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king's favourites, ambitious of getting a place possessed by one of his best officers, endeavoured to make the king suspect the fidelity of that officer; and, to that end, sent informations to court full of calumnies against him, persuading himself that the king, from the great influence he had with his majesty, would believe the thing upon his bare word, without farther examination. For such is the general character of calumniators. They are afraid of evidence and light; they make it their business to bar up from the innocent all access to the prince, and thereby put it out of their power to vindicate themselves. The officer was imprisoned; but he desired of the king, before he was condemned, that his cause might be heard, and his accusers ordered to produce their evidence against him. The king did so, and as there was no proof but the letters which his enemy had written against him, he was cleared, and his innocence fully justified by the three commissioners that sat upon his trial; and all the king's indignation fell upon the perfidious accuser, who had thus attempted to abuse the favour and confidence of his royal master. The prince, who was well informed, and knew that one of the true signs of a wise government is to have the subjects stand more in fear of the laws than- of informers,* would have thought, that to act otherwise than he did, would have been a direct violation of the most common rules of natural equity and humanity; it would have been opening a door to envy, hatred, calumny, and revenge;f it would have been exposing the honest simplicity of good and faithful subjects to the cruel malice of detestable informers, and arming the latter with the sword of public authority: in a word, it would have been divesting the throne of the most noble privilege belonging to it, namely, that of being a sanctuary for innocence and justice, against violence and calumny.
There is upon record a still more memorable example of firmness and love of justice, in another king of Persia, before Artaxerxes ;f in him whom the Scripture calls Ahasuerus, and who is thought to be the same as Darius, the son of Hystaspes, from whom Haman had, by his earnest solicitations, extorted that fatal edict, which was calculated to exterminate the whole race of the Jews throughout the Persian empire in one day. When God had, by the means of Esther, opened his eyes, he made haste to make amends for his fault, not only by revoking his edict, and inflicting an exemplary punishment upon the impostor who had deceived him; but, which is more, by a public acknowledgment of his error, which should be a pattern to all ages, and to all princes, and teach them, that far from debasing their dignity, or weakening their authority thereby, they procure to them both the more respect. After declaring, that it is but too common for calumniators to impose, by their misrepresentations and craftiness, on the goodness of their princes, whom their
* Non jam delatores, sed leges timentur. Plin in Paneg. Traj.
Princeps, qui delatores non castigat irritat. Sueton. in vit. Domit. c ix. Esth. ii, &c.
natural sincerity induces to judge favourably of others; he is not ashamed to acknowledge, that he had been so unhappy as to suffer himself to be prejudiced by such means against the Jews, who were his faithful subjects, and the children of the most high God, to whose goodness he and his ancestors were indebted for the throne.
The Persians were not only enemies of injustice, as we have now shown; but also abhorred lying, which always was deemed amongst them a mean and infamous vice.* What they esteemed most pitiful, next to lying, was to live upon trust, or by borrowing. Such a kind of life seemed to them idle, ignominious, servile, and the more despicable, as it tends to make people liars.
The care of the provinces. It seems to be no difficult matter to maintain good order in the metropolis of a kingdom, where the conduct of the magistrates and udges is closely inspected; and the very sight of the throne capable of keeping the subjects in awe. The case is otherwise with respect to the provinces, where the distance from the sovereign, and the hopes of impunity, may occasion many misdemeanors on the part of the magistrates and officers, as well as great licentiousness and disorder on that of the people. In this the Persian policy exerted itself with the greatest care; and, we may also say, with the greatest success.
The Persian empire was divided into 127 governments, the go. vernors whereof were called satrapæ.f Over them were appointed three principal ministers, who inspected their conduct, to whom they gave an account of all the affairs of their several provinces, and who were afterwards to make their report of the same to the king. It was Darius the Mede, that is, Cyaxares, or rather Cyrus in the name of his uncle, who put the government of the empire into this excellent method. These satrapæ were, by the very design of their office, each in his respective district, to have the same care and regard for the interests of the people, as for those of the prince: for it was a maxim with Cyrus, that no difference ought to be admitted between these two interests, which are necessarily linked together: since neither the people can be happy, unless the prince is powerful, and in a condition to defend them; nor the prince truly powerful, unless his people be happy.
