Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE FIRST BOOK, SHEWING THE FOUNDATIONS AND SUPERSTRUCTURES Of all Kinds of GOVERNMENT. - The Oceana and Other Works
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THE FIRST BOOK, SHEWING THE FOUNDATIONS AND SUPERSTRUCTURES Of all Kinds of GOVERNMENT. - James Harrington, The Oceana and Other Works 
The Oceana and Other Works of James Harrington, with an Account of His Life by John Toland (London: Becket and Cadell, 1771).
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THE FIRST BOOK, SHEWING THE FOUNDATIONS AND SUPERSTRUCTURES Of all Kinds of GOVERNMENT.
If this Age fails me, the next will do me Justice.
DIVINES, and the like studious assertors of monarchy, have not laid their principles so fairly, while they have conceal’d one part from the right of paternity, or from the government of familys, which may be of two kinds; wheras they have taken notice but of one: for family government may be as necessarily popular in som cases, as monarchical in others.
Monarchica family.TO shew now the nature of the monarchical family. Put the case a man has one thousand pounds a year, or therabouts; he marrys a wife, has children and servants depending upon him (at his good will) in the distribution of his estate for their livelihood. Suppose then that this estate coms to be spent or lost, where is the monarchy of this family? but if the master was no otherwise monarchical than by virtue of his estate, then the foundation or balance of his empire consisted in the thousand pounds a year.
THAT from these principles there may also be a popular family, is apparent:Popular family. for suppose six or ten, having each three hundred pounds a year, or so, shall agree to dwell together as one family; can any one of these pretend to be lord and master of the same, or to dispose of the estates of all the rest? or do they not agree together upon such orders, to which they consent equally to submit? but if so, then certainly must the government of this family be a government of laws or orders, and not the government of one, or of som three or four of these men.
Government of laws, and government of men.YET the one man in the monarchical family giving laws, and the many in the popular family doing no more, it may in this sense be indifferently said, that all laws are made by men. But it is plain that where the law is made by one man, there it may be unmade by one man; so that the man is not govern’d by the law, but the law by the man; which amounts to the government of the man, and not of the law: wheras the law being not to be made but by the many, no man is govern’d by another man, but by that only which is the common interest; by which means this amounts to a government of laws, and not of men.
The facility that is in true politics.THAT the politics may not be thought an unnecessary or difficult art, if these principles be less than obvious and undeniable, even to any woman that knows what belongs to housekeeping, I confess I have no more to say. But in case what has bin said be to all sorts and capacitys evident, it is most humbly submitted to princes and parlaments, whether, without violence or removing of property, they can make a popular family of the monarchical, or a monarchical family of the popular? or, whether that be practicable or possible in a nation, upon the like balance or foundation in property, which is not in a family? a family being but a smaller society or nation, and a nation but a greater society or family.
The difference between a soverain lord, and a magistrat, tho supreme.THAT which is usually answer’d to this point, is, that the six or ten, thus agreeing to make one family, must have som steward; and to make such a steward in a nation, is to make a king. But this is to imagin that the steward of a family is not answerable to the masters of it, or to them upon whose estates (and not upon his own) he defrays the whole charge: for otherwise this stewardship cannot amount to dominion, but must com only to the true nature of magistracy, and indeed of annual magistracy in a commonwealth; seeing that such accounts in the year’s end, at farthest, use to be calculated, and that the steward, body and estate, is answerable for the same to the proprietors or masters; who also have the undoubted right of constituting such another steward or stewards as to them shall seem good, or of prolonging the office of the same.
Where the art of lawgiving is necessary.NOW, where a nation is cast, by the unseen ways of providence, into a disorder of government, the duty of such particularly as are elected by the people, is not so much to regard what has bin, as to provide for the supreme law, or for the safety of the people, which consists in the true art of lawgiving.
