How, And When To Begin The Education Of A Young Prince

With Pencil and Colours Art admirably expresses everything. Hence, if Painting be not Nature, it certainly comes so near it as that often its works deceive the sight, and are not to be distinguished but by the touch. It can't, it's true, animate Bodies, but it frequently draws the Beauty, Motions and Affections of the Soul. Altho' indeed it cannot entirely form the Bodies themselves for want of matter, yet the Pencil so exquiíitely deícribes them on Canvas, that besides Life there's nothing that you can desire more. Nature I believe would envy Art if she could possibly do the fame, but now she is so kind, as in many things to use the Assistance of Art; for whatever the Industry of this can perfect, that Nature does not finish herself. 

Thus we see man is born without any manner of knowledge or propriety of speech, instruction and learning being left to draw the lineaments of of Arts and Sciences on his mind as on a blank Canvass, and Education to Imprint morality thereon, not without great advantage to humane Society; for hence it comes to pass that by One man's having Occasion for the Assistance of another, the bonds of gratitude and affection are strengthened: for Nature has sown the seed of Virtue and knowledge in all of us, we are equally born to thofe goods of the mind, which must be cultivated and quicken'd by some other hand (1). 

(1) Omnibus natura fundamenta dedit, fetnenque itrtutum, emnef ad  ifla omnia natr fnmu<\ cum i rut, it or accejfit, tunc ilia artini bona, velut  fvpita excitantur. Sen. Epist. 10. 

But tis necessary these measures be taken in the tender years, while the mind is fitter to Receive all manner of forms, so readily apprehensive of sciences as to appear rather to remember than first learn them; which Plato made use of as an argument to prove the immortality of the Soul (2); but if this be neglected in the first Age, the affections by degrees get ground, and their depraved inclinations make so deep an impression upon the will as no education can efface. The Bear no sooner whelps but licking the limbs of her deformed Litter while they are soft, perfects and brings them to shape, whereas if she suffered them to grow firm her pains would be ineffectual. 

(2) Ex hoc pop,} cogmjet an:mat iwnnrtales tffi, atque, quod in jHtOll mobilfa junt ingenia, ¿7 ad pe\ uyendttni fad lia. Fiar, dv A.u. taiy 

It was wisely done {in my Judgment) of the Kings of Persia to Commit their Sons in their Infancy to Masters, whose care it should be for the first seven years of their life to Organize their Bodies: In the fecond to strengthen them by using them to fencing and the like Exercises. To these they after added four select Persons to give the finishing strokes; the first eminent for Learning, made 'em Scholars; the fecond a discreet, sober mnn, taught them to govern and bridle their appetites; the third a Lover of Equity, inculcated the Administration of Justice; lastly the fourth eminently Valiant and Experienced in Warfare, instructed them in Military Discipline, especially endeavouring by incentives to Honour, to divert their minds from fear and Cowardice. But this good Education is particularly necessary in Princes as they are the Instruments of Politics happiness and public safety. In others the neglect of a good Education is only prejudicial to single persons or at least influences very few: but in a Prince 'tis not only against his private, but everyone's common interest, whilst fome he injures immediately by his Actions, others by his Example. 

Man well Educated is the most divine Creature in the World; If ill, of all animals the most savage (3). What, I pray, can you expect from a Prince who is ill Educated, and has got the supreme power in his hands? other evils of a Common wealth are of no long continuance, this never terminates but with the Prince's life. Of what Importance a good and honourable Education is, Philip King of Macedón was sensible, declaring in his Letters to Aristotle upon the Birth of his Son Alexander his Obligation to the Gods, not so much for giving him a Son, as that he was born at a time when he could make use of such a Master, and 'tis certainly never convenient to leave nature otherwise good, to herself and her own operations, since the best is imperfect and requires some external industry to cultivate it, as indeed do most things necessary for man's well being. The punishment derived to us by the fault of our first parents being not to enjoy anything without labour and the sweat of the Brow, how can you expect a Tree to bear sweet fruit unless you transplant it, or by grafting it upon stems of a more refined and generous nature, correct its Wildness. Education improves the good and instructs the bad (4). This was the reason why Trajan became so eminent a Governour, because he added industry to his natural parts and had the direction of such a Master as Plutarch. Nor had King Peter firnamed the Cruel, ever proved so barbarous and tyrannical had John Alphonso, Duke of Albuquerque, his Tutor, known how to mollify and break his haughty temper. 

