Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. III.: A Comparison of the different Forms of Government with each other,—A Preference given to the Mixt, and the Reasons why,—The Republics of Sparta, Athens, and Rome, proved to be improper Models for a Commercial State,—The supp - A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts
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CHAP. III.: A Comparison of the different Forms of Government with each other,—A Preference given to the Mixt, and the Reasons why,—The Republics of Sparta, Athens, and Rome, proved to be improper Models for a Commercial State,—The supp - Josiah Tucker, A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts 
A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts (London: T. Cadell, 1781).
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A Comparison of the different Forms of Government with each other,—A Preference given to the Mixt, and the Reasons why,—The Republics of Sparta, Athens, and Rome, proved to be improper Models for a Commercial State,—The supposed unalienable Right of each Individual to be self-governed in the Affairs of Legislation, examined, and refuted.
ACCORDING to the Lockian System there ought to be no other Legislators but the People themselves,—or those at least whom the People had expressly commissioned for that Purpose;—nor ought there to be any Magistrates, Judges, Justices of the Peace, civil or military Officers, or any executive Powers whatever, but such only, as either mediately or immediately receive their Commissions from the People. Every other Species of Legislation or of Government is, it seems, a manifest Usurpation of the unalienable Rights of Mankind, let the Antiquity of it be ever so remote, or the System and Administration of it ever so productive of public Peace and Happiness.
It is to be hoped, that these idle Notions have received a full and satisfactory Confutation in the former Part of this Work. However, though we must reject the absurd Doctrine of personal Contracts between Prince and People, as a Thing which never existed in any State, and which never can (except perhaps in a very small Village for a few Days, or rather Hours) yet as all Governments whatever are so many public Trusts for the Good of the Governed;—therefore there is a Contract implied, though not exprest, a quasi, tho’ not an actual Contract always subsisting between all Sovereigns, and every one of their Subjects. The Consequence of which is, as hath been afore observed, That these Quasi-Contractors ought to be made responsible to each other, for the due Performance of their respective Engagements.
This being the Case, we are now to consider which is the best Method of obliging these reciprocal Contractors to perform their respective Duties;—the best I mean, as being the safest and easiest, as well as the most effectual.
In respect to one Side of the Obligation, viz. The Duty and Obedience of the People,—the Rulers themselves are to enforce this Part of the Covenant, and no others. For as they are to enact the Laws, and as they likewise, or their Deputies, are to put them in Execution, it is their Duty, as well as their Interest, to see, that none but good Laws are made, and when made, that they are impartially and universally obeyed. Therefore, if they should permit the People wantonly to trample upon legal Authority, and to transgress with Impunity, the Blame must rest upon themselves. For Lenity in such a Case is only another Name for Timidity; and Timidity and Government, where the public Good is concerned, are inconsistent Things. Only let me add, that those Laws are the readiest obeyed, and therefore the easiest to be executed, which are plain and simple, and obviously calculated for the general Good,—not to serve a present Turn, or gratify a Faction. Therefore great Care should be taken to enact such only as will stand the Test, and bear to be examined by this Rule. For when any of the Laws in being are of such a Nature, that it would be better to connive at their Infraction, than to enforce their Observance, it is high Time that such Laws should be repealed. Indeed every Plea or Pretence for their Continuance, is only so many Evidences, that Mankind had much rather find out Excuses to gloss over that System, which they know they cannot defend, than ingenuously to acknowledge themselves in the wrong, and alter their Conduct. Thus much as to the Governing Part in all Societies, let the Form of the Government he whatever it may.
We are now to turn to the opposite Side, the Case and Circumstance of the Governed.—Here therefore we must set out with this Inquiry, How shall the People receive a reasonable Security, that the Powers, wherewith their Governors are entrusted for their Good, both in making Laws, and in executing them, shall not be misapplied?—That there is a Danger of Misapplication is, alas! a Case too apparent to admit of any Doubt. And therefore the Question comes to this;—First, What is to be done, in order to prevent, as far as human Foresight can reach, the Misapplication of such a Trust? And 2dly. What Methods should be taken to cure those Evils, or redress those Abuses, which either were not, or could not be prevented at the first, so that Government in general may be restored to its original Ends and Uses, the Good of the Governed?
To solve these Questions in any Manner, that can bear some Proportion to the Importance of the Subject, several Points ought to be previously considered:
As 1st. What are those essential Principles, on which every Government must be founded, and by Virtue of which it doth actually subsist?
2dly.What are those Forms, or exterior Modes of Administration, which give distinct Denominations to different Governments?
And 3dly. Which Form affords the best, and most reasonable Security to the People, that they shall be well and happily governed?
With respect to the first Branch of the Inquiry, there must be Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, subsisting in one Degree or other, in every Government worthy to be so called, let the exterior Form of it be whatever it may.
For Example, without Power the very Idea of Government is annihilated; and there are no Traces of it left.
WithoutWisdom to conduct this Power towards some certain End, or Object, the Thing itself would not be Power, in a moral Sense, but blind Impulse, or mechanic Force.
