[From Manx Soc vol 3 - part 1 Letter of James 7th Earl]


1.–The night before the meeting the Earl consults with his officers what to answer, 2–but tells their nothing of his spies. 3.– Compares both reports, 4–and keeps back his own opinion. 5.– Sends some of the officers, whom he knew would be troublesome, out of the way about other matters. 6.–The Governor a fresh commend. 7.–What counsellors the properest.

THE evening before the meeting I took counsel with my officers who are usually to be consulted with in matters of any moment; and being privately before informed of what the people had to say, I did propound to them that, in case such and such things should be done or spoken, what their opinion was of my replies unto them–either to condescend or deny the people ? and the manner how ?

2. But I acquainted no man with my intelligence by those spies; for by these means my counsellors may guess I have such, which may disable any of them, if they be disposed at any time, to misinform me; which hath been the bane of many princes and the misfortune of a people. Also, they shall not suspect them, lest so they might work with them to get me a false report.

3. Neither, by the way, shall I so give credit to these hirelings (who very possibly may betray me) that I will not also believe another. Moreover, those were no ways privy one to the other s employment. And so shall I know how each man acts his part; and I better may so compare their reports for better discovery of the truth.. But I will still weigh all that is told me of any side; I will ruminate thereon, and ask counsel of God Almighty, and pray His Spirit to give a right understanding to my heart, which shall wholly be disposed to maintain only that which is just and right in His sight, knowing that my judgments will afterwards by Him be judged.

4. When I had laid before my officers what I thought most likely to be intended by the people, I wished them to do the like; and, all of us debating those matters freely, they gave everyone their several opinions; which I thought fittest, before I any ways made show unto them my own inclinations; for otherwise it may cause destruction of counsel, while the advisers do fear or be loth to cross your arguments when you press them: and a prejudicate opinion is never honest or safe.

5. Some of my officers did occasion all my troubles; and therefore I was careful that they, or any whom I doubted faithless, should not be present at the council. Neither did I give them the least suspicion to think I willed it so; but in such manner employed them elsewhere, that they doubted nothing.

6. When I did take occasion to tell you the worth of this present Governor, the same may be to you a rule of what quality your counsellors should be. And remember this benefit by counsel, that all good success will be your glory, all evil your excuse, having followed the advice of others.

7. Your counsellors are not likely to be better than yourself; but, if they were, know this, that to ask counsel of one's better, tieth to performance. But otherwise to ask counsel is to honour him of whom it is required, and liberty is not taken away to do what pleaseth you best.


Back index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001