These satrape being the most considerable persons in the king, dom, Cyrus assigned them certain funds and revenues proportioned to their station and the importance of their employments. He was willing they should live nobly in their respective provinces, that they might gain the respect of the nobility and common people within
* Herod. l. i. c. 138.
Authors differ about the number of governments or provincos. Xenoph. Cyrop. ! yiii. p. 229. 232
their jurisdiction; and that for that reason their retinue, their equipage, and their table, should be answerable to their dignity, yot without exceeding the bounds of prudence and moderation. He himself was their model in this respect, as he desired they should be likewise to all persons of distinguished rank within the extent of their authority: so that the same order which reigned in the prince's court, might likewise proportionably be observed in the courts of the satrapæ, and in the noblemen's families. And to prevent, as far as possible, all abuses which might be made of so extensive an authority as that of the satrapæ, the king reserved to himself alone the nomination of them, and chose that the governors of places, the commanders of the troops, and other such like officers, should depend immediately upon the prince himself; from whom alone they were to receive their instructions, in order that, if the satrapæ were inclined, to abuse their power, they might be sensible those officers were so many overseers and censors of their conduct. And, to make this correspondence, by letters, the more sure and expeditious, the king caused post-houses to be erected throughout all the empire, and appointed couriers, who travelled night and day, and made wonderful despatch. But I shall speak more particularly on this article at the end of the section, that I may not break in upon the matter in hand.
The care of the provinces, however, was not entirely left to the satrapæ and governors: the king himself took cognizance of them in his own person, being persuaded, that the governing only by others, is but to govern by halves. An officer of the household was ordered to repeat these words to the king every morning, when he awakened him: Rise, Sir, and think of discharging the duties for which Oromasdes has placed you upon the throne.* Oromasdes was the principal god, anciently worshipped by the Persians. A good prince, says Plutarch in relating this custom, has no occasion for an officer to give him this daily admonition: his own heart, and the love he has for his people, are sufficient monitors.
The king of Persia thought himself obliged, according to the an cient custom established in that country, from time to time personally to visit all the provinces of his empire;f being persuaded, as Pliny says of Trajan, that the most solid glory, and the most exquisite pleasure, a good prince can enjoy, is from time to time to let the people see their common father; to reconcile the dissensions and mutual animosities of rival cities; to calm commotions or seditions among the people, and that not so much by the severity of power, as by the authority of reason; to prevent injustice and oppression in magistrates ; and cancel and reverse whatever has been decreed
* Plut. ad Princ. indoct.
780. | Xenoph. in Oeconom. p. 828. # Reconciliare æmulas civitates, tumentesque populos non imperio magis quàm ratione compescere, intercedere iniquitatibus magistratuum, infectumque reddere quicquid fieri non oportuerit; postremò velocissimi sideris more omnia invisere, omnia audire, et undecumque invocatum, statim, velut numen, adessé et adsistere. Plin. in Panegyr. Traj.
against law and equity: in a word, like a beneficent planet, to shed his salutary influences universally, or rather, like a kind of divinity, to be present every where, to see, to hear, and inspect every thing, without rejecting any man's petition or complaint.
When the king was not able to visit the provinces himself, he sent, in his stead, some of the great men of the kingdom, such as were the most eminent for wisdom and virtue. These persons were generally called the eyes and ears of the prince, because by their means he saw and was informed of every thing. When these, or any other of his great ministers, or the members of his council, were said to be the eyes and ears of the prince, it was at once an admonition to the king, that he had his ministers, as we have the organs of our senses, not that he should lie still and be idle, but act by their means; and to the ministers, that they, ought not to act for themselves, but for the king their head, and for the advantage of the whole body politic.
