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authority. These easily uniting in thoughts and opinions, and acting in concert, begin to enter upon measures for securing their properties, which are best upheld by preparing against invasions from abroad, and maintaining peace at home; this commences a great council, or senate of nobles, for the weighty affairs of the nation. The last division is, of the mass or body of the people, whose part of

power is great and indisputable, whenever they can unite either collectively, or by deputation, to exert it. Now the three forms of government, so generally known in the schools, differ only by the civil administration * being placed in the hands of one, or sometimes two, (as in Sparta) who were called kings; or in a fenate, who were called the nobles; or in the people collective or representative,

be called the commons. Each of these had frequently the executive power in Greece, and sometimes in Rome : but the power in the last resort, was always meant by legislators, to be held in balance among all three. And it will be an eternal rule in


among every free people, that there is a balance of

power to be carefully held by every state within itself, as well as among several states with each other.

The true meaning of a balance of power, either without or within a state, is best conceived by considering, what the nature of a balance is. It supposes three things: First, the part which is held, together with the hand that holds it; and then the two scales, with whatever is weighed therein. Now consider several states in a neighbourhood ; in order • It should be, ' by the civil adminiftration's being placed,' &c. VOL. II. U


who may

to preserve peace between these states, it is necessary they should be formed into a balance, whereof one or more are to be directors, who are to divide the rest into equal scales, and upon occasion remove from one into the other, or else fall with their own weight into the lightest: so in a state within itself, the balance must be held by a third hand, who is to deal the remaining power with the utinost exactness into the several scales. Now it is not neceffary that the power should be equally divided between these three; for the balance may be held by the weakest, who, by his address and conduct, removing from either scale, and adding of his own, may keep the scales duly poised. Such was that of the two kings of Sparta, the consular power in Rome, that of the kings of Media before the reign of Cyrus, as represented by Xenophon ; and that of the several limited states in the Gothick institution.

When the balance is broken, whether by the negligence, folly, or weakness of the hand that held it, or by mighty weights fallen into either scale, the

power will never continue long in equal division between the two remaining parties, but, till the balance is fixed anew, will run entirely into one. This gives the truest account of what is understood in the most antient and approved Greek authors, by the word Tyranny; which is not meant for the seizing of the uncontrolled or absolute power into the hands of a single person, (as many superficial men have grofly mistaken) but for the breaking of the balance by whatever hand, and leaving the power wholly in one scale: For, tyranny and usurpation in


a flate

a state are by no means confined to any number, as might easily appear from examples enough; and because the point is material, I shall cite a few to

prove it.

The * Romans, having sent to Athens, and the Greek cities of Italy, for the copies of the best laws, chofe ten legislators to put them into form, and during the exercise of their office, suspended the consular power, leaving the administration of affairs in their hands. These very men, though chosen for such a work, as the digesting a body of laws for the government of a free state, did immediately ufurp arbitrary power, ran into all the forms of it, had their guards and spies after the practice of the tyrants of those ages, affected kingly state, destroyed the nobles, and oppressed the people; one of them proceeding so far, as to endeavour to force a lady of great virtue: the very crime, which


occasion to the expulsion of the regal power but sixty years before, as this attempt did to that of the Decemviri.

The Ephori in Sparta, were at first only certain persons deputed by the kings to judge in civil matters, while they were employed in the wars.

These men, at several times, usurped the absolute authority, and were as cruel tyrants, as any in their age.

Soon f after the unfortunate expedition into Sia cily, the Athenians chose four hundred men for administration of affairs, who became a body of tyrants, and were called, in the language of those ages, an oligarchy, or tyranny of the few; under

• Diodyf. Hal. lib. 10.

U 2

+ Thucyd, lib. 8.


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which hateful denomination they were soon after deposed in great rage by the people.

When * Athens was subdued by Lysander, he appointed thirty men for the administration that city, who immediately fell into the rankest tyranny : but this was not all; for, conceiving their power not founded on a basis large enough, they admitted three thousand into a share of the government; and thus fortified, became the cruellest tyranny upon record. They murdered in cold blood great numbers of the best men, without any provocation, from the meer lust of cruelty, like Nero or Caligula. This was such a number of tyrants together, as amounted to near a third part of the whole city; for + Xenophon tells us, that the city contained about ten thousand houses; and allowing one man to every house, who could have any share in the government, the rest consisting of women, children, and servants) and making other obvious abatements, these tyrants, if they had been careful to adhere together, might have been a majority even of the people collective.

In the time of the second Punick war, the balance of power in Carthage was got on the side of the people; and this to a degree, that some authors reckon the government to have been then among them a dominatio plebis, or tyranny of the commons; which it seems they were at all times apt to fall into, and

among the causes, that ruined their state:

was at last

+ Memorab. lib. 3.

Xenoph. de Rebus Græc. I. 2.
Polyb. Frag. lib. 6.


and the frequent murders of their generals, which * Diodorus tells us was grown to an established custom

among them, may be another instance, that tyranny is not confined to numbers.

I shall mention but one example more among a great number, that might be produced ; f it is related by the author last cited. The orators of the people at Argos (whether you will style them in modern phrase, great speakers of the house; or only, in general, representatives of the people collective) stirred

up the commons against the nobles, of whom 1600 were murdered at once; and at last, the orators themselves, because they left off their accusations, or, to speak intelligibly, because they withdrew their impeachments'; having, it seems, raised à spirit they were not able to lay. And this last circumstance, as cases have lately stood, may perhaps be worth noting.

From what has been already advanced, several conclusions


be drawn : First, That a mixed government, partaking of the known forms received in the schools, is by no means of Gothick invention, but has place in nature and reason, seems very well to agree with the sentiments of most legislators, and to have been followed in most states, whether they have appeared under the name of monarchies, aristocracies, or democracies : for, not to mention the several republicks of this composition in Gaul and Germany, described by Cæsar and Tacitus, Polybius tells us, the best go

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