His Most Christian Majesty
King of France and Navarre.
This Book presumes, most illustrious Prince, to in title it self to Your great Name, from a Confidence, not of itself, or its Author, but of the Subject Matter of it, which is Justice; a Virtue in so distinguishing a Manner Yours, that by it, both from Your own Merits, and the general Consent of Mankind, You have acquired a Title worthy so great a King, and are now every where known by the Name of JUST, no less than that of LEWIS. It was the Height of Glory to the Roman Generals, to be sirnamed from some of their conquered Countries, as Crete, Numidia, Africa, Asia, and the like. But how much more glorious Your Sirname, by which you are declared the irreconcileable Enemy, and perpetual Conqueror, not of any Nation or Man, but of Injustice? It was esteemed a great thing among the Egyptian Kings, for one of them to be stiled, the Lover of his Father, another the Lover of his Mother, another of his Brother. But how far short these of Your Name, which comprehends not only those, but every thing else that can be conceived beautiful and virtuous? You are JUST, as you honour the Memory of the great King your Father by imitating him: JUST, as You instruct your Brother by all imaginable Methods, but none more than that of Your own Example: JUST, as You procure the greatest Matches for Your Sisters: JUST, as You revive the Laws almost dead, and, to the utmost of Your Power, oppose the growing Wickedness of the Age: JUST, but at the same time Merciful too, as You deprive Your Subjects, whom the Ignorance of Your Goodness had caused to transgress the Bounds of their Duty, of nothing but the Liberty of offending, nor use any Violence to those who differ from You in Matters of Religion: JUST, and at the same time Compassionate, as you relieve by Your Authority oppressed Nations, and distressed Princes, and controul the exorbitant Power of Fortune. Which singular Beneficence in You, as near the Divine as Human Nature can admit, obliges me even in this publick Address to return You my private Thanks. For as the coelestial Bodies not only influence the great Parts of the World, but also suffer their Virtues<xii> to be communicated even to every individual Animal; so you, like a Star of most benign Influence to the Earth, not contented to have raised up dejected Princes, or given Succour to Nations, have condescended to give Protection and Comfort to me also, when illtreated by my Native Country. To Your publick Actions You have, to compleat the Measure of Justice, added such Innocence and Sanctity of Life, as deserves the Admiration, not of Men only, but of the blessed above. For who of the meanest People, or even of those who have sequestred themselves from the Conversation of the World, attains to that Perfection of Purity and Virtue, as you whom the Splendor of Fortune exposes daily to innumerable Charms of Vice? But how great is it to attain that in a multiplicity of Business, in a Crowd, in a Court amongst so many so various Examples of Vice, which others scarce are able, often are not able to do in Solitude? This is to merit the Name not of JUST only, but of Saint also, and that in this Life, which the Piety of the Age attributed to your Ancestors Charles the Great, and Lewis, only after their Deaths: This is to deserve the Title of most Christian, not by Descent, but your own proper Right. But as there is no part of Justice which does not belong to You, so that which concerns the Subject of this Book, viz. the Affairs of Peace and War, is properly Yours, as you are a King, and especially as King of France. Vast is Your Dominion, which extends from Sea to Sea, and comprehends so many spacious and happy Provinces; but it is a greater Dominion than this, not to desire others Dominions. Worthy is this of Your Piety, worthy of Your high Pitch of Grandeur, not to attempt the Invasion of any Man’s Right by Force of Arms, or the Alteration of ancient Limits; but together with War, to carry on Negotiations of Peace; nor to begin it, but with a Desire of bringing it to a speedy Conclusion. When it shall please God to call You to his Kingdom, which alone is better than that which You now possess, how becoming, how glorious, how joyful to the Conscience will it be for You to be able to say with Boldness; This Sword, received from thee for the Safeguard of Justice, I restore again pure, innocent, stained with no Man’s Blood rashly shed? Thus it shall be, that the Rules which we now seek for in Books, shall hereafter be learned from Your Actions, as the most perfect Pattern. Which thing itself, though of great Importance, yet the Christian World presumes to require something still greater from you; that is, that Wars every where ceasing, Peace may be restored, not only to Civil States, but to the Churches; and our Age submit itself to be modelled after the Pattern of the Apostolical Age, in which all unanimously acknowledge the Christian Faith to have been true and uncorrupted.
The Minds of Men, now grown weary of Dissention, are encouraged to hope for this, as the Effect of the Friendship lately contracted, and by the happy Marriage of Your Sister confirmed, between You and the King of Great Britain, a Prince eminent for his great Wisdom and ardent Love for the Peace of the Church. A Work indeed of vast Difficulty, by reason of the growing Animosity of Parties: But of two such great Kings nothing is Worthy but what is Difficult, and to all others impracticable. The God of Peace and Justice grant to Your Majesty, most Just and Peaceable Prince, together with all other Happiness, the Honour of accomplishing this great Work. MDCXXV.<xiii>