The art of lawgiving is of two kinds.THE art of lawgiving is of two kinds; the one (as I may say) false, the other true. The first consists in the reduction of the balance to arbitrary superstructures; which requires violence, as being contrary to nature: the other in erecting necessary superstructures, that is, such as are conformable to the balance or foundation; which, being purely natural, requires that all interposition of force be remov’d.
Considering the Principles or Balance of National Governments; with the different Kinds of the same.
Chap. I.THE heaven, says David,even the heavens are the Lord’s; but the earth has he given to the children of men: yet, says God to the father of these children, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.Psal. 115. 16.Dii laborantibus sua munera vendunt. This donation of the earth to man coms to a kind of selling it for INDUSTRY,The original of property. a treasure which seems to purchase of God himself. From the different kinds and successes of this industry, whether in arms, or in other exercises of the mind or body,Gen. 3. 19. derives the natural equity of dominion or property; and from the legal establishment or distribution of this property (be it more or less approaching towards the natural equity of the same) procedes all government.
The balance of empire consists in property.The distribution of property, so far as it regards the nature or procreation of government, lys in the overbalance of the same: just as a man, who has two thousand pounds a year, may have a retinue, and consequently a strength, that is three times greater than his who enjoys but five hundred pounds a year. Not to speak at this time of mony, which in small territorys may be of a like effect: but to insist upon the main, which is property in land, the overbalance of this, as it was at first constituted, or coms insensibly to be chang’d in a nation, may be especially of three kinds; that is, in one, in the few, or in the many.
The generation of absolute monarchy.The overbalance of land, three to one or therabouts, in one man against the whole people, creates absolute monarchy; as when Joseph had purchas’d all the lands of the Ægyptians for Pharaoh. The constitution of a people in this and such cases, is capable of intire servitude.Gen. 47. 19.Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants toPharaoh.
The generation of regulated monarchy.The overbalance of land to the same proportion, in the few against the whole people, creates aristocracy, or regulated monarchy, as of late in England: and hereupon says Samuel to the people of Israel, when they would have a king, He will take your fields, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.1 Sam. 8. The constitution of a people in this and the like cases, is* neither capable of intire liberty, nor of intire servitude.
The generation of popular government.The overbalance of land to the same proportion in the people, or where neither one nor the few overbalance the whole people, creates popular government; as in the division of the land of Canaan to the whole people of Israel by lot. The constitution of a people in this and the like cases, is capable of intire freedom, nay, not capable of any other settlement; it being certain, that if a monarch, or single person in such a state, thro the corruption or improvidence of their councils, might carry it:Numb. 11. 14 yet by the irresistible force of nature, or the reason alleg’d by Moses(I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me) he could not keep it; but out of the deep waters would cry to them, whose feet he had stuck in the mire.
Wherever the balance of a government lys, there naturally is the militia of the same; and against him or them wherin the militia is naturally lodg’d, there can be no negative vote.Of the militia, and of the negative voice.
If a prince holds the overbalance, as in Turky, in him is the militia, as the Janizarys and Timariots. If a nobility has the overbalance, the militia is in them, as among us was seen in the barons wars, and those of York and Lancaster; and in France is seen, when any considerable part of that nobility rebelling, they are not to be reduc’d, but by the major part of their order adhering to the king.
Judg. 20.If the people has the overbalance, which they had in Israel, the militia is in them; as in the four hundred thousand first decreeing, and then waging war against Benjamin: where it may be inquir’d, what power there was on earth having a negative voice to this assembly? this always holds where there is settlement, or where a government is natural. Where there is no settlement, or where the government is unnatural, it procedes from one of these two causes; either an imperfection in the balance, or else such a corruption in the lawgivers, wherby a government is instituted contrary to the balance.
Imperfect government.Imperfections of the balance, that is, where it is not good or down weight, cause imperfect governments; as those of the Roman and of the Florentin people, and those of the Hebrew kings and Roman emperors, being each exceding bloody, or at least turbulent.
