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A SUPPLEMENT Concerning the Duties of Subjects and Magistrates. - Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations 
A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations, with Supplements and a Discourse by George Turnbull. Translated from the Latin by George Turnbull, edited with an Introduction by Thomas Albert and Peter Schröder (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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A SUPPLEMENT Concerning the Duties of SubjectsandMagistrates.
We have had little occasion to differ, very considerably at least, from our Author, except in one important question, about the measures of submission to the supreme power; and as little occasion to add to him, except with relation to the natural causes of government, and their necessary operations and effects; a consideration of great moment in moral and political philosophy, which hath however been overlooked, not by our Author only, but by Grotius and Pufendorff, and all the moral-system writers I have seen.
These few things excepted, which we have endeavoured to supply in our remarks, our Author will be found, having had the advantage of coming after several excellent writers, to have given a very full compend of the laws of nature and nations, in which, they are deduced by a most methodical chain of reasoning, from a few simple and plain principles, and they are applied to as many proper cases as is requisite to initiate any attentive intelligent reader into this science, and enable him to decide, by his own judgment, any questions that may occur in life concerning justice and equity, between subject and subject, in whatever relations, natural or adventitious, as parent, husband, master, &c. between subject and magistrate; or finally, between separate and independent states. Now, upon a review of what our Author hath done, every one, I think, must perceive that the science of morals may be divided into two parts. The first of which is more general, and very easy and plain, consisting of a few axioms, and certain obvious conclusions from them, with relation to the general conduct of our life and actions. The second consists in finding out from these more general rules, what equity requires in various more complicated cases. And here, as in all other sciences, for the same reason, the deduction must be longer or shorter, according as the conclusions lie nearer to, or more remote from the first fundamental truths in the science. There is no science in which the first axioms or principles are more evident than that of morality. Thus, for example, the only principle our Author, or any other moral writer requires, or has occasion for, in order to demonstrate all the social duties of mankind, is, “That it is just to hurt or injure no person, and to render to every one his own, or his due; or in other words, That it is just and equal to do to others, as we would have them to do to us.” The reasonableness of this principle is self-evident; and there is no case, however complex, relating to social conduct, wherein the reasonable part one ought to act may not be inferred from this principle. Certain general rules of conduct obviously arise from this principle. And the resolution of particular cases consisting of many circumstances by it, only appears difficult till one hath been a little practised in attending to circumstances, and separating, weighing, and balancing them. Here indeed study is requisite, as in other sciences, where the first principles are likewise very simple; and many truths are easily deducible from them, but others lie more remote, and require a longer train of argumentation: But yet it may be averred, that the remotest truths, and the most complex cases in morals, are not so difficult to be resolved, or do not lie so distant from their first principles, as the higher truths in most other sciences. And therefore, it is justly said by moralists, that the science of morality is more level to every capacity than any other science; tho’ certainly a thorough acquaintance with it requires a good deal of close thought and attention, and considerable practice in the examination of examples or cases. This, I think, every one, who hath read our author with any degree of attention, will readily acknowledge, whatever he may have thought, while he viewed this science at a greater distance. But, in order to give a short view of the extent of this science, and distinguish what is more easy and obvious in it from what is more complex and difficult, let us first consider an excellent summary given us by Cicero of the general laws or obligations of nature; and then let us cast our eye on what he says upon the design of civil law, which is to settle the rules of equity in more complex or compounded cases. We find him discoursing thus of the general laws of nature. “The law of nature,” says he, “does not consist in opinion merely, neither is the sense of its obligation wholly formed by education and art; but it is from nature: we are led, directed, and impelled to fulfil its obvious dictates by certain dispositions cogenial with us: we feel its force, so soon as objects proper to excite and stir certain affections deeply inlaid into the frame of our minds, are presented to us. Nature thus leads us to religion, to piety, to gratitude, to resentment of injustice, to esteem and veneration, to veracity and candour. Religion consists in reverence toward some superior divine nature, and concern to approve ourselves to that Being, by whom we and all things subsist. Piety directs us to the love of our country, our parents, and of all who are endeared to us by natural ties of blood. Gratitude teaches us to main-tain a kindly resentment of good offices, and to love, honour, and reward our benefactors. Resentment of injustice impels us to ward against and punish all injuries to ourselves, or to others who ought to be dear to us; and in general, to repel all iniquity and violence. Reverence is naturally excited in us by grave and wise old age, by eminence in virtue, or worth and dignity. Veracity consists in fulfilling our engagements, and acting consistently with what we promise, profess or undertake.” Cicero de inventione rhetorica, l. 2. n. 22. & n. 54.1 where he adds excellent definitions of prudence, justice, magnanimity, patience, temperance, modesty, perseverance, and all the virtues which make men good and great.
