Differences Between Command And Counsell

COMMAND is, where a man saith, “Doe this,” or “Doe this not,” without expecting other reason than the Will of him that sayes it. From this it followeth manifestly, that he that Commandeth, pretendeth thereby his own Benefit: For the reason of his Command is his own Will onely, and the proper object of every mans Will, is some Good to himselfe.

COUNSELL, is where a man saith, “Doe” or “Doe not this,” and deduceth his own reasons from the benefit that arriveth by it to him to whom he saith it. And from this it is evident, that he that giveth Counsell, pretendeth onely (whatsoever he intendeth) the good of him, to whom he giveth it.

Therefore between Counsell and Command, one great difference is, that Command is directed to a mans own benefit; and Counsell to the benefit of another man. And from this ariseth another difference, that a man may be obliged to do what he is Commanded; as when he hath covenanted to obey: But he cannot be obliged to do as he is Counselled, because the hurt of not following it, is his own; or if he should covenant to follow it, then is the Counsell turned into the nature of a Command. A third difference between them is, that no man can pretend a right to be of another mans Counsell; because he is not to pretend benefit by it to himselfe; but to demand right to Counsell another, argues a will to know his designes, or to gain some other Good to himselfe; which (as I said before) is of every mans will the proper object.

This also is incident to the nature of Counsell; that whatsoever it be, he that asketh it, cannot in equity accuse, or punish it: For to ask Counsell of another, is to permit him to give such Counsell as he shall think best; And consequently, he that giveth counsell to his Soveraign, (whether a Monarch, or an Assembly) when he asketh it, cannot in equity be punished for it, whether the same be conformable to the opinion of the most, or not, so it be to the Proposition in debate.

For if the sense of the Assembly can be taken notice of, before the Debate be ended, they should neither ask, nor take any further Counsell; For the Sense of the Assembly, is the Resolution of the Debate, and End of all Deliberation. And generally he that demandeth Counsell, is Author of it; and therefore cannot punish it; and what the Soveraign cannot, no man else can.

But if one Subject giveth Counsell to another, to do any thing contrary to the Lawes, whether that Counsell proceed from evill intention, or from ignorance onely, it is punishable by the Common-wealth; because ignorance of the Law, is no good excuse, where every man is bound to take notice of the Lawes to which he is subject.

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Let us sit upon the ground

There was in former days a bell in Westminster whose tone was so mournful that they say it soured all the milk in the town. It tolled to mark the death of a king. The bells of Westminster today tolled out slowly.

There is more to pageant than theatre, where it demonstrates deep reality. Here was the mourning for a Queen universally loved by all honest people, and the countless multitudes gathered in one accord showed more than a dumb-show. Thousands of soldiers and sailors marching as one, flawlessly, with barely a command needed to be heard, the bright scarlet and plumes of former days displayed because they were needed, and to such precision not arrayed for war but devotion, would not have been possible in a free nation without the unity it displayed.

One can have, in unhappier nations, a display to hide a tottering state behind a moment of glittering swords, but they are of necessity a shallow facade. Here was something bigger, more magnificent, more perfect, and no penny-tyrant could achieve this. It was not a show to blind the eyes but to bring all this together, from state, Commonwealth, church and the armies of the realms, and the unbidden crowds lining the way to bow their heads, it was a demonstration to give a picture of the larger unity of devotion.

We were reminded too, if we thought we could withdraw within our own seas, that the Queen looked further beyond, as should our nation – the procession away from the service was led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with Australian and New Zealand soldiers following. All had lost their sovereign and all could show their mutual unity than mere thousands of miles of ocean should not sunder.

There were less happy times, in this land as there are still in others. Yet even in the happiest of kingdoms, the sovereign is not imortal. The Persians may have cried ‘May the King live forver!’ but they knew it was impossible. In that ultimate place, all lie equal, though the love left behind does not.