(3) Homo rectam rutins inflitutionern divmffimum manjuetiflimumque animal efjici folct ; fi vero, vel non fufficienter, vel ,non bene educetur % éomm qn£ terraprogenuit, feroaflimum. Piar. lib. 3. de leg. 

(4) Ed^catio % fa tntUtuth ccmmoda.naturas bonas, ivduál, fa rurfum borne n at une ft talent inliitutionem confequantut , meliores adhuc fa prjijiantions evat/ire fimus. Piai. \)u\. 4 dc Leg.

There's the same difference in Mens dispositions as in Metals, some of which are proof against fire, others dissolve in it; yet all give way to the graving tools, are malleable and duótile. So there's no humour so rugged but care and correction may have some effect on. Altho' I confess Education is not always sufficient of itself to make men Virtuous, because many times under Purple as among Briars and Woods, there spring up such monstrous Vices, particularly in persons of a great Spirit, as prove utterly Incorrigible. What is more obvious than for young men to be debauched by Luxury, Liberty or Flattery in Princes Courts, where abundance of Vicious affections grow as Thorns, as noxious and unprofitable weeds upon ill manured Land. 

Wherefore Except these Courts are well instituted the care taken in a good Education will be to very little purpose; for they seem to be like Moulds and accordingly fo Form the Prince as themselves are Well or ill disposed, and those Virtues or Vices which have once began to be in repute in them, their ministers transmit to posterity. A Prince is scarce Master of his reason when his Courtiers out of flattery Cry up the too great Liberty of his Parents and Ancestor recommending to him some great and renowned Actions of theirs, which have been as it were the propriety of his Family. Hence also it comes to pass that some particular Customs and Inclinations are propagated from Father to Son in a continued succession, not so  much by the Native force of their blood, (for neither length of time nor Mixtures of Marriage are used to Change them ) as because they are established in the Courts where Infancy imbibes them and as it were turns them into nature, thus among the Romans the Claudii were reputed Proud, the Scipio's Warlike, the Appi ambitious; as now in Spain the Gusmans are looked upon to be Good Men, the Mendozas Humane, the Maurices have the Character of Formidable, the Toletan's Severe and Grave. 

The same is Visible in Artificers, when any of a family have attained an Excellency, they easily transmit it to their Children, the Spectators of their Art and to whom they leave their Works and Monuments of their Labour. To all this may be added, that Flattery mixt with Error sometimes commends in a Boy for Vertue what by no means deserves that name, as Lewdness, Orientation, Iniblence, Anger, Revenge and other Vices of the like nature, some men erroneously persuading themselves that they are tokens of a great Spirit; which withall induces 'em too eagerly to pursue these, to the neglect of real Virtues: as a Maid sometimes if she be commended for her free Carriage or Confidence, applies herself to those rather than Modesty and Honesty, the principal good Qualities of that Sex. Tho' indeed young men ought to be driven from all Vices in general, yet more especially from those which tend to Laziness or Hatred they being more easily imprinted in their minds (5). Care therefore must be taken that the Prince over-hear no filthy or obscene expressions, much less should he be suffered to use them himself: We easily execute what we make familiar to us in discourse, at least something near it (6). Wherefore to prevent this Evil the Romans used to Choose out of their families somme grave Ancient Matron to be their Sons Governess, whose whole Care and Employment was to give them a good Education, in whose presence it was not allowable to speak a foul word or admit an indecent Action (7). The design of this severe discipline was that their nature being preserved pure and untainted, they might readily embrace honest professions (8)

(5) Carina igitur mala, fed ea máxime qua turpitudinem habent vel odium parent, funtprocul a pu:ris removendt. Arirt. Pol. 7.C if. 

