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CHAPTER X.: Of Government. - James Wilson, Collected Works of James Wilson, vol. 1 
Collected Works of James Wilson, edited by Kermit L. Hall and Mark David Hall, with an Introduction by Kermit L. Hall, and a Bibliographical Essay by Mark David Hall, collected by Maynard Garrison (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007). Vol. 1.
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We have already seen, that society may exist without civil government: indeed, if we would think and reason with accuracy on the subject, we shall necessarily be led to consider, in our contemplation, the formation of society as preexistent to the formation of those regulations, by which the society mean, that their conduct should be influenced and directed.
It is necessary that this distinction be plainly made, and clearly understood. It has been controverted by some: an inattention to it has produced, in the minds of others, practical inferences, which are both ill founded and dangerous. A change of government has been viewed as a desperate event, as an object of the most terrifick aspect; because it has been thought, that government could not be changed, without tearing up the very foundations of the social establishment. It has been supposed, that, in a transition from one government to another, the body making it must be dissolved; that every thing must be reduced to a state of nature; and that the rights and obligations of the society must be lost and discharged.
In many parts of the world, indeed, the idea of revolutions in government is, by a mournful and indissoluble association, connected with the idea of wars, and of all the calamities attendant on wars.a But joyful experience teaches us, in the United States, to view them in a very different and much more agreeable light—to consider them only as progressive steps in improving the knowledge of government, and increasing the happiness of society and mankind.
It is true, that institutions, which depend on the form or structure of the preceding government, must fall, when that form or structure is taken away. But establishments, whose foundations rest on the society itself, cannot be overturned by any alteration of the government, which the society can make. The acts and compacts which form the political association, are very different from those by which the associated body, when formed, may choose to maintain and regulate itself.
But though, without government, society may exist; yet it must be admitted, that, without government, society, in the present state of things, cannot flourish; far less, can it reach perfection. In a state of nature, it is true, any one individual may act uncontrolled by others; but it is equally true, that, in such a state, every other individual may act uncontrolled by him. Amidst this universal independence, the dissensions and animosities between the interfering members of the society, would be numerous and ungovernable. The consequence would be, that each member, in such a natural state, would enjoy less liberty, and suffer more interruption and inconvenience, than he would under a civil government.
Again; it is true, that, by the fundamental laws of society, obedience is stipulated on the part of the members, and protection is stipulated on the part of the body. But the modes, and extent, and particular objects of this obedience, and the modes, and extent, and particular instruments of this protection, are all equally unascertained. Precision and certainty in these points, so important to the peace and order of society, can be obtained only by a system of government. In addition, therefore, to the rules, which necessarily enter into the formation of society, other rules—those, which compose government—have been gradually introduced into every community, which has attained any considerable degree of improvement.b
How the different governments, which have successively appeared in the different parts of the world, began; on what principles they were originally formed; what share in their formation should be ascribed to stratagem, what to force, what to necessity, what to conveniency, what to wisdom, what to patriotism—all these are questions, which would employ, and the answers to which would gratify curiosity: some of them would convey much pleasure and instruction: but, with regard to many of them, complete information cannot be obtained; and if it could, it would not be accompanied with a proportioned degree of satisfaction. The origin of many governments is obliterated or obscured by the impressions of allcorroding time. Some exceptions, however, there are; and of those exceptions, some deserve to be considered with careful and patient attention: they contain matter of wise example, or of prudent caution.
From ancient history I select one instance, the particulars of which are transmitted to us with a considerable degree of accuracy and minuteness. The Medes originally were included in the great empire of Assyria: from this empire they separated themselves by a successful revolt. After their separation, they continued, for some time, without any established form of government—in a state of self command, as the expression used by Herodotus2 denotes. Of this state, they soon began to experience the infelicities: injuries were committed; controversies arose; dissensions took place: there was no settled or acknowledged authority to repress animosities, to determine disputes, or to order reparation for injustice that had been done.
One man there was, whose integrity and wisdom taught his countrymen to revere him, and to apply to him as the judge and arbiter of their differences. This was the famed Dejoces.3 His decisions were equitable; but the execution of them depended on the pleasure of the parties, against whom they were made. Influence, however, and reputation supplied, in some tolerable degree, the place of regular and established authority; and the Medes confided and acquiesced in the prudence and justice of Dejoces.
Stimulated by latent principles of ambition, or directed by the admonitions of sagacity, Dejoces became dissatisfied with the situation, in which he stood. Perhaps he wisely foresaw, that unless he possessed authority at the same time that he deserved confidence, he could not be long safe in his own person, or useful to his fellow citizens. Another supposition there is likewise reason to make. Perhaps his ambition suggested to him, that the influence, which he already enjoyed, might, by an easy and a certain transition, be converted into power; that the voluntary acquiescence under his awards might be improved into implicit submission to his edicts; and that the respected judge might become the splendid monarch of Media. Whatever his motives were, we know what was their result. He would not exercise any longer the confidential office of administering justice among the Medes; but had recourse to a retired life, under the pretence, that he could no longer support the excessive fatigue of the business of others; and that it was now become absolutely necessary for him to devote his attention to the management of his own affairs.
The consequence, which was naturally expected, naturally followed. The disorders, which the character and influence of Dejoces had repressed, returned, upon his retirement, with redoubled violence; and increased to such a degree, that the Medes were obliged to convene a general council of the nation, in order to deliberate upon the proper methods of finding and applying a remedy to the publick miseries and dissensions. The expedient adopted by the general council was, that a king should be elected, who should have power to restrain the rage of violence, and to make laws for the government of the nation. When it was determined to elect a king; there was no hesitation concerning the person, on whom the election should fall. With common consent, Dejoces was elected king of Media.c
With regard to the first establishment of civil government, it is probable, that the maintenance of publick peace and the promotion of publick happiness were the ends originally proposed by the people, in many instances. It is certain, that, in every instance, they were the ends, which by all ought to have been proposed and prosecuted too. One thing is unquestionable, and this, indeed, is all that is necessary to be known upon the subject; that every man must have had his own advantage and happiness in view; and must have endeavoured, as much as possible, to preserve his natural liberty. This is founded on the constitution of mankind; and this invincible principle would operate with greater force on the first formation of government, than after it was fully established; for under established governments, the natural love of liberty is frequently counteracted by education, by prejudice, by interest, by ambition. Of this melancholy, but undeniable truth, the history of man and of government produces too many striking examples. The degeneracy of government, and the consequent degeneracy of the citizens, have been fruitful topicks of contemplation and complaint, in almost every age and country.
