Imágenes de páginas

tified, and difturb the public content with complaints, which no wisdom or benevolence of gover:ment can remove.

It will not be thought extraordinary, that an idea, which occurs so much oftener as the subje&t of panegyric and careless declamation, than of just rea. loning or correct knowledge, thould be a:te ded with uncertainty and confusion; or that it should be found impollible to contrive a definition, which ma include the numerous, unfeuiled, and ever varying significations, which the term is made to and for, and at the same time accord with the condition and experience of social life.

Of the two ideas that have been stated of civil liberty, whichever we assume, and whatever reaion. ing we found upon them, concerning its extent, nature, value and preservation, this is the conclusionthat that people, government, and constitution, is the frecst, which makes the best provision for the enading of expedient and falutary laws.





A S a series of appeals must be finite, there ne. A c essarily exists in every government a power from which ihe constitution has provided no ap. peal; and which power, for that reason, may be termed abfolute, omnipotent, uncontrollable, arbi. trary, despotic; and is alike so in all countries.

The person, or assembly, in whom this power resides, is called the fovereign, or the supreme power of the state.

Since to the same power universally appertains the office of establishing public laws, it is called also the legislature of the state.

A government receives its denomination from the form of the legislature; which form is likewise what we commonly mean by the conftitution of a country.

Political writers enumerate three principal forms of government, which, however, are to be regard. ed rather as the simple forms, by some combina. tion and intermixture of which all aâual govern. ments are composed, than as any where existing in a pure and elementary state. These forms are,

I. Despotism, or absolute MONARCHY, where the legislature is in a single person.

11. An ARISTOCRACY, where the legislatore is in a select assembly, the members of which, either f.!! up by election the vacancies in their own body, or succeed to their places in it by inheritance, proper


ty, tenure of certain lands, or in respect of some personal right, or qualification.

III. A REPUBLIC, or democracy, where the people at large, either collectively or by representation, constitute the legislature.

The separate advantages of MONARCHY, are uri. ty of council, activity, decision, secrecy, difparchi the military strength and energy which reful from these qualities of government; the exclufioa of popular and aristocratical contencions; the preventing, by a known rule of succellion, of all com. petition for the supreme power; and thereby re. pressing the hopes, intrigues, and dangerous am. bition of aspiring citizens.

The mischiefs, or rather the dangers of MONAR. chy, are tyranny, expence, exaction, military doo mination ; unnecessary wars waged to gratify the pallions of an individual; risk of the character of the reigning prince; ignorance in the governors of the interests and accommodation of the people, and a consequent deficiency of falutary regulations ; want of constancy and uniformity in the rules of government, and, proceeding from thence, insecu. rity of person and property.

The separate advantage of an ARISTOCRACY coa sists in the wisdom which may be expected from cx. perience and education-a permanent council na. turally posteles experience; and the members, who succeed to their places in it by inheritance, will, probably, be trained and educated with a view to the stations, which they are destined by their birth to occupy.

The mischiefs of an ARISTOCRACY are, dides. sions in the ruling orders of the state, which, from the want of a common superior, are liable to proceed to the most desperate extremities ; oppreilion of the lower orders by the privileges of the higher, and by laws partial to the separate interests of the law makers.


peoplading of after which can

The advantages of a REPUBLIC are, liberty, or exemption from needless reftri&ions; equal laws; regulations adapted to the wants and circumstances of the people ; public spirit, frugality, averseness to war; the opportunities which democratic afsemblies afford to men of every defcription, of producing their abilities and councils to public ob. servation, 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, diffensions, tu. mults, faction; the attempts of powerful citizens to possess themselves of the empire; the confusion, rage, and clamour which are the inevitable conse. quences of assembling multitudes, and of pro. pounding questions of state to the discussion of the people ; the delay and disclosure of public councils and designs; and the imbecility of measures retard. ed 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 combi. nation of two or more of the simple forms of go. vernment above described-and, in whatever pro. portion each form enters into the constitution of a government, in the same proportion may both the advantages and evils, which we have attribated to that form, be expected ; that is, those are the uses to be maintained and cultivaied in each part of the conftitution, and these are the dangers to be provided against in each. Thus, if secrecy and dispatch be truly enumerated ainongst 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 eftates of the empire do not, by an officious and inquisitive interference with the executive functions, which are, or ought to be, reserved to the admi.


2009 of the piace, icterpcle de ars, or ot' ta it is espeiet:cocceal. Octtearer bzií prosa, enact:07, 01:2y don'narioc, 744 Deccitás 25, be ju.y ecococteu narurzi preso ci 22:ets, is its fiçie urgcaited for .14 are itele tbe objeas to which, in a cised s met, tbe arocratic 200 popular parts cf!fiiction o bi to dired their vipa'ce;the da agaisit wbica tbey thouid raile and fortif thei:riets: tbeie are departmenis of forerei Tty, which a power of isspection and control vur :-depolied with the peop'e.

The same observation may be repeared of a other advantages aud inconveniescies which tar been ascribed to tbe several fimple to ms of gore :mest; and atfords a rule whereby to direct:ne strudion, improvement, and adminitration of me. ed goveromenis, fubjecies however to itis rer.a', thai a quality sometimes results from the conjunct.c: of two simple forms of government, which beiorgs not to the separate exillence of either : thus corrurion, which has no place in an abiolute monarch.r, and little in a pure republic, is sure to gain aur :fion into a conftitution, which divides the supreso rower berween an executive magulrate and a popoe iar council.

An bereditary MONARCHY is universally to be prefcrred to an elective monarchy. The confetion of every writer upon the subje& of civil government, ihe experience of agis, the example of Poland, and of the papal dominions seem to place this a. mongit the few indubitable maxims which the ich ence of pollics admits of. A crown is too fplendid a prize to be coníerred upon merit. The pallons or inicrelts of the electors exclude all confideration of the qualities of the competitors. The faine ob fervation holds concerning the appointment to any ofice which is aliended with a great thare of power

« AnteriorContinuar »