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in return, and it is unjust where one part of society enjoys the benefits of life, to the total exclusion of others; for no tyranny can be more cruelly exercised, nor no slavery can be more severely felt, than where one part of society is obliged to labour for the support of those who are its oppressors.
Administration' of Government and the Erercise of Power.
IN every well-regulated commonwealth, it is agreed that all those citizens, who have any share in the public administration, should enjoy leisure for attending to this important concern. When the occupations of any man are manifold, there cannot be that attention or perfection expected, as where there is a proper division of labour; and, where study is applied to the acquirement of one object, it is likely to be attained in the greatest perfection. It therefore appears, that the business of a states. man is sufficient employment for any man, and is enough for him to follow without other occupations; and few, like artists, who follow that profession, are able to make a full proficiency in it, or even to acquire celebrity. The difficulty must be extreme; for he can know very little of the human character, who is not perfectly conversant with mankind, and he can know little the wants of the people, whose only attention is paid to the necessities of the government and the exigencies of the state. Aristotle observed that, in proportion as labour is divided, arts are perfected, and the various branches of industry are all of them best cultivated, when the same individual is strictly confined to the same branch of art. It is therefore difficult for a statesman to be perfect in all the branches of legislature, and much more so if he attend to other pursuits.
The great and uncontrolled power, vested in a senate, may be intrusted with safety to consummate wisdom and perfect virtue; but, if it is to be seduced by partiality, or to be corrupted by party or private views, the more the power the more must be its destructive consequences.
No fore, should be given to man uncontrolled; it must be confined, checked, watched, and limited, or its strides will be gigantic, and its treads will erush the growth of every rising virtue that falls under its dominion. It is this selfish ambition that tends to occasion, excite, and invigorate half the wickedness and the principal evils of mankind. He who possesses power is always ambitious of obtaining more; he who is possessed of riches is always in pursuit of further acquirements; he wants honours, or he wants something he does not possess, to gratify his ambition; in short, he wants that which is only to be found in a contented mind; but such is the am. bition and perverseness of some men, that they will not seek happiness where it is to be found the world would have no pleasures for them, unless they could have the power to tyrannize over others. . In Sparta, the state was poor and the revenues ill levied; the territory was extensive, but, by their unjust regulations, it soon got into a few hands, and with it all other wealth and power; the rest of the community had nothing to contribute; how then was the state to be supported ? The Spartan government was said to be an improvement on that of Crete, which Lycurgus took for his model ; that of Crete was taken from others, and so it has been from the beginning of time; but happy is the invention that is original, if it be good. As perfection is however the aim of invention, or improvement, it is astonishing that, with all the models of government that have been handed down from time immemorial, a perfect whole, like the Venus de Medicis, cannot be formed, by collecting from all the beautiful parts of nature that are not often found together; for thus artis said to surpass nature in beauty. In this way a state, or a government, may be made as perfect and beautiful as the statue of the Venus de Medicis; but the misfortune is, that after the artists then come the actors, and after viewing this wonder of perfection, a play must be performed, of tragedy or comedy; and, in order to make room for the performers, this beautiful statue is laid aside in some corner, and the theatre is decorated with various scenery, in which every one wishes to view bis own portrait. This spoils the whole thing, and every one who hasthe least judgment, or discernment, is ashamed to look at such a motley representation.
To establish and secure a good government, it wants not only the skilful artist to compose, but the prudence of others to keep the parts together, and
preserve them from dilapidation and decay. Every man has his own view of things, and his own passions and interests to gratify and support. All will not contribute to one just point of perfection, or the beauty of a state or government may be as perfect and durable as that of a Venus de Medicis; but no state, government, or representation of it, can be perfect, whilst all characters are so evidently conspicuous in the same picture.
The appointment of a legislator, or statesman, ought to be the reward of tried and approved merit, since nothing is more solemn than the office which he holds. The lives and happiness of millions depend upon his will and conduct, for which he must be responsible to God and man. He should therefore be just, generous, and impartial to all, if he execute bis powers rightly. He should do good and prevent evil, for they are both at his command, and such are the natural terms of his appointment.
Aristotle says, that “ whatever seems estimable to the heads of the community, the same will be esteemed by the rest of the citizens.” It is no doubt true, that any character may be given to a nation, or people, by the example of their leaders; as any character may be given to an army by the discipline and example of its commanders. The leaders of men are therefore answerable for the state of society. Cicero has admirably generalized this leading principle. 6. The vices and crimes of the nobility,” he says, “ though great evils in