And without Goodness to influence and incline the Operations both of Wisdom and Power towards some benevolent Uses, conducive to public Happiness, the Efforts of Wisdom would in effect be Knavery, Trick, and Cunning; and the Display of Power mere Tyranny and Oppression. There must therefore be a Coalition, or Co-operation of all three, in order to form a Government fit to rule over such a Creature as Man.
Secondly, as to the several Forms, or external Modes of Government, they are almost as complicated and various, and their Origins as different, as the Degrees of parental Authority may be supposed to vary in different Cases,—or as the Skill and Foresight of discerning and good Men may be found to be greater or less in others,—or as the Caprice and Humour of the giddy Populace,—or lastly, as the Intrigues, Wiles, and Address of popular Leaders, or daring Usurpers, may happen to prevail. But notwithstanding this great Variety, and these different Origins, all Sorts of Governments may be reduced to four Classes,—the Monarchical,—the Aristocratical, the Democratical, and the Mixt. Let us therefore endeavour to investigate the Quasi-Contracts contained or implied in each of these Forms, in order to discover their respective Excellencies or Imperfections.
Now this very Attempt will usher in the third grand Inquiry, namely, which of the several Modes of Government affords to the People the best and most reasonable Security against the Misapplication of the Trust reposed in the Governors for the Sake of the Governed.
Of all the Forms of Government, Monarchy, according to all History sacred and profane, is the most antient: It is likewise the most extensive and universal, for a very obvious Reason. For as it is neither clogged in its Motions, nor counteracted in its Schemes by rival Factions, it can exert more Power both offensively and defensively, and with greater Ease and Expedition, than either of the other Forms. Consequently it would be the very best, were there a Certainty, that it would be endowed with Wisdom and Goodness proportionably to the Advantages it receives from united Strength and combined Power. But here, alas! lies the great and incurable Imperfection of all human Monarchies. An earthly Monarch cannot see every Thing with his own Eyes, nor hear with his own Ears, even were he ever so well disposed to do what is right, and to make his People happy. Moreover he is continually subject to strong Temptations to abuse his Power through various Motives, some of them of a pitiable Nature, and others highly blameable. Add to this, That the very Persons, who ought to inform him better, and dissuade him from pursuing wrong Courses, are, generally speaking, the most intent in keeping him ignorant of what is right, and to divert his Thoughts from the real Welfare of his People. Hence it is, that they study his Weaknesses with a View to flatter his Vanity, gratify his Vices, inflame his Passions, and to instigate him to divert that very Power towards accomplishing some By-ends of their own, which ought to have been consecrated to the Promotion of public Happiness. For these Reasons an absolute Monarchy in the Hands of such a frail, imperfect, and peccable Creature as Man, is by no Means a desirable Species of Government.
Nor is an hereditary Aristocracy much more preferable than an absolute Monarchy. For it is subject to several of the same Inconveniences, without that Glare of Glory, which surrounds a Throne, and which, by amusing the Bulk of Mankind, captivates their Imaginations, and attaches them strongly to that Form of Government. However, it must be allowed, that there are Advantages attending an Aristocracy, provided it be a numerous one, which serve to mitigate some of its greatest Evils, and to provide an Antidote against others. For its very Numbers, which occasion so much Faction and Contention, serve as a preventive Remedy against their conniving at each other’s Tyranny and Oppression: So that out of mere Spite to each other, they become a mutual Check on the Conduct of Individuals. Likewise they often enflame each other with an Emulation of doing Good: Hence therefore it is, that in Matters of mere civil Concern, where the Disputes are only between Man and Man in private Life, there we find, that Justice is administered under an Aristocratical Government impartially enough, and that Life, Liberty, and Property, are as well secured under that Form, as under any other. Indeed it must be confessed, that wherever the Aristocratical Power is supposed to interfere with some particular Branch of the People’s Rights, there the whole Body of the Nobles will immediately oppose the Demands or Expectations of the Commons, and act as one Man in keeping them still in Subjection. [Moreover, wherever the Lords have such a personal Jurisdiction over their Vassals, as is distinct and separate from the general Jurisdiction of the State (which is still the unhappy Case in Poland) there Despotism and Tyranny prevail to a shocking Degree, without the Hopes of any Thing to counter-balance, mitigate, or correct them. And I will add, that there cannot be a worse Constitution upon Earth than an Aristocracy of Barons tyrannising over their Vassals;—or, what comes to nearly the same Thing, of Planters amusing themselves with the infernal Pleasure of whipping and slashing their Slaves.]
Therefore, were it to be asked in general, what Degree of Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, naturally belong to an Aristocratic Government,—I think it would not be difficult to give an Answer clear and satisfactory enough.
