IT must first be premised, that the rank of sovereignty is one of the grandest gifts of God that was ever conferred, out of the inexhaustible stores of divine bounty, upon any, the most eminent, of his individual servants. It is indeed no less than this, that the holy Lord of hosts establishes one of his chosen servants upon the throne of vice-royalty, ennobles him with a ray of that majesty which belongs essentially to none but himself, and devolves upon him the apportionment of dignities and rights to all his fellow creatures according to his discretion and command; so as for all, in their various condi­tions, to turn for aid in their necessities to the Sanctuary of his court, the representative of Heaven. We are told among the dicta, that the sovereign is the shadow of God upon earth, to whose refuge we are to fly when oppressed by injury from the unforeseen occurrences of life. His proper return for this magnificent appointment is the observance of equity towards God’s creatures and his own sub­jects. This we may understand from the text, We have made thee, O David, our vice-regent upon earth: therefore decide between mankind with justice.*

After premising this preliminary, we have to state, in analogy with our previous distribution of the community into righteous and unrighteous, that government hath likewise its two divisions:* 1. The righteous government, which they call Pontificate [Imāmat]; and this is the regulation of the subjects’ interests in this world and the next in such sort that every one may arrive at that perfection proper to his nature; upon which the real felicity never fails to wait. The conductor of this government is peculiarly the vice-regent and shadow of God, in method and administration taking pattern from the Institutor, so as to diffuse over every region the blessed influence and bright example of that inimitable Saint.

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2. The false government, which they call force; the object of those conducting which it is, to subjugate God’s servants and assault his land. Such, how­ever, can have no endurance; and the time must shortly come when they will be overtaken by calamity in this world, and eternal misery in the next. For an unrighteous principality is like one of those lofty edifices which they build upon the ice: its foundations must infallibly be dissolved, and the fabric overturned, by the sunshine of divine equity. It is well known to the elders who are conversant with remote results, that the exhausted treasury can never be replenished by paltry shreds taken from old women’s herbage; that the table of Solomon cannot be provided by snatching the locust’s foot from the hands of the little ant. The organ which is con­structed from bits of wood taken in tax from the property of the oppressed and starving, can be of use only to express wailing; and the cup of wine drawn from the heart-blood of the helpless — its effervescence can be nothing but sanguinary tears, its spirit only the inebriety of ailment and disease. The armour of David is not to be fabricated from jackets plundered from the poor, nor the pillows of royalty made up from old cloaks robbed from the indigent.*

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He who conducts the righteous government, in his rigid adherence to the rule of equity, considers his subjects as his children and his friends; placing all covetousness and love of money under the con­trol of judgment. He that conducts the unrighteous government adheres to the principles of force; treats his subjects like beasts of burden, considers them as slaves, and is himself the slave of avarice and pas­sion.

We are told in holy writ, “Men resemble their contemporaries even more than their progenitors;” and, “Men are of the same religion as their princes.” Hence, when the age’s guidance is in the hands of a just king every one directs his course towards equity and the attainment of virtue; if the contrary, the people likewise incline to falsehood, covetousness, and vice of every description. For this cause it is that we are taught in the dicta of the Sanctified, that if the prince be equitable, he shares in every merit emanating from the subject; and if he be iniquitous, he is an accomplice in every sin they may commit.*

Philosophers predicate five qualities as desirable in a prince. 1. Elevation of purpose, which is obtainable by moral culture. 2. Precision of judg­ment and design, which is brought to bear by excellence of original conformation, conjoined with long experience. 3. Resolution, which results from right reason and the faculty of constancy. This is applied both to kings and private persons, and is the root of all success in good and virtuous undertakings. We are told that Māmoon had a habit of eating clay,* in consequence of which his health was seriously impaired. All the medicinal remedies which the most expert physicians laboured to apply for the remedy of it were unattended with success. One day, while all the assembled doctors were debating the matter, with their books before them, one of the select parasites,* who happened to enter and observe what was going forward, asked the commander of the faithful where was his share of kingly resolution. “I require no remedy,” exclaimed Māmoon, “this thing I never more will practise.” 4. Endurance of hardships; for patience is the key to success and security. There is a dictum, “He that knocks at the door and scolds is sure to enter.” 5. That he be not much troubled with covetousness for other men’s goods. 6. A sufficient army. 7. Lineage, which invariably attracts regard, and confers majesty and awe. This however is not an indispensable but a desirable circumstance; and as to multitude of soldiery, it may be obtained through the medium of the four first qualities, elevation of purpose, patience, judgment, and resolution. These, then, are the fundamental requisites. Lastly, as we have premised that the king is the world’s physician, and a physician must needs be acquainted with the causes of disease and course of cure, it is indispensably incumbent on the king to know the ailments of his dominions, and the way to remedy them.

