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out as great virtue ; so great vịrtue without the best education ; the best education without the best laws; or the best laws any otherwise than by the excellency of their polity,
But if some of these commonwealths, as being less perfect in their pelity than others, have been more seditious, it is not more an argument of the infirmity of this or that commonwealth in particular, than of the excellency of that kind of polity in general; which if they that have not altogether reached, nevertheless had greater prosperity, what would befal them that should reach?
In answer to which question let me invite Levia. than, who in all other governments gives the advantage to monarchy for perfection, to a better disquisition of it by these three assertions.
The first, that the perfection of government lies upon such a libration in the frame of it, that no man or men in or under it can have the interest; or having the interest, can have the power to disturb it with sedition.
The second, that monarchy, reaching the perfection of the kind, reaches not to the perfection of government; but must have some dangerous flaw in it.
The third, that popular government, reaching the perfection of the kind, reaches the perfection of government, and has no flaw in it.
The first assertion requires no proof. For the proof of the second, monarchy, as has been shewn, is of two kinds, the one by arms, the other by a nobility; and there is no other kind in art or nature: for if there have been anciently some governments called kingdoms, as one of the Goths in Spain, and another of the Vandals in Africa, where the king ruled without a nobility, and by a council of the people only; it is expressly said by the authors that mention them, that the kings were but the captains, and that the people not only gave them laws, but deposed them as often as they pleased. Nor is it possible in reason that it should be otherwise in like cases ; wherefore these were either no mo
monarchies, or had greater flaws in them than
other. But for a monarchy by arms, as that of the Turk, (which of all models that ever were, comes up to the perfection of the kind) it is not in the wit or power of nan to cure it of that dangerous flaw, that the nobility had frequent intérest and perpetual power, by their retainers and tenants, to raise sedition, and (whereas the Janizaries occasion this kind of calamity uo sooner than they make an end of it) to levy a lasting war, to the vast effusion of blood, and that even upon occasions wherein the people, but for their dependence upon their lords, had no concernment, as in the feud of the red and white. The like has been frequent in Spain, France, Germany, and other
monarchies of this kind; wherefore monarchy by a nobility is no perfect government.
For the proof of the third assertion; Leviathan yields it to me that there is no cominonwealth but monarchical or popular : wherefore if no monarchy be a perfect government, then either there is no pe:fect. government, or it must be popular : for which kind of constitution I have something more to say, than Leviathan has said, or ever will be able to say for monarchy. As,
First, that it is the government that was never conquered by any monarch, from the beginning of this world to this day: for if the commonwealths of Greece came under the yoke of the kings of Macedon, they were first broken by themselves.
Secondly, that it is the government that has frequently led mighty monarchs in triumph.
Thirdly, that it is the government, which, if it has been seditious, it has not been so from any imperinction in the kind, but in the particular constitution; which, wherever the like has happened, must have been inequal. .. Fourthly, that it is the government, which, if it has been any thing near equal, was never seditious ; or let him shew me what sedition has happened in Lacedeinon or Venice.
Fifthly, that it is the government, which, attaining to perfect equality, has such a libration' in the frame of it, that no man living can shew which way any man or men, in or under it, can contract any such interest or power as should be able to disturb the commonwealth with sedition; wherefore an equal commonwealth is that only which is without faw, and contains in it the full perfection of government.
It appears, however, that Harrington's is not a commonwealth to the exclusion of nobility : for a little farther on, he says:
It will be convenient in this place to speak a word to such as go about to insinuate to the nobility or gentry a fear of the people, or, to the people a fear of the nobility or gentry, as if their interests were destructive to each other; when indeed an army may as well consist of soldiers without officers, or of officers without soldiers, as a commonwealth (especially such a one as is capable of greatness) of a people without a gentry, or of a gentry without a people. Wherefore this (though not always so intended, as may appear by Machiavel, who else would be guilty) is a pernicious error. There is something first in the making of a commonwealth; then in the governing of it; and last of all, in the leading of its armies ; which (though there be great divines, great lawyers, great men in all professions) seems to be peculiar only to the genius of a gentleman.
I shall give one short extract more from this intelligent writer. When the lord Archon had completely organized the commonwealth of Oceana, he abdicated the magistracy. The following remarks appear to be founded in deep political wisdom.
The senate, as struck with astonishment, continuing silent; men upon so sudden an accident being altogether unprovided of what to say, till the Archon withdrawing, and being almost at the door, divers of the knights few from their places, offering as it were to lay violent hands on him, while he escaping left the senate with the tears in their eyes, as children that had lost their father; and to rid himself of all farther importunity, retired to a country house of his, being remote and very private, insomuch that no man could tell for some time what was become of him. Thus the law-maker happened to be the first object and reflection of the law made: for as liberty of all things is the most welcome to a people, so is there nothing more abhorrent from their nature than ingratitude. We, accusing the Roman people of this crime against some of their greatest benefactors, as Camillus, heap mistake upon mistake; for being not so competent judges of what belongs to liberty as they were, we take upon us to be more competent judges of virtue. And whereas virtue, for being a