HOW TO CONSTITUTE A FREE GOVERN∣MENT.
From CATO'S LETTERS.
THE only Secret in forming a Free Government, is to make the interests of the Governors and of the Governed the same, as far as human policy can contrive. Liberty cannot be preserved any other way. Men have long found, from the weakness and depravity of themselves and one another, that most men will act for interest against duty, as often as they dare. So that to engage them to their duty, interest must be linked to the observance of it, and danger to the breach of it. Personal advantages and security, must be the rewards of duty and obedience; and dis∣grace, torture, and death, the punishment of treach∣ery and corruption.
Human wisdom has yet found out but one certain expedient to effect this; and that is, to have the con∣cerns of all directed by all, as far as possibly can be: and where the persons interested are too numerous, or live too distant to meet together on all emergencies, they must moderate necessity by prudence, and act by deputies whose interest is the same with their own, and whose property is so intermingled with theirs, and so engaged upon the same bottom, that princi∣pals and deputies must stand and fall together. When the deputies thus act for their own interest, by acting for the interest of their principals; when they can make no law but what they themselves, and their posterity, must be subject to; when they can give no money, but what they must pay their share of; when they can do no mischief, but what must fall upon their own heads in common with their countrymen; their principals may then expect good laws, little mischief, and much frugality.
Here therefore lies the great point of necessity and care in forming the constitution, that the persons en∣trusted Page 64and representing, shall either never have an interest detached from the persons entrusting and re∣presented, or never the means to pursue it. Now to compass this great point effectually, no other way is left but one of these two, or rather both, namely, to make the deputies so numerous, that there may be no possibility of corrupting the majority; or, by changing them so often, that there is no sufficient time to corrupt them, and to carry the ends of that corruption. The people may be very sure, that the major part of their deputies being honest will keep the rest so; and that they will all be honest, when they have no temptations to be knaves.