This is Cicero’s succinct abridgment of the more general laws of nature: And he calls them laws of nature, because the obligation to them is founded in human nature; the happiness of mankind consists in the observance of them; and mankind are pointed and prompted to fulfil them by natural dispositions or principles in their minds. Insomuch that the idea of a supreme Governor of the universe cannot be presented to our minds, without exciting religious veneration and love in them; nor can the idea of our parents, our relatives by blood, or of our country, be set before us, and we not feel certain kindly affections stir within our breasts, which are very properly called, in a peculiar sense, natural affections; nor the idea of a generous benefactor, and our hearts not burn with gratitude towards him; nor the idea of injustice to ourselves, or even to others, and we not be filled with indignation and resentment; nor the idea of great wisdom, virtue and integrity, and we not be affected with esteem and reverence towards such characters; nor finally, the idea of consistency, faithfulness and candour, and we not admire and approve the beautiful image; and own such conduct to be truly laudable and becoming. We are naturally affected by the several objects that have been mentioned in the manner described: And it is easy to perceive, that the private happiness of every individual, and the common happiness of our kind, which we cannot reflect upon without feeling a very high satisfaction in it, and a very strong tendency to promote it, are inseparably connected with the practice of those virtues. They are therefore, in every sense, of natural obligation. This, I take to be a just paraphrase upon what Cicero says in the passages above referred to, and to be sufficient to shew the strength and evidence of the more general rules of morality.
Now Cicero, agreeably to this account of human nature, and of the primary laws and obligations arising from it, thus defines the end of civil society (to which nature likewise strongly excites and impels us) and of its laws. (Topic ad Tribatium, n. 2.) “The end of civil society, and civil laws, (says he) is security of property, and equal treatment to the members of the same state, in consequence of just constitutions, formed and guarded by mutual consent.”2 And how elegantly doth he elsewhere enlarge upon the advantages of good civil laws, which secure the members of a state against all violence and injustice, and all feuds, animosities and quarrels, in the peaceable unmolested possession and use, each of his own honest acquisitions, (Orat. pro Caecinna, n. 26). “—A remarkable thing indeed, and worthy of your attention and remembrance, ye protectors of civil rights, on this very account. For what is the end of civil law? Is it not a security for our properties and rights, which cannot be biassed by affection, bended by force, nor corrupted by money; and which, tho’ not totally violated, yet if but deserted in the smallest degree, or if negligently observed, we are neither sure of inheriting what our fathers may leave to us, nor of making our children our heirs? For what signifies it, to have houses or lands left us by a father, if our possession be precarious and uncertain? Let an estate be yours by the fullest right, yet how can you be sure of keeping it, if this right be not sufficiently fortified, if it be not protected by civil and public law against the covetousness of the more powerful? What avails it, I say, to have an estate, if the laws relating to confines, marches, possession, use, the rights of water, passage, &c. may be changed or disturbed on any account? Believe me, many greater advantages redound to us from good laws, and the conservation of justice, than from those who leave us an inheritance. A piece of land may be left me by any one, but my secure possession and use of it depend upon the inviolability of the civil laws. My patrimony is left me by my father, but the usucapion of this estate, which puts an end to all sollicitude, and secures against all vexatious suits, is not left me by my father, but by the laws. My estate, with the rights of water, air, passage, light, &c. is left me by my father, but my security for the undisturbed possession of these rights, is an inheritance I owe to the laws. Wherefore, we ought to be no less concerned about this public patrimony, the good laws and constitutions handed down to us from our ancestors, than about our private estates; not only because these are secured to us by the laws, but because tho’ one may lose his estate without hurt to any other person but himself, yet right cannot be violated without the greatest detriment and injury to the whole state, &c.”3
Here Cicero briefly runs through some of the principal points which ought to be settled by civil laws, agreeably to natural equity, for the encouragement of honest virtuous industry, and in order to exclude all injustice, violence and molestation; such as, succession by testament, and to intestates, possession, use, usufruct, perfect or im-perfect dominion, services, contracts, &c. And it is the rules of equity with regard to these and such like matters, which it is the business of the moral science to deduce from certain and evident principles, for the direction of society in fixing and determining its laws. And therefore, to be a master of the moral science, it is not enough to know the first axioms of it, and its more general and obvious rules; but one must be capable of following them thro’ all their remotest consequences, in these and other such complicated cases, so as to be able to judge of civil laws by them. And surely, however close attention and long reasoning this more difficult part of morality may require, it does not require long