« AnteriorContinua »
GO V E R N M E N T.
CHA P. II.
This is the best government, which beft provides for wat. OUR
DUR author, having huddled up all popular and mixed governments into one, has, in some measure, forced me to explain the various constitutions and princi. ples upon which they are grounded: but as the wisdom of á father is seen, not only in providing bread for his family, or increasing his patrimonial estate, but in making all possible provision for the security of it; so that government is evidently the best, which, not relying upon what does at first enjoy, seeks to increase the number, strength, and riches, of the people; and by the best discipline to bring the power so improved into such order as may be of most use to the public. This comprehends all things conducing to the administration of justice, the preservation of domestic peace, and the increase of commerce, that the people, being pleased with their present condition, may be filled with love to their country, encouraged to fight boldly for the public caufe, which is their own; and as
men do willingly join with that which profpers, that strangers may be invited to fix their habitations in such a city, and to espouse the principles that reign in it. This is necessary for several reasons; but I shall principally insist upon one, which is, that all things in their beginning are weak: the whelp of a lion newly born has neither strength nor fierceness. He that builds a city, and does not intend it should encrease, commits as great an absurdity, as if he should defire his child might ever continue under the same weakness in which he is born. If it do not grow, it must pine and perish; for in this world nothing iş permanent; that which does not grow better will grow worse. This increase also is useless, or perhaps hurtful, if it be not in strength, as well as in riches, or number: for every one is apt to seizę upon ill-guarded treasures ; and the terror that the city of London was possessed with, when a few Dutch ships came to Chatham, Thews, that no numbers of men, though naturally valiant, are able to defend themselves, unless they be well armed, disci-, plined, and conducted. Their multitude brings confur: fion: their wealth, when it is like to be made a prey, increases the fears of the owners; and they, who, if they were brought into good order, might conquer a great part of the world, being deftitute of it, durft not think of defending themselves,
If it be said, that the wise father, mentioned by me, endeavours to fecure his patrimony by law, not by force; I answers that all defonce terminates in force; and if a private man does not prepare to defend his estate with his own force, it is because he lives under the protection of
the law, and expects the force of the magistrate should be a fecurity to him: but kingdoms and commonwealths, acknowledging no fuperior, except God alone, can reafonably hope to be protected by him only; and by him, if with industry and courage they make use of the means he has given them for their own defence. God helps those who helps themselves ; and men are by several reafons (suppose to prevent the increafe of a fuspected power, induced to fuccour an industrious and brave people : but such as neglect the means of their own preservation, are ever left to perish with Thame. Men cannot rely upon any league: the state that is defended by one potentate against another becomes a slave to the protector: mercenary foldiers always want tidelity or courage, and most commonly both. If they are not corrupted or beaten by the invader, they make a prey of their mafters. These are the followers of camps, who have neither faith ner piety *, but prefer gain before right. They who expose their blood to fale, look where they can make the best bargain, and never fail of pretences for following
Moreover, private families may by feveral arts increase their wcalth, as they increase in number ; but when a people multiplies (as they will always do in a good climate under a good government) such an enlargement of territory as is necessary for their subsistence can be aequired only by war. This was known to the northern nations that invaded the Roman empire; but for want of
# Ibi fas, ubi maxiina merces. Lucam