Of the Kings Tyrannical Reign.
Wee have all this while considered this King, with respect unto his Person, Temper, and Inclinations, now we will speak of him with more immediate respect unto his Office and Government, as he is a King. And here we will discourse of the manner of his Government, of his Treasure and Revenues, of his Great Officers, and lastly, of his Strength and Wars.
As to the manner of his Government, it is Tyrannical and Arbitrary in the highest degree: For he ruleth Absolute, and after his own Will and Pleasure: his own Head being his only Counsellor. The Land all at his Disposal, and all the People from the highest to the lowest Slaves, or very like Slaves: both in Body and Goods wholly at his Command. Neither wants He those three Virtues of a Tyrant, Jealousie, Dissimulation, and Cruelty.
But because Policy is a necessary endowment of a Prince, I will first shew in an instance or two, that he is not devoid of it.
The Countrey being wholly His, the King Farms out his Land, not for Money, but Service. And the People enjoy Portions of Land from the King, and instead of Rent, they have their several appointments, some are to serve the King in his Wars, some in their Trades, some serve him for Labourers, and others are as Farmers to furnish his House with the Fruits of the Ground; and so all things are done without Cost, and every man paid for his pains: that is, they have Lands for it; yet all have not watered Land enough for their needs, that is, such Land as good Rice requires to grow in; so that such are fain to sow on dry Land, and Till other mens Fields for a subsistence. These Persons are free from payment of Taxes; only sometimes upon extraordinary occasions, they must give an Hen or Mator such like, to the King’s use: for as much as they use the Wood and Water that is in his Countrey. But if any find the Duty to be heavy, or too much for them, they may leaving their House and Land, be free from the King’s Service, as there is a Multitude do. And in my judgment they live far more at ease, after they have relinquished the King’s Land, than when they had it.
Many Towns are in the King’s hand, the Inhabitants whereof are to Till and Manure a quantity of the Land according to their Ability, and lay up the Corn for the King’s use. These Towns the King often bestows upon some of his Nobles for their Encouragement and Maintenance, with all the fruits and benefits that before came to the King from them. In each of these Towns there is a Smith to make and mend the Tools of them to whom the King hath granted them, and a Potter to fit them with Earthen Ware, and a Washer to wash their Cloaths, and other men to supply what there is need of. And each one of these hath a piece of Land for this their Service, whether it be to the King or the Lord; but what they do for the other People they are paid for. Thus all that have any Place or Employment under the King, are paid without any Charge to the King.
His great Endeavour is to Secure himself from Plots and Conspiracies of his People, who are sorely weary of his tyrannical Government over them, and do often Plot to make away with him; but by his subtilty and good fortune together, he prevents them. And for this purpose he is very Vigilant in the Night: the noise of Trumpets and Drums, which he appoints at every Watch, hinders both himself and all others from sleeping. In the Night also he commonly does most of his Business, calling Embassadors before him, and reading the Letters; also displacing some of his Courtiers, and promoting others, and giving Sentence to execute those whom he would have to live no longer; and many times Commands to lay hold on and carry away great and Noble men, who until that instant knew not that they were out of his favour.
His Policy is to make his Countrey as intricate and difficult to Travel as may be, and therefore forbids the Woods to be felled, especially those that divide Province from Province, and permits no Bridges to be made over his Rivers: nor the Paths to be made wider.
He often employs his People in vast works, and that will require years to finish, that he may inure them to Slavery, and prevent them from Plotting, against him, as haply they might do if they were at better leisure. Therefore he approves not that his People should be idle; but always finds one thing or other to be done, tho the work be to little or no purpose. According to the quantity of the work, so he will appoint the People of one County or of two to come in: and the Governor of the said County or Counties to be Overseer of the Work. At such times the Soldiers must lay by their Swords, and work among the People. These works are either digging down Hills, and carrying the Earth to fill up Valleys; thus to enlarge his Court, which standeth between two Hills, (a more uneven and unhandsom spot of ground, he could not well have found in all his Kingdom); or else making ways for the Water to run into the Pond, and elsewhere for his use in his Palace. Where he hath it running thro in many places unto little Ponds made with Lime and Stone, and full of Fish.
To bring this Water to his Palace, was no small deal of labour. For not having a more convenient way, they were forced to split a great Mountain in twain to bring the Water thro, and after that to make a Bank cross a Valley far above a Cables length, and in height above four Fathom, with thickness proportionable to maintain it, for the Water to run over the top. Which at first being only Earth, the Water would often break down; but now both bottom and sides are paved and wrought up with Stone. After all this, yet it was at least four or five Miles to bring this Water in a Ditch; and the ground all Hills and Valleys, so that they were forced to turn and wind, as the Water would run. Also when they met with Rocks which they could not move, as this Ground is full of them, they made great Fires with Wood upon it, until it was soundly hot; and hereby it became so soft, that they could easily break it with Mawls.
This Water was that which nourished that Countrey, from whence it was taken. The People of which ever since have scarce been able to Till their Land. Which extremity did compel the People of those Parts to use a means to acquaint the King how the Countrey was destroyed thereby, and disabled from performing those Duties and Services, which they owed unto the King; and that there was Water sufficient both for His Majestie’s Service, and also to relieve their Necessities. Which the King took very ill from them, as if they would seem to grudge him a little Water. And sure I am, woe be to him, that should mention that matter again.