reasoning to prove, that this is the most proper study of those whose birth and fortunes furnish them with time and means for improving themselves to serve their country in the highest stations of life. Who doth not at first sight perceive that this is the character every man of birth ought to aim at, and that his education ought to be adapted to qualify him for attaining to, even that glorious one which Cicero (ibidem) gives of C. Aquilius? “Wherefore, let me aver it, that the authority of the person I have just mentioned, can never weigh too much with you. Aquilius, whose singular prudence the people of Rome hath so often proved, not in deceiving, but in rightly advising them, and who never severed equity from civil law. Aquilius, whose extraordinary judgment, application and fidelity, have been so long devoted to the service of the public, and have been on many occasions so ready and powerful a stay to it. One so just and good, that he seems to have been formed for giving counsel and administring justice, rather by nature than by discipline: One so wise and knowing, that he seems by his study of the laws to have acquired not merely knowledge, but likewise virtue and probity: One, in fine, whose understanding is so clear and accurate, and his integrity so habitual and impervertible, that whatever ye draw from this fountain, ye perceive, ye feel to be pure and unadulterated.”4 For such excellent qualities shall the memory of a Talbot be ever dear and precious: And hence the manifold advantages we daily receive under the upright and prudent guardianship of a York.5 And all our youth, who have the noble ambition to be equally useful, and equally loved and honoured, must pursue their paths, and add to the same incorruptible integrity, the same thorough knowledge of natural equity, and of our excellent constitution and laws.* It is in order to contribute my mite to as-sist them in this glorious pursuit, that I have given them this admirable abridgement of the laws of nature and nations in English, with some necessary supplements. For every science hath its elements, which, if they be well understood and carefully laid up, not in the memory but in the judgment, the science itself may be said to be mastered, it being then very easy to make progress in it. Let me only suggest here, that it will still be necessary, after having well digested this small system, to read Grotius, and together with him his best commentator Pufendorff,* and several other authors, the treatises of Bynkershoek so often commended by our Author in particular; and after having read these excellent writers, it will not be improper often to return to our Author, and review him as a good compend of them all. And to add no more on the utility of this study, as without some acquaintance with the principles of moral philosophy, it is impossible to reap more than mere amusement by reading history; so when one hath once taken in a clear view of the more important truths in morality and politics, it will be equally easy, pleasant and advantageous for him to apply these truths, as a measure or standard, to the facts or cases he meets with in history, to private or public actions, and their springs or motives, and to the laws, constitutions and policies of different states: And it would not certainly be an improper way of studying our laws, first to get well acquainted with the laws of nature (large commentaries upon which are generally at the same time commentaries upon the Roman laws, the examples being commonly taken from thence), and then to go over the same laws of nature again in order, and to enquire into our laws under each head, and try them by the laws of nature, as the Roman laws are commonly canvassed by the maxims of natural equity, in treatises upon universal law.
But tho’ I could not take my leave of our author without saying these few things about the nature and use of the science to which his treatise is so good an introduction; yet the design of this supplement is chiefly to treat a little more fully than he hath done of the duties of subjects and magistrates; and here I shall only cut off some things, and add a few others to what is to be found in the learned Barbeyrac’s notes upon the tenth and following sections in the eighth chapter of the seventh book of Pufendorff of the law of nature and nations.
The duties of subjects are either general or particular. The first arise from the common obligation they are under, as submitting to the same government. The others result from the different employments and particular offices with which each subject is honoured or entrusted. 1. The general duties of subjects respect their behaviour either towards the governors of state, the whole body of the people, or their fellow subjects. 1. As to the governors, every one ought to shew them the respect, fidelity and obedience which their character demands. So that subjects ought not to be factious or seditious, but to be attached to the interest of their prince, and to respect and honour him. This is certainly just. But then, in order to this, a prince must deserve love and honour. For tho’ power may force submission, ’tis merit only that can create respect, give authority, or beget love. The command to honour a king must be understood as the command to honour any other person must be understood; not as a command to honour him whether he deserves it or not; for that would be an absurd command; a command to prostitute honour and respect. ’Tis good princes alone that can be honoured, because they alone deserve it, or have the great and amiable qualities that can excite esteem. We ought even to have a veneration for the memory of good princes; but for those who have not been such, behold the judicious reflections of Montagne.