It is a question rather of curiosity than of utility—what kind of government is the most ancient? The different kinds have different advocates in favour of their antiquity; and their different hypotheses are supported with much ingenuity and zeal. The ardour of polemical disquisition, however, upon this subject, might have been greatly softened by the obvious reflection, that it by no means follows, that the kind of government which is oldest, is the kind which is also best. That form which was most simple, and not that form which was most perfect, would, in all probability, attract the attention, and determine the choice, of a rude and inexperienced society. In many parts of the world, the science of government is even yet in a state of nonage: shall its first be deemed its most finished movements?
The most simple form of government is that of monarchy: reasonable conjecture, therefore, would lead us to presume, that this form is the most ancient. This presumption of reason is confirmed by the information of history, both sacred and profane. The most ancient nations mentioned by the inspired historian and legislator of the Hebrews—for instance, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians—were all under the government of kings. Homer, the true original of his own Ulysses, who knew societies as well as men, seems scarcely to have seen, or heard, or even imagined any other species of government, than that which was monarchical. The most famous states of antiquity, Athens and Rome, were monarchies at their first commencement. The history of China is said to reach a period of antiquity very remote; at the remotest period, monarchy was the form of government which prevailed in it.
But though monarchy is the most ancient form of government; monarchs were, at first, neither hereditary nor despotick. We have seen that Dejoces, the first monarch of Media, became a king by election. Crowns, in general, were originally elective. True, indeed, it is, that, from causes obvious and easy to be assigned, the office, which, at first, was elective, became afterwards hereditary.
The dominions of the first monarchs were far from being extensive. In the days of Abraham, there were five kings in the single Valley of Sodom. The kings defeated by Joshua in Palestine were thirty one in number. The different provinces, which, at present, compose the empire of China, formed anciently so many separate monarchies. “The ancient Britons,” says Bacon in his Discourses on Government,d “had many chiefs in a little room; whom the Romans called kings, for the greater renown of their empire.” For many ages, Greece was divided into a vast number of small and inconsiderable kingdoms.
The authority of those ancient monarchs was not more extensive than their dominions. It appears from many monuments, that, by the constitutions of the first kingdoms, the people had a great share in the government. Affairs of importance were debated and determined in the general assemblies of the nations.e “De majoribus omnes consultant,”4 says Tacitusf of the ancient Germans. The first kings were, indeed, properly no more than judges, who had no power to inflict punishments by their own authority, and without the consent of the people. Hence the poet Hesiod5 says, that the muses give kings the art of persuasion, that they may engage the people to submit to their decisions, for which end they were placed in that exalted station.g “Principes jura per pagos vicosque reddunt,” says Tacitus in the treatise just now cited.h
“In my opinion,” says Cicero,i “it was not among the Medes only, as Herodotus informs us; but it was among our own ancestors likewise, that kings of good character were chosen, in order that the administration of justice might be enjoyed. For when the poor were oppressed by the rich, they fled for relief to some one, preeminent in virtue, who would protect the weak from injustice, and would dispense equal law to the high and to the low. If they could obtain this from the mouth of one just and good man, they were satisfied; but, as they were often disappointed in this reasonable demand, they had, afterwards, recourse to general law, which spoke one language to all.”
The course of things in other nations, was similar to that, which took place in Media and in Rome. “At first,” says the excellent Hooker, “when some kind of regiment was once approved; it may be, that nothing was, then, further thought upon for the manner of governing; but all permitted to their wisdom and discretion, which were to rule; till, by experience, they found this, for all parts, very inconvenient, so as the thing, which they had devised for a remedy, did but increase the sore, which it should have cured. They saw, that to live by one man’s will, became the cause of all men’s misery. This constrained them to come unto law, wherein all men might see their duties beforehand, and know the penalties of transgressing them.”j
This progress of government and law, we find remarkably exemplified in the history of Greece. At first, all the Grecian cities were under the government of kings, not arbitrarily, but agreeably to the laws and customs of the country. He was esteemed the best king, who was the justest and strictest observer of the laws, and who never departed from the established customs of his kingdom. This explains the true meaning of Homer, (who painted to the life) when he denominated kings, “men, who distribute justice.” These small monarchies, thus limited, subsisted for a long time, as, for instance, that of the Lacedemonians. But, afterwards, some kings began to abuse their power, and to govern according to their pleasure, rather than according to the laws. This the Greeks could not endure; and, therefore, abolished the monarchical form of government, and established other kinds of government in its place.
To find out the best kind of government has been long the celebrated problem in the political world. In order to furnish some imperfect materials for the solution of this very important inquiry, let us consider and investigate the qualities and principles, by which a good government ought to be characterized.
Men, frail and imperfect as they are, must be the instruments, by which government is administered. But, in order to guard against the consequences of their frailties and imperfections, one effort, in the contrivance of the political system, is, to provide, that, for the offices and the departments of the state, the wisest and the best of her citizens be elected. A second effort is, to communicate to the operations of government as great a share as possible of the good, and as small a share as possible of the bad propensities of our nature. A third effort is, to increase, encourage, and strengthen those good propensities, and to lessen, discourage, and correct those bad ones. A fourth effort is, to introduce, into the very form of government, such particular checks and controls, as to make it advantageous even for bad men to act for the publick good. When these efforts are successful, and happily united; then is accomplished what we truly mean, when we speak of a government of laws, and not of men; then every man does homage to the laws; the very least as feeling their care; the greatest as not exempted from their power.
What are the qualities in government, necessary for producing laws, properly designed, properly framed, and properly enforced? Goodness should inspire and animate the intention: wisdom should direct and arrange the means: power should render the means efficacious, by carrying the laws vigorously into execution. The more all those qualities prevail in any government, the nearer does that government approach to its perfection. In some kinds of government, one of the qualities is eminent in undue proportion: in others, another: but the best are those, in which all the qualities are happily blended in their operation, and diffuse, through the whole society, their mingled and tempered influence.
We have now taken a general view of government, and have traced the qualities, which should operate through the whole: let us descend to a more minute examination of its different parts: let us view the structure and properties of each, considered by itself; and also the mutual dependencies and controls, which each ought to possess, and to which each ought to be subject, when considered relatively to others.
The powers of government are usually, and with propriety, arranged under three great divisions; the legislative authority, the executive authority, and the judicial authority. Let us consider each, as its greatness deserves to be considered.