For as to Power, it is externally very weak, even on the defensive Side, where it ought to have been the strongest, being hardly able to protect itself against Invaders. This Weakness is owing to its numerous Factions and Divisions caballing against, and thwarting each other:—The secret Springs of which are more frequently to be ascribed to foreign Gold successfully applied to the pretended patriotic Leaders of each Party, than to any other Cause. But internally all those Factions and Divisions cease; inasmuch as the poor Subjects are destitute of the Means of making the like Application. Moreover, as they have no Persons particularly appointed to represent them in this Form of Government, they have none to stand forth as their Guardians and Protectors, being left in a Manner without Defence. Here therefore an Aristocracy is the strongest: Because the Nobles will of Course unite against the Plebeians, in maintaining, and perhaps extending, the Dignity and Power of of their own Order.
As to the Wisdom, which may be supposed to be contained in this Institution, it has certainly some Advantages over a Government merely monarchical, or merely popular. For all the Members, of which it is composed, are by then Education, their Rank in Life, and other Circumstances, better qualified than most others, to enact Laws with Judgment, with Prudence, and a Knowledge of the Subject. The Independence of their Station, and Distance from mercantile Connections, prevent them from making Laws respecting Trade and Commerce with a View to some present dirty monopolizing Job: And being Sovereigns themselves, they are not compellable to submit to the arbitrary Will of an ignorant or absurd Tyrant, nor yet to obey the imperious Dictates of a foolish, headstrong, conceited Populace,* who are almost universally bent on gratifying some present destructive Whim, at the Expence of their future Happiness. Moreover as to the executive Part of an Aristocratical State, that, as I observed before, is tolerably free from very gross Abuses;—because it is under little Temptation to act amiss, except in those unfortunate Cases, where the peculiar Interests, Honour, or Dignity of the Patrician Order happen to interfere with the general Welfare of the People.—There indeed, it is much to be feared, that the Quasi-Contract, on the Part of the Nobles, would be made a Sacrifice to their Lust of Power, their Pride, and Ambition.
Having said thus much as to the Power and Wisdom of an Aristocracy, the Reader will of his own Accord suggest to himself every Idea that is necessary, concerning the Goodness or Benevolence of such an Institution.
A MERE DEMOCRACY.
The third Class of Civil Government is the Democratical.—I mean, a Democracy literally such, unmixt with any other Form: Where therefore all the adult Males [and why the adult Females should be excluded, is impossible to say] are supposed to assemble together, whenever they will, in order to deliberate and vote on all public Affairs, to change and alter, to pull down, and build up, without Controul, and as often as they please.—Consequently, where every adult Individual is to consider himself as his own Legislator, his own Governor, and Director in every Thing.—Happily for Mankind, this wild and visionary Plan of a free and equal Republic is absolutely impracticable in any District of larger Extent than a common Country Parish! And happily again, even there it could not subsist for any Length of Time, but must be transformed either into a petty Sovereignty or Aristocracy, or at least into an Oligarchy, much after the same Manner, and for the same Reasons, that the Business of populous and extensive Parishes here in England, devolves at last into the Hands of a few, and is managed by a select Vestry.
But waving all Considerations respecting the several Changes it may probably undergo;—let us, since so much Stress is laid upon it by our modern Republicans,—let us, I say, consider it in its own Nature, as either abounding, or deficient in the three Qualities afore mentioned, of Power, Wisdom, and Goodness;—Qualities, so essential for the Formation and Establishment of all Civil Governments, that none can subsist without them in one Degree or other.
And 1st as to Power;—Scanty indeed must the Pittance of Power be, which is to result from the Union of 40, 50, or even 100 Savages, issuing forth from their Dens and Caverns, and assembled together for the first Time, in order constitute a Body Politic. We will not now enquire, Who among this Herd of equal and independent Sovereigns had the Right of appointing the Time and Place of Rendezvous for the rest of his brother Sovereigns to meet at and consult together: Nor will we presume so much as to ask, How or Why such a Superiority came to be vested in him alone, or how long this extraordinary exclusive Privilege was to last:—Or what corporal Punishment [it being to be presumed that they could not be fined in their Goods and Chattels, before meum and tuum was established.] Therefore, I say, what corporal Punishment was to be inflicted on those independent Sovereigns, who either would not, or did not obey the Summons. But not to boggle at little Matters, let us suppose all these Difficulties happily got over:—And then the first Question at this first Meeting is, What are they to do? And wherefore were they called together?—Perhaps the very Appearance of such a Body of Savages might be sufficient to fray away a few Eagles, or Vultures, Wolves, or Tygers, if they were too near them: But most certainly it would not be adequate to the Purposes even of a defensive, not to say an offensive War, if this genuine Republic should happen to exist in the Neighbourhood of any State, whose Union was more perfect, and consequently whose Skill and Dexterity were superior to their own. Therefore this Insect Common-wealth, this Grub of a free, equal, and Sovereign Republic would be swallowed up, as soon as hatched, by some devouring political Animal of a firmer Texture, and stronger Stamina;—unless these lately independent Sovereigns would condescend either to fly away to remote Woods and Deserts, or to submit to the Terms which their Conquerors should think fit to impose upon them.