“Among those laws,” says he, “which relate to the dead, I take that to be the best, by which the actions of princes are to be examined and searched into after their decease. What justice could not inflict upon their persons while they were alive, and equal to, if not above the laws, is but reasonable should be executed upon their reputation when they are dead, for the benefit of their successors. This is a custom of singular advantage to those nations where it is observed, and by all good princes as much to be desired, who have reason to complain that the memories of the tyrannical and wicked should be treated with the same honours and respects as theirs. We owe indeed subjection and obedience to all our kings alike, for that respects their office; but as to esteem as well as affection, those are only owing to their virtue. Should it therefore be granted, that we are to be very patient under unworthy princes while they hold the rod over us? Yet, the relation between prince and subject being once ended, there is no reason why we should deny to our own liberty, and common justice, the publishing of our wrongs.—Livy, with abundance of truth, says, that the language of men educated in a court was always full of vanity and ostentation, and that the characters they give of their princes are seldom true. And tho’ perhaps some may condemn the boldness of those two soldiers, one of whom being asked by Nero, why he did not love him? answered him plainly to his face, I loved thee whilst thou wast worthy of it; but since thou art become a parricide, an incendiary, a waterman, a player, and a coachman, I hate thee as thou dost deserve: And the other being asked, why he should attempt to kill him? as warmly replied, Because I could think of no other remedy against thy perpetual mischiefs. Yet who, in his right senses, will blame the public and universal testimonies that were given of him after his death, and will be to all posterity, both of him, and of all other wicked princes like him in his tyrannies and wicked deportment? I am scandalized, I own, that in so sacred a government as that of the Lacedemonians, there should be mixed so hypocritical a ceremony at the interment of their kings, where all the confederates and neighbours, all sorts of degrees of men and women, as well as their slaves, cut and slashed their foreheads in token of sorrow, and repeated in their cries and lamentations, that that king (let him be as wicked as the devil) was the best that ever they had; by this means prostituting to his quality, the praises which only belong to merit, and that which is properly due to supreme merit, tho’ lodged in the lowest and most inferior subjects, Essay, l. 1. cap. 3.6
2. With respect to the whole body of the people, it is the duty of every good subject to prefer the good of the public to every other motive or advantage whatsoever, chearfully to sacrifice his fortune and life, and all that he values in the world, for the preservation and happiness of the state. Union is generally recommended to subjects as their duty. It is said, that union will make a people flourish, and dissention will ruin any people. But there must be care taken to have a just notion of the meaning of those words. An union serviceable to a state, is what designs the universal good of those who live in it. For if, e.g. in a monarchical state, where the power of the Sovereign is limited by the laws, the principal subjects of the state should willingly, or by force, consent to submit all the laws to the prince’s pleasure, such an union would not be advantageous to it in any respect. It would change a society of free people into a company of miserable slaves. The ready compliance of the Chinese to obey their king blindly, does but strengthen his tyranny, and add to their misery. But it is asserted, that the general obedience of the Chinese is of service to preserve the peace of their country, and that they enjoy by it all the advantages which the strictest union can procure. They must mean all the advantages that can be possessed in slavery. But sure there is not a free-man but had rather see the most frequent commotions than suffer an eternal slavery. Moreover, it is false to affirm that there are no intestine wars under such a form of government. The most enslaved people will, in time, grow weary of an exorbitant tyranny, and upon the first opportunity shew that the desire of liberty cannot be quite stifled in the souls of men born to freedom. This happens among the Chinese and Turks. The union of those who govern an aristocratical state would be useless, if it did not preserve the observation of the laws, and the universal good of the commonwealth. This we may understand from the history of the thirty tyrants of Athens and the Decemviri of Rome. The union of those men served only to crush the people, and make them miserable; because their principal design was to gratify their passions, without having the least respect to the public good. Union may be also considered with regard to the people, who, when the state is happy, and well administred, ought to esteem themselves happy, and to obey chearfully. Now, to keep the people in so firm an union, it is requisite that not only they may be the better for it, but also that they should be sensible of their own happiness. In general, the agreement and union both of governors and people, ought to tend to the public good: from whence it follows, that whatsoever has not such a design is injurious, and ought rather to be termed a conspiracy than an union; since the name of a virtue cannot with reason be attributed to a thing which injures and ruins a society. Public spirit is the motive that ought to lead and govern subjects. And then is one truly public-spirited, when nothing is dearer to him than the liberty and happiness of his country. Yet we must here observe, that the engagement of every particular person does in some measure depend upon the performing of what the rest are obliged to do, as well as himself, for the public good. For indeed the public good is only the consequence of the united forces and services of many conducing to the same end. If then in a state it is become customary for the generality openly to prefer their own private interest to that of the public, a good subject will not, in that case, be to blame in the least, in not caring to expose his person or his fortune by a zeal impotent and useless to his country.
