiavel wrote, or, for ought is known, ever thought; yet the first has wisdom inscribed on his tomb, and the last is cried up for a great statesman. And did not they always kiss their crucifix, after the doing of a dishonest thing, pronouncing a sentence or two, that discovered the complexion of their hearts, they might have passed for as honest men, as their wise ancestors, or any princes in their times, who now lie quiet in their graves ; a favour this man is denied, by ignorant and ungrateful posterity.

He being to make a grammar for the understanding of tyrannical government, is he to be blamed, for setting down the gene al rules in it?

He instructs wise princes to dispatch their ungrateful actions by deputies, and those that are popular with their own hands.

Upon how great disadvantage should a good prince treat with a bad, if he were not only familiar with the paths of wickedness, but knew other ways to shun them, and how to undermine the treacherous practices ?

He hath raked the truth too far, in many things, which makes him smell as he doth in the nostrils of ignorant people; whereas the better experienced know it is the wholsome savour of the court, especially where the king is of the first head.

He would have men prepared to encounter the worst of men; and therefore he resembles bim to a man driving a flock of sheep, into a corner, and did there take out their teeth, and instead, gave each of them a set of wolves teeth; so that, whereas one shepherd was able to drive a whole flock, now each sheep had need of a particular shepherd, and all little enough.

He was of an honourable family born at Florence, and the writer hereof, being about the year 1642, at Florence, made what inquiry he could after bis reputation, and found that he left a good name. behind him, as of a pious, charitable, sincere, good man, as any in By James Boevey, Esq; at Cheam in Surrey.

Anno Salutis 1692,

Ætatis 71. * Cheam, in Surry. On the North Wall, on a fair Marble Monument, is this Inscription :

In Memory of

James Bovey, Esq;
who was buried near this place, January the 13, 1695.

And also of Margaretta, his Wife,

buried August the 3d, 1714.
In the 76th Year of her Age.

that city.

• Vide Anb. Ant. Surrey, Vol. II. p. 115.

N. B. The copy of this discourse, which was in the Harleian Library, being imperfect, we have been obliged with that which is here printed, being the author's original MS. by Peter Thompson, Esq; the present worthy High Sheriff of Surrey.






Done from the Italian Copy, printed at Rome. London : Printed for Richard Baldwin, near the Oxford-Arms, in Warwick-lane,

1693. Quarto, containing thirty-six Pages.

THE TRANSLATOR TO THE READER. THÍS account of the late terrible earthquake in Sicily, I thought, deserved to be put in English. The author, who is a priest, has wrote it in a very plain style; and I have ventured to leave out several things that are in the original, especially that relate to miracles, and other fopperies his profession leads him to believe. As to the rest, I have translated it as near the Italian as I can, and with the same simplicity of expression, which is more to be valued in accounts of this nature, than flourishes of rhetorick. THE late earthquake, that fell out in Sicily, is of so astonishing

a nature, as can be easilier imagined than expressed ; anů such a one as can hardly, if at all, be paralleled in any preceding age. It is true, that island has been often the scene of such kind of tragedies, and the irruptions of mount Ætna have been no news in the world for near two thousand years past: but whether, as an effect of the anger of heaven, or of the craziness of this globe of the earth, which seems to begin to yield to the injuries of time, as all other things do; certain it is, that this last earthquake, for the suddenness of it, and the mighty desolations it has produced, is the most astonishing one that ever was.

Philosophers will be inclinable to search for the natural causes of such a phenomenon, in the quality and temper of the summer that went before: and I am willing so far to humour them, as to suppose, that the many great rains and intense heats, succeeding so often one another this last summer in all the southern parts of Sicily, might contribute to this affrightful irruption : for the imperceptible chasms, thereby made into the bowels of the earth, might probably give room for the vapours of the atmosphere, to insinuate

themselves into those subterraneous cavities, which afterwards di- , lating themselves, and requiring greater room, must needs force their way through all obstacles that penned them in.

But, leaving this disquisition to others, it would seem this earthquake carried along with it some more than ordinary marks of an immediate stroke of heaven. And as seldom the divine vengeance exerts its power upon us mortals in any national calamity, without giving us some previous warnings; so this late stroke was usbered in with unwonted presages, of which it were hard, if not impossible, to give any natural cause, though perhaps, I be as little a votary to superstition, as any man can be, notwithstanding the world is pleased to tax our order with it; yet the strangeness of one or two omens, that preceded this earthquake, may justly prevail with me, to give here a short account of them.

Passing over that mighty loud warning from mount Ætna, that happened for three days together in June last, which is always remarked as a forerunner of some irruption, either of the mount itself, or of some part thereabouts ; this following strange phænomenon fell out at Syracusa, on the fifteenth of May before.

About two hours before sun setting, the atmosphere being very clear, the heavens appeared, on a sudden, all on fire, without any flashes of lightning, or the least noise of thunder, which lasted about a quarter of an hour. About wbich time were seen in the air, as it were perpendicularly above the city, two rainbows, after the usual manner, with points towards the earth, and a third transversed; the colours of all three being extremely bright. This was by all spectators thought the more supernatural, that during the whole time these rainbows appeared, there was not one single cloud to be seen in any part of the horizon.

In July thereafter, at Catanea, the nearest town to mount Ætna, there fell out another as surprising presage. In the church of the Minims there, one father Baletti lies buried; a man who was believed by the people of that country to have, by his prayers, stop, ped the progress of that fearful irruption of Ætna, which happened about a hundred and twenty years ago. The story goes, that a flood of bituminous matter, like burning oil, being thrown out of the mountain, was carried down with a mighty rapidity, to the very gates of Catanea, bearing every thing before it in its way. Every body expected to be immediately devoured by this sulphureous inundation, wben this holy man, by bis exorcisms and prayers, in presence of all the people, put a stop to its career. Now this iomb being ever since held in greatest veneration by the people of Catanea, and notwithstanding his name was never in the calendar, yet daily prayers and offerings ceased not to be offered at his shrine. It fell out, as I have said, in July last, that one morning when the doors of the church came to be opened, the statue of the saint, that was placed upon his monument, was fallen down, and lay flat on the ground. This was at first thought to be but an ordinary accident; but the statue, every time it was set up upon its basis again, for seven or eight nights together, was constantly found fallen down

« ForrigeFortsæt »