3. And for matter of policy and government, that learning should rather hurt, than enable thereunto, is a thing very improbable: we see it is accounted an error to commit a natural body to empiric physicians, which commonly have a few pleasing receipts whereupon they are confident and adventurous, but know neither the cause of the diseases, nor the complexions of patients, nor peril of accidents, nor the true method of cures: we see it is like error to rely upon advocates or lawyers, which are only men of practice and not grounded in their books, who are many times easily surprised when matter falleth out besides their experience, to the prejudice of the causes they handle: so by like reason it cannot be but a matter of doubtful consequence if states be managed by empiric statesmen, not well mingled with men grounded in learning. [/]
But contrariwise, it is almost without instance contradictory that ever any government was disastrous that was in the hands of learned governors. For howsoever it hath been ordinary with politique men to extenuate and disable learned men by the names of pedantes; yet in the records of time it appeareth in many particulars that the government of princes in minority (notwithstanding the infinite disadvantage in that kind of state) have nevertheless excelled the government of princes of mature age, even for that reason which they seek to traduce, which is, that by that occasion the state hath been in the hands of pedantes: for so was the state of Rome for the first five years, which are so much magnified during the minority of Nero, in the hands of Seneca a pedanti: so it was again for ten years’ space or more, during the minority of Gordianus the younger, with great applause and contentation in the hands of Misitheus a pedanti: so was it before that, in the minority of Alexander Severus, in like happiness, in hands not much unlike, by reason of the rule of the women, who were aided by the teachers and preceptors.[/]
Nay, let a man look into the government of the bishops of Rome, as by name, into the government of Pius Quintus and Sextus Quintus in our times, who were both at their entrance esteemed but as pedantical friars, and he shall find that such popes do greater things, and proceed upon truer principles of estate, than those which have ascended to the papacy from an education and breeding in affairs of estate and courts of princes; for although men bred in learning are perhaps to seek in points of convenience and accommodating for the present, which the Italians call ragioni di stato, whereof the same Quintus could not hear spoken with patience, terming them inventories against religion and the moral virtues; yet on the other side to recompense that, they are perfect in those same plain grounds of religion, justice, honour, and moral virtue, which if they be well and watchfully pursued, there will be seldom use of those other, no more than of physic in a sound or well dieted body.[/]
Neither can the experience of one man’s life furnish examples and precedents for the events of one man’s life. For as it happeneth sometimes that the grandchild, or other descendant, resembleth the ancestor more than the son; so many times occurrences of present times may sort better with ancient examples than with those of the later or immediate times: and lastly, the wit of one man can no more countervail learning than one man’s means can hold way with a common purse.