The first remark, which I shall make on the structure of the legislative power, is, that it ought to be divided. In support of this position, which is, indeed, one of the most important in both the theory and the practice of government, many arguments may be advanced. Let me introduce one, by the declaration of an admired judge, whose manly candour must charm every generous mind. “It is the glory and happiness of our excellent constitution, that, to prevent any injustice, no man is concluded by the first judgment; but that, if he apprehends himself to be aggrieved, he has another court, to which he may resort for relief. For my part, I can say, that it is a consideration of great comfort to me, that, if I do err, my judgment is not conclusive to the party; but my mistake may be rectified, and so no injustice be done.”k Is less skill required—should less caution be observed—in making laws, than in explaining them? Are mistakes less likely to happen—are they less dangerous—is it less necessary to prevent or rectify them, in the former case, than in the latter? Which is most necessary? to preserve the streams, or to preserve the fountain from becoming turbid?
But the danger arising from mistakes and inaccuracies is not the only nor the greatest one, to be apprehended from a single body possessed of legislative power. It is impossible to restrain it in its operations. No other power in government can arrest the proceedings of that which makes the laws. Let us suppose, that this single body, in a lucky moment, should pass a law to restrain itself: in the next moment, an unlucky one, it might repeal the restraining law. Any mounds, which it might raise to confine itself, would still be within the sphere of its own motion; and whatever force should impel it, would necessarily impel those mounds along with it. To stop and to check, as well as to produce motion in this political globe, we must possess—what Archimedes wanted—another globe to stand upon.
A single legislature is calculated to unite in it all the pernicious qualities of the different extremes of bad government. It produces general weakness, inactivity, and confusion; and these are intermixed with sudden and violent fits of despotism, injustice, and cruelty.
But I will take the subject a little deeper: it is of the utmost consequence that it be fully discussed. In private life, how often and how fatally are we seduced, by our passions and by our prejudices, from those paths, which would lead us to our true interests? But are passions and prejudices less frequently to be found in publick bodies, than in individuals? Are they less powerful? Do they not become inflamed by mutual imitation and example? Will they not, if unrestrained, produce the most mischievous effects? Ye, who are versed in the science of human nature—ye, who have viewed it in the faithful mirrour of history—tell us, for you know, what answer should be given to these questions. Cannot you point out instances, in which the people have become the miserable victims of passions, operating upon their government without restraint? Cannot you point out other instances, in which the violence of one part of the government has been happily controlled by the constitutional interposition of another part?
There is not in the whole science of politicks a more solid or a more important maxim than this—that of all governments, those are the best, which, by the natural effect of their constitutions, are frequently renewed or drawn back to their first principles. When a single legislature is determined to depart from the principles of the constitution—and its incontrollable power may prompt the determination—there is no constitutional authority to arrest its progress. It may proceed, by long and hasty strides, in violating the constitution, till nothing but a revolution can stop its career. Far different will the case be, when the legislature consists of two branches. If one of them should depart, or attempt to depart from the principles of the constitution; it will be drawn back by the other. The very apprehension of the event will prevent the departure or the attempt.
In all the most celebrated governments both of ancient and of modern times, we find the legislatures composed of distinct bodies. Such was that formed at Athens by Solon. Such was that instituted at Sparta by Lycurgus. Such was that, which so long flourished at Rome. In our sister states, their legislatures consist of distinct bodies of men. Similar, upon this subject, is the constitution of the United States. And we can now happily say, that Pennsylvania no longer exhibits an instance to the contrary—that she no longer holds out to view a beacon to be avoided, instead of an example deserving imitation.
Thus much I have thought it necessary to say concerning that power of government, which is intrusted with the making of the laws. Let us next consider those powers, which are intrusted with their execution, and with the administration of justice under their authority. Wise and good laws are indeed essential; but though they are essential, they are so only as means. If we stop here, all that we have done is nugatory and abortive. The end is still unattained; and that can be attained only when the laws are vigorously and steadily executed; and when the administration of justice under them is unbiassed and enlightened.
Indeed, if I mistake not, an inferiour proportion of attention, in this and in most of our sister states, has been employed about these important parts of the political system. Laws have abounded: their multiplicity has been often a grievance: but their weak and irregular execution, and the unwise and unstable administration of justice, have been subjects of general and well grounded complaint.
Habits contracted before the late revolution of the United States, operate, in the same manner, since that time, though very material alterations may have taken place in the objects of their operations.
Before that period, the executive and the judicial powers of government were placed neither in the people, nor in those, who professed to receive them under the authority of the people. They were derived from a different and a foreign source: they were regulated by foreign maxims: they were directed to foreign purposes. Need we be surprised, that they were objects of aversion and distrust? Need we be surprised, that every occasion was seized for lessening their influence, and weakening their energy? On the other hand, our assemblies were chosen by ourselves: they were the guardians of our rights, the objects of our confidence, and the anchor of our political hopes. Every power, which could be placed in them, was thought to be safely placed: every extension of that power was considered as an extension of our own security.
At the revolution, the same fond predilection, and the same jealous dislike, existed and prevailed. The executive and the judicial as well as the legislative authority was now the child of the people; but, to the two former, the people behaved like stepmothers. The legislature was still discriminated by excessive partiality; and into its lap, every good and precious gift was profusely thrown.
Even at this time, people can scarcely devest themselves of those opposite prepossessions: they still hold, when, perhaps, they perceive it not, the language, which expresses them. In observations on this subject, we hear the legislature mentioned as the people’s representatives. The distinction, intimated by concealed implication, though probably, not avowed upon reflection, is, that the executive and judicial powers are not connected with the people by a relation so strong, or near, or dear.
But it is high time that we should chastise our prejudices; and that we should look upon the different parts of government with a just and impartial eye. The executive and judicial powers are now drawn from the same source, are now animated by the same principles, and are now directed to the same ends, with the legislative authority: they who execute, and they who administer the laws, are as much the servants, and therefore as much the friends of the people, as they who make them. The character, and interest, and glory of the two former are as intimately and as necessarily connected with the happiness and prosperity of the people, as the character, and interest, and glory of the latter are. Besides; the execution of the law, and the administration of justice under the law, bring it home to the fortunes, and farms, and houses, and business of the people. Ought the executive or the judicial magistrates, then, to be considered as foreigners? ought they to be treated with a chilling indifference?
