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in revenge. Every avenue to the throne is shut up. He oppresses, and ruins the people, whilst he persuades the prince, that those murmurs raised by his own oppression are the effects of disaffection to the prince's government. Then is the natural violence of despotism inflamed, and aggravated by hatred and revenge. To deserve well of the state is a crime against the prince. To be popular, and to be a traitor, are considered as synonymous terms. Even virtue is dangerous, as an aspiring quality, that claims an esteem by itself, and independent of the countenance of the court. What has been said of the chief, is true of the inferiour officers of this species of government ; each in his province exercising the same tyranny, and grinding the people by an oppression, the more severely felt, as it is near them, and exercised by base and subordinate persons. For the gross of the people; they are considered as a mere herd of cattle; and really in a little time become no better; all principle of honest pride, all sense of the dignity of their nature, is lost in their slavery. The day, says Homer, which makes a man a slave, takes away half his worth; and in fact, he loses every impulse to action, but that low and base one of fear. ---In this kind of government, human nature is not only abused, and insulted, but it is actually degraded and sunk into a species of brutality. The consideration of this made Mr. Locke say, with
great justice, that a government of this kind was worse than anarchy; indeed it is so abhorred and detested, by all who live under forms that have a milder appearance, that there is scarce a rational man in Europe, that would not prefer death to Asiatick despotism. Here then we have the acknowledgment of a great philosopher, that an irregular state of nature is preferable to such a government; we have the consent of all sensible and generous men, who carry it yet further, and avow that death itself is preferable ; and yet this species of government, so justly condemned, and so generally detested, is what infinitely the greater part of mankind groan under, and have groaned under from the beginning. So that by sure and uncontested principles, the greatest part of the governments on earth must be concluded tyrannies, impostures, violations of the natural rights of mankind, and worse than the most disorderly anarchies. How much other forms exceed this, we shall consider immediately.
In all parts of the world, mankind, however debased, retains, still the sense of feeling; the weight of tyranny, at last, becomes insupportable ; but the remedy is not so easy; in general, the only remedy by which they attempt to cure the tyranny, is to change the tyrant. This is, and always was the case, for the greater part. In some countries, however, were found men of more penetration ;
who discovered, “ that to live by one man's will,
was the cause of all men's misery.” They therefore changed their former method, and assembling the men in their several societies, the most respectable for their understanding and fortunes, they confided to them the charge of the publick welfare. This originally formed what is called an aristocracy. They hoped, it would be impossible that such a number could ever join in any design against the general good; and they promised themselves a great deal of security and happiness, from the united councils of so many able and experienced persons. But it is now found by abundant
experience, that an aristocracy, and a despotism, differ but in name; and that a people, who are in general excluded from any share of the legistative, are to all intents and purposes, as much slaves, when twenty, independent of them, govern, as when but one domineers. The tyranny is even more felt, as every individual of the nobles has the haughtiness of a sultan; the people are more miserable, as they seem on the verge of liberty, from which they are for ever debarred; this fallacious idea of liberty, whilst it presents a vain shadow of happiness to the subject, binds faster the chains of his subjection. What is left undone, by the natural avarice and pride of those who are raised above the others, is completed by their suspicions, and their dread of losing an authority, which has
no support in the common utility of the nation. A Genoese, or a Venetian republick, is a concealed despotism; where you find the same pride of the rulers, the same base subjection of the people, the same bloody maxims of a suspicious policy. In one respect the aristocracy is worse than the despotism. A body politick, whilst its retains its authority, never changes its maxims; a despotism, which is this day horrible to a supreme degree, by the caprice natural to the heart of man, may, by the same caprice otherwise exerted, be as lovely the next; in a succession, it is possible to meet with some good princes. If there have been Tiberiuses, Caligulas, Neros, there have been likewise the serener days of Vespasians, Tituses, Trajans, and Antonines; but a body politick is not influenced by caprice or whim; it proceeds in a regular manner; its succession is insensible; and every man as he enters it, either has, or soon attains the spirit of the whole body. Never was it known, that an aristocracy, which was haughty and tyrannical in one century, became easy and mild in the next.
In effect, the yoke of this species of government is so galling, that whenever the people have got the least power, they have shaken it off with the utmost indignation, and established a popular form. And when they have not had strength enough to support themselves, they have thrown themselves into the arms of despotism, as
the more eligible of the two evils. This latter was the case of Denmark, who sought a refuge from the oppression of its nobility, in the strong hold of arbitrary power. Poland has at present the name of republick, and it is one of the aristocratick form; but it is well known, that the littlefinger of this government, is heavier than the loins of arbitrary power in most nations. The people are not only politically, but personally slaves, and treated with the utmost indignity. The republick of Venice is somewhat more moderate; yet even here, so heavy is the aristocratick yoke, that the nobles have been obliged to enervate the spirit of their subjects by every sort of debauchery; they have denied them the liberty of reason, and they have made them amends, by what a base soul will think a more valuable liberty, by not only allowing, but encouraging them to corrupt themselves in the most scandalous manner. They consider their subjects, as the farmer does the hog he keeps to feast upon. He holds him fast in his stye, but allows him to wallow as much as he pleases in his beloved filth and gluttony. So scandalously debauched a people as that of Venice, is to be met with no where else. High, low, men, women, clergy, and laity, are all alike. The ruling nobility are no less afraid of one another, than they are of the people; and for that reason, politically enervate their own body by the same