Tyranny, oligarchy, anarchy.Government against the balance in one, is tyranny, as that of the AthenianPisistratus: in the few it is oligarchy, as that of the RomanDecemvirs; in the many anarchy, as that under the NeapolitanMazin[Editor: illegible character]llo.
The divine right of government.Wherever, thro causes unforeseen by human providence, the balance coms to be intirely chang’d, it is the more immediately to be attributed to Divine Providence: and since God cannot will the necessary cause, but he must also will the necessary effect or consequence, what government soever is in the necessary direction of the balance, the same is of Divine right.Hof. 8 4. Wherfore, tho of the Israelits God says, They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made princes: and I knew it not; yet, to the small countries adjoining to the Assyrian empire, he says, Now have I given all these lands into the hand of the king of Babylon my servant—Serve the king of Babylon, and live.Jer. 27. 6, 17.
Shewing the Variation of the English Balance.
THE land in possession of the nobility and clergy of England, till Henry 7th, cannot be esteem’d to have overbalanc’d those held by the people less than four to one. Wheras in our days, the clergy being destroy’d, the lands in possession of the people overbalance those held by the nobility, at least, nine in ten. In shewing how this change came about, som would have it that I assume to my self more than my share; tho they do not find me delivering that which must rely upon authority, and not vouching my authors. But Henry the Seventh being conscious of infirmity in his title, yet finding with what strength and vigor he was brought in by the nobility, conceiv’d jealousys of the like power in case of a decay or change of affections.Chap. II.Nondum orbis adoraverat Roman. The lords yet led country lives, their houses were open to retainers, men experienc’d in military affairs, and capable of commanding; their hospitality was the delight of their tenants, who by their tenures or dependence were oblig’d to follow their lords in arms. So that, this being the militia of the nation, a few noblemen discontented could at any time levy a great army; the effect wherof, both in the barons wars, and those of York and Lancaster, had been well known to divers kings. This state of affairs was that which inabl’d Henry the Seventh to make his advantage of troublesom times, and the frequent unruliness of retainers; while, under the pretence of curbing riots, he obtain’d the passing of such laws as did cut off these retainers, wherby the nobility wholly lost their officers. Then, wheras the dependence of the people upon their lords was of a strict ty or nature, he found means to loosen this also by laws, which he obtain’d upon as fair a pretence, even that of population.Verulam, H. 7. Thus farms were so brought to a standard, that the houses being kept up, each of them did of necessity inforce a dweller; and the proportion of land laid to each house, did of necessity inforce that dweller not to be a begger or cottager, but a man able to keep servants, and set the plow on going. By which means a great part of the lands of this nation came in effect to be amortiz’d to the hold of the yeomanry, or middle people, wherof consisted the main body of the militia, hereby incredibly advanc’d; and which henceforth, like cleaner underwood less choak’d by their staddles, began to grow excedingly. But the nobility, who by the former laws had lost their offices, by this lost their soldiery. Yet remain’d to them their estates, till the same prince introducing the statutes for alienations, these also became loose; and the lords less taken (for the reasons shewn) with their country lives, where their trains were clip’d, by degrees became more resident at court, where greater pomp and expence by the statutes of alienations began to plume them of their estates. The court was yet at Bridewel, nor reach’d London any farther than Temple-Bar. The latter growth of this city, and in that, the declining of the balance to popularity, derives from the decay of the nobility and of the clergy. In the reign of the succeding king were abbys (than which nothing more dwarfs a people) demolish’d. I did not, I do not attribute the effects of these things thus far to my own particular observation; but always did, and do attribute a sense thereof to the reign of queen Elizabeth, and the wisdom of her council. There is yet living testimony, that the ruin of the English monarchy, thro the causes mention’d, was frequently attributed to Henry the Seventh by Sir Henry Wotton; which tradition is not unlike to have descended to him from the queen’s council. But there is a difference between having the sense of a thing, and making a right use of that sense. Let a man read Plutarch in the lives of Agis, and of the Gracchi, there can be no plainer demonstration of the Lacedemonian or Roman balance; yet read his discourse