Government described:: viz. what monarchie, aristocracie, oligarchie, and democracie, is. Together with a brief model of the government of the common-wealth, or, free-state of Ragouse. Fit for view at this present juncture of settlement. By J.S.
Streater, John, fl. 1650-1670.
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THE GOVERNMENT OF Monarchie, Aristocracie, Oligar∣chie, and Democracie, Described.

GOvernment hath in it this Order, Commanding and Obeying: The first Government was paternal, when the Fathers or the Eldest of the Family did command the rest, which lasted all the time that men lived to a great Age. Whilest this Government continued, Law was not invented, because that the Father of the Fa∣mily, by the Institutions of Nature, could do nothing but what was good for the whole Family; therefore they were not neces∣sitated to seek for Laws to secure them. The first, that brake this Order of Government was Nimrod, who usurpt absolute Power, and held people to servitude by Force and Policy. Besides, Families did so much increase, they were necessitated to joyn several small ones together to oppose more powerful and mighty Families who sought for Soveraignty and Dominion. In these Confederacies they united themselves; some Families under one, as their Captain, or Prince, or Monarch: Others, into a Democracy, or Number of Magistrates, that were to consult the good of that Confederacy or Society.

It would take up a Volume , to give the several Instances that are in H story, of this Nature , the which shall be waved; onely remember, that Abraham did of his own Houshold arm such a number of men, that He gave Battel to the Kings of the Plain, and recovered Lot from his Captivi∣ty. Page  3Paternal Government ceasing, people cast themselves into severall Forms of Government, and they received their Denomination from those that were Chief, and their variety of Forms; either from their Opinion of such a Form to be best; or, because that, at the Institutio, none person, or the Nobility, or the eminentest amongst the people, or the people themselves, had mst power. Even so upon a Change of Government it falleth out, that the Government receiveth its Form from them in whom Power is. The chief of the Forms of Government are, first, Monarchy, that is, by a single person, who is bound by vertue of his Office, to rule according to the Laws of the People for the profit of all: But it often falleth out, that that sort of Government degenerateth, and cannot be kept within its Limits and Bounds: But, on the contrary , conspiring in behalf of its own Interest, against the Interest of the people, it thereby converteth it self into Tyran∣ny, the worst of Governments. The Tyrant ruleth by his Will, and layeth aside the Laws, and consulteth not the Interest of a people. A Monarchy is a dangerous Government in regard it can so readily make or it self a Tyranny. It is the desire of Mankind to be absolute, and a Monarch shall never want Flatterers to prompt and hasten him to a Tyranny; because, under a Tyranny, they can the better oppress the People, and arrive to Greatness and Wealth by the Peoples Ruine. They hold the people by their own Arms and Treasure, in Obedience to the Tyrant, onely for his Profit and Commodity, because he onely communicates the benefit of his power to such as conspire and are Confederates with him, in holding the people to their Servitude.

Aristocratical Government, is when the Noble-men bear sway, or such a number of men, as at the first founding, or constituting of that Government, were Chief, and had Presidency of the rest. Such is the State of Venice at this day, which suiteth well with its Situation, and the distance of the rest of its Seigniory; but it would scarce serve any ether Common-wealth; in regard that the rest of the Seigniory are Forreigners either under their Protection or Obedience, they being Subjects to the Government, not Members of it; and there is but few in the City, but what have share in the Government. This sort of Government would not be durable in a large Commonwealth, because that the Policy of this Government natu∣rally must prevent and suppress the increase of other Noble Familie, in or∣der to its own preservation. Thosehat are excluded , when once grown rich, and thereby attained to Education, do desire to have share in the Govern∣ment, and shake off Servitude, which causeth Changes: Besides, the great men in this Government do create a distinct Interest from that of the pub∣like, by fortifying the Security of their own Families; and if once they should fall into Factions, immediatly the most powerful Faction setteth up one of their own Faction to be Prince, or at least the Leader thereof hath opportunity, thereby to make himself Prince; as it fell out by the House of the Medici at Florence; and also at Rome, by Sylla, who was head of the Faction of the Nobility, against that of Marius, the Head of the popular Faction.

