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The advantages of a REPUBLIC are, liberty, or exemption from needless restrictions; equal laws; regulations adapted to the wants and circumstances of the people; public spirit, frugality, averseness to war; the opportunities which democratic assemblies afford to men of every description, of producing their abilities and councils to public observation, and the exciting thereby, and calling forth to the service of the commonwealth, the faculties of its best citizens. · The evils of a REPUBLIC are, dissensions, tumults, faction; the attempts of powerful citizens to possess themselves of the empire ; the confufion, rage, and clamour which are the inevitable consequences of assembling multitudes, and of propounding questions of state to the discussion of the people; the delay and disclofure of public councils and designs; and the imbecility of measures retarded by the necessity of obtaining the consent of numbers : lastly, the oppression of the provinces which are not admitted to a participation in the legislative power. · A mixed government is composed by the combination of two or more of the simple forms of government above described and, in whatever proportion each form enters into the constitution
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, exaction, military domination, and needless wars, be justly accounted natural properties of monarchy, in its simple unqualified form ; then are these the objects to which, in a mixed government, the aristocratic and popular parts 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 same observation may be repeated of all the other advantages and inconveniencies which have been ascribed to the several simple forms of government; and affords a rule whereby to direct the construction, improvement, and administration of mixed governments, subjected however to this remark, that a quality fometimes results from the conjunction of two fimple forms of government, which belongs not to the separate existence of either : thus corruption, which has no place in an absolute monarchy, and little in a pure republic, is sure to gain admission into a constitution, which divides the supreme power between an executive magistrate and a popular council.
An bereditary MONARCHY is universally to be preferred to an elective monarchy. The confeffion of every writer upon the subject of civil government, the experience of ages, the example of Poland, and of the papal dominions 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 consideration of the qualities of the competitors. The same observation holds concerning the appointment to any office which is
attended with a great share of power or emolument. Nothing is gained by a popular choice worth the dissensions, 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 seldom 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 pro- :: bability, where the supreme power descends in the same race, and where each prince succeeds, in some fort, 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 N 2
way to the more favourite novelties of the next fucceilor.
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 possess 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 profligate 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 having all the fame end to gain, it would still be difficult to obtain the consent of a majority, to any specific 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;