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In foreign politics the interest of the fenate can scarce ever be divided from chat of the people, and therefore 'tis fit to make the senare absolute with regard to them; otherwise there could be no secrecy nor refined policy. ' Bulides, without money no alliance can be executed ; and the senate is still fusficiently dependent. Not to mention, that the legislative power being always superior to the executive, the magistrates or representatives may interpose, whenever they think proper.
The chief support of the British government is the opposition of interests; but that, tho' in the main serviceable, breeds endless factions. In the foregoing plan, it does all the good without any of the harm. The competitors have no power of controlling the senate : They have only the power of accusing, and appealing to the people.
'Tis necessary, likewise, to prevent both combination and division in the thousand magistrates. This is done sufficiently by the separation of places and interests.
But left that should not be enough, their dependence on the 10,000 for their elections, ferves to the same purpose. : · Nor is that all : For the 10,000 may resume the power, whenever they please; and not only when they all please, but when any five of a hundred please, which will happen upon the very first suspicion of a separate interest.
The 10,coo are too large a body either to unite or divide, except when they meet in one place, and fall under the guidance of ambitious leaders. Not to mention their annual election, by almost the whole body of the people.
A SMALL commonwealth is the happiest government in the world, within itfelf; because every thing lies under the eye of the rulers : But it may be fubdued by great force from without. This scheme seems to have all the advantages both of a great and a little commonwealth.
Every county-law may be annulled either by the senate or another county ; because that shows an oppofition of interests : In which case, no part ought to decide for itself. The matter must be referred to the whole, which will best determine what agrees with general interest.
As to the clergy and militia, the reasons of these orders are obvious. Without the dependence of the clergy on the civil magistrate, and without a militia, 'tis folly to think any free government will ever have security or stability.
In many governments, the inferior magistrates have no rewards but what arise from their ambition, vanity, or public spirit. The salaries of the French judges amount not to the interest of the sums they pay for their offices. The Dutch burgo-masters have little more immediate profit than the ENGLISH justices of peace, or the members of the house of commons formerly. But left any should fufpect, that this would beget negligence in the administration, (which is little to be feared, considering the natural ambition of mankind) let the magiftrates have competent salaries. The fenators have access to so many honorable and lucrative offices, that their attendance needs not be bought. There is little attendance required of the representatives.
That the foregoing plan of government is practicable, no one can doubt, who considers the resemblance it bears to the commonwealth of the United Provinces, formerly one of the wiseft and most renowned governments that ever was in the world. The alterations in the present scheme are all evidently to the better. i. The
representation is more equal. 2. The unlimited power of the burgo-masters in the towns, which forms a perfect aristocracy in the Dutch commonwealth, is cor. rected by a well-tempered democracy, in giving to the people the annual election of the county representatives. 3. The negative, which every province and town has upon the whole body of the Dutch republic, with regard to alliances, peace and war, and the imposition of taxes, is here removed. 4. The counties, in the present plan, are not so independent of each other, nor do they form separate bodies so much as the seven provinces ; where the jealousy and envy of the smaller provinces and towns against the greater, particularly HOLLAND and AMSTERDAM, have frequently disturbed the government. 5.'Larger powers, tho' of the safest kind, are intrusted to the fenate than the States-General possess; by which means, the former may become more expeditious, and secret in their resolutions, than 'tis possible for the latter.
The chief alterations that could be made on the British government, in order to bring it to the most perfect model of limited monarchy, seem to be the following. First, The plan of the republican parliament ought to be restored, by making the representation equal, and by allowing none to vo:e in the county-elections who poffefs not a property of 200 pounds value. Secondly, As such a house of Commons would be too weighty for a frail house of Lords, like the present, the Bishops and Scotch Peers ought to be removed, whose behavior, in former parliaments, destroyed entirely the authority of that house: The number of the upper houfe ought to be raised to three or four hundred : Their seats not hereditary, but during life : They ought to have the election of their own members, and no commoner should be allowed to refuse a feat that was offered him. By this means, the house of Lords would consist entirely of the men of chief credit, ability, and i terest of the nation, and every turbulent leader in the house of Commons might be taken off, and connected in interest with the house of Peers. Such an aristocracy would be an excellent barrier both to the monarchy and against it. At present, the balance of our government depends in fome measure on the ability and behavior of the sovereign ; which are variable and uncertain circumstances.
I ALLOW, that this plan of limited monarchy, however corrected, is still liable to three great inconveniencies. First, It removes not entirely, tho' ic may soften, the parties of court and country. Secondly, The King's personal character must still have a great influence on the government. Thirdly, The sword is in the hands of a single person, who will always neglect to discipline the militia, in order to have a pretext for keeping up a standing army. 'Tis evident, that this is a mortal distemper in the BRITISH government, of which it must at last inevitably perish. I must, however, confess, that Sweden seems, in some measure, to have remedied this inconvenience, and to have a militia, with its limited monarchy, as well as a standing army, which is less dangerous than the British.
We shall conclude this subject, with observing the falsehood of the common opinion, that no large state, such as FRANCE or BRITAIN, could ever be modelled into a commonwealth, but that such a form of government can only take place in a city or small territory. The contrary seems evident. Tho''tis more difficult to form a republican government in an extensive country than in a city; there is more facility, when once it is formed, of preserving it steady and uniform, without tumult and faction, 'Tis not easy, for the distant parts of a large state, to
combine combine in any plan of free government, but they easily conspire in the esteem and reverence for a single person, who, by means of this popular favor, may seize the power, and forcing the more obftinate to submit, they establish a monarchical government. On the other hand, a city readily concurs in the same notions of government, the natural equality of property favors liberty, and the nearnefs of habitation enables the citizens mutually to assist each other. Even under absolute princes, the subordinate government of cities is commonly republican; while that of counties and provinces is monarchical. But these same circumstances, which facilitate the erection of commonwealths in cities, render their conftitution more frail and uncertain. Democracies are turbulent. For however the people may be separated or divided into small parties, either in their votes or elections, their near habitation in a city will always make the force of popular tides and currents very sensible. Aristocracies are better adapted for peace and order, and accordingly were most admired by ancient writers ; but they are jealous and oppressive. In a large government, which is modelled with masterly skill, there is compass and room enough to refine the democracy, from the lower people, who may be ad. mitted into the first elections or first concoction of the commonwealth, to the higher magistrațes, who direct all the movements. At the same time, the parts are so distant and remote, that 'tis very difficult, either by intrigue, prejudice, or passion, to hurry them into any measures against the public interest.
'Tis needless to inquire, whether such a government would be immortal. I allow the justness of the poet's exclamation on the endless projects of human race, Man and for ever! The world itself probably is not immortal. Such consuming plagues may arise as would leave even a perfect government a weak prey to its neighbors. We know not to what lengths. enthusiasm, or other extraordinary motions of the human mind,, may transport men, to the neglect of all order and public good. Where difference of interest is removed, whimsical and unaccount. able factions often arise, from personal favor or enmity. Perhaps rust may grow to the springs of the most accurate, political machine, and disorder its motions. Lastly, extensive conquests, when pursued, must be the ruin of every free government; and of the more perfect governments sooner than of the imperfect ; because of the very advantages which the former poffefs above the latter. And tho' such a state ought to establish a fundamental law against conquests; yet republics have ambition as well as individuals, and present interest makes men forgetful of their posterity: 'Tis a sufficient incitement to human endeavors, that fuch a goverriment would florish for many ages; without pretending to bestow on any work of man, that immortality, which the Almighty seems to have refused to his own productions.