Having shown, that, on the principles of our new system, jealousies and prejudices concerning the executive and judicial departments ought to be discarded; let us now consider, in what manner those departments should be formed and constituted. We begin with the executive department.
The executive as well as the legislative power ought to be restrained. But there is a remarkable contrast between the proper modes of restraining them. The legislature, in order to be restrained, must be divided. The executive power, in order to be restrained, should be one. Unity in this department is at once a proof and an ingredient of safety and of energy in the operations of government.
The restraints on the legislative authority must, from its nature, be chiefly internal; that is, they must proceed from some part or division of itself. But the restraints on the executive power are external. These restraints are applied with greatest certainty, and with greatest efficacy, when the object of restraint is clearly ascertained. This is best done, when one object only, distinguished and responsible, is conspicuously held up to the view and examination of the publick.
In planning, forming, and arranging laws, deliberation is always becoming, and always useful. But in the active scenes of government, there are emergencies, in which the man, as, in other cases, the woman, who deliberates, is lost. Secrecy may be equally necessary as despatch. But, can either secrecy or despatch be expected, when, to every enterprise, and to every step in the progress of every enterprise, mutual communication, mutual consultation, and mutual agreement among men, perhaps of discordant views, of discordant tempers, and of discordant interests, are indispensably necessary? How much time will be consumed! and when it is consumed; how little business will be done! When the time is elapsed; when the business is unfinished; when the state is in distress, perhaps, on the verge of destruction; on whom shall we fix the blame? whom shall we select as the object of punishment?
Ruinous dissensions are not the only inconveniences resulting from a numerous executive body: it is equally liable to pernicious and intriguing combinations. When the first take place, the publick business is not done at all: when the last take place, it is done for mean or malicious purposes.
The appointment to offices is an important part of the executive authority. Much of the ease, much of the reputation, much of the energy, and much of the safety of the nation depends on judicious and impartial appointments. But are impartiality and fine discernment likely to predominate in a numerous executive body? In proportion to their own number, will be the number of their friends, favourites, and dependents. An office is to be filled. A person nearly connected, by some of the foregoing ties, with one of those who are to vote in filling it, is named as a candidate. His patron is under no necessity to take any part, particularly responsible, in his appointment. He may appear even cold and indifferent on the occasion. But he possesses an advantage, the value of which is well understood in bodies of this kind. Every member, who gives, on his account, a vote for his friend, will expect the return of a similar favour on the first convenient opportunity. In this manner, a reciprocal intercourse of partiality, of interestedness, of favouritism, perhaps of venality, is established; and, in no particular instance, is there a practicability of tracing the poison to its source. Ignorant, vicious, and prostituted characters are introduced into office; and some of those, who voted, and procured others to vote for them, are the first and loudest in expressing their astonishment, that the door of admission was ever opened to men of their infamous description. The suffering people are thus wounded and buffeted, like Homer’s Ajax, in the dark; and have not even the melancholy satisfaction of knowing by whom the blows are given. Those who possess talents and virtues, which would reflect honour on office, will be reluctant to appear as candidates for appointments. If they should be brought into view; what weight will virtue, merit, and talents for office have, in a balance held and poized by partiality, intrigue, and chicane?
The person who nominates or makes appointments to offices, should be known. His own office, his own character, his own fortune should be responsible. He should be alike unfettered and unsheltered by counsellors. No constitutional stalking horse should be provided for him to conceal his turnings and windings, when they are too dark and too crooked to be exposed to publick view. Instead of the dishonourable intercourse, which I have already mentioned, an intercourse of a very different kind should be established—an intercourse of integrity and discernment on the part of the magistrate who appoints, and of gratitude and confidence on the part of the people, who will receive the benefit from his appointments. Appointments made and sanctioned in this highly respectable manner, will, like a fragrant and beneficent atmosphere, diffuse sweetness and gladness around those, to whom they are given. Modest merit will be beckoned to, in order to encourage her to come forward. Barefaced impudence and unprincipled intrigue will receive repulse and disappointment, deservedly their portion.
If a contrary conduct should unfortunately be observed—and, unfortunately, a contrary conduct will be sometimes observed—it will be known by the citizens, whose conduct it is: and, if they are not seized with the only distemper incurable in a free government—the distemper of being wanting to themselves—they will, at the next general election, take effectual care, that the person, who has once shamefully abused their generous and unsuspecting confidence, shall not have it in his power to insult and injure them a second time, by the repetition of such an ungrateful return.
The observations, which I have made on the appointments to offices, will apply, with little variation, to the other powers and duties of the executive department.
When more than one person are engaged in the same enterprise, a difference of opinion, concerning the object or the means, is no improbable contingency. When the difference takes place among those of equal authority, where is the umpire to decide? A prevailing and undecided difference in sentiment, is the inauspicious parent of bitter and determined opposition in conduct. In business, which is merely deliberative, these differences may be concluded by a resolution or a vote: for, when a vote is taken, the majority is ascertained, and the business is done. But, in publick enterprises, the case is far otherwise. To the success of the enterprise, the zealous cooperation of the dissenting minority is no less indispensable, than that of the consenting majority. Is such cooperation to be expected? Would it be safe to calculate the motions of government upon an expectation, indeed, so extremely improbable? If we build on such a sandy foundation, will not the superstructure tumble in pieces, and bury, under its ruins, the dearest interests of the state?
If, on the other hand, the executive power of government is placed in the hands of one person, who is to direct all the subordinate officers of that department; is there not reason to expect, in his plans and conduct, promptitude, activity, firmness, consistency, and energy? These mark the proceedings of one man; at least, of one man, fit to be intrusted with the management of important publick affairs. May we not indulge, at least in imagination, the pleasing prospect, that this one man—the choice of those who are deeply interested in a proper choice—will be a man distinguished by his abilities? Will not those abilities pervade every part of his administration? Will they not diffuse their animating influence over the most distant corners of the nation?—May we not further indulge the pleased imagination in the agreeable prospect—in one instance, at least, it is realized by experience—that the publick choice will fall upon a man, in whom distinguished abilities will be joined and sublimed by distinguished virtues—on a man, who, on the necessary foundation of a private character, decent, respected, and dignified, will build all the great, and honest, and candid qualities, from which an elevated station derives its most beautiful lustre, and publick life its most splendid embellishments?