of government in his morals, and he has forgot it: he makes no use, no mention at all of any such thing. Who could have bin plainer upon this point than Sir Walter Raleigh, where, to prove that the kings of Egypt were not elective but hereditary, he alleges that if the kings of Egypt had bin elective, the children ofPharaohmust have bin more mighty than the king, as landlords of all Egypt, and the king himself their tenant?Hist of the world, part 1. p. 200. yet when he coms to speak of government, he has no regard to, no remembrance of any such principle. In Mr. Selden’s titles of honor, he has demonstrated the English balance of the peerage, without making any application of it, or indeed perceiving it there, or in times when the defect of the same came to give so full a sense of it. The like might be made apparent in Aristotle, in Machiavel, in my lord Verulam, in all, in any politician: there is not one of them in whom may not be found as right a sense of this principle, as in this present narrative; or in whom may be found a righter use of it than was made by any of the partys thus far concern’d in this story, or by queen Elizabeth and her council.M. D. l. 1. b. 10.If a prince, says a great author, to reform a government were oblig’d to depose himself, he might, in neglecting of it, be capable of som excuse; but reformation of government being that with which a principality may stand, he deserves no excuse at all. It is not indeed observ’d by this author that where by reason of the declination of the balance to popularity, the state requires reformation in the superstructures, there the prince cannot rightly reform, unless from soverain power he descends to a principality in a commonwealth: nevertheless upon the like occasions this fails not to be found so in nature and experience. The growth of the people of England, since the ruins mention’d of the nobility and the clergy came in the reign of queen Elizabeth to more than stood with the interest, or indeed the nature or possibility of a well founded or durable monarchy; as was prudently perceiv’d, but withal temporiz’d by her council, who (if the truth of her government be rightly weigh’d) seem rather to have put her upon the exercise of principality in a commonwealth, than of soverain power in a monarchy. Certain it is that she courted not her nobility, nor gave her mind (as do monarchs seated upon the like foundation) to balance her great men, or reflect upon their power now inconsiderable; but rul’d wholly, with an art she had to high perfection, by humoring and blessing her people. For this mere shadow of a commonwealth is she yet famous, and shall ever be so; tho had she introduc’d the full perfection of the orders requisit to popular government, her fame had bin greater. First, she had establish’d such a principality to her successors, as they might have retain’d.The great council of Venice has the soverain power, and the duke the soverain dignity. Secondly, this principality (the commonwealth, as Rome of Romulus, being born of such a parent) might have retain’d the royal dignity and revenue to the full, both improv’d and discharg’d of all envy. Thirdly, it had sav’d all the blood and confusion, which thro this neglect in her and her successors, has since issu’d. Fourthly, it had bequeath’d to the people a light not so natural by them to be discover’d, which is a great pity. For even as the many, thro the difference of opinions that must needs abound among them, are not apt to introduce a government, as not understanding the good of it: so the many, having by trial or experience once attain’d to this understanding, agree not to quit such a government.M. D. l. 1. c. 9. And lastly, it had plac’d this nation in that perfect felicity, which, so far as concerns mere prudence, is in the power of human nature to enjoy. To this queen succeded king James, who likewise regardless of this point (into which nevertheless he saw so far as not seldom to prophesy sad things to his successors) neither his new peerage, which in abundance he created, nor the old avail’d him any thing against that dread wherin, more freely than prudently, he discover’d himself to stand of parlaments, as now mere popular councils, and running to popularity of government like a bowl down a hill; not so much, I may say, of malice prepens’d, as by natural instinct, wherof the petition of right, well consider’d, is a sufficient testimony. All persuasion of court eloquence, all patience for such, as but look’d that way, was now lost. There remain’d nothing to the destruction of a monarchy, retaining but the name, more than a prince who by contending should make the people to feel those advantages which they could not see. And this happen’d in the next king, who too secure in that undoubted right wherby he was advanc’d to a throne which had no foundation, dar’d to put this to an unseasonable trial; on whom therfore fell the tower in Silo. Nor may we think that