Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECT. I. - An Essay on Government
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SECT. I. - Thomas Gordon, An Essay on Government 
An Essay on Government (London: J. Roberts, 1747).
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MOST Authors agree that the first Constitution of Governments, was originally oweing to the Depravity and Treachery of Mankind, Vices inherent in Nature, and co-eval with the Creation; but whether these were the direct Causes, or only the mediate ones, will be the most important Question on this Occasion, and indeed the only one; for few pretend to say, that there can be any Reason, to regard a natural Appetite of Mankind to live in a civil State, as the Motive which caused them to found such Societies; because no one can pretend to discover such Appetite really existing, and the many Nations, (if they may be so called) which still live without any Idea or Desire to enter into such a State, are a Proof of the contrary. All therefore that can be allowed to these Authors, is, that Man is very capable of entering into a civil Government, not that he is desirous of it.
Barbeyrac and Titius agree in attributing the Foundation of States, directly to the Pravity of some Particulars, who, induced by Avarice and Ambition, and assisted by an external Force, compelled their Fellow Creatures first to submit the Cognizance of their Actions to a foreign Authority; and Barbeyrac, to confirm this Opinion, cites the Example of Nimrod or Ninus, whom he regards as the first Founder of a State.
As for the last Part of the Argument which is the Example, we only have the bare Dictum of Barbeyrac, to shew that he was the first Governor of the Sons of Men; nor secondly are we informed of the Extent of the Power of this imaginary Monarch---so that he cannot by any Means be admitted to be the first Founder of States, especially when we consider the strong presumptive Proof there is of a prior State, nay, long prior to this pretended Proto-Monarch; for he, by all Accounts, liv’d after the Flood three Generations: Now before the Flood we meet with Men who are spoke of in Scripture, as the Leaders of some State. Gen. c. 6.v.4. mentions Men who became mighty Men, and were of old Men of Renown. “What else can be meant by this, than by the Name give to Nimrod of” a Hunter of Men appeareth not to me, for the former in all Probability were the Leaders of Cities and Armies as well as the latter.
Two very great Inconveniencies will arise in assenting to these Authors in this Point, and which possibly they considered not in all their Extent. I. They make that the Cause, which can only be a Consequence, of the first Introduction of States, namely Ambition, which is only the Thirst of Power or Pre-eminence, and which attributes these Constitutions first introduced in the World, but being before unknown, were consequently undesired.
And if they attribute these stupendous Structures, which have been so often changed, repaired, beautified, and defaced, but never totally destroyed, to meer Force (without entering into the Improbability of such a Fact) they thereby open a Mine to sap and overturn them all, and they in fact tell us, we are no longer obliged to obey our sovereign Magistrate, ---for by the Law of Nature, all Contracts we enter into, through an immediate Fear of an impending Danger, either with the Party that causes such Fear, or any other through his Compulsion, are null, and of no Force; and we are at Liberty to break them, on the first Opportunity we can with Safety to oueselves; ---and this Rule of Reason is so absolute, that no written Law can repeal it, no Prescription render it obsolete, nor Oath, or Surrender of the Privilege of making use of it, deprive us of the Benefits it gives us.
If therefore we admit that our Fore-fathers were compell’d, by some one among them more formidable than the rest, to constitute Governments, and grant to any Being a supreme Power; we must also allow, that such Constitution was illegal, and such Being could not acquire any Thing, with Justice, by such Grant; consequently, we their Successors have a right to re-demand whatsoever he may have usurped by the Pretext of such Grant, and in Case of Refusal, wrest it from his Hands by Force, and punish him for his Obstinacy, nay, call him to an Account for all his Actions, and compell him to restore what he may have thereby taken from us or our Parents; whither such a Principal tends, and what would be the ill Consequence of preaching such a Doctrine, to any Persons who think for themselves, and have the least Love for Liberty, I leave to any one to judge. Let us see therefore, if we can find no other Foundation for the Constitution of States.