If these pleasing prospects should unhappily be blasted by a preposterous choice, and by the preposterous conduct of the magistrate chosen; still, at the next election, an effectual remedy can be applied to the mischief: and this remedy will be applied effectually, unless, as has been already intimated, the citizens should be wanting to themselves. For a people wanting to themselves, there is indeed no remedy in the political dispensary. From their power there is no appeal: to their errour there is no superiour principle of correction.
The third great division of the powers of government is the judicial authority. It is sometimes considered as a branch of the executive power; but inaccurately. When the decisions of courts of justice are made, they must, it is true, be executed; but the power of executing them is ministerial, not judicial. The judicial authority consists in applying, according to the principles of right and justice, the constitution and laws to facts and transactions in cases, in which the manner or principles of this application are disputed by the parties interested in them.
The very existence of a dispute is presumptive evidence, that the application is not altogether without intricacy or difficulty. When intricacy or difficulty takes place in the application, it cannot be properly made without the possession of skill in the science of jurisprudence, and the most unbiassed behaviour in the exercise of that skill. Clear heads, therefore, and honest hearts are essential to good judges.
As all controversies in the community respecting life, liberty, reputation, and property, must be influenced by their judgments; and as their judgments ought to be calculated not only to do justice, but also to give general satisfaction, to inspire general confidence, and to take even from disappointed suiters—for in every cause disappointment must fall on one side—the slightest pretence of complaint;l they ought to be placed in such a situation, as not only to be, but likewise to appear superiour to every extrinsick circumstance, which can be supposed to have the smallest operation upon their understandings or their inclinations. In their salaries and in their offices, they ought to be completely independent: in other words, they should be removed from the most distant apprehension of being affected, in their judicial character and capacity, by any thing, except their own behaviour and its consequences.
“We are,” says a very sensible writer on political subjects, “to look upon all the vast apparatus of government as having ultimately no other object or purpose, but the distribution of justice. All men are sensible of the necessity of justice to maintain peace and order; and all men are sensible of the necessity of peace and order for the maintenance of society.”m “The pure, and wise, and equal administration of the laws,” says Mr. Paley;n “forms the first end and blessing of social union.” But how can society be maintained—how can a state expect to enjoy peace and order, unless the administration of justice is able and impartial? Can such an administration be expected, unless the judges can maintain dignified and independent characters? Can dignity and independence be expected from judges, who are liable to be tossed about by every veering gale of politicks, and who can be secured from destruction, only by dexterously swimming along with every successive tide of party? Is there not reason to fear, that in such a situation, the decisions of courts would cease to be the voice of law and justice, and would become the echo of faction and violence?
This is a subject, which most intimately concerns every one, who sets the least value upon his own safety, or that of his posterity. Our fortunes, our lives, our reputations, and our liberties are all liable to be affected by the judgments of the courts. How distressing and melancholy must the reflection be, that, while judges hold their salaries only at pleasure, and their commissions only for the term of a few years, our liberties, our fortunes, our reputations, and our lives may be sacrificed to a party, though we have done nothing to forfeit them to the law.
Though the foregoing great powers—legislative, executive, and judicial—are all necessary to a good government; yet it is of the last importance, that each of them be preserved distinct, and unmingled, in the exercise of its separate powers, with either or with both of the others. Here every degree of confusion in the plan will produce a corresponding degree of interference, opposition, combination, or perplexity in its execution.
Let us suppose the legislative and executive powers united in the same person: can liberty or security be expected? No. In the character of executive magistrate, he receives all the power, which, in the character of legislator, he thinks proper to give. May he not, then—and, if he may, will he not then—such is the undefined and undefinable charm of power—enact tyrannical laws to furnish himself with an opportunity of executing them in a tyrannical manner? Liberty and security in government depend not on the limits, which the rulers may please to assign to the exercise of their own powers, but on the boundaries, within which their powers are circumscribed by the constitution. He who is continually exposed to the lash of oppression, as well as he who is immediately under it, cannot be denominated free.
Let us suppose the legislative and judicial powers united: what would be the consequence? The lives, liberties, and properties of the citizens would be committed to arbitrary judges, whose decisions would, in effect, be dictated by their own private opinions, and would not be governed by any fixed or known principles of law. For though, as judges, they might be bound to observe those principles; yet, Proteus-like, they might immediately assume the form of legislators; and, in that shape, they might escape from every fetter and obligation of law.
Let us suppose a union of the executive and judicial powers: this union might soon be an overbalance for the legislative authority; or, if that expression is too strong, it might certainly prevent or destroy the proper and legitimate influences of that authority. The laws might be eluded or perverted; and the execution of them might become, in the hands of the magistrate or his minions, an engine of tyranny and injustice. Where and how is redress to be obtained? From the legislature? They make new laws to correct the mischief: but these new laws are to be executed by the same persons, and will be executed in the same manner as the former. Will redress be found in the courts of justice? In those courts, the very persons who were guilty of the oppression in their administration, sit as judges, to give a sanction to that oppression by their decrees. Nothing is more to be dreaded than maxims of law and reasons of state blended together by judicial authority. Among all the terrible instruments of arbitrary power, decisions of courts, whetted and guided and impelled by considerations of policy, cut with the keenest edge, and inflict the deepest and most deadly wounds.
Let us suppose, in the last place, all the three powers of government to be united in the same man or body of men: miserable indeed would this case be! This extent of misery, however, at least in Europe, is seldom experienced; because the power of judging is generally exercised by a separate department. But in Turkey, where all the three powers are joined in the Sultan’s person, his slaves are crushed under the insupportable burthen of oppression and tyranny. In some of the governments of Italy, these three powers are also united. In such there is less liberty than in the European monarchies: and their governments are obliged to have recourse to as violent measures to support themselves, as even that of the Turks. At Venice, where an aristocracy, jealous and tyrannical, absorbs every power, behold the state inquisitors, and the lion’s mouth, at all times open for the secret accusations of spies and informers. In what a situation must the wretched subjects be under such a government, all the powers of which are leagued, in awful combination, against the peace and tranquillity of their minds!
But further; each of the great powers of government should be independent as well as distinct. When we say this; it is necessary—since the subject is of primary consequence in the science of government—that our meaning be fully understood, and accurately defined. For this position, like every other, has its limitations; and it is important to ascertain them.
The independency of each power consists in this, that its proceedings, and the motives, views, and principles, which produce those proceedings, should be free from the remotest influence, direct or indirect, of either of the other two powers. But further than this, the independency of each power ought not to extend. Its proceedings should be formed without restraint, but, when they are once formed, they should be subject to control.
