POPULAR ASSEMBLIES UNDERSTAND ON∣LY THEIR OWN INTERESTS.
From Harrington's Oceana.
A Popular Assembly has no mean, but is either the wisest in nature, or has no brains at all. When affairs go upon no other than the public in∣terest Page 213this having no other interest to follow, nor eyes to see withal, is the wisest council: but such ways are destructive to a prince, and they will have no nay. The congregation of Israel, when REHO∣BOAM would not hearken to their advice, deposed him: and we know what popular councils, so soon as they came to sufficient power, did in England. If a prince put a popular council from this ward, he does a great matter, and to little purpose; for they under∣stand nothing else but themselves. Wherefore the Kings of France and of Spain have dissolved all such assemblies. It is true, where a prince is not strong enough to get money out of them but by their con∣sent, they are necessary; yet then they are not purely of advice and dispatch, but share in the government, and he cannot be meddling with their purses, but they will be meddling with his laws. The Senate is of sieter use for a prince; and yet, except he has the way of TIBERIUS, but a ticklish piece, as appears by MAXIMINUS, who was destroyed by PUPIENUS and BALBINUS, captains set up against him by this order. To go to the root: These things are not otherwise in prudence or choice than by direction of the ba∣lance; where this is popular, no remedy but the prince must be advised by the people, which if the late king would have endured, the monarchy might have subsisted somewhat longer: but while the ba∣lance was Aristocratical, as during the great estates of the nobility and the clergy, we find not the people to have been great or wise counsellors. In sum, if a king governs by a popular council, or a house of commons, the throne will not stand long: if he go∣verns by a senate, or a house of lords, let him never fear the throne, but have a care of himself: there is no third, as I have said often enough, but the Divan.