Now society being a term for complete coalition between its various classes, as long as every single class retains its proper place, stops at the employ­ment assigned to it, and receives the portion which is due to it of provision and honor, (that is, property and rank,) so long, assuredly, the temperament of the state is in the course of equipoise, and its affairs bear the stamp of regularity. But no sooner do they depart from this rule than disturbances result, tending to dissolve the bond of union, and introduce corruption and ruin. For it is admitted that the initiative of every state is correspondence in the opinions of the aggregate.* These, in point of co-operation, should stand in place of members to the individual;* and then the case would be, as if a person were brought into the world, possess­ing the powers of all who are in it. Assuredly no single person could oppose him, nor could any number of persons prevail against him, unless unity were effected among them to the same degree; so as to render them equivalent to a single person, surpassing, of course, the power of the entire aggregate while holding different opinions. Since, then, the management of multitudes cannot be carried on without a consorting unity, which is the unity of equity (as before explained), as long as the prince walks by the rule of equity, keeping all classes of men in their respective stations, and prohibiting them from oppression and violence (which is claiming more than their due), assuredly his kingdom will be well regulated. But if other­wise, every class will be engrossed in the allure­ments of self-interest, and will rise up in injury of each other, till, in course of excess and deficiency, the bond of union is entirely dissolved. We know from experience, that all states have always thriven according as their constituents harmonized with each other, that is, walked in the way of equity; and have all declined, according to the prevalence of iniquity and discord. Men of the world, as previously observed, are guided by its governors. No sooner do the prince or prince’s attendants pique themselves upon iniquity, than the secret incitement of sin, which is to be found in every nature, comes into play, and grows predominant. And since unity (as we have stated) cannot co-exist with oppression, ruin to the world’s temperament must be the infallible consequence. There is a saying, “Government will co-endure with unbelief, but not with injustice.”*

Hence it is laid down that a state may be pre­served by two principles: 1. Concord and unity among friends; 2. Contest and dissension among enemies. Because, as long as enemies are engaged with each other, they have no leisure for attempts upon others.* For this reason, when Alexander had conquered the kingdom of Darius, and found the armies of Ajam to be in great force,* he appre­hended, that in case of his disbanding them, they might re-assemble and set him at defiance; on the other hand, to exterminate them altogether would have been utterly repugnant to the principles of religion and humanity. Consulting Aristotle on the subject, he was advised by that great politician to disperse them, and attach to each the governance and management of a particular province: thus they might be taken up with each other, to the safeguard of the prince from their disaffection. Upon this Alexander established the sets of kings, and from that time till the dynasty of Ardshír Bābak unanimity was never sufficiently restored to enable us to take the lead.*

In order to preserve this political equipoise, there is a correspondence to be maintained between the various classes. Like as the equipoise of bodily temperament is effected by intermixture and cor­respondence of four elements, the equipoise of the political temperament is to be sought for in the correspondence of four classes. 1. Men of the pen; such as lawyers, divines, judges, bookmen, statis­ticians, geometricians, astronomers, physicians, poets. In these and their exertions in the use of their delightful pens, the subsistence of the faith and of the world itself is vested and bound up. They occupy the place in politics that water does among the elements. Indeed, to persons of ready understanding, the similarity of knowledge and water is as clear as water itself, and as evident as the sun that makes it so. 2. Men of the sword; such as soldiers, fighting zealots, guards of forts and passes, &c.; without whose exercise of the impetuous and vindictive sword, no arrangement of the age’s interests could be effected; without the havoc of whose tempest-like energies, the materials of corruption, in the shape of rebellious and disaffected persons, could never be dissolved and dissipated. These then occupy the place of fire, their resemblance to it is too plain to require demonstration; no rational person need call in the aid of fire to discover it. 3. Men of business; such as merchants, capitalists, artisans, and crafts­men, by whom the means of emolument and all other interests are adjusted; and through whom the remotest extremes enjoy the advantage and safeguard of each other’s most peculiar commodities. The resemblance of these to air — the auxiliary of growth and increase in vegetables — the reviver of spirit in animal life — the medium by the undulation and movement of which all sorts of rare and precious things traverse the hearing to arrive at the head-quarters of human nature — is exceedingly manifest. 4. Husbandmen; such as seedsmen, bailiffs,* and agriculturists — the super­intendents of vegetation and preparers of provender; without whose exertions the continuance of the human kind must be cut short. These are, in fact, the only producers of what had no previous existence; the other classes adding nothing what­ever to subsisting products, but only transferring what subsists already from person to person, from place to place, and from form to form.* How close these come to the soil and surface of the earth — the point to which all the heavenly circles refer — the scope to which all the luminaries of the purer world direct their rays — the stage on which wonders are displayed — the limit to which mysteries are confined — must be universally apparent. In like manner then as in the composite organizations the passing of any element beyond its proper measure occasions the loss of equipoise, and is followed by dissolution and ruin, in political coalition, no less, the prevalence of any one class over the other three overturns the adjustment and dissolves the junction.* Next to the maintenance of correspondence between the four classes, atten­tion is to be directed to the condition of the indi­viduals composing them, and the place of every one determined according to his right.