they upon whom this tower fell, were sinners above all men; but that we, unless we repent, and look better to the true foundations, must likewise perish. We have had latter princes, latter parlaments. In what have they excel’d, or where are they? the balance not consider’d, no effectual work can be made as to settlement; and consider’d, as it now stands in England, requires to settlement no less than the superstructures natural to popular government: and the superstructures natural to popular government require no less than the highest skill or art that is in political architecture. The sum of which particular amounts to this, That the safety of the people of England is now plainly cast upon skill or sufficiency in political architecture: it is not enough therfore, that there are honest men addicted to all the good ends of a commonwealth, unless there be skill also in the formation of those proper means wherby such ends may be attain’d. Which is a sad, but a true account; this being in all experience, and in the judgment of all politicians, that wherof the many are incapable. And tho the meanest citizen, not informing the commonwealth of what he knows, or conceives to concern its safety, commits a hainous crime against God and his country; yet such is the temper of later times, that a man, having offer’d any light in this particular, has scap’d well enough, if he be despis’d and not ruin’d.
But to procede: if the balance, or state of property in a nation, be the efficient cause of government, and, the balance being not fix’d, the government (as by the present narrative is evinc’d) must remain inconstant or floting; then the process in the formation of a government must be first by a fixation of the balance, and next by erecting such superstructures as to the nature therof are necessary.
Of Fixation of the Balance, or of Agrarian Laws.
FIXATION of the balance of property is not to be provided for but by laws; and the laws, wherby such a provision is made, are commonly call’d Agrarian laws. Now as governments, thro the divers balance of property, are of divers or contrary natures, that is monarchical or popular; so are such laws. Monarchy requires of the standard of property, that it be vast and great; and of Agrarian laws, that they hinder recess or diminution, at least in so much as is therby intail’d upon honor: but popular government requires, that the standard be moderat, and that its agrarian prevent accumulation.It is at present in more hands; but without fixation may come into sewer. In a territory not exceding England in revenue, if the balance be in more hands than three hundred, it is declining from monarchy; and if it be in fewer than five thousand hands, it is swerving from a commonwealth: which as to this point may suffice at present.
Shewing the Superstructures of Governments.
THAT the policy or superstructures of all absolute monarchs, more particularly of the eastern empires, are not only contain’d, but meliorated in the Turkish government, requires no farther proof than to compare them:The superstructures of absolute monarchy. but because such a work would not ly in a small compass, it shall suffice for this time to say, that such superstructures of government as are natural to an absolute prince, or the sole landlord of a large territory, require for the first story of the building, that, what demeans he shall think fit to reserve being set apart, the rest be divided into horse quarters or military farms, for life or at will, and not otherwise:Timariots. and that every tenant for every hundred pounds a year so held, be, by condition of his tenure, oblig’d to attend his soverain lord in person, in arms, and at his proper cost and charges, with one horse, so often, and so long as he shall be commanded upon service. These among the Turks are call’d timariots.
Beglerbegs.The second story requires, that these horse quarters, or military farms, be divided by convenient precincts or proportions into distinct provinces; and that each province have one governor or commander in chief of the same, at the will and pleasure of his grand signior, or for three years and no longer. Such among the Turks (unless by additional honors they be call’d bashaws or viziers) are the beglerbegs.
Janizarys and spahys.For the third story, there must of necessity be a mercenary army consisting both of horse and foot, for the guard of the prince’s person, and for the guard of his empire; by keeping the governors of provinces so divided, that they be not suffer’d to lay their arms or heads together, or to hold correspondence or intelligence with one another. Which mercenary army ought not to be constituted of such as have already contracted som other interest: but to consist of men so educated from their very childhood, as not to know that they have any other parent, or native country, than the prince and his empire. Such among the Turks are the foot call’d janizarys, and the horse call’d spahys.
