Imatges de pÓgina

of a government, in the same proportion may both the advantages and evils, which we have attributed to that form, be expected ; that is, those are the uses to be maintained and cultivated in each part of the constitution, and these are the dangers to be provided against in each. Thus, if secrecy and dispatch be truly enumerated amongst the separate excellencies of regal government; then a mixed government, which retains monarchy in one part of its constitution, should be careful that the other estates of the empire do not, by an officious and inquisitive interference with the executive functions, which are, or ought to be, reserved to the administration of the prince, interpose delays, or divulge what it is expedient to conceal. On the other hand, if profusion, exa&ion, military domination, and needless wars, be justly accounted natural properties of monarchy, in its simple un. qualified form; then are these the objects to which, in a mixed government, the aristocratic and popular part of the constitution ought to direct their vigilance; the dangers against which they should raise and fortify their barriers : these are departments of sovereignty, over which a power of inspection and control ought to be deposited with the people. VOL. II.



The fame observation may be repeated of all the other advantages and inconveniencies which have been ascribed to the feveral simple forms of government; and affords a rule whereby to direct the construction, improvements, and administration of mixed governments, subjected however to this remark, that a quality sometimes results from the conjunction of two fimple forms of government, which belongs not to the feparate existence of either : thus corruption, which has no place in an absolute monarchy, and little in a pure republic, is sure to giin admission into a constitution, which divides the supreme power between an executive magistrate and a popular çouncil.

An bereditary MONARCHY is universally to be preferred to an elective monarchy. The confeflion of

every writer upon the subject of civil government, the experience of agis, the example of Poland, and of the papal doininions, seem to place this amongst the few indubitable maxims which the science of politics admits of. A crown is too splendid a prize to be conferred upon merit. The passions or interests of the electors exclude all conGderation of the qualities of the competitors. The fame observation holds concerning the appointinents to any office which is



attended with a great share of power or emolument. Nothing is gained by a popular choice worth the diffenfions, tumults, and interruption of regular industry, with which it is inseparably attended. Add to this, that a king, who owes his elevation to the event of a contest, or to any other cause than a fixed rule of succession, will be apt to regard one part of his subjects as the associates of his fortune, and the other as conquered foes. Nor should it be forgotten, amongst the advantages of an hereditary monarchy, that as plans of national improvement and reform are feldom brought to maturity by the exertions of a single reign, a nation cannot attain to the degree of happiness and prosperity to which it is capable of being carried, unless an uniformity of councils, a consistency of public measures and designs be continued through a succession of ages. This benefit may be expected with greater probability, where the supreme power descends in the same race, and where each prince succeeds, in some sort, to the aim, pursuits, and disposition of his ancestor, than if the crown, at every change, devolve upon a stranger, whose first care will commonly be to pull down what his predeceffor had built up; and to substitute systems of administration, which must, in their turn, give


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way to the more favourite novelties of the next fucceffor.

ARISTOCRACIES are of two kinds. First, where the power of the nobility belongs to them in their collective capacity alone; that is, where, although the government reside in an assembly of the order, yet the members of that assembly separately and individually poffefs no authority or privilege beyond the rest of the community :-this describes the constitution of Venice. Secondly, where the nobles are severally invested with great personal power and immunities, and where the power of the senate is little more than the aggregated power of the individuals who compose it :-this is the constitution of Poland. Of these two forms of government the first is more tolerable than the last; for, although the members of a senate should many, or even all of them, be proiligate enough to abuse the authority of their stations in the prosecution of private designs, yet, not being all under a temptation to the same injustice, not havin' all the fame end to gain, it would still be difficult to obtain the consent of a majority to any fpecific act of oppression, which the iniquity of an individual might prompt him to propose: or, if the will were the same, the power is more confined;


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one tyrant, whether the tyranny reside in a single person, or a senate, cannot exercise oppression at so many places at the same time, as it


be carried on by the dominion of a numerous nobility over their respective vassals and dependants. Of all species of domination this is the most odious: the freedom and satisfaction of private life are more constrained and harassed by it, than by the mot vexatious law, or even by the lawless will of an arbitrary monarch ; from wh se knowledge, and from whose injustice, the greatest part of his subjects are removed by their diftance, or concealed by their obscurity.

Europe exhibits more than one modern example, where the people, aggrieved by the exactions, or provoked by the enormities, of their immediate superiors, have joined with the reigning prince in the overthrow of the aristocracy, deliberately exchanging their condition for the miseries of despotism. About the middle of the last century, the commons of Denmark, weary of the oppressions which they had long suff red from the nobles, and exasperated by some recent insults, presented themselves at the foot of the throne with a formal offer of their consent to establish unlimited dominion in the king. The revolution in Sweden, still more lately brought

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