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themselves, are rendered still gréater, because they will always be the objects of general imitation.” The experience of history teaches, that, in point of morals, such as have been the leading men of a state, such also has been the state itself; and that whatever alteration has taken place in the manners of the great, a similar alteration has followed in that of the people at large. This truth, says Cicero, is not so well ascertained by the observation of Plato, “ that the character of a nation changes by changing the style of its music.” I assert, he says, “ that it changes by changing the lives and behaviour of the great. Wherefore profligate princes and profligate leaders are so much the more punishable than other men, because they are not only vicious in themselves, but their vices are infective and contaminate the public; and whatever mischief is produced by their crimes, still greater results from their examples*.” The state of a nation and of society, therefore, depends upon the morals and manners, or the examples, of the great.
* « Nec enim tantam mali est pecare principes (quanquam est magaum hoc per se ipsum malum) quantum illud, quod per multi imitatores principum existunt. Nam licet videre, si velis replicare memoriam temporum qualescunque sumoni civitatis viri fuerunt, talem civitatem fuisse; quæcunque mutatio morum in principibus exstiterit, eandem in populo secuturam. Idque haud paulo est verius, quam quod Platoni nostro placet, qui musicorum cantibus ait mutatis mutare civitatum status. Ego autem nobilium vita vectoque mutato, mores mutari civitatum puto. Quo perniciosius de republica merentur vitiosi principes, quod non solum vitia concipiunt ipsi, sed infundant in civitalem; neque solum obsunt, quod ipsi corrumpantur, plusque exemplo quam peccato nocent."
-- De Legibus, l. iii. c. xiv.
Aristotle says, that which principally tended to convert the republic of Carthage into an oligarchy was, an opinion strongly impressed on the nation at large, that, in recommending to office, opulence ought to concur with merit; so that as virtue or merit forms the principle of an aristocracy, and wealth of an oligarchy, the government constituted a third and mixed kind of civil polity, blending, in equal proportions, the principles of aristocracy and oligarchy, of which it was compounded. He states nothing further; but it is evident, that opulence had more sway than merit, which converted that republic into an oligarchy, and ended in its downfall; for an oligarchy is more dangerous than an aristocracy. The one has attained the height of ambition, and the other has every desire of ambi, tion to gratify. A well-governed people would never endanger the state, or disturb society, if they had not ambitious leaders.
Wealth, however, must be possessed before leisure can be obtained, and until leisure is obtained, office ought not to be courted*.” This would hold good, if all offices were to be performed gratis, such as those of the representatives of the people are supposed to be ; but labour is always worth its hire, and merit is not solely attached to riches; those, therefore, may expect to be best served who give a proper reward for the services they require. He who is embarrassed by private concerns, it is said, cannot be expected to manage public affairs, either wisely or faithfully; but the legislature and the constitution are in fault if men, eminent for abilities and public and private virtues, are ever disgraced by unseemly poverty, or are ever prevented, by meaner cares, from exercising their powers in benefiting their country. Statesmen therefore should be sufficiently paid to enable them to devote their whole time to their country; but they should not be so overpaid as to render them indolent and careless of their duty.
To prefer wealth to virtue, in the distribution of honours, seems to degrade the honours themselves, as well as those that wear them. This evil is deep and universal, for, “no state can be safe that does not prefer personal merit to all other distinctions, as he who by wealth obtains office, will endeavour, by office, to augment wealth; and if poverty, intrusted with authority, be liable, even in honest minds, to the suspicion of sacrificing duty to gain, it is absurd to expect that corruption, armed with power, will refuse to repair loss, and to compensate by capacity, the expences of bribery*.” He who pays for an office, and gives up his time in the exercise of it, will endeavour to be repaid with inIerest, in some way or other. Even honours would
be little courted, or coveted, if they procured nothing more than the bare ensignia. Honour gives rank, rank gives power, and power gives emolument, or gratifications, with which an ambitious man is never satisfied.
Aristotle observes, that the Carthagenian government acted unwisely, in accumulating too many offices in the same hands; and this is a complaint to be lamented in most countries. The example of well organized armies, he says, shows the inestimable benefits resulting from the nice partition of duty, and the innumerable gradations of authority. The more minutely labour of every kind is subdivided, the more perfectly and the more promptly each man will perform his assigned task; and that government only is firmly supported, which associates many deserving citizens to its functions and its honours*.
The policy of the Carthagenians was precisely the reverse, and this policy produced a deep and
* When a great statesman dies, it ought to make many families happy; for he generally holds many great places, either one of which would be sufficient for
reasonable man. Not but the servants of the public should be well rewarded, according to their abilities and exertions; but places must be mere sinecures, if one man can fill so many offices with propriety. Few people, perhaps, are to be found virtuous enough to refuse emoluments that may be offered them; but the monopoly of placemen is certainly a great injury to society. It gives to one man, what would serve many, both for employment and subsistence. It destroys the principle and good of division of labour; the law is therefore perinanent disease in the constitution of that state, as it must do in all others; for a constitution, however good, can be of little value when it is suffered to be perverted, or badly administered. As the national prosperity of Carthage long continued in an advancing state, the principal families were enabled to maintain their odious monopoly of government, by employing those most inclined and most able to subvert it, in the numerous and increasing dependencies of the empire ; but such a show of good is merely superficial, and has no stability in itself; for although the design may be concealed for awhile, yet it is always lurking and tending to some pernicious end. That state is the most powerful which consists of the most worthy members, and which most resembles a well-regulated army, the plan of whose operations should be wise and good. The commanders should be skilful and do their duty; and the soldiers should be well disciplined, well fed, well directed, and justly imperfect that allows it, and wants such, and further, regulations, as for church benefices. One place is enough for one man, and one parish is enough for one pastor. Pay every man well who is able and desirous to serve his country; but whilst some possess more than is necessary, it is unjust that others should be left to starve. The division of labour should be the first grand principle to render a state and a people happy. It facilitates all pursuits; for every kind of work is best performed when it is allotted to separate workmén. He who undertakes too much, must do his work imperfectly. The OBETIS COLYCHORIA, which served alternately as spits and candlesticks, must, as Aristotle observed, have been a poor contrivance for either purpose.