So far is he from regarding the good of his Countrey that he rather endeavours the Destruction thereof. For issue he hath none alive, and e’re long, being of a great Age Nature tells him, he must leave it. Howbeit no love lost between the King and his People. Yet he daily contriveth and buildeth in his Palace like Nebuchadnezzar, wet and dry, day and night, not showing the least sign of Favour to his People. Who oftentimes by such needless Imployments, are Letted from the seasonable times of Ploughing and Harvest, to their great prejudice, and sometimes utter undoing.
After the Rebellion, when the People that lived at a further distance, saw that the King intended to settle himself near the Mountain to which he fled, Viz. Digligy, and not to come into the old City again, it being very troublesom and tedious to bring their Rents and Taxes thither, they all jointly met together, being a great number, and sent an Address to intimate their Desires to him; which was with great Submission, That His Majesty would not leave them destitute of his Presence, which was to them as the Sun, that he would not absent himself from them to dwell in a Mountain in a desolate Countrey; but seeing there was no further danger, and all the Rebels destroyed, that he would return to his old Palace again, vowing all Fidelity to him. The King did not like this Message, and was somewhat afraid there being such a tumultuous Company met together, and so thought not fit to drive them away, or publickly to declare his displeasure at them; but went to work like a Politician. Which was to tell them that he thanked them for their love and affection towards him; and that he was desirous to dwell among them in such a part of their Countrey as he named: and so bad them all go to work to build him a Palace there. The People departed with some Satisfaction, and fell to work might and main: and continued at it for near two years together, felling Timber, and fetching it out of the Woods, laying Foundations, hewing Stone, till they were almost killed with labour. And being wrought quite tyred, they began to accuse and grumble at one another for having been the occasion of all this toil. After they had laboured thus a long while, and were all discouraged, and the People quiet, the King sent word to them to leave off. And now it lies unfinished, all the Timber brought in, rots upon the place, and the building runs to ruin.
And this is the manner how he employs his People; pulling down and building up again, equalling unequal grounds, making sinks under ground for the passage of water thro’ his Palace, dragging of great Trees out of the Wood to make Pounds to catch Elephants in his Presence; altho’ they could catch them with far less labour, and making houses to keep them in, after they are taken.
He stands not upon any Villainy to establish himself, or strike terror into his People. This made him cut off his only Son, a young man of about Fifteen years. After the Rebellion the Kingdom being setled in the King’s hands again, and knowing that the hearts of the People disaffecting him, stood strongly bent towards the Prince, and fearing his own safety as the Prince grew to riper years, to prevent all, he poisoned him. For about a year after the rebellion, his Son was Sick, the King takes this Opportunity to dispatch him by pretending to send Physic to him to Cure him. The People hearing of the Death of the Prince, according to the Custom of the Land when any of the Royal Blood is deceased, came all in general towards the City where he was, with black or else very dirty Cloaths, which is their Mourning, the Men ail bare-headed, the Women with their hair loose and hanging about their Shoulders, to mourn and lament for the Death of their young Prince. Which the King hearing of, sent this word unto them, That since it was not his fortune to live, to sit on his Throne after him and Reign over the Land, it would be but in vain to mourn; and a great trouble and lett unto the Countrey: and their voluntary good will was taken in as good part as the mourning it self, and so dismist the Assembly; and burned the Princes dead Body without Ceremonies or Solemnities.
Yet the Death of an old Sister which he had, caused no small lamentation. It was she that carried the Prince away in the Rebellion. Which I shall relate by and by. Countrey after Countrey came up to mourn, giving all signs of extraordinary sadness, both in Habit and Countenance; the King himself was seen to weep bitterly. The White men also came, which the King took well. Insomuch that the Hollanders supposing the King himself to be dead, came up to take Possession of the Countrey; but hearing the contrary and understanding their mistake returned back again. The King and all his Countrey for more than a years time went in mourning. And her Body was burnt with all the Honour and State that could be. Yet notwithstanding all the love and respect he bare unto her, he did not once Visit her in all the time of her Sickness. And it is now for certain reported that there is not one of his Generation left.
Once to try the hearts of his Attendants, and to see what they would do; being in the Water a swimming, he feigned himself to be in extremity, and near Drowning, and cryed out for help; upon which two young Men more venturous and forward than the rest, immediately made way and came to his help: who taking hold of his Body brought him safe to Land. At which he seemed to be very glad. Putting on his Cloaths he went to his Palace: then he demanded to know who and which they were that had holpen him out of the Water. They, supposing by his Speech it was to give them a reward for the good Service they had so lately done him, answered, We were they. Whereupon he Commands to call such a great Man. (For it is they whom he appoints always to see Execution done by their Soldiers.) To whom he gave Command, saying, Take both these, and lead them to such a place, and cut off their Heads, who dared to presume to lay their hands on my Person, and did not prostrate themselves rather that I might lay my hand on them for my relief and safety. And accordingly they were Executed.