The particular detail of affairs, which the king, when he went his progress
in person, or the commissioners appointed by him, entered into, is highly worthy of admiration, and shows how well they understood, in those days, wherein the wisdom and ability of governors consist. The attention of the king and his ministers was not em ployed upon great objects alone, as war, the revenue, justice, and commerce; but inatters of less importance, as the security and beauty of towns and cities, the convenient habitation of the inhabit.ants, the repairs of high roads, bridges, causeways, the keeping of woods and forests from being laid waste and destroyed, and, above all, the improvement of agriculture, and the encouraging and promoting all sorts of trades, even to the lowest and meanest of handi craft employments; every thing, in short, came within the sphere of their policy, and was thought to deserve their care and inspection. And, indeed, whatever belongs to the subjects, as well as the subjects themselves, is a part of the trust committed to the head of the commonwealth, and is entitled to his care, concern, and activity. His love for the commonweal is universal. It extends itself to all matters, and takes in every thing:* it is the support of private persons, as well as of the public. Every province, every city, every family, has a place in his heart and affections. Every thing in the kingdom has a relation to, and concerns him; every thing chal. lenges his attentions and regard.
I have already said,t that agriculture was one of the principal objects on which the Persians bestowed their care and attention. Indeed, one of the prince's first cares was, to make husbandry flourish; and those satrapæ, whose provinces were the best cultivated, had the most of his favour. And as there were offices erected for the regulation of the military part of the government; so were there likewise for the inspecting their rural labours and economy. For these two employments had a near relation; the business of the one being to guard the country, and the other to cultivate it. The prince protected both, almost with the same degree of affection; because both concurred, and were equally necessary, for the public good. For if the lands cannot be cultivated without the aid and protection of armies for their defence and security; so neither can the soldiers, on the other hand, be fed and maintained without the labour of the husbandmen who cultivate the ground. It was with good reason, therefore, that the prince, since it was impossible for himself to see into every thing, caused an exact account to be given him, how every province and district was cultivated; that he might know, whether each country brought forth abundantly such fruits as it was capable of producing; that he descended so far into those particulars, as Xenophon remarks of Cyrus the younger, as to inform himself, whether the private gardens of his subjects were well kept, and yielded plenty of fruit; that he rewarded the superintendents and overseers, whose provinces or districts were the best cultivated, and punished the laziness and negligence of those idle persons, who suffered their grounds to lie barren or untilled. Such a care as this is by no means unworthy of a king, as it naturally tends to propagate riches and plenty throughout his kingdom, and to beget a spirit of industry amongst his subjects, which is the surest means of prevent ing that increase of drones and idle fellows, that are such a burden apon the public, and a dishonour to the state.
* Is, cui curæ sunt universæ, nullam non reip, partem tanquam sui nutrit. Senec. lib. de Clem C. xiii
† Xenoph. Oecon. p. 827-830.
Xenophon,* in the next passage to this I have now cited, puts into the mouth of Socrates, who is introduced as a speaker, a very noole encomium upon agriculture, which he represents as the employment of all others the most worthy man, the most ancient, and the most suitable to his nature; as the most common nurse of all ages and conditions of life; as the source of health, strength, plenty, riches, and a thousand sober delights and honest pleasures; as the mistress and school of sobriety, temperance, justice, religion; and, in a word, of all kinds of virtues both civil and military. After which he relates the fine saying of Lysander, the Lacedæmonian, who, as he was walking at Sardis with the younger Cyrus, hearing from that prince's own mouth, that he himself had planted several of the trees he was looking at, exclaimed, that the world had reason to extol the happiness of Cyrus, whose virtue was as eminent as his fortune; and who, in the midst of the greatest affluence, splendour, and magnificence, had yet preserved a taste so pure and yet so conformable to rignt
Cùm Cyrus respondisset.f Ego ista sum dimensus, mei sunt ordines, mea descriptio, multæ etiam istarum arborum meâ manu sunt satæ : tum Lysandrum, intuentem ejus purpuram, et nitorem corporis, ornatumque Persicum multo auro multisque gemmis, dixisse :I RECTE
* Xenoph. Decon. p. 830-833. † Cic. de sen ect. num. 59.
In the original Greek there iş still a greater energy. Alxaíws uol dorsis,