Lastly, the duty of a subject towards his fellow subjects, is to live with them in a peaceable and friendly manner; to be good humoured and complaisant to them in the affairs of human life, and to give mankind no uneasiness by peevish, morose, and obstinate temper; and, in short, not to envy or oppose the happiness or advantages of any one.
2. The particular duties of subjects are annexed to certain employments, the discharge of which influences, in some measure, either the whole government, or only one part of it. Now, there is one general maxim with regard to them all, and that is, that no one aspire to any public employment, or even presume to accept of it, when he knows himself not duly qualified for it. What consciences must those men have, who not only accept of, but brigue for places they are absolutely unqualified for; as for example, a seat in the supreme judicatures of a nation! A trust which requires, besides great virtue, great knowledge and wisdom; a thorough acquaintance with the constitution and laws of a state, and the interests of the people. And yet (as Socrates observed very truly) the manner of the world is quite otherwise. For tho’ no body undertakes to exercise a trade, to which he has not been educated, and served a long apprentiship; and how mean and mechanical soever the calling be, several years are bestowed upon the learning of it; yet, in the case of public administrations, which is, of all other professions, the most intricate and difficult (so absurd, so wretchedly careless are we) that every body is admitted, every body thinks himself abundantly qualified to undertake them. Those commissions are made compliments and things of course, without any consideration of mens abilities, or regarding at all whether they know any thing of the matter; as if a man’s quality, or the having an estate in the country, could inform his understanding, or secure his integrity, or render him capable of discerning between right and wrong, and a competent judge of his poorer (but perhaps much honester and wiser) neighbours. See Charron sur la sagesse.7 To buy public offices, or procure them by bribery, or to give it a softer name, largesses, is still more infamous and abominable, the most sordid, and the most villainous way of trading in the world. For it is plain, he that buys in the piece, must make himself wholeagain by selling out in parcels. Besides, this way of procuring public trusts corrupts a people, and renders them mercenary and venal, and fit to be sold. And a dishonest, corrupt people, neither deserves to be free, nor can they long preserve themselves from being bound with the fetters, their vile prostitution of honour and conscience to sordid gain demerits. Let me only add upon this head, that to a free people, who have the right of making their laws, and laying on their own taxes by their representatives, it may be justly said, as it was to the people of Israel of old, That their evil is of themselves; whatever they suffer, they have themselves to blame for it; and consequently, the guilt of it lies upon themselves. A horrid, inexpiable guilt, of which the greatest misery that a nation can fall into, is but the just punishment, for which no commiseration is due to them who brought it upon themselves; but to their unhappy posterity, who must curse them, if they are not quite insensible of the value of the liberty and happiness their ancestors basely gave up, and the deplorable condition they are depressed into by the corruption and venality of those who gave them birth, i.e. till slavery, as long continued slavery never fails to do, detrudes them into a state not far removed above that of the brutes. But we must be a little more particular with regard to the duties belonging to employments.
1. Ministers of state, or privy counsellors, ought, with the greatest application, to study, and perfectly to know the affairs and interests of the state in all the parts of government, and to propose faithfully, and in the most proper manner, whatever appears to them to be advantageous to the public, without being influenced by either affection, passion, or any sinister views. The public good ought to be the only design of all their advice and endeavours, and not the advancement of their own private fortunes, and the promoting their own power and greatness. Nor must they ever, by vile and nauseous flattery, countenance or encourage the criminal inclinations of the prince. 1. They ought, first of all, to be men of virtue and good principles. 2. Persons of great abilities, well acquainted with politics, and particularly well versed in the constitution, laws and interests of the nation. 3. Persons tried before, who have come off with honour and success in other trusts; men practised in business, and accustomed to difficulties. For hardships and adversities are the most improving lessons. “Fortune,” says Mithridates in Salust, “in the room of many advantages she has torn from me, has given me the faculty of advice and persuasion.”8 Men, at least of ripe years, to give them steadiness, experience, and consideration; for it is one of the many unhappinesses attending youth, that persons then are easily imposed upon. 4. And finally, they ought to be men of openness, freedom and courage in all their behaviour when they are consulted with; who will use their utmost care that all their proposals be for the honour and advantage of their prince and their country; and when once they have secured this point, that the advice is good, will lay aside all flattery and disguise; detest and despise all equivocations and reservations, and craftiness of expression, by which they may seem to aim at ingratiating themselves, or to contrive that what they say may be acceptable to their master: The very reverse of those men whom Tacitus describes, “Who accommodate their language as they see occasion, and do not so properly discourse with the prince, as with his present inclinations and circumstances.”9
2. The clergy, as being the public ministers of religion, ought to discharge their duty and function with the utmost gravity and application; should teach no doctrine, nor advance any opinion in religion, which does not appear to them to be sincerely true; and should be themselves a shining example by their own conduct of those instructions which they deliver to the people. “Never did a covetous preacher make his hearers liberal. Never did a voluptuous clergyman persuade any one to abstain from pleasures, or to use them with0 moderation; at least, when those persons were discovered to be what they really are.”10 Their bad example will do abundantly more mischief than their best sermons can do good; for example is more powerful than precept.