After this Specimen of the Power, it will be unnecessary to say a Word about the Wisdom or Goodness of such a reptile, democratical Institution. But here, methinks, some of the enthusiastic Admirers of Antiquity will be apt to say, “What? Do you compare the famous Republics of Greece and Rome to Insects, Grubs, and Reptiles? Do you dare to say, That either of these were of short Continuance? Or that they were at all remarkable for the Want of Power, Wisdom, or Goodness?”
To this smart Objection I have the following Reply to make:
1st. That neither of the Common Wealths above mentioned, were pure Democracies in the Sense here set forth:—For they had other Magistrates, and other Institutions besides those which were merely popular;—and even in respect to the most popular Part of their Government, they excluded much greater Numbers from enjoying a Share in the Privileges and governing Part of the Constitution than they admitted: So that this whole Objection falls to the Ground.
2dly. The Subjects of these Republican Governments were so far from enjoying greater Liberty than the Subjects of other States, that they were known to be more oppressed, and more enslaved, than any others: So that no Proofs can be drawn from hence concerning the Wisdom and Goodness, that is, the Justice and Benevolence, of such Republics, whatever may be said of their great Power, and despotic Sway.
But 3dly, Granting more than can be required, even granting [what is absolutely false in Fact] that each of these Republics were modelled and administered, according to the Heart’s Desire of a true Disciple of Mr. Locke, had he been then in being.—Still even on this Supposition, there was nothing so inviting in the fundamental Maxims, and distinguishing Practices of either of these Institutions, to make us so much in love with it, as to wish to copy it into our own.
The SPARTAN REPUBLIC.
The fundamental and distinguishing Maxim of Sparta was, to lead a military Life in the City, as well as in the Camp, and never to enjoy any of those Comforts and Conveniences which Peace and Plenty naturally bestow. Consequently, the Police of their * Legislator was, to forbid Improvements of every Kind (excepting in the Science of War) to banish all Trades and Manufactures whatsoever, which related to the Arts of Peace, to prescribe every Part of a learned and ingenuous Education, and more particularly, and above all the rest, to expel the Use of Gold and Silver from the State of Lacedemon. But as these military Heroes must eat, as well as fight, it was contrived that they should have Slaves [the Helotes] for the Purposes of Agriculture, and other menial Offices, whom they used much worse, and with more wanton Cruelty, than the Planters do the Negroes in the West-Indies:—And that is saying a great deal. Now I ask, are these Measures proper to be adopted in Great-Britain? And is this the Plan of a Republic, which some future patriotic Congress is to set up, in order to correct the Evils of our present unhappy Constitution?
The ATHENIAN REPUBLIC.
The distinguishing Practice of Athens, or at least, that which made the Conduct of the Athenians to appear different from that of most other States, was the Use of the Ostracism. Nothing could have been better calculated for gratifying the Caprice and Licentiousness of a Mob, or for indulging the Spleen and Jealousy of a Rival, or for concealing the Wiles and Intrigues of a pretended Patriot, than this very Project. For by Virtue thereof, any Man, even the best and most deserving in the State, was liable to be banished for ten Years, whenever the Citizens should have a public Assembly (which they often had) consisting of 6000 Suffrages and upwards;—and when any one of this Number should write, or cause to be written on a Shell, or a Leaf, the Name of the Person he chose to doom to destruction, then this upright, sagacious, and impartial Sentence immediately took Place: And the accused [if that Person can be called accused, against whom no Crime was alledged] was not permitted to say a Word in his Defence, or to expostulate on the Hardships of his Case, but must go instantly into Banishment, there to remain ’till the ten Years were expired.
By Means of a Condemnation of this Sort. Aristides, who had born some of the highest Offices in the Common-wealth, and who had obtained the Surname of the Just, from his great Integrity and inflexible Honour,—even this Aristides was banished from his native Country, and dearest Connections, and was reduced to such abject Poverty, that his only * Daughter was maintained by public Charity after his Death. The Story of this unhappy Victim to democratical Insolence well deserves to be repeated as a Memento to the present Times.—On a Day of public Assembly he was accosted by a Citizen, whom he did not know, desiring him to write the Name of Aristides on his Shell. Aristides, surprized at such a Request, asked him whether he knew Aristides, and whether he had ever offended him? No, says the other, I should not know him, were I to meet him. But I hear such an universal good Character of him, that I am resolved to banish him, if I can, from the Athenian State. Aristides wrote his Name on the Shell as the Patriot had desired: And as there happened to be no other Names than his then proposed to be proscribed, he was banished of Course, according to the fundamental Law of this celebrated Republic. The Truth is, [and this explains the Matter] Aristides was a remarkably just Man, by much too honest to cajole the Populace, and to gratify their Follies at the Expence of their own Interest; therefore he was not popular; as indeed few honest Men really are: * Whereas Pericles, who laid the Foundation of their Ruin, and deserved Banishment an hundred Times, was the Idol of the Athenians.
