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The pleasure of governing must certainly be exquisite, if we may judge from the vast numbers who are eager to be concerned in it. We have many more books on government than there are monarchs in the world. Heaven preserve me from making any attempt here to give instruction to kings and their noble ministers--their valets, confessors, or financiers. I understand nothing about the matter; I have the profoundest respect and reverence for them all. It belongs only to Mr. Wilkes, with his English balance, to weigh the merits of those who are at the head of the human race. It would, besides, be exceedingly strange if, with three or four thousand volumes on the subject of government, with Machiavelli, and Bossuet's "Policy of the Holy Scripture," with the "General Financier," the "Guide to Finances," the "Means of Enriching a State," etc., there could possibly be a single person living who was not perfectly acquainted with the duties of kings and the science of government.

Professor Puffendorf, or, as perhaps we should rather say, Baron Puffendorf, says that King David, having sworn never to attempt the life of Shimei, his privy counsellor, did not violate his oath when, according to the Jewish history, he instructed his son Solomon to get him assassinated, "because David had only engaged that he himself would not kill Shimei." The baron, who rebukes so sharply the mental reservations of the Jesuits, allows David, in the present instance, to entertain one which would not be particularly palatable to privy counsellors.

Let us consider the words of Bossuet in his "Policy of the Holy Scripture," addressed to Monseigneur the Dauphin. "Thus we see royalty established according to the order of succession in the house of David and Solomon, and the throne of David is secured forever--although, by the way, that same little joint-stool called a 'throne,' instead of being secured forever, lasted, in fact, only a very short time." By virtue of this law, the eldest son was to succeed, to the exclusion of his brothers, and on this account Adonijah, who was the eldest, said to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, "Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had recognized my right; but the Lord hath transferred the kingdom to my brother Solomon." The right of Adonijah was incontestable. Bossuet expressly admits this at the close of this article. "The Lord has transferred" is only a usual phrase, which means, I have lost my property or right, I have been deprived of my right. Adonijah was the issue of a lawful wife; the birth of his younger brother was the fruit of a double crime.

"Unless, then," says Bossuet, "something extraordinary occurred, the eldest was to succeed." But the something extraordinary, in the present instance, which prevented it was, that Solomon, the issue of a marriage arising out of a double adultery and a murder, procured the assassination, at the foot of the altar, of his elder brother and his lawful king, whose rights were supported by the high priest Abiathar and the chief commander Joab. After this we must acknowledge that it is more difficult than some seem to imagine to take lessons on the rights of persons, and on the true system of government from the Holy Scriptures, which were first given to the Jews, and afterwards to ourselves, for purposes of a far higher nature.

"The preservation of the people is the supreme law." Such is the fundamental maxim of nations; but in all civil wars the safety of the people is made to consist in slaughtering a number of the citizens. In all foreign wars, the safety of a people consists in killing their neighbors, and taking possession of their property! It is difficult to perceive in this a particularly salutary "right of nations," and a government eminently favorable to liberty of thought and social happiness.

There are geometrical figures exceedingly regular and complete in their kind; arithmetic is perfect; many trades or manufactures are carried on in a manner constantly uniform and excellent; but with respect to the government of men, is it possible for any one to be good, when all are founded on passions in conflict with each other?

No convent of monks ever existed without discord; it is impossible, therefore, to exclude it from kingdoms. Every government resembles not merely a monastic institution, but a private household. There are none existing without quarrels; and quarrels between one people and another, between one prince and another, have ever been, sanguinary; those between subjects and their sovereigns have been sometimes no less destructive. How is an individual to act? Must he risk joining in the conflict, or withdraw from the scene of action?