(6) Ham f'cite tmpia hquendo, efficitur ut homines his próxima facicnr. Ariit. Pol. 7,0. 17. 

(7) Coram qua neque dkere fas e at, qtod turpe dittit, ñeque faceré quod inhonejiumfttta viiintwr* ^uiar.dial, de orar. - 

(8) j^f» difciplina, ac feve ritas eo peitinebat y ut fiicera ¿r integra, & nulJis pravitatibus detorta unii'fcujufque natura tnto fta'im pífíire arriperet ai tes hone/las. Quimil. Ibid.

Quintilian laments the negled of this manner of Education in his time, Children being usually brought up among servants, and so learning to imitate their Vices. Nor, fays he, is any one of the family concerned what he says or does before his young Master, since even their parents don't ib much inure them to Vertues and Modesty as Lasciviousness and Libertinism (9) . Which to this day is usual in most Princes Courts: nor is there any remedy for it, but displacing those Vicious Courtiers and substituting others of approved Vertue who may excite the Princes mind to Actions more generous and such as tend to true honour (10). When a Court has once bid adieu to Vertue, 'tis often Changed but never for the better, nor does it desire a Prince better than it self. Thus Nero's family were Favourers of Otho, because he was like him (11)

(9) Nee quifquam in tota domo p:nji habct quid toram infante domino, ant dicat aut faciat ; quandn etiam ipfi pjrentes, nee probittui ñeque modeJtU párvulo) ajfuefacunt, fed Utfcivis, *r iiber- tati. Quint, ibid. 

(10) Nt'q-- enim aurtbus jocunda conven'u dicere,fed ex quo aliquii gloriojus fiat, Linip. in Hippol. 

(11) Proni in cum .¿.r.t iftrms Ht/imile.Ti. Tac 1. Hift. * Mar. H it. Hii>. 

But if the Prince cannot do this, I think it were more advisable for him to leave that Court, as we remember James the 1st. King of Arragon did, * when he saw himself Tyrannized over by those who educated and confined him as it were in a prison: nor can I give those Courts any other name, where the principal aim is to enslave the princes will, and he is not suffered to go this way or that by choice and at his own pleasure, but is forcibly guided as his Courtiers please, just as Water is conveyed thro' private Channels for the sole benefit of, the ground thro' which it passes. 

To what purpose are good natural Parts and Education, if the Prince is suffered to see, hear and know no more than his Attendance think fit? What wonder if Henry the 4th. King of Castile proved so negligent and sluggish, so like his Father John the Second in all things, after he had been Educated among the same Flatterers that occasioned his Fathers male Administration? 

Believe me, 'tis as imponible to form a good Prince in an ill Court, as to draw a straight Line by a Crooked square: there's not a wall there which some lascivious hand has not sullied; not a Corner but Echoes their dissolute Course of Life: all that frequent the Court: are fo many Masters and as it were Ideas of the Prince, for by long use and Conversation each imprint something on him which may either be to his benefit or prejudice, and the more apt his Nature is to Learn, the sooner and more easily he imbibes those domestic Customs. I dare affirm that a Prince will be good if his Ministers are so; bad if they be bad: an instance of this we have in the Emperor Galba, who when he light upon good Friends and Gentlemen, was governed by them, and his Conduct unblameable; if they were ill, himself was guilty of inadvertence (12)

(12) Amkornnr, libertorumq; ubi iv bonos incidí ffet, fine reprebenfme pawns, fi muliforent, vfc ¿id tullan i¿na>M. T

Nor will it suffice to have thus reformed living and animate figures in a Court, without proceeding alfo to inanimate: for tho' the graving Tool and Pencil are but mute Tongues, yet Experience has taught us they are far ,more eloquent and persuasive. What an incitement to Ambition is Alexander the great's Statue? how strangely do pictures of Jupiter's lewd Amours inflame Lust? besides, for which our corrupt nature is blameable, Art is usually more celebrated for chefe kind of things than Virtuous instructive pieces; At first indeed the excellency of the workmanship makes those pieces Valuable, but afterwards lascivious persons adorn the Walls with them to please and entertain the Eyes. 