Another Instance of the great Sagacity of this People as Politicians, and Benevolence as Men, is observeable in the Methods they took for narrowing and contracting the Foundations of their Republic, instead of making them broader and firmer. For in the Times of their Prosperity, they shut up every Avenue against the rich, or ingenious, the industrious, deserving, or oppressed of other Countries, from partaking in the common Rights of Citizens of Athens. No Invitations, or general Naturalizations were so much as thought of: But on the contrary, the whole Tenor of their Laws ran in a different Strain. [See particularly Potter’s Greek Antiquities, and Taylor on Civil Law] Nay, they contrived to exclude as many as they could, even of their own natural-born Subjects, from enjoying the common Rights and Privileges of Citizens. And as to their Slaves, tho’ almost twenty in number to one free Man, they were excluded of Course. So that in Fact, had this People been always successful in their Wars, and had they made great and extended Conquests, or had their State been of very long Duration, their Republic would have become an hereditary Aristocracy, similar to that of Venice; for it was strongly verging that Way.
Indeed in Times of universal Calamity, when their Losses by Sea and Land were so great that they were in Danger of being annihilated, as a People, then they naturalized Foreigners, and manumitted Slaves. But it was their Necessity that compelled them, and not their Benevolence, Penetration, or Wisdom, which prompted them to adopt such patriotic Measures.
But above all, the Probity and Rectitude of this celebrated People will be displayed in the strongest Light, by setting before the Reader their Mode of dispensing Justice. In order to do this, let us suppose a parallel Case existing in our own Times. The present Livery-Men of London answer very nearly, if not altogether, to the Idea of the antient [Andres Athenaion] the Men of Athens. Let us therefore imagine, that these select Citizens, were the only Legislators in the State;—not only making Laws for themselves and for Great-Britain, but also for Ireland, and for all our Colonies and Settlements abroad. This is something: but what is to come, is still more extraordinary: For we are to suppose farther, That these Law-giving Liverymen, are also the supreme Judges both of Law and Equity, constituting the only sovereign Court of Judicature for all the Provinces of the British State. Hence it becomes necessary for every Suitor to this High Court of Justice,—every Suitor, I say, whether English, Scotch, or Irish, whether Armenian, West, or East-Indian, to slatter and cajole all the Members thereof, as much as he can,—bowing and scraping to the highest, and taking the meanest by the Hand, as he is entering Guildhall to hear the Cause, and to pronounce the final Sentence. The Court being now assembled, let us attend also to some of the Pleadings of the Council on such an Occasion.
Gentlemen of the Livery,
“My Client is a rich and generous Man. If you will decree for him, he shall treat his Judges with splendid Entertainments at Ranelagh, Vauxhall, and Sadler’s Wells, and at other Places of Diversion. Moreover he will give you Tickets to go for several Nights to both the Theatres, &c. &c. &c.
Now what shall we say to such an Oration? The Parallel here supposed, is either just or unjust in the principal Features, for there can be no Medium. I am therefore content, that the learned Reader should sit in Judgment on me relative to this Point. Only let me add, that I would have produced the very Passages from the original Authors, as Vouchers for the general Truth and Justness of the Parallel, [mutatis mutandis,] if I had had the Convenience of Greek Types at the Place where I am printing. One Thing more, I must beg Leave to suggest, namely, that every Man of Learning must be sensible, that, so far from exaggerating Matters,—I have taken the Words of Xenephon concerning the Athenian Polity, in the most advantageous Sense, of which they are capable. For I have allowed him to say, that the supreme Court of Athens was a Court of Appeal from inferior Jurisdictions; whereas his Words, and the Context strongly imply, that the Athenians would not suffer any Court whatever, to exist in any Part of their Empire but their own. Nay, Xenephon expressly declares, that the Allies of the Athenians, or their Auxiliaries, or Fellow Soldiers, or Colonies, or by whatever Name you will please to call them [Symmachoi is the Term in the original] were enslaved by the Athenians by these Means. Many other curious Observations might yet be made; and some of them of Importance to Great-Britain, by Way of Caution.—But surely enough has been said already, to give every true Friend to Liberty an Abhorrence of the Idea of an Athenian Common-Wealth.
The ROMAN REPUBLIC.
Come we now to the Roman State, whose Citizens were the great Masters of the World. But here an unlucky Observation arises at first setting out, viz. That the Roman Citizens, for the most Part, were not Tradesmen: For Trades of all Kinds were held at Rome in sovereign Contempt. Therefore its Tradesmen and Mechanics, its Shop-keepers and Retailers of all Sorts, were almost all either actual Slaves, or Slaves, lately made free, or the very Scum of the People. This was the original State of Things. But in the Time of Cicero, the Condition of Tradesmen, and the Idea affixed to Trade were a good Deal advanced in Reputation. Yet even he represents the Matter in such a Light, as would make, I should think, those consummate Politicians, the learned Liverymen of London, not very desirous of seeing a Return of such Times. *Cicero expresses himself to this Effect: “That according to antient Tradition, and as far as he can learn, Trades and the Gains thereof may be distinguished into the reputable and disreputable, after the following Manner. In the first Place, these Professions must be reckoned infamous, which are odious to Mankind, such as the Business of Toll Gatherers, at the Ports and Gates of Cities, also of Usurers, or Pawn-Brokers. In the next Place, all those Person, should be considered as a base and servile People who work for Hire, or Wages, because they are paid for their Labour, and not for their Skill or Ingenuity. For the very receiving of Wages is a Badge of Servitude. Those also who buy of the Merchants to sell again directly, must be ranked in a dishonourable Class; for they can get nothing thereby unless they cheat and lye abominably; and nothing can be baser than cheating. Moreover all Artificers whatever are a base Order of Men: Indeed it is hardly possible, that a Shop and Work-House should have any Thing of an ingenuous Nature belonging to them: And least of all, are those Professions to be approved of, which are subservient to Luxury, such as the Trades of Fish-mongers, Butchers, Cooks, Pastry-Cooks, and Fishermen: To whom you may add, if you please, Persumers, Dancers, and Tumblers, and the whole Tribe of such, who administer to gaming.