3. Magistrates, and all other officers of justice ought to be of easy access to every body; protect the common people against the oppressions of the more powerful; be as forward in doing justice, and that with the same impartiality to the mean and poor as to the great and rich; not spin out a cause to an unnecessary length; never suffer themselves to be corrupted by bribes and sollicitations; examine thoroughly into the matter before them; and then determine it without passion or prejudice; regardless of every thing while they are doing their duty. Tho’ it be an excellent qualification in a magistrate, to temper justice with prudence, and severity with gentleness and forbearance; yet it must be confessed to be much more for the common advantage, to have such magistrates as incline to the excess of rigour, than those who are disposed to mildness and easiness and compassion. For even God himself, who highly recommends, and so strictly enjoins all those humane and tender dispositions on other occasions, yet positively forbids a judge to be moved with pity. The strict and harsh magistrate is the better restraint, the stronger curb.
From the duties of inferior magistrates, let us pass to those of the supreme magistrate. And how happy is that post which every minute furnishes opportunities of doing good to thousands! But, on the other hand, how dangerous is that station which every moment exposes to the injuring of millions! The good which princes do, reaches even to the most distant ages; as the evils that they occasion are multiplied from generation to generation to the latest posterity. If the care of a single family be so burdensom, if a man has enough to do to answer for himself, what a weight, what a load is the charge of a whole Kingdom. Isocrates calls a Kingdom the greatest of human affairs, and such as requires more than ordinary degrees of prudence and foresight.11 And Cyrus well observes, that he who is above all the rest in honour and authority, should be so in goodness too.12
A prince and his court, as experience teaches us, is the standard of manners as well as of fashions. For nothing is truer than what Pliny says (Paneg. C. 45. n. 6.) “Nec tam imperio nobis opus, quam exemplo, & mitius jubetur exemplo.” “We do not want precepts so much as patterns, and example is the softest and least invidious way of commanding.”13 The virtues requisite to a prince, and of which he ought to be the best pattern, are, 1. Piety, which is the foundation of all virtues: a solid and reasonable piety, free from hypocrisy, superstition and bigotry. 2. The love of justice and equity. For the chief design a prince was made for, is to take care that every man has his right. And this obliges him to study not only that part of human learning, which qualifies those famous civilians, that are fit to be legislators themselves, who go up to that justice which at first regulated human society, who exactly knew what liberty nature has left us in civil government, and what freedom the necessity of states takes from private people, for the good of the public: But that part of the law too, which respects the rights, and descends to the affairs of particular persons. 3. A prince must above all things accustom himself to moderate his desires. The philosopher Arrian, de exped. Alex. says, “That it is easy to see from the example of Alexander, that whatever fine actions a man performs to out-ward appearance, it signifies nothing to true happiness, if one does not at the same time know how to rule and moderate himself.”14 4. Valour is requisite to a prince, but then it must be managed with prudence. 5. And above all, a prince ought to shine in goodness and clemency. ’Tis by no other means, but by the sole good-will of the people that he can do his business; and no other qualities but humanity, truth and fidelity, can attract their goodwill. Nihil est tam populare quam bonitas, says Cicero; nothing is so popular as goodness, Orat. pro Ligar. cap. 12.15 A prince who does not reign in the hearts of his people, does not reign over the better part of his subjects. Their minds are not obedient or submitted to him. ’Tis love only that can produce cordial obedience. Cicero gives us this enumeration of the virtues of a prince, Orat. pro rege Deiotar. cap. 9. “Fortem esse, justum, severum, gravem, magnanimum, largum, beneficum, liberalem; hae sunt regiae laudes.”16 And to fortitude, justice, gravity, temperance, magnanimity, liberality, beneficence, which are allowed to be virtues necessary to make a prince great and glorious, he adds another, which he says is generally thought to be a private virtue only, viz. frugality. “Sed praecipue singularis & admiranda. frugalitas, etsi hoc verbo, scio, reges non laudari solere. Ut volet, quisquam accipiat: ego tamen frugalitatem, id est, modestiam & temperantiam, virtutem maximam esse judico.”17 Cicero tells us, de legibus, l. 3. c. 3. “That the good of the public ought to be the sole rule and motive of a prince’s conduct, salus populi suprema lex esto.”18 And an excellent author said (Marcus Antonin. l. 4. c. 42.)19 “A prince ought always to have these two maxims in view; To do for the good of mankind all that the condition of a legislator and a king requires of him. And the other, To change his resolution, whenever men skilled in such matters give him better advice. But still the change must be made from the motives of justice, and the public interest, and never for his own pleasure, his own advantage, or his own particular glory.”