There should be no statue or piece of painting allowed, but fuch as may Create in the Prince a glorious Emulation (13). The Heroic Achievements of the Ancients are the properest subjects for Painting, Statuary and Sculpture; thoíé let a Prince look on continually, thofe read; for Statues and Pictures arc fragments of History always before our Eyes. 

After the Vices of the Court have been (as far as possible thus corrected, and the Princes humour and inclinations well known, let his Master or Tutor endeavour to lead him to some great undertaking, sowing in his Mind Seeds of Virtue and honour so secretly, that when they are grown it will be difficult to judge whether they were the product of Nature or Art. Let them encourage Virtue with Honour, brand Vice with Infamy and Disgrace, excite Emulation by Example; these things have a great Effect upon all Tempers, tho* more on some than others. Those who are of a Generous disposition, Glory influences most; the Melancholy, Ignominy; the Choleric, Emulation, the Inconstant, Fear; the Prudent, Example; which is generally of most efficacy with all, especially that of Ancestors; for often what the Blood could not, Emulation does perform. 'Tis with Children as young trees on which you must Graft a branch ( as I may fay ) of the same Father, to bring them to perfection. 

These Grafts are the famous examples which infuse into Posterity the Virtues of their Ancestors and bear excellent fruit. That therefore it may be conveyed as it were thro' all the Senses into the mind, and take deep Root there, should be the particular industry of his Instructors, and consequently they are not to be proposed to the Prince in ordinary Exhortations only or Reproofs, but also in sensible objects. Sometime let History put him in mind of the great Achievements of his Ancestors, the glory of which eternized in print may excite him to imitate them. 

Sometimes Music (that sweet and wonderful Governeis of the passions ) playing their Trophies and Triumphs, will be proper to Raiíe his Spirits. Sometimes let him hear Panegyricks recited upon their Life, to encourage and animate him to an Emulation of their Vermes, now and then reciting them himself, or with his young Companions Act over their Exploits as upon a flage, thereby to inflame his mind: for the force and efficacy of the action is by degrees fo imprinted on him that he appears the very fame whofe perfon he reprefents: Laftlylethim play the part of a King amongft them, receive petitions, give audience, ordain; puniih, reward > command or marihal an Army, beiiege Cities and give Battel. 

In experiments of this nature Cyrus was educated from a little Boy and became afterwards an eminent General. But if there be any inclinations unbecoming a Prince discernible in his Infancy, he should have the Company of such as are eminent for the opposite Virtues to corred the Vices of his Nature ; as we fee a straight Pole does the Crookedness of a tender Tree tyed to it. Thus if the Prince be Covetous, let one naturally liberal be always at his Elbow ; if a Coward, one bold and daring ; if timorous, one resolute and active ,• if Idle and Lazy, one diligent and industrious: for those of that Age as they imitate what they fee or hear, fo they also easily copy their Companions Customs. To Conclude, in Education, of Princes too rough Reprehension and Chailifement is to be avoided as a kind of Contempt. Too much Rigour makes men mean fpi* rited ; nor is it fit, that he should be servilely subject: to One Man, who ought to Comn^uid all. It was well faid of King Alphonsus, Generous Spirits tire [carter correihd by 'Words than blows , and love and refpeB thofe mcfl "who ufe them so. 

Youth is like a young borle that the Barnacle hurts, but is easily governed by the gentler Bit. Besides that men of generous Spirits usually conceive a secret horrour of those things they learnt through fear; on the contrary have an inclination and desire to try those 

Empresas Políticas. Idea de un príncipe político cristiano  ("Political Maxims. Idea of a Christian Political Prince") 

Saavedra Fajardo, Diego de, 1584-1648


Popular Posts