Written late in his life, this 3 volume work deals with the idea of human progress. Vol. 1 deals with progress in property law, commerce, the treatment of women, and luxury. Vol. 2 deals with the development of states, government, and taxation. Vol. 3 deals with the progress of science.
"Different Forms of Government compared
… A commonwealth governed by chosen citizens, is very different from a democracy, where the mob rules. The solid foundation of such a commonwealth, is equality among the citizens. Inequality of riches cannot be prevented in a commercial state; but inequality of privileges may be prevented, by excluding no citizen from the opportunity of commanding as well as of obeying. The invidious distinction of Patrician and Plebeian was a gross malady in the Roman republic, a perpetual source of dissension between two bodies of men, equally well born, equally rich, and equally fit for war. This ill-poised government would have put an end to the republic, had not the Plebeians prevailed, who were the more numerous. That reformation produced to Rome plenty of able men, qualified to govern both in peace and in war.
A commonwealth is the best form of government for a small state: there is little room for inequality of rank or of property; and the people can act in a body. Monarchy is preferable for a large state, where the people, widely spread, cannot be easily collected into a body. Attica was a kingdom, while its twelve cantons were remote from each other, and but slenderly connected. Theseus, by collecting the people of figure into the city of Athens, and by a general assembly of all the cantons held there, fitted Attica to be a commonwealth."
Henry Home, Lord Kames
Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696–1782), one of the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, was a judge in the supreme courts of Scotland and wrote extensively on morals, religion, education, aesthetics, history, political economy, and law, including natural law. His most distinctive contribution came through his works on the nature of law, where he sought to combine a philosophical approach with an empirical history of legal evolution.