The divan and the grand signior.The prince accommodated with a privy council, consisting of such as have bin governors of provinces, is the topstone: this council among the Turks is call’d the divan, and this prince the grand signior.
The superstructures of regulated monarchy.The superstructures proper to a regulated monarchy, or to the government of a prince (three or four hundred of whose nobility, or of whose nobility and clergy hold three parts in four of the territory) must either be by his personal influence upon the balance, or by virtue of orders.
If a prince, by easing his nobility of taxes, and feeding them with such as are extorted from the people, can so accommodat their ambition and avarice with great offices and commands, that a party rebelling, he can overbalance and reduce them by a greater part of their own order, he may have greater power and less security, as at present in France.
The safer way of this government is by orders; and the orders proper to it specially consist of a hereditary senat of the nobility, admitting also of the clergy, and of a representative of the people made up of the lords menial servants, or such as by tenure and for livelihood have immediat dependence upon them, as formerly in England.Chap IV.
No such thing as pure aristocracy, or pure democracy.An aristocracy, or state of nobility, to exclude the people, must govern by a king; or to exclude a king, must govern by the people: nor is there, without a senat or mixture of aristocracy, any popular government. Whence, tho for discourse sake, politicians speak of pure aristocracy, and pure democracy, there is no such thing as either of these in nature or example.
The superstructures of popular government.Where the people are not overbalanc’d by one man, or by the few, they are not capable of any other superstructures of government, or of any other just and quiet settlement whatsoever, than of such only as consists of a senat as their counsillors, of themselves or their representatives as soverain lords, and of a magistracy answerable to the people, as distributers and executioners of the laws made by the people. And thus much is of absolute necessity to any or every government, that is or can be properly call’d a commonwealth, whether it be well or ill order’d.
Definition of a well-order’d commonwealth.But the necessary definition of a commonwealth, any thing well order’d, is, That it is a government consisting of the senat proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing.
Distinction of magistracy.Magistracy is a stile proper to the executive part: yet because in a discourse of this kind it is hardly avoidable, but that such as are of the proposing or resolving assemblys, will be somtimes compriz’d under this name or stile, it shall be enough for execuse to say, that magistracy may be esteem’d of two kinds; the one proper or executive, the other improper or legislative.
Senats, and their kinds.A senat may consist of a hereditary order, elective for life by it self, or by som magistrat or magistrats of the same; as the senat of Rome consisted of the patrician order therinto eligible, first by the consuls, and then by the censors. A senat may consist of senators elected by the people for life, as that of Lacedemon: it may consist of senators eligible by the people for terms, without any vacation or interval, as the senat of Venice; or with intervals, as the senat of Athens, which also for another difference was elected by lot.
Popular assemblys, and their kinds.A popular assembly may consist of the whole people, as the great council of Venice (for the Venetians, tho call’d, in respect of their subjects, nobility, are all that free people which is compriz’d in that commonwealth) or of a representative, as in Israel. Again, a representative of the people may be for life, as in the particular citys or soveraintys of Holland, improperly call’d senats; or it may be uponrotation, that is to say, by changes or courses, as that of Israel, and the present representative in England; it may also be by lot, as the Roman tribes call’d the prerogative, and the jure vocatæ.
Supreme magistrats, and their kinds.To speak of magistrats in a commonwealth, and all their kinds, were to begin an endless discourse; the present I shall therfore confine to such only as may be call’d supreme magistrats. The supreme magistracy of a commonwealth may be in one or more; and it may be for life, or for terms and vacations. In one elective by the people for life; as in the duke of Venice, whose function is civil and not military. In two hereditarily; as in the two kings of Lacedemon, whose function was rather military than civil. In nine annually elective by the people; as in the nine princes or archons of Athens. In two annually elected by the people; as the Roman consuls, whose power was both military and civil. In a word, it may be in one or more, for life, or for terms and vacations, as shall best sute with the occasion.