“But those Arts, which require much Study and Knowledge, or are of great Use to Mankind, such as Medicine, Architecture, and teaching the liberal Sciences, these, if exercised by Men of a certain Rank, [that is under the Degree of Patricians] do not dishonour their Profession. As to Merchandize, if in a little low Way, it is mean; but if great and extensive, importing Goods from various Countries, and dealing them out again to various Persons, without Fraud, it is not altogether to be discommended. Nay, if the Persons who follow it, could be satiated, or rather be content with their Profits, not making long Voyages, but returning speedily to their Farms, and landed Estates, they would deserve to be rather commended. But after all, in Things of this Nature, nothing is better, more profitable, more pleasant, or more honourable than the Cultivation of Land.”
What a strange Jumble of Things is here! And how little did this great Man understand the Nature of the Subject, about which he was writing! But leaving our City Patriots to censure Cicero, and to settle the Points of Precedency, and the Punctilios of Honour between the different Companies of Trades, as they shall think proper, I hasten to observe.
2dly. That there is another essential Difference between the Freemen of Rome, and the Freemen of London. For the Freemen of Rome voted very often by Classes, Tribes, or Companies; which I am well persuaded the Freemen or Livery-men of London would consider as a manifest Infringement of their Rights and Privileges. And indeed very little can be said in Defence of such a Practice. For if one Tribe, or Company should have 1000 Voices, and the other not a tenth Part of the Number, it seems very unreasonable, that the larger Tribe should be deprived of nine-tenths of its Suffrages, [which it is in Effect by this Mode of voting] merely because the smaller Tribe had not an equal Number.—However such was the Practice of those Lords of the World, the Citizens of Rome.
A 3d capital Difference between their Case and ours, consisted in their Method of enacting or repealing Laws. For when a Law was propounded to the whole Body of the People in their public Assemblies, to be either confirmed, or repealed, they had not the Choice of mending, or altering any Part, by correcting this, or rejecting that, by adding any thing to it, or substracting from it, but were obliged either to approve all, or refuse all. This was a very great Defect in the Constitution of the Roman Common-wealth, but it was unavoidable in their Situation. For as the People did not send Deputies from certain Districts, or particular Classes, to represent them in the Senate, similar to our Members of Parliament, they could no otherwise transact the Business of the State, in their numerous and tumultuous Assemblies [convened together for a few Hours] than by a simple Affirmation, or Negation. Therefore the only Part, which this Mob of Voters had to act, or could act, in the grand Affair of Legislation, wherein the Majestas Populi Romani was so immediately concerned, was to pronouce a single Yes or No. [The sovereign Council, that is the Body of Citizens, at Geneva, do the same at this Day.] A mighty Matter truly, and greatly to be envied by us Britons!
But 4thly, and above all, the Propensity of the Romans for War, and their Aversion to any lasting Peace, constituted, or ought to constitute the most direct Opposition between their Conduct, and ours. A Nation, whose only Trade was to conquer and subdue, might with some Propriety, or at least with no Inconsistency, seek every Occasion of following their destructive, bloody Occupation. But how a commercial Nation, such as ours, whose continual Aim it should be to increase the Number of its Friends, and to attract Customers from every Part of the Globe, by promoting the mutual Interests of Mankind, and by giving no just Alarms to their Fears and Jealousies:—I say, how such a Nation should entertain that Fondness for War, and should espouse so many Quarrels as the English have eagerly done for almost half a Century last past, is, I own, beyond my Comprehension. Nor can I find, even if we had come off Conquerors in every Engagement, which we had, or* wished to have, whether by Sea or Land, and had triumphed over all the People upon Earth, that these shining Victories would have reduced the Price of our Manufactures, or have rendered them one Jot the better, or cheaper, or fitter to be exported to foreign Markets. In fact, there is something so preposterous, and indeed so ridiculous in the Farce, were any Shop-keeper to try to bully all his Customers in order to compel them to deal with him against their own Interest and Inclination, that one can hardly treat it in a serious Manner. Yet alas! mutato nomine de te Fabula narratur. [See the Case of going to War for the Sake of Trade among my American Tracts, printed for Cadel.] Moreover our affecting the Dominion of the Ocean, in the Manner we do, greatly prejudices all Mankind against us. For the Ocean, and all open Seas, are the bountiful Gifts of Providence, like the Winds and Atmosphere, wherein all the World have a common Right; and ought to enjoy it unmolested.