The truth of it is, that the very interest of the Sovereign requires that he should direct all his actions to the public good.
The following quotation from Mr. de Cambrai21 will serve to explain and illustrate this sentence. “Where the sovereign command is most absolute, these princes are least powerful. They take and ruin every thing, and are the sole possessors of the whole state; but there the state languishes, the country is uncultivated, and almost desert, the towns every day decay and grow thin, and trade is quite lost. The king, who can never be such by himself, but must be such with regard to his people, undoes himself by degrees, by insensibly undoing his subjects, to whom he owes both his riches and his power; his kingdom is drained of money and men, and the loss of the latter is the greatest, and the most irreparable of losses. His arbitrary power makes as many slaves as he has subjects; they all seem to adore him; and all tremble at the least motion of his eye. But see what will be the consequences upon the least revolution; this monstrous power, raised to too excessive an height, cannot long endure; it wants supplies from the hearts of the people; it has wearied out, and exasperated the several ranks of men in the state, and forces all the members of that body to sigh with equal ardour for a change: and at the first blow, the idol is pulled down, and trampled under foot. Contempt, hatred, fear, resentment, jealousy; in a word, all the passions combine together against so injurious and detestable a power. The king, who in the days of his vain prosperity, could not find one person that durst tell him the truth, shall not find one in his adversity that will vouchsafe to excuse or defend him.”22 All writers on this subject take notice of the danger of flattery to which kings, and sons of kings, are so much exposed. And on this occasion a famous saying of Carneades is commonly quoted, “That sons of princes, and other great and wealthy men, learn no art but that of horsemanship well, because their horses cannot flatter them.”23 But there is an excellent book upon the education of a prince, lately translated into our language from the French, in which all the qualities, virtues and duties of a prince are admirably described.24 And therefore, I shall add no more upon this subject, but the short account Cicero gives us of Plato’s doctrine concerning the business and duty of supreme magistrates, and one most beautiful passage from Cicero himself concerning empire, founded not in love, but fear. The first is in his first book of offices, chapter 25. “Rulers, or those who design to be partakers in the government, should be sure to remember those two precepts of Plato. First, To make the safety and interest of their citizens the great aim and design of all their thoughts and endeavours, without ever considering their own personal advantage. And secondly, so to take care of the republic, as not to serve the interest of any one party, to the prejudice or neglecting of all the rest. For the government of a state is much like the office of a guardian or trustee, which should always be managed for the good of the public, and not of the persons to whom it is entrusted; and those men, who, whilst they take care of one, neglect or disregard another part of the citizens, do but occasion sedition and discord, the most destructive things in the world to a state. From this root have sprung many grievous dissentions among the Athenians, and not only tumults, but even deadly civil wars in our own republic. Things, which one who deserves to hold the reins of the government, will detest; and will give himself so to the service of the public, as to aim at no riches or power for himself; and will so take care of the whole commonwealth, as not to pass over any part of it.”25 The other is in the second book, chapter 7. “It is well observed by Ennius, Whom men fear, they hate; and whom they hate, they wish out of the world. But that no force of power or greatness whatever can bear up long against the stream of public hate, if it were not sufficiently known before, was of late made appear by an instance of our own. And not the violent death of that tyrant only, who by force of arms oppressed the city (which now most obeys him, when taken out of the world) but the like untimely ends of most other tyrants, who have generally been attended with the same ill fate, are a manifest token that the hatred of the people is able to ruin the most absolute power. For obedience, proceeding from fear, cannot possibly be lasting; whereas that which is the effect of love, will be faithful for ever.”26
By GEORGE TURNBULL, L. L. D.
Printed in the Year MDCCXL.
[1. ] Cicero, De inventione 2.22.66 and 2.54.163–64.
[2. ] Cicero, Topica 2.9, in Cicero, De inventione.
[3. ] Cicero, Pro Caecina, chap. 26, in Cicero, Pro lege Manilia.
[4. ] Ibid., 27.77.
[5. ] Charles Talbot, first baron Talbot of Hensol (1685–1737), lord chancellor from 1734; Philip Yorke, first earl of Hardwicke (1690–1764), succeeded Talbot as lord chancellor in 1737.