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There are Aristocracies mixt with Democracies; as that of the United Provinces. The Great men Consult of the Affairs of the Common-wealth with the Peoples Deputies, who are Annually Chosen.

Oligarchy, is the Government of a Common-wealth by a small Number, who either hold by Policy or Force, the Supremacy; or who have absolute Authority given to them. Such were the Triumvirate and the Decmviri amongst the Romans; Such also were the Thirty Tyrants at Athens: this kind of Government was upon speciall occasions Erected amongst the An∣tients, to carry on some Notable Undertaking, or to Determine and Ar∣bitrate some difference as was blown big by Factions in the Common-wealth: the which power proveth Immediately dangerous, if not called in, and Nulled, so soon as the occasion is over, for which it was ordained; No Government can be more dangerous then this is, where the People are di∣vided either in Civill or Religious Respects: in such a Case there shall be nothing but Changes, Murder, Miseries of all kinds, and destruction pro∣duced, in the Common-wealth; it onely Respecteth me good of those that Have the Government, and those that adhee to them: For the rest of the people, they must bereave them of their Wit, Money, and Arms. That was an Excellent Oligarchy Erected by John of Leydon at Munster; and was like to have been here in England, by a cetain People▪ that are uncon∣stant, unlimited, spiritually proud, and notoriously Ignorant; who think none to have Right in Government, but themselves.

Democracy is a Government, where the Governours are Elected by the People out of themselves; sometimes called Free-State, or Popular State, or Common-wealth: This kind of Government by the People, is the most Natural, and best sort of all Governments; they Elect their Magistrates, which are to continue in power but one year, or less; they Trust not their Arms in the hands of one Person, but they are managed by a Councel: This is the best sort of Government, because that the persons do not continue long in Trust: the which is the onely means to keep them from Corrup∣tion or Oppression. When they shall be reduced to a private Capacity, and be subject to give an Account of their Trust, doth not that Common-wealth stand better Assured to be free from Corruption, then that Consti∣tution that shall secure the persons Governing, and protect them from Ju∣stice: He who doth continue alwayes in power, is enabled by virtue of his power to secure himself from being questioned; and maketh use of his Authority that should be to discourage Evil doers, to defend himself in Evill doing. But when the Common-wealth is large, and they send their Deputies, and Invest them with their Legislative power, who meet and Consult about making Lawes, Peace and War, and the management of other State-Affairs; it is more orderly and freer from all manner of Faction, than it would be, if the People should meet all in one Body, and Page  5make Lawes as they did at Rome, Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, and other Grecian States. Although the People have not an Immediate hand in the Supream management of Affairs; yet they have the vertual power in them by Election, which is the Original of the being of Supream Autho∣rity, and also a possibility for every one that can arrive to Credit by his Parts, to be Chosen and Elected for the Next Representative: the which will animate an hundred in this Government (to one in any other sort of Go∣vernment) to put themselves forth to acquire Parts, and to fit themselves with Abilities to serve the Publique, either by Councel or Arms.

I will here say nothing at all of the Defects of this Government, and the Remedies; nor of any other Government: it shall be done shortly in a Volume. But here I will give you a brief Modell of the Government of the Common-wealth or Free-State of Ragouse, scituated in Dalmatia, near the Bottom of the Adiatick or Gulph of Venice. Reader, here take notice, That a Common-wealth thus Constituted, though small, is able to preserve it self against the most powerful Princes; The Councels propor∣tionably of such a Common-wealth, are more strong, and their Swords more sharp, then a Prince's. This Common-wealth or Free-State main∣taineth its self by its Just Impartial Policy, in perfect Freedom and Strength, notwithstanding they border on the Tyrannicall Turk's Domi∣nions.