I have now, I think, cleared off a great deal of those vast Heaps of Rubbish, which lay in my Way; and therefore might proceed to erect a Super-Structure on the Foundation already laid. But there is one Objection still remaining, which though a very false one, and supported by no Proof, is yet of so popular, and plausible a Nature, that it must not be passed over unnoticed.
The OBJECTION is this:
“The People, that is, every individual moral Agent among the People,” [for it must mean this, if it means any Thing, it being impossible to admit some, and refuse others the Right of Voting, with any Face of Justice, where all have an equal, indefeasible Right: Therefore the Objection means, that] “every individual Moral Agent among the People has an unalienable Right to be self-governed, that is to chuse his own Legislator, Governor, and Director. Consequently to take from, or to deny any of them the free Exercise of this natural and fundamental Right, is to act the Tyrant, and to be guilty of the worst Kind of Robbery that can be committed. It is such an atrocious Violation of the just Rights of Mankind, as will authorise every Man to use the most speedy and efficacious Methods in his Power, to assert and recover his native Freedom, by redressing his Wrongs, and punishing the Tyrants and Usurpers.”
Now, if the Case be really such, as is here supposed, all that we have hitherto said, must pass for nothing. And therefore we must first examine into these strange Pretensions of our modern patriotic Objectors, which tend to unhinge all Society, before we can propose any Scheme for regulating the Mode of electing Deputies or Representatives.
There are two Kinds of Rights, and only two belonging to human Nature which are strictly and properly unalienable. These are the Functions of Nature, and the Duties of Religion. And they are in no other Sense unalienable, but because they are inseparable from the Subject to which they belong, and cannot be transferred to another.
A Man, for Instance, must perform his animal Functions for himself alone; there being no such Thing as Eating and Drinking by Means of a Proxy, or Deputation. Neither can one Man discharge the Duties of Religion in another’s Stead: For these are personal Acts, which become null and void the Moment that one Man shall pretend to give, or another undertake to execute a Commission to act for him. In short, no Man can believe for another: Every Man do this for himself. And no Man can substitute another to repent, or obey in his Stead: For the Repentance and Obedience must be his own, otherwise it will not be valid. So far the Cases are clear: Indeed they are self evident.
But will any Man dare to affirm, that the Affairs of Government and Legislation, and all the Concerns of Civil Society relative both to Peace and War, are under the same Predicament, and incapable of being performed by Proxies or Deputations Surely no: Nothing less than Insanity could excuse the uttering of such a Paradox. Indeed the Lockians themselves, to give them their Dues, are conscious that the Cases are not parallel. They are obliged to make this Confession, notwithstanding all their Parade about their unalienable Rights to be self-governed (as Dr. Price phrases it) that is, to elect their own Legislators, Governors, and Directors. For all of them [except honest Rousseau, who is generally consistent, whether in Truth, or Error, and perhaps also except Dr. Priestly;—I say, all of them] scruple not to maintain, that the Minority ought, for the most Part, to be concluded by the Majority; and that it is their Duty to acquiesce under such Determinations, tho’ those Decrees may happen to be very contrary to their own private Judgments. Now this is a Thing impossible to be complied with in the Functions of Animal Life: For no Man can, even if he would, consign over his own Privilege of eating and drinking; or depute another to act in his Stead: In this Respect the Minority cannot compliment the Majority with their unalienable Rights. Moreover as to the Affairs of Religion, and the Performance of moral Duties,—in these Cases also the Rights of Conscience cannot be transferred either from the few to the many, or from the many to the few, by any Covenant or Compact whatsoever: Because they are truly and literally unalienable. Therefore no Majority of Votes can bind in these Cases.—
What then becomes of this boasted Demonstration, this unanswerable Argument, whereby the Lockians have undertaken to prove, That all the Governments and Legislatures upon Earth are so many Robberies and Usurpations, (yea too, and all their Subjects Slaves) such only excepted, if any such there be, as are administered according to the Lockian System?—Why truly, this same Confidence of boasting, when sifted to the Bottom, dwindles into nothing: And the Mountain in Labour is brought forth of a Mouse. However, one Thing must be acknowledged on their Part, That this very Argument of unalienable Rights, weak and trifling as it is, may nevertheless become a formidable Weapon, in the Hands of desperate Catalinarian Men, for establishing a real and cruel Tyranny of their own (according to the Example which the American Rebels have already set) instead of that harmless, imaginary Tyranny, of which they so bitterly complain at present.