And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;

There are no kings now as unhappy as those which haunted Richard II, knowing the deadly nature of the hollow crown that rounds the mortal temple of a king, in his age, not ours. While the crown no longer temps death, it cannot ultimately hold it back. Then we all mourn for the whole nation is bereft.

The bell which soured the milk is no longer there – it was tumbled centuries ago – but the solemn procession passed the site of the belfry where the Middlesex Guildhall stands today, and other bells tolled, with more hope somehow that they can sound happier days.

Today though, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.

The Age turns

They will queue for days. I will not, but I respect them for doing so. We loved our Queen and felt we were loved in turn, for all our faults. The queue is a tribute of love.

This is the turning of the ages. It passes in quiet peace, for all the trumpets  and tabards and gun-salutes that herald that we are now the new Caroleans, the kingdom stands and queues quietly, grieving a loss before we celebrate.

When the first Elizabeth died it was very different. As she sickened the avaricious powers of Europe licked their lips at the thought of her heirless throne. The Privy Council and the Earls were at daggers-drawn in case one or the other betrayed the settled succession of Protestant King James, and though they need not have feared each others’ intentions, they did not trust.

Carey was ahorse within the hour of Gloriana’s last breath, in the early hours of that grim Thursday morning: he spurred his horse from Richmond, and when detained in London he slipped the guard at 9 in the morning; was in Doncaster by nightfall; in the Borders by the Friday evening, ordering that the King be proclaimed in the towns of Northumberland; then off again and as the King had just retired in Edinburgh on Saturday, Carey greeted him as King of England and Ireland. They had flair in those days, long before email.

Now, we do not break into threats of war or chaos. Hobbes observed that if there were no law of succession then the whole common-wealth would dissolve at the death of the sovereign, so we have a settled path, and bless the new King for that, as we mourn our loss.

We do mourn. She was the mother of the nation, and of the nations across the Commonwealth, and it does feel like the loss of ones own mother. The world is not the same now as it was when we lay down a week ago. Americans do not understand (but they also do not understand the way we pity them for their own failing system). We understand – it is at tribal, natural to the essence of mankind.

We step into a new Carolean Age, changed in ourselves. There will be new horizons in the new age. Let us first mourn the age taken from us.

Elizabeth the Great

Numb. An age has ended that felt as if it would be with us forever, but could never be. Each tribute I could pay to Her Late Majesty will have been said many times by others – sentiments so repeated as to sound like clichés but no less true and heartfelt for that. She was loved deeply by all, and I pray that she knew she was loved.

A lifetime of unswerving service is concluded.

We will often in these days be reminded of the speech which the twenty-one year old Princess Elizabeth made in Cape Town, dedicating her life be it long or short, to the service of her people. Many a speech have we heard from politicians entering office pledging impossible service only to disappoint, but the young Queen kept her word tirelessly, without pause or deviation, and indeed with more vigour than her words could express. Even in her last days she was performing with a smile her heavy constitutional duties, appointing her fifteen and final Prime Minister.

The kingdom and the whole world have changed utterly in the past 70 years, bewilderingly from the coal-smoked, diesel-fired, Imperial, deferential, war-shattered world of  1952 to the world we find ourselves amongst in 2022;  a journey of excitement, fear, many, many false starts and failures and final triumphs, but one constant thread remained with us: Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen was all we knew – all of us except those over 70 have been born and grown up all our lives with one mother of the nation over us.  We have not imagined there could be any other sovereign. This morning looking outside the window, the country looks different somehow. I tread uncertain streets. I have seen neighbours weeping in the street – neighbours who just a few months ago were celebrating and decking their houses with bunting for the Jubilee, but suddenly the jubilation has ceased and turned to mourning.

Now the world passes from the New Elizabethan Age, to an unfamiliar New Caroline Age.

What should a King do? To pray perhaps as Elisha did as his master was reaching his end: “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” As any portion of the spirit of our late Queen rests upon the King, it is a glorious gift. We know too he will pray like Solomon for the gift of wisdom: “give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

We mourn as the age passes, but a new age begins.