GENERAL POLITICAL APHORISMS, OR MAXIMS.
From HARRINGTON'S WORKS.
THE errors and sufferings of the people are from their governors.
The people cannot see but they can feel.
Where the security is no more than personal, there may be a good monarch, but can be no good com∣monwealth.
Where the security is in the persons, the govern∣ment makes good men evil: where the security is in form, the government makes evil men good.
Assemblies legitimately elected by the people, are that only party which can govern without an army.
Not the party which cannot govern without an army, but the party which can govern without an army, is the refined party, as to this intent and pur∣pose truly refined; that is, by popular election, ac∣cording to the precept of Moses, and the rule of Scripture: take ye wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.
The people are deceived by names, but not by things.
Where there is a well ordered commonwealth the people are generally satisfied.
Page 273Where the people are generally dissatisfied, there is no common-wealth.
Where civil liberty is entire, it includes liberty of conscience.
Where liberty of conscience is entire it includes civil liberty.
Either liberty of conscience can have no security at all, or under popular government it must have the greatest security.
To hold that a government may be introduced by a little at once, is to wave prudence, and commit things to chance.
Government is of human prudence, and human prudence is adequate to man's nature.
Where the government is not adequate to man's nature, it can never be quiet or perfect.
A King governing now in England by an army, would for the same causes find the same effects with the late protector.
A king governing now in England by parliaments, would find the nobility of no effect at all.
A parliament, where the nobility is of no effect at all, is a mere popular council.
A mere popular council will never receive law from a king.
A mere popular council giving law to a king, be∣comes thereby a democracy, or equal commonwealth; or the difference is no greater than the imperfection of the form.
A commonwealth or democracy to be perfect in the form, must consist especially of such an assembly, the result whereof can go upon no interest whatsoever, but that only which is the common interest of the whole people.
An assembly consisting of a few, may go upon the interest of one man, as a king, or upon the interest of one party, as that of divines, lawyers, and the like; or the interest of themselves, and the perpetu∣ation of their government.
Page 274The popular assembly in a commonwealth may consist of too few, but can never consist of too many.
To make principles or fundamentals, belongs not to men, to nations, nor to human laws.
To build upon such principles or fundamentals as are apparently laid by God in the inevitable necessity or law of nature, is that which truly appertains to men, to nations, and to human laws. To make any other fundamentals, and then build upon them, is to build castles in the air.
Whatever is violent, is not secure not durable; whatever is secure or durable is natural.
Government in the whole people, though the ma∣jor part were disaffected, must be secure or durable, because it waves force, to found itself upon nature.
Government in a party, though all of these were well affected, must be insecure and transitory, because it waves nature, to found itself upon force.
Commonwealths, of all other governments, are more especially for the preservation, not for the de∣struction, of mankind.