[* ]During an attentive Observation, and the Experience of 50 Years, sorry I am to say, but Truth obliges me to do it, that I hardly ever knew an unpopular Measure to be in itself a bad one, or a popular one to be truly salutary. Internally the People violently opposed the best of all Schemes for a commercial Nation,—That of warehousing Goods on Importation, and paying the Duties by Degrees. They were also as bitterly averse to the making of Turnpike Roads, to the Use of Broadwheel Waggons, to the enclosing and improving of Lands, to the Freedom of Trade in Cities and Towns corporate, to the Introduction of Machines for abridging Labour, and also to the Admission of industrious Foreigners to settle among them. Nay, they very lately were so absurd as to raise loud Clamours against the Execution of the Act for preserving the public Coin, and their own Property from Debasement and Adulteration. Externally, they are perpetually calling out for new Wars (though against their best Customers) on the most frivolous or unjustifiable Pretences. Moreover, if there was any Convention or Treaty to be broken through or disregarded, (the Observance of which would have restored Peace or prevented Bloodshed) or if there was any new Colony to be planted in a desart Country, or Conquest to be undertaken in a populous one, even in the most distant Part of the Globe.—All these Measures, though totally opposite to a Spirit of Industry at Home, and though the Bane of a commercial Nation, were sure to receive the Applauses and Huzzas of the unthinking Multitude. Such was the Vox Populi for 50 Years last past, which some Persons blasphemously stile Vox Dei.
[* ]Quere,—Whether this famous Legislator was not guilty of a gross Equivocation in the very Act of making his social Contract with the People of Lacedemon? It is said, that he bound them by an Oath to observe his Laws and Regulations, till he should return from a Voyage to Crete, where he then purposed to go. He went, but never returned: And lest they should bring back his Bones after his Death, and thereby suppose themselves released from the Obligation he had laid them under, he ordered his Body to be thrown into the Sea. Few Moralists, I believe, would judge such a fraudulent Contract as this, to be good and valid. And no Court of Equity upon Earth would pronounce such a palpable Deception to be binding in any other Case. The learned Reader is requested to consult Xenophon’s Account of the Policy of the Lacedemonians in the Original. He will there find, that many of the Institutions of Lycurgus were very whimsical and absurd, (notwithstanding Xenophon’s Endeavours to gloss them over) that some of them were very criminal, others obscene, that few were worthy to be adopted into that benevolent and liberal Plan of Government, where true national Liberty was to be the Basis.
[* ]Plutarch doth not mention this Circumstance of the Daughter of Aristides, exactly after this Manner, but other Authors do.
[* ]The most unpopular Man in all France in his Day, was the Duke de Sully; the most popular the Duke de Guise: The most unpopular Ministers in England, were the Earl of Clarendon, and Sir Robert Walpole, during their respective Administrations; the former a true, a steady, and equal Friend to a limitted Monarchy, and the just civil Rights of the People; and the latter the best commercial Minister this Country ever had, and the greatest Promoter of its real Interests:—The most popular in their Turns, were Mr. Pulteney, and Mr. Pitt.Sed Opinionum Commenta delet Dies.
[* ]Jam de artificiis & quæstibus, qui liberales habendi, qui fordidi fint, hæc fere accepimus. Primum improbantur ei quæstus, qui in odia hominum incurrunt; ut portitorum, ut fœneratorum. Illiberales autem, & sordidi quæstus mercenariorum, omniumque, quorum operæ, non quorum artes emuntur. Est enim illis ipsa merces auctoramentum Servitutis. Sordidi etiam putandi, qui mercantur a Mercatoribus, quod statim vendant; nihil enim proficiunt, nisi admodum mentiantur. Nec vero quidquam turpius est Vanitate. Opificesq; omnes in sordida arte versantur. Nec enim quidquam ingenuum potest habere officina. Minimæque artes hæ probandæ, quæ ministræ sunt voluptatum, cetarii, lanii, coqui, fartores, piscatores. Adde huc, si placet, unguentarios, saltatores, totumque ludum talarium. Quibus autem artibus aut prudentia major inest, aut non mediocris utilitas quæritur, ut medicina, ut architectura, ut doctrina rerum honestarum, hæ sunt iis, quorum ordini conveniunt, honestæ. Mercatura autem, si tenuis est, sordida putanda est: Sin magna, et copiosa, multa undique apportans, multisque sine Vanitate impartiens, non est admodum vituperanda. Atque etiam si satiata quæstu, vel contenta potius, ut sæpe ex alto in portum, sic ex ipso portu se in agros, possessionesque contulerit, videtur jure optimo posse laudari. Omnium autem rerum, ex quibus aliquid acquiritur, nihil est agricultura melius, nihil uberius, nihil duleius, nihil homine, nihil libero dignius.—Vide Ciceronem de Officiis, Liber 1. § 42.
[* ]One Time the People were very clamorous for assisting the Queen of Hungary; and nothing else could content them.—Then the Tide turned, and they were equally clamorous to assist the King of Prussia. At one Time that miserable Island Corsica was the favourite Object, at another a Set of Rocks, absolutely barren, in the midst of a most inhospitable Sea, and in a most wretched Climate, called Falkland Island, engrossed their Attention. In short, any Thing, and every Thing, excepting that one Thing the most needful for a Commercial State, To study to be quiet, and do our own Business.