O F L A W S. 13
The minifters are not properly their s unlefs they B o K have the nomination of them : it is therefore a fun- chap* 2. damental maxim in this government, that the peo ple mould chufe their minifters, that is, their ma gi ftrates.
They have occafion as well as monarchs, and even more fo, to be directed by a council or fenate. But to have a proper confidence in thefe, they fliould have the chufing of the members , and thii whether the election be made by themfelves, as at Athens ; or by fome magi (Irate deputed for that purpofe, as on certain occafions was cuilomary at Rome.
The people are extremely well qualified for chuf ing thofe, whom they are to intrufb with part of their authority. They have only to be determined by things which they cannot be ftrangers to, and by fads that are obvious to fenfe. They can tell when a perlbn has been in feveral engagements, and has had particular fuccefs ; they are therefore very ca pable of electing a general. They can tell when a judge is afllduous in his office, when he gives gene ral fatisfaction, and has never been charged with bri bery : this is fufficient for chufing a prretor. They are ftruck with the magnificence or riches of a fel low citizen j this is as much as is requifitc for elect ing an edile. Thefe are all facts of which they can have better information in a public forum, than a monarch in his palace. But are they to n
nage an intricate affair, to find out and make a pro per ufe of places, occafions, moments ? No, this beyond their capacity.
Should we doubt of the people s natural ability in refpect to the difcernment of merit, we need on-