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William Penn. (1644–1718). Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Part I


329. Government has many Shapes: But ’t is Sovereignty, tho’ not Freedom, in all of them.

330. Rex & Tyrannus are very different Characters: One Rules his People by Laws, to which they consent; the other by his absolute Will and Power. That is call’d Freedom, This Tyranny.

331. The first is endanger’d by the Ambition of the Popular, which shakes the Constitution: The other by an ill Administration, which hazards the Tyrant and his Family.

332. It is great Wisdom in Princes of both sorts, not to strain Points too high with their People: For whether the People have a Right to oppose them or not, they are ever sure to attempt it, when things are carried too far; though the Remedy oftentimes proves worse than the Disease.

333. Happy that King who is great by Justice, and that People who are free by Obedience.

334. Where the Ruler is Just, he may be strict; else it is two to one it turns upon him: And tho’ he should prevail, he can be no Gainer, where his People are the Losers.

335. Princes must not have Passions in Government, nor Resent beyond Interest and Religion.

336. Where Example keeps pace with Authority, Power hardly fails to be obey’d, and Magistrates to be honor’d.

337. Let the People think they Govern and they will be Govern’d.

338. This cannot fail, if Those they Trust, are Trusted.

339. That Prince that is Just to them in great things, and Humors them sometimes in small ones, is sure to have and keep them from all the World.

340. For the People is the Politick Wife of the Prince, that may be better managed by Wisdom, than ruled by Force.

341. But where the Magistrate is partial and serves ill turns, he loses his Authority with the People; and gives the Populace opportunity to gratifie their Ambition: And to lay a Stumbling-block for his People to fall.

342. It is true, that where a Subject is more Popular than the Prince, the Prince is in Danger: But it is as true, that it is his own Fault: For no Body has the like Means, Interest or Reason, to be popular as He.

343. It is an unaccountable thing, that some Princes incline rather to be fear’d than lov’d; when they see, that Fear does not oftener secure a Prince against the Dissatisfaction of his People, than Love makes a Subject too many for such a Prince.

344. Certainly Service upon Inclination is like to go farther than Obedience upon Compulsion.

345. The Romans had a just Sense of this, when they plac’d Optimus before Maximus, to their most Illustrious Captains and Cesars.

346. Besides, Experience tells us, That Goodness raises a nobler Passion in the Soul, and gives a better Sense of Duty than Severity.

347. What did Pharaoh get by increasing the Israelites Task? Ruine to himself in the End.

348. Kings, chiefly in this, should imitate God: Their Mercy should be above all their Works.

349. The Difference between the Prince and the Peasant, is in this World: But a Temper ought to be observ’d by him that has the Advantage here, because of the Judgment in the next.

350. The End of every thing should direct the Means: Now that of Government being the Good of the whole, nothing less should be the Aim of the Prince.

351. As often as Rulers endeavor to attain just Ends by just Mediums, they are sure of a quiet and easy Government; and as sure of Convulsions, where the Nature of things are violated, and their Order overrul’d.

352. It is certain, Princes ought to have great Allowances made them for Faults in Government; since they see by other People’s Eyes, and hear by their Ears. But Ministers of State, their immediate Confidants and Instruments, have much to answer for, if to gratifie private Passions, they misguide the Prince to do publick Injury.

353. Ministers of State should undertake their Posts at their Peril. If Princes overrule them, let them shew the Law, and humbly resign: If Fear, Gain or Flattery prevail, let them answer it to the Law.

354. The Prince cannot be preserv’d, but where the Minister is punishable: For People, as well as Princes, will not endure Imperium in Imperio.

355. If Ministers are weak or ill Men, and so spoil their Places, it is the Prince’s Fault that chose them: But if their Places spoil them, it is their own Fault to be made worse by them.

356. It is but just that those that reign by their Princes, should suffer for their Princes: For it is a safe and necessary Maxim, not to shift Heads in Government, while the Hands are in being that should answer for them.

357. And yet it were intolerable to be a Minister of State, if every Body may be Accuser and Judge.

358. Let therefore the false Accuser no more escape an exemplary Punishment, than the Guilty Minister.

359. For it profanes Government to have the Credit of the leading Men in it, subject to vulgar Censure; which is often ill grounded.

360. The Safety of a Prince, therefore consists in a well-chosen Council: And that only can be said to be so, where the Persons that compose it are qualified for the Business that comes before them.

361. Who would send to a Taylor to make a Lock, or to a Smith to make a Suit of Cloaths?

362. Let there be Merchants for Trade, Seamen for the Admiralty, Travellers for Foreign Affairs, some of the Leading Men of the Country for Home-Business, and Common and Civil Lawyers to advise of Legality and Right: Who should always keep to the strict Rules of Law.

363. Three Things contribute much to ruin Governments; Looseness, Oppression and Envy.

364. Where the Reins of Government are too slack, there the Manners of the People are corrupted: And that destroys Industry, begets Effeminacy, and provokes Heaven against it.

365. Oppression makes a Poor Country, and a Desperate People, who always wait an Opportunity to change.

366. He that ruleth over Men, must be just, ruling in the Fear of God, said an old and a wise King.

367. Envy disturbs and distracts Government, clogs the Wheels, and perplexes the Administration: And nothing contributes more to the Disorder, than a partial distribution of Rewards, and Punishments in the Sovereign.

368. As it is not reasonable that Men should be compell’d to serve; so those that have Employments should not be endured to leave them humorously.

369. Where the State intends a Man no Affront, he should not Affront the State.