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in After-Ages was called the Convention of the Three Estates. For the Frame of this Government was the very fame which the Ancient Philosophers; and among them Plato and Aristotle (whom Polybius imitates ) judged to be the best and most excellent in the World, as being made up and constituted of a mixture and just temperament of the three kinds of Government; viz. the Kegal, Noble, and Popular. Which Form of a Commonwealth, Cicero (in his Books de Republicâ ) prefers to all other whatsoever. For since a Kingly and a Popular Government do in their Natures differ widely from each other, it was necessary to add a third and middle State participating of both, viz. that of the Princes or Nobility; who, by reason of the Splendor and Antiquity of their Families, approach, in some degree, to the Kingly Dignity; and yet, being Subje&ts, are upon that account on the same foot and interest with the Commons. Now of the Excellency of this Temperament in a Commonwealth, we have a most remarkable, Commendation in Cicero, taken by him out of Plato's Books de Repirblicâ ; which, because of its singular Elegancy, we shall here insert at length.
Ur in fidibus (inquit) ac tibiis, atque “ cantu ipso, ac vocibus, tenendus eit quidam
concentus ex distinctis fonis, quem immutatum ac discrepantem aures eruditæ ferre non poffunt; isque concentus ex dislimillimarum
vocum moderatione concors tamen efficitur; . " & congruens; Sic ex summis, & mediis, &
infimis interjectis ordinibus, ut fonis, mode
ratâ ratione civitas, consensu diffimillimorum « concinit, & quæ harmonia à musicis dicitur in “ cantu, ea est in Civitate concordia : arctiflimum
atq; optimum in Repub. vinculum incolumitatis, quæ sine juftitiâ nullo pacto effe poteft. i, e. As in Fiddles and Flutes, and even in Singing and Voices, a certain Consort of
diftinct Sounds is to be observ'd; which if “ it be alter'd, or not tunable, skilful Hearers
cannot bear or endure: And this Consort of very different Tones, is, through à just proportion of the Notes, rendred Concord, and
very agreeable: Even so a Commonwealth, “ judiciously proportioned, and composed of “the first, the middlemost, and the lowest of the < States, ( just as in Sounds) through the con“ fent of People very unlike to each other, “ becomes agreeable : And what Musicians in “ Singing call Harmony, that in a Common“ wealth is Concord; the very best and strongest " Bond of Safety for a Government, which “ can never fail of being accompanied with “Fustice. Our Ancestors therefore following this method, of a juft mixture of all the three kinds, in the constituting their Commonwealth, most wisely ordained, that every year, on the Calends of May, a Publick Council of the whole Naticn shou'd be held : at which Council the great Affairs of the Republick shou'd be tranfacted by the common consent and advice of all the Estates. The wisdom and advantage of which inftitution, appears chiefly in these three things : First, That in the multitude of prudent Counsellors, the weight and excellency of Counsel shews it self more apparently, as Solo· mon and other Wise Men have said. Secondly,
Because it is an essential part of liberty, that the same perfons, at whose cost and peril any thing is done, jhou'd bave it dine likewise by their authority and advice; for ('tis a common Saying ) what concerns
speed by the Co The wints chiefly, i
aningdoms reely laids and sprear Coume thro*
Thace of their
all, ought to be approv'd by all. Lastly, That such Ministers of State as have great Power' with the Prince, and are in high Employments, may be kept within the bounds of their duty, thro' the awe they stand in of this great Council, in which all the demands and grievances of the Subject are freely laid open. “ For such " Kingdoms as are ruled by the arbitrary Will " and Pleasure of one. Prince, may most justly
(as Aristotle in his third Book of Politicks “ observes) be reckon'd Governments of Sheep, " and brute Beasts, without Wit or Judgmerit; “ not of Freemen, who are endued with Un“ derstanding, and the Light of Reason. The Case is thus -- That even as Sheep are not guided or tended by one of their own kind, nor Boys govern'd by one of themselves, but by something of more Excellency; even so a Multitude of Men ought not to be ruled and govern'd by one single person, who perhaps understands and fees less than several others among them; but by many select persons, who, in the opinion of all Men, are both very prudent and eminent; and who act by united Counsels, and, as it were, by one Spirit, composed and made up of the Minds of many Wise Men.
Now whereas it may be objected, that most Kings have a constant Privy-Council to advise them in the Administration of publick Affairs : We answer, That there is a great deal of difference between a Counsellor of the King, and a Counsellor of the Kingdom. This last takes care of the safety and profit of the whole Coinmonwealth ; tlie other serves the humour and studies the conveniencies of one Man only and besides, these King's Counsellors reside, for
the most part, in one certain place; or at least near the Person of the Prince, where they cannot be supposed to be throughly acquainted with the condition of the more remote Cities or Provinces; and being debauched: by the Luxury of a Court-life, are easily depraved, and acquire a lawless Appetite of Domineering; are wholly intent upon their own ambitious and covetous designs; so that at last they are no longer to be consider'd as Counsellors for the good of the Kingdom and Commonwealth, but Flatterers of a single Person, and Slaves to their own and their Prince's Lufts.
Concerning this matter, we have a most ex- , cellent Saying of the Emperor Aurclian, reeorded by Flavius Vopiscus. “ My Father used to “ tell me ( says Aurelian) that the Emperor “ Dioclefian, whilft he was yer a private Man, "frequently said, That nothing in the World " was more difficult than to govern well. For, “ four or five persons combine together, and “ unanimously agree to deceive the Emperor; “they determine what shall be approved or “ disapprov'd. The Emperor, who, for the " most part, is shut up in his Palace, knows nothing of the truth of affairs ; he is compell’d to hear and see only with their Ears
and Eyes; he makes Judges, such persons as “ do not deserve to be made fo; he removes “ from Offices in the Commonwealth such as “ he ought to keep in ; in short, a good pro« vident and excellent Emperor is sold by such “ Counsellors. Now our Ancestors, in the constituting their Commonwealth, wisely avoiding these mischiefs (as Mariners wou'd do dangerous Rocks) decreed that the Publick Affairs shou'd be managed by the joynt Adviceand
Counsel of all the Estates of the Kingdom. To ) which purpose the King, the Nobles, and the Repre· fentatives of the Commons out of the several Pro-/
vinces, were obliged to meet at a certain time every year. And this very same Institution we find to have been that of many other Nations. First in our Ancient Gallia, where the Administration of Publick Affairs was intrusted with the Common Council of the chosen Men in the whole Nation, as we have above demonstrated. But because we are now speaking of a Kingdom, I shall give Instances of them. 'Tis manifeft, that in old times the Council of the Amphyttions was instituted in Greece (as Suidas and others testify) by King Amphy&tion, Son of Deucalion ; and therein it was ordained, that at a certain appointed time every year, Representatives chosen out of the twelve Commonwealths of Greece shou'd meet at Thermopyla, and deliberate concerning all the weighty Affairs of the Kingdom and Commonwealth : For which reason, Cicero calls this the Common-Council of Gracia, Pliny calls it the Publick Council. . We find the like Wisdom in the Constitution v of the German Empire, wherein the Emperor represents the Monarchical State, the Princes represent the Aristocratical, and the Deputies of the Cities the Democratical ; neither can any matter of moment appertaining to the whole German Republick be firm and ratified, but what is first agreed upon in that great Convention of the Three Estates. To this End was framed that ancient and famous Law of the Lacedemonians, which ! joyned the Ephori to their Kings ; “ Who, as “ Plato writes, were designed to be like Bridles “ to the Kings, and the Kings were obliged " to govern the Commonwealth by their Ad
Pliny calls it ta like Wisdom is in the Emperor re