We are now led to discover, that between these three great powers of government, there ought to be a mutual dependency, as well as a mutual independency. We have described their independency: let us now describe their dependency. It consists in this, that the proceedings of each, when they come forth into action and are ready to affect the whole, are liable to be examined and controlled by one or both of the others.
So far are these different qualities of mutual dependency and mutual independency from opposing or destroying each other, that, without one, the other could not exist. Whenever the independency of one, or more than one, is lost, the mutual dependency of the others is, that moment, lost likewise: it is changed into a constant dependency of that one part on two; or, as the case may be, of those two parts on one.
An example may illustrate the foregoing propositions. They cannot be explained too fully. The congress is intrusted with the legislative power of the United States. In preparing bills, in debating them, in passing them, in refusing to pass them, their resolutions and proceedings should be uncontrolled and uninfluenced. Here is the independency of the legislative power. But after the proceedings of the legislature are finished, so far as they depend on it, they are sent to be examined, and are subjected to a given degree of control by the head of the executive department. Here is the dependency of the legislative power. It is subject also to another given degree of control by the judiciary department, whenever the laws, though in fact passed, are found to be contradictory to the constitution.
The salutary consequence of the mutual dependency of the great powers of government is, that if one part should, at any time, usurp more power than the constitution gives, or make an improper use of its constitutional power, one or both of the other parts may correct the abuse, or may check the usurpation.
The total disjunction of these powers would, in the end, produce that very union, against which it seems to provide. The legislature would soon become tyrannical, and would assume to itself the rights of the executive and judicial powers.
The important conclusion to be drawn from the premises, which we have established, is, that, in government, the perfection of the whole depends on the balance of the parts, and the balance of the parts consists in the independent exercise of their separate powers, and, when their powers are separately exercised, then in their mutual influence and operation on one another. Each part acts and is acted upon, supports and is supported, regulates and is regulated by the rest.
It might be supposed, that these powers, thus mutually checked and controlled, would remain in a state of inaction. But there is a necessity for movement in human affairs; and these powers are forced to move, though still to move in concert. They move, indeed, in a line of direction somewhat different from that, which each, acting by itself, would have taken; but, at the same time, in a line partaking of the natural direction of each, and formed out of the natural directions of the whole—the true line of publick liberty and happiness.
The works of human invention are progressive; and frequently are not completed, till after a slow and lengthened series of gradual improvements, remotely distant from one another both in place and in time. To the theory and practice of government, this observation is applicable with peculiar justness and peculiar force. In this science, few opportunities have been given to the human mind of indulging itself in easy and unrestrained investigation: still fewer opportunities have offered of verifying and correcting investigation by experiment. An age—a succession of ages—elapses, before a system of jurisprudence rises from its first rude beginnings. When we have made a little progress, and look forward; a few eminences in prospect are fondly supposed to form the greatest elevation, which we shall be obliged to ascend. But these, once gained, disclose, behind them, new and superiour degrees of excellence, yet unattained. In beginning and continuing the pursuit of the arduous paths, through which this science leads us, we may well adopt the language of the philosophick poet;
If the discoveries in government are difficult and slow, how much more arduous must it be to obtain, in practice, the advantage of those discoveries, after they have been made! Of some governments, the foundation has been laid in necessity; of others, in fraud; of others, in force; of how few, in deliberate and discerning choice! If, in their commencements, they have been so unpropitious to the principles of freedom, and to the means of happiness; shall we wonder, that, in their progress, they have been equally unfavourable to advances in virtue and excellence.
Let us ransack the records of history: in all our researches, how few fair instances shall we be able to find, in which a government has been formed, whose end has been the happiness of those, for whom it was designed! how few fair instances shall we find, in which such a government has been administered with a steady direction towards that end!
To all these circumstances, we must add others, which show still further the numerous and the strong obstacles that lie in the way of improvement in jurisprudence. Government, founded in improper principles, and directed to improper objects, has a natural and powerful bias, both upon those who rule, and upon those who are ruled. Its bias upon the first will occasion no surprise: its bias upon the second, however surprising, is not, perhaps, less efficacious. How often have the vassals of absolute monarchy conceived their own dignity and happiness to be involved in the glory of their monarch! How often have they, in pursuit of projects for the accomplishment of his capricious desires, discovered a degree of courage and enthusiasm, worthy of a nobler object and a better cause! If such is the effect produced upon their conduct; will an inferiour effect be produced on their sentiments? Hence the principles of despotism become the principles of a whole nation, blinded and degraded by its pernicious influence.
But let us suppose that the light of liberty, at last, breaks in upon them; how slow must its progress; how feeble, for a long time, must its energy be! Power, splendour, influence, prejudice, fashion, all stand arranged in opposition to its operations.
Let us enlarge the sphere of our conjecture further, and suppose, that, notwithstanding all the efforts of opposition, the principles and doctrines of freedom are successfully propagated and established; yet how many and how formidable are the barriers, that remain to be surmounted, before those principles and doctrines can be carried successfully into practice? The friends of freedom, we shall suppose, are unanimous in their sentiments; does the same unanimity prevail with regard to their measures? does it prevail still farther with regard to the time and manner of pursuing them? In all these particulars, is unanimity attended with discretion, on one hand, and with decision, on the other? A failure in one circumstance, is a failure in all. Have not centuries passed without a single auspicious juncture, in which all, conjoined and cooperating, could have succeeded?
When we revolve, when we compare, when we combine the remarks, which we have been now making; when we take a slight glance of others, which might be offered; we shall be at no loss to account for the slow and small progress, which, after a lapse of ages, has been made in the science and practice of government.
Among the ancient political writers, no more than three regular forms of government were known and allowed. The first is that, in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a single person. This they denominated a monarchy. The second is that, in which the supreme power is vested in a select assembly, the members of which either fill up by election the vacancies of their own body, or succeed to their places by inheritance, property, tenure of lands, or in respect of some personal right or qualification. To this they gave the appellation of aristocracy. The third is that, in which the supreme power remains with the people at large, and is exercised either collectively, or by representation. On this they bestowed the name of democracy.
To each of these simple forms, conveniences and inconveniences, good and bad qualities are attached. In a democracy, publick virtue and purity of intention are likely to be found; but its counsels are often improvident, and the execution of them as frequently weak. In an aristocracy, we expect wisdom formed by education and experience; but, on the other hand, we may expect jealousies and dissensions among the nobles, and oppression of the lower orders. In a monarchy, there are strength and vigour; but there is danger, that they will not be employed for the happiness and prosperity of the state. A democracy is best calculated to direct the end of the laws; an aristocracy, to direct the means of attaining that end; a monarchy, to carry those means into execution.
