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XXIV - Johannes Althusius, Politica 
Politica. An Abridged Translation of Politics Methodically Set Forth and Illustrated with Sacred and Profane Examples, ed. and Trans. Frederick S. Carney. Foreword by Daniel J. Elazar (Indianapolis: 1995 Liberty Fund).
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§ 1Such is the nature and temperament of the people toward its magistrate. We turn now to the attitude of the universal association or the associated body toward the magistrate arising from the nature of imperium, and from the exercise and administration of it. … This attitude is twofold. One aspect of it is intrinsic, natural, and constant; and the other is acquired, extrinsic, and changeable. By reason of the natural and constant attitude, imperium is exposed to misfortune, hostility, and modification. § 2I say that it is naturally subject to misfortune because it wavers and is unstable when unexpected events occur, and because it quickly falls prostrate and totally collapses when any part of it is taken away. …
§ 3Imperium is said to be exposed to hostility because it is by its nature hateful to subjects for two reasons. These are the habits of the rulers and the temperaments of the subjects, that is, the faults of both rulers and subjects. § 4It is rendered hateful by the habits of rulers because power and imperium, when accompanied by the rulers’ lack of self-restraint, make them more readily and decidedly inclined to sin. For this reason rulers tend to be unbridled, obstinate, and prideful persons who consider it no less shameful to be bent than to be broken, as Seneca says.48 They are often extravagant and immoderate men, injurers of others, and tyrants who overthrow law (jus) under the guise of upholding law. They love informers, defend mischief-makers, and drive honest men away. Because they live in fear, they cease to converse with others, and are suspicious of everyone. They become greedy, harsh, rigid, thoughtless, and negligent in their duties. … 49§ 6Imperium is exposed to hostility also by the habits and temperament—or the faults—of subjects. This is because imperium finds it naturally difficult to provide for the people, which is a many-headed monster that cannot be satisfied even with a good magistrate. … Petrus Gregorius, De republica; Francesco Patrizi, De regno. ]
§ 8Imperium is subject to modification in respect either of its quality or quantity. The reason of quality is that when an imperium is very new, established by vote, force, or law, the harmony among its members suffers from mutual dissensions, enmities, and deceptions. The royal scepter must be accommodated to these conditions, and the reins of imperium thereby relaxed or tightened, as Lipsius says. … 50§ 14Imperium is subject to modification by reason of quantity when it is very small and is allied with no others, or when it has dispersed its resources. Its proper potential ought to be known to the magistrate; how much ordinary and extraordinary revenue can be raised, how, when, and from whom; how many troops he has available, and how long he can maintain them; and what allies may be obtained. On the other hand, the more extensive the imperium, the more persons must be admitted to the direction of the commonwealth. Thus the need becomes greater for prudence, order, and public and private justice in ruling the commonwealth that it not fall increasingly into ruin. …
§ 15The acquired and extrinsic attitude toward imperium is one either of benevolence or reverence. … 51§ 17This benevolence, as defined by Lipsius,52 is the manifest love and respect of subjects for their magistrate and his position. … The magistrate obtains this benevolence from subjects by his own gentleness, kindness, indulgence, and desire to serve the commonwealth well. § 18Gentleness consists in courteous and humane words and deeds by which he calls forth the duties of subjects with affability and encouragement, but without impairing the dignity of the magistrate. Tempering severity with leniency he exercises a just, restrained, and quiet imperium over his subjects, who are able to endure neither complete servitude nor complete liberty, and are to be won over to the magistrate not as slaves but as subjects. Thereby a moderate subjection and a moderate liberty may prevail, and hence peace and security.53 The advantages of this gentleness are great. For a clement prince enjoys more obedient subjects, as we have said. Clemency also confirms his position and influence, and strengthens imperium. Indeed, he rules without difficulty those whose will to obey has been freely obtained. There is nothing that more impels men to obey than the confirmed equity of an imperium; and there is nothing that makes the magistrate more beloved and pleasing to others than clemency. § 19For numerous punishments are no less scandalous to a prince than many funerals are to a doctor. …
§ 26Kindness is liberality exercised with judgment. “Nothing,” as Cicero says, “is more appropriate to human nature than kindness,” 54 which generates friendship and affection. … § 27Kindness is not exercised with judgment when it is extended without distinction toward those who are undeserving and unworthy. Rather it should be extended to associates in war, partners in time of trouble, those who serve the commonwealth extensively and well, or those who are capable of doing so. …
§ 31Indulgence is the means by which the magistrate, without corrupting morals, makes provision for the alleviation and pleasure of his subjects. He makes provision for their alleviation in the necessities of life so that the multitude is not oppressed by the price of food, and is not in distress because of the want of other things that are indispensable. “A good prince should attend to his subjects and citizens as if they were his own children.” 55 He makes provision for their pleasure by games and other honorable public diversions and amusements that, without debauchery or excess, subdue and allay the harsh passions of subjects, and distract them from harmful meddling with imperium. …
§ 32The desire to serve the commonwealth well is the characteristic by which the magistrate undertakes his imperium and administration for the common utility of the realm and the advantage of its citizens. He conducts his administration on behalf of the associated body, and renders to each his due, with rewards for the good and punishments for the wicked. … The magistrate gives evidence of this desire to serve well by a twofold course of action. § 33He gives evidence of it, first, when he shows by his deeds that he is not the proprietor of the goods and rights of the realm and its subjects, but their faithful steward and defender constituted by the general mandate of the associated body, and that as he became magistrate by the grace of the universal association so he continues to be dependent upon it. § 34He gives evidence of this desire, secondly, when he shows that his government and administration are directed to the glory of God and the welfare and benefit of subjects and citizens. By these two actions, a good, pious, and faithful magistrate is known. He is loved by his subjects because he first loves them. …
[48 ]Benefits, VI, 3.
[49 ] [Althusius observes that there are three stages in the fortunes of such magistrates. The first is one of security arising from successful ventures. The second is one of pride arising from security, in which they admire themselves and trust in their own powers. And in the third they sink into ruin and destruction.]
[50 ]Politicorum sive civilis doctrinae, IV, 6.
[51 ]See Giovanni Botero, Practical Politics, I, 8–11.
[52 ]Politicorum sive civilis doctrinae, IV, 8.
[53 ] For examples of this humane attitude, see Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 2:4–9), David, who called his subjects brothers (I Chronicles 28:2), Augustus, Anthony Pius, and others.
[54 ] [ Duties, I, 14.]
[55 ] Pliny [Pliny the Younger, Panegyric on Trajan ].