Sunday 18 May 2014

EARLY MODERN HACKING? King James’ advice leaked to the public.

You think it’s hard to keep anything private in the age of hacking and phone tapping? Well, if it’s any comfort to you, King James I (1566-1625) couldn’t keep his private notes private either. He thought it no ways convenient that the public should know about them.
Then why did he have them printed?  The printer was sworn to secrecy, he says. And only 7 copies were in circulation.
Well, that was 7 too many. Naturally the contents were leaked to the public.

So what did James say in this top secret document meant only for his son’s eyes?
First, he had some political advice, such as
  • [God] made you a little god to sit on his throne and rule over other men.
  • Of course even little gods can make mistakes: I grant we have all our faults. Just keep them betwixt you and God and don’t ever talk about them to anyone else.
  • Don’t be too merciful at the beginning of your reign or the offences would soon come in heaps and the contempt of you grow.
  • And absolutely never pardon witchcraft, willful murder, incest, sodomy, poisoning, and false coin.
Next blog: James' advice concerning marriage.
(Source, James I, Basilikon Doron, 1599)

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