The ancients considered all other species of governments as either corruptions of these three simple forms, or as reducible to some one of them. They had no idea of combining all the three together, and of uniting the advantages resulting from each. Cicero,o indeed, seems to have indulged a fond speculative opinion, that a government formed of the three kinds, properly blended and tempered, would, of all, be the best constituted. But this opinion was treated as visionary by his countrymen; and by Tacitus,p one of the wisest of them.
The example of Great Britain, however, has evinced that the sentiments of Cicero merited a very different reception; and that, if they did not point to the highest degree of excellence, they pointed, at least, to substantial improvement.
The government of that nation is composed of monarchical, aristocratical, and democratical parts. It possesses—we freely and with pleasure acknowledge—it possesses advantages over all that have preceded it: in dignity and in duration, in the maintenance of liberty, both publick and private, it has stood preeminent. But has it reached the lofty summit of perfection? In the race of excellence, has it gained a goal, which cannot be surpassed? Is it entitled, as, in less enlightened times, the columns of Hercules were thought to be, to the proud inscription of “ne plus ultra?”7
For the western world, new and rich discoveries in jurisprudence have been reserved. We have found that, in order to arrive, in this first of human sciences, at a point of perfection hitherto unattained, it is not necessary to intermix the different species of government. We have discovered, that one of them—the best and purest—that, in which the supreme power remains with the people at large, is capable of being formed, arranged, proportioned, and organized in such a manner, as to exclude the inconveniences, and to secure the advantages of all the three. On the basis of goodness, we erect the pillars of wisdom and strength.
The formation and establishment of constitutions are an immense practical improvement, introduced by the Americans into the science of government and jurisprudence. By the invigorating and overruling energy of a constitution, the force and direction of the government are preserved and regulated; and its movements are rendered uniform, strong, and safe.
It is proper that the nature and distinguishing characteristicks of a constitution should be clearly stated and explained. The sentiments and expressions, even of celebrated writers upon this subject, are uncommonly inaccurate and obscure.
By the term constitution, I mean that supreme law, made or ratified by those in whom the sovereign power of the state resides, which prescribes the manner, according to which the state wills that the government should be instituted and administered. From this constitution the government derives its power: by this constitution the power of government must be directed and controlled: of this constitution no alteration can be made by the government; because such an alteration would destroy the foundation of its own authority.
As to the people, however, in whom the sovereign power resides, the case is widely different, and stands upon widely different principles. From their authority the constitution originates: for their safety and felicity it is established: in their hands it is as clay in the hands of the potter: they have the right to mould, to preserve, to improve, to refine, and to finish it as they please. If so; can it be doubted, that they have the right likewise to change it? A majority of the society is sufficient for this purpose; and if there be nothing in the change, which can be considered as contrary to the act of original association, or to the intention of those who united under it; all are bound to conform to the resolution of the majority. If the act of original association be infringed, or the intention of those who united under it be violated; the minority are still obliged to suffer the majority to do as they think proper; but are not obliged to submit to the new government. They have a right to retire, to sell their lands, and to carry off their effects.
It may, perhaps, be asked—why is so much pains taken to prove and illustrate a principle, which, when detached from adventitious circumstances, and exhibited in its undisguised appearance, is so obvious, that few will be found disposed, in direct terms, to refuse their assent to its truth? Has it been denied, that those, who have a right to make, have a right to alter what they have made?
In England it has been denied: the successour of Sir William Blackstone in the Vinerian chair8 expresses himself upon this subject in the following manner. “However the historical fact may be of a social contract, government ought to be, and is generally considered as founded on consent, tacit or express, on a real or quasi compact. This theory is a material basis of political rights; and, as a theoretical point, is not difficult to be maintained. For what gives any legislature a right to act, where no express consent can be shown? what, but immemorial usage? and what is the intrinsick force of immemorial usage, in establishing this fundamental or any other law, but that it is evidence of common acquiescence and consent? Not,” adds he, “that such consent is subsequently revocable, at the will even of all the subjects of the state, for that would be making a part of the community equal in power to the whole originally, and superiour to the rulers thereof, after their establishment.”q “I am far,” says he, in another place, “from maintaining, that any consent, tacit or express, is essential to induce the duty of subjection from individuals born under an established government.”r The evident consequence of these positions is, that though the great and animating principle of consent is considered as necessary to the first formation of government, yet it is by no means necessary in the successive periods of its establishment. The theory is admitted; but the continued right to practise according to that theory is denied. In other words, an established government is treated as superiour to those, or, at least, to others possessing all the rights of those, who originally formed its establishment.
In America, indeed, the doctrine, which I have taken some pains to prove and illustrate, has not been denied, in words; yet unwearied attempts have, on more occasions than one, been made to elude its operation, and to destroy its force.
Besides; it is of high import, that the great principles of society and government should not only be known and recognised, but also that they should be so maturely considered and estimated, as, at last, to make a practical impression, deep and habitual, upon the publick mind. A proper regard to the original and inherent and continued power of the society to change its constitution, will prevent mistakes and mischiefs of very different kinds. It will prevent giddy inconstancy: it will prevent unthinking rashness: it will prevent unmanly languor.
Some have appeared apprehensive, that the introduction of this principle into our political creed would open the door for the admission of levity and unsteadiness in all our political establishments. The very reverse will be its effect. Let the uninterrupted power to change be admitted and fully understood, and the exercise of it will not be lightly or wantonly assumed. There is a vis inertiae9 in publick bodies as well as in matter; and, if left to their natural propensities, they will not be moved without a proportioned propelling cause. If, indeed, the prevailing opinion should be, that the society had not the regular power of altering, on every proper opportunity, its political institutions; an occasion, favourable in appearance, but deceptive in reality, might be suddenly fixed on, as a season for action. It might be allowed not to be, in every respect, unexceptionable; but when, it would be urged, will another, less exceptionable, present itself? The consequence would be, that the juncture, however unpropitious, would be seized with premature and improvident zeal, in order to accomplish the meditated change. Disappointments, arising from the want of due preparations, would take place; disasters, very prejudicial to the publick and to individuals, would be produced; and the enterprise would prove abortive, merely because it was pursued at an unfit time, and under unfit circumstances.