[* ] Because this study is generally supposed to belong only to those who are to follow the law as a profession, and not to make a necessary part of liberal education, I can’t choose but insert here the account that is given us of ancient education in the schools at Apollonia, to which Augustus was sent by Julius, and Maecenas by his parents. See Dion. lib. 45. p. 307. [[Dio Cassius, Dio’s Roman History, vol. IV, bk. 45, p. 413 and Velleius Paterculus, l. 2. cap. 59. with Boecler’s note upon these words,—“Apoloniam cum in studia miserat.” (edit. Petri Burmanni.) See Velleius Paterculus, Compendium of Roman History, bk. 2, chap. 59. The edition Turnbull is using appears to be C. Velleii Paterculi quae supersunt ex historiae Romanae voluminibus duobus (1719). First, it is observed, that Julius took care to have Octavius instructed in all the arts of government, and in every thing requisite to qualify him for a suitable behaviour in the exalted station for which he had designed him. Then the several particular parts of his education are mentioned, such as the languages, rhetoric, military exercises, and which was chief, morals and politics, τὰ πολιτικὰ και τὰ ἀρχικὰ and in all these useful arts it is said the youth were instructed diligently, accurately and practically, τὸ ἀκριζως, τὸ ἐῤρωμενως. Boecler refers to Lipsius, l. 1. polit. c. 10. where there are several observations on this subject. Politicorum sive civilis doctrinae libri sex. And how indeed can that but be a principal part in the education of young men, whose birth and fortune call them to the higher stations of life? What good purpose can their education serve if this be neglected? Or what is principal, if that be not, which is absolutely necessary to qualify them for their principal duties, and for the noble employments by which alone they can acquire glory to themselves, or do good to their country? Is the art of ruling, law-giving, or of discharging any important office in the state, the only one that requires no preparation for it, no previous study or practice?]]
[* ] I have said his best commentator; because he is constantly examining Grotius’s reasonings and determinations, and very rarely differs from him. And they ought to be read together, which may be easily done, Barbeyrac in his notes upon Grotius having all along mentioned the chapters in Pufendorff where each question in Grotius is handled.
[6. ] See Montaigne, Essays, vol. 1, bk. I, chap. 3, pp. 26–27.
[7. ] Pierre Charron, De la sagesse.
[8. ] Sallust, “Letter of Mithridates,” sec. 4, 433, in Sallust, Sallust.
[9. ] It is not clear which work by Tacitus Turnbull is referring to here.
[10. ] The source of this quotation is not clear.
[11. ] See Isocrates, “To Nicocles,” secs. 4–6, in Isocrates, vol. 1.
[12. ] Again, the exact source of this is not clear, though it may be a reference to Xenophon, Cyropaedia, vol. 1, bk. II, chap. ii, 20.
[13. ] Pliny, Panegyricus 45.6, in Pliny, Letters and Panegyricus, vol. 2. The phrase “& mitius jubetur exemplo” is missing in the Loeb edition.
[14. ] Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander the Great. It is not clear which specific passage Turnbull is referring to here, but Arrian repeatedly criticized Alexander for his immoderate ambition.
[15. ] Cicero, Pro Ligario 12.37, p. 493, in Cicero, The Speeches.
[16. ] “Bravery, justice, earnestness, dignity, magnanimity, liberality, kindliness, generosity—these are the qualities we commend in a king.” Cicero, Pro rege Deiotaro 9.26, p. 525, in Cicero, Pro T. Annio Milone, . . . Pro rege Deiotaro.
[17. ] Ibid. “[I]n nothing is he more remarkable and more admirable than in his sobriety; although I know that kings are not commonly praised in such terms. . . . Everyone is free to put what construction he pleases upon my words; none the less I pronounce sobriety, by which I mean moderation and temperance, to be the highest of virtues.”
[18. ] Cicero, De legibus 3.3.8 (see Cicero. De re publica; De legibus).
[19. ] Presumably a reference to Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, though in that case the book and chapter number are incorrect and it is not clear which passage Turnbull had in mind.
[20. ] “One who wields the sceptre with tyrannical harshness / fears those who fear him; terror rebounds on its author.” Seneca, Oedipus, line 705, in Seneca, Tragedies.
[21. ] François Fénelon, bishop of Cambrai (1651–1715).
[22. ] Fénelon, Telemachus, bk. 10, pp. 170–71.
[23. ] This is quoted in Plutarch, “How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend,” chap. 16, sec. 58, in Moralia: in Fourteen Volumes, vol. 1.
[24. ] Presumably a reference to Fénelon’s Telemachus.
[25. ] Cicero, De officiis 1.25.85–86.
[26. ] Ibid., 2.7.23.