Som commonwealths consist of distinct soveraintys, as Switzerland and Holland; others are collected into one and the same soverainty, as most of the rest.Other differences in commonwealths. Again, som commonwealths have bin upon rotation or courses in the representative only, as Israel: others in the magistracy only, as Rome. Som in the senat and in the magistracy, as Athens and Venice: others in som part of the magistracy, and in others not, as Lacedemon in the ephori, and not in the kings; and Venice not in the duke, nor in the procuratori, but in all the rest. Holland, except in the election of states provincial (which is emergent) admits not of any rotation or courses. There may be a commonwealth admitting of rotation throout, as in the senat, in the representative, and in the magistracy; as that propos’d in Oceana.
Rotation, or courses.Rotation, if it be perfect, is equal election by, and succession of the whole people to the magistracy by terms and vacations.
Popular election.Equal election may be by lot, as that of the senat of Athens; by suffrage, as that of Lacedemon; or by ballot, as that of Venice, which of all others is the most equal.
The ballot.The ballot, as it is us’d in Venice, consists of a lot; whence procedes the right of proposing, and of an unseen way of suffrage, or of resolving.
The different genius of commonwealths.From the wonderful variety of parts, and the difference of mixture (hitherto scarce touch’d by any) result those admirable differences that are in the constitution and genius of popular governments; som being for defence, som for increase; som more equal, others inequal; som turbulent and seditious, others, like soft streams, in a perpetual tranquillity.
The cause of sedition in a commonwealth.That which causes innat sedition in a commonwealth, is inequality; as in Rome, where the senat opprest the people. But if a commonwealth be perfectly equal, it is void of sedition, and has attain’d to perfection, as being void of all internal causes of dissolution.
Definition of an equal commonwealth.An equal commonwealth is a government founded upon a balance which is perfectly popular, being well fix’d by a sutable agrarian; and which from the balance, thro the free suffrage of the people-given by the ballot, amounts in the superstructures to a senat debating and proposing, a representative of the people resolving, and a magistracy executing; each of these three orders being upon courses or rotation; that is, elected for certain terms, injoining like intervals.
The difference between laws and orders.Such constitutions in a government as regard the frame or model of it, are call’d orders; and such things as are enacted by the legislative orders, are called laws.
To undertake the binding of a prince from invading liberty, and yet not to introduce the whole orders necessary to popular government, is to undertake a flat contradiction, or a plain impossibility.
Hazard thro the want of principles.A people or assembly not understanding true principles, give least credit to the best orders, and so com to cast themselves upon particular persons: for where orders are not credited, there men must be trusted; and where men are trusted, they find themselves so well in their power, that they are either for bringing in a commonwealth by degrees, or more probably not at all. The desire of bringing in a commonwealth by degrees, arises from want of considering that the whole of a commonwealth, as to charge or trouble, is less than the half. He who has a journey to go, dos not chuse to have but half a bridle, or but one boot or stirrup, tho these be fewer things, and com but to half the charge; because this would but necessitat him to procure more things, and perhaps more chargeable or dangerous.
Optimus ille animi vindex, lædentia pectus Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel.
WHO imagins that the Romans govern’d by proof out of Scripture?1 Pet. 2. 13. Yet says Peter,Submit yourselves to (human prudence, or) every ordinance of man; which relates more particularly to the government of the Romans. The most frequent comparison of a commonwealth is to a ship; but who imagins that a ship ought not to be built according to the art of the shipwright, or govern’d according to the compass, unless these be prov’d out of Scripture? Nevertheless, as hitherto I have prov’d the principles of human prudence in the several parts out of Holy Scripture; so I undertake to vindicat them in the whole, as to the intire frame of popular government, in the insuing book, by the same authority and undeniable evidence.
[* ]Nec totam libertatem nec totam servitatem pati possunt. Tacit.