On the other hand, how often and how long has degrading despotism reigned triumphant, because the enfeebled and desponding sufferers under it have not known, or, having once known, have, at last, forgotten, that they retain, during every moment of their slavery, the right of rescuing themselves from the proud and bloated authors and instruments of their oppression! Hesitation about the right will be attended with a corresponding hesitation about the expediency of redress. A revolution, surrounded, in prospect, so thickly with doubts, uncertainties, and apprehensions, will wear a gloomy and formidable appearance; and the miserable patients of tyranny will languish out their lives in excruciating and accumulated distress, merely because they will not undergo one short operation, which would not be more painful than their disease, and which would forever deliver them from all its ills and consequences.
The importance of a good constitution will, on reflection and examination, be easily conceived, deeply felt, and readily acknowledged. On the constitution will depend the beneficence, the wisdom, and the energy, or the injustice, the folly, and the weakness of the government and laws. On the good or bad qualities of the government and laws, will depend the prosperity or the decline of the state. On the same good or bad qualities will depend, on one hand, the excellence and happiness, and, on the other, the depravity and infelicity of the citizens.
A state well constituted, well proportioned, and well conducted feels her own importance, her own power, and her own vigour. Her importance, her power, and her vigour are seen by others, as well as felt by herself. What are the consequences? Internal firmness; external respect: the confidence of her citizens; the esteem of foreigners. What, again, are the consequences of these? Peace; and dignity and security in the enjoyment of peace.
Let us reverse the scene—let us view a state ill constructed, ill proportioned, and ill directed. She may exhaust every stratagem, and employ every art, to cover her weakness and her defects: but can she destroy her own knowledge of them? will her arts and stratagems be successful in concealing them from others? The very pains taken to conceal, will facilitate the discovery, and enhance its importance. Her imperfections, half seen behind the veil drawn over them, will appear greater, than if fully exposed. What will be the result of this situation, thus felt and thus viewed? Fluctuation in her councils; irresolution in her measures; pusillanimity in her attempts to execute them: the distrust and alarm of her own citizens: the contempt, and the unfriendly designs produced by the contempt, of the nations around her: the evils attending war, or the evils, little inferiour, attending a nation, which is equally incapable of securing peace and of repelling hostilities.
The influence of a good or bad constitution is not less powerful on the citizens, considered as individuals, than on the community, considered as a body politick. It is only under a good constitution that liberty—the precious gift of heaven—can be enjoyed and be secure. This exalting quality comprehends, among other things, the manly and generous exercise of our powers; and includes, as its most delicious ingredient, the happy consciousness of being free. What energetick, what delightful sensations must this enlivening principle diffuse over the whole man! His mind is roused and elevated: his heart is rectified and enlarged: dignity appears in his countenance, and animation in his every gesture and word. He knows that if he is innocent and upright, the laws and constitution of his country will ensure him protection. He trusts, that, if to innocence and integrity he adds faithful and meritorious services, his country, in addition to protection, will confer upon him honourable testimonies of her esteem. Hence he derives a cheerful and habitual confidence, this pervades and invigorates his conduct, and spreads a noble air over every part of his character. Hence, too, he is inspired with ardent affection for the publick: this stimulates and refines his strongest patriotick exertions. His heart, his head, his hands, his tongue, his pen, his fortune; all he is, and all he has, are devoted to his country’s cause, and to his country’s call.
A person of a very different description appears in view—pale, trembling, emaciated, faltering in his steps, not daring to look upwards, but, with marked anxiety, rolling his eager eyes on every side. Who is he? He is the slave of a bad constitution and a tyrannical government. He is afraid to act, or speak, or look. He knows that his actions and his words, however guarded, may be construed to be criminal: he knows that even his looks and countenance may be considered as the signs and evidences of treacherous thoughts and treasonable conspiracies; and he knows that the suspicion of his masters, upon any of these points, may be fatal: for he knows, that he is at the mercy of those, who, upon the slightest suspicion, may seize or hang him—who may do whatever they please with him, and with all those who are dear to him. What effects must this man’s situation produce upon his mind and temper? Can his views be great or exalted? No. Such views, instead of being encouraged, would give offence; and he is well aware what would follow. Can openness and candour beam from his soul? No. Such light would be hateful to his masters; it must be extinguished. Can he feel affection for his country, its constitution, or its government? No. His country is his prison; its constitution is his curse; and its government is a rod of oppression, held continually over his head. What must this man be? He must be abject, fawning, dastardly, selfish, disingenuous, deceitful, cunning, base—but why proceed in the disgusting detail? He must receive the stamp of servility fully impressed on his person, on his mind, and on his manners.
Such are the influences of a constitution, good or bad, upon the political body: such are its influences upon the members, of which that body is composed. Surely, then, the first consideration of a state, and its most important duty, is to form that constitution, which will be best in itself; and best adapted to the genius, and character, and manners of her citizens. Such a constitution will be the basis of her preservation, her happiness, and her perfection.
[a. ]Changes in course of government are looked at as uncouth motions of the celestial bodies, portending judgments or dissolution. Bac. on Gov. 7.
[2. ]Herodotus (484–425 bc) was a Greek historian. He is generally considered to be the first historian.
[3. ]Likely refers to Deioces, uniter of the seven Median tribes, who was elected to be their king in 665 bc
[c. ]Rol. An. Hist. b. 3. c. 3. 3. Gog. Or. Laws. 8. 9.
[d. ]P. 1.
[e. ]1. Gog. Or. Laws. 15.
[4. ]On larger matters all consult.
[f. ]De mor. Germ. c. 11.
[5. ]Hesiod was a Greek poet who lived around 700 bc
[g. ]Gro. 70. n. 53.
[h. ]De mor. Germ. c. 12. “The leaders administer law through the cantons and villages.”
[i. ]De off . l. 2. c. 12.
[j. ]Hooker. b. 1. p. 18.
[k. ]Str. 565.
[m. ]1. Hume’s Ess. 35.
[n. ]2. Paley. 285.
[o. ]Frag. de rep. l. 2
[p. ]Ann. l. 4.
[7. ]The pinnacle of excellence.
[8. ]I.e. Sir Robert Chambers (1737–1803).
[q. ]El. Jur. (4to.) 22.
[r. ]Id. 23.
[9. ]Power of inactivity.
[1. ]Without authority neither any house, nor state, nor nation, nor the whole human race can stand, nor physical nature, nor the very universe itself.
[6. ]Even those against whom he made decisions, he sent away unruffled and placated.