William Penn Frames a Government for
Government seems to me a part of religion itself, a thing sacred in its institution and end. For, if it directly does not remove the cause, it crushes the effects of evil, and is as such an emanation of the same Divine Power that is both author and object of pure religion; the difference being that one is more free and mental, the other more corporal and compulsive in its operations. But that is only to evildoers, government itself being otherwise as capable of kindness, goodness, and charity as a more private society.
They weakly err that think there is no other use for government than correction, which is the coarsest part of it. Daily experience tells us that the care and regulation of many other affairs, more soft and daily necessary, make up much of the greatest part of government.
...I know what is said by the several admirers of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, which are the rule of one, a few, and many, and are the three common ideas of government. But I choose to solve the controversy with this small distinction, and it applies to all three: Any government is free to the people under it (whatever the frame) where the laws rule, and the people participate in making those laws, and more than this is tyranny, oligarchy, or confusion.
But lastly, when all is said, there is hardly one frame of government in the world so ill designed by its founder that in good hands would not do well enough. Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; as governments are made and moved by men, so they are ruined, too. Wherefore, governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments.