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CHAPTER IX: Corollaries. - Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature 
A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, translated, with Introduction and Appendix, by John Maxwell (1727), edited and with a Foreword by Jon Parkin (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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From the precedent General Law are deduc’d, Having drawn, from Nature, the most general Moral Precepts, and thence explain’d the Moral Virtues in particular; I shall now briefly shew, “How these most general Precepts, which I have deliver’d, may lead us to others more limited, and of more common Use”; for hence it will be prov’d, “That God hath both promulg’d, even those particular Laws, by Natural Signs, and given them the Sanction of Natural Rewards and Punishments”: This I will make evident, by briefly considering the Decalogue and Civil Laws.
1. The Decalogue,The Decalogue is usually divided into two Tables, of which the former contains Precepts concerning our Behaviour toward God, the latter, toward Men: Both are fulfilled by Love toward God and Men. But it is evident, “That the Precept, which we have drawn from Nature concerning Universal Benevolence or the Pursuit of the Common Good, contains these two”; because it respects God, as the Head of the Intellectual System, and Men, as his Subjects.
Table the first, containing the Duties toward God;§II. The first Table is contain’d, particularly in that part of the Law of Universal Justice, by which I have prov’d we are taught, “That it is necessary to the Common Good, and, consequently, to the Happiness of each of us in particular, which can thence only be obtain’d, To give, God what is his own, that is, all things, in our Power, necessary to maintain and express our sense and acknowledgment of his Supremacy over All, and beget in others a Conviction, that it is the chief Interest of all, That he have a Supereminent Dominion over All Things and Persons.” That he has such Dominion, we may perceive from hence, “That he is the first Free and Independent Cause of all Things.” His Right to, or the Necessity of, such Dominion, in order to the Common Good, is understood from hence; “That he alone, both can and will most perfectly attain this End, who is indued with infinite Wisdom, comprehending all the Parts, and the properest Means, of this End; and a Will, because of its essential Agreement with his Wisdom, always embracing the best End, and the fittest Means; and lastly, with Power, which can never fail in the Execution of those Things, which his infinite Wisdom has once made the Object of his Choice.”
Having discovered, from these Natural, and consequently Eternal, Perfections of God, this Necessity of the Divine Dominion, in order to the Common, that is, the Greatest, Good; the Law of Nature giving him that Dominion, in the manner I have already explain’d, is discover’d. For it is manifest, “That the right Reason of God, (which is to him a kind of Natural Law,) would from Eternity assume this Dominion, in order to that End”; and, “That the right Reason of Man, as soon as it exists and perceives this, will, of necessity, concur therewith”; for, because it is Right, it cannot disagree with the Divine Reason. But, there being given a Law, “To acknowledge the Divine Dominion,” there are given Laws, “Commanding, toward him, the greatest Love, Trust, Hope, Gratitude, Humility, Fear and Obedience, and what other Sentiments and Affections are expressed, by Prayer and Thanks giving, and hearing the Word of God; and, by consecrating Things, Places, Times, and Persons, to the Honour of him alone.”
We are hence sufficiently caution’d, “Not to give any other equal Worship with him,” which is forbid by the First Commandment; “Not to liken him to Men, or any other Animals, or ascribe to him any Bodily Shape,” which is forbid in the Second; “Nor to provoke him to Anger by Perjury,” which is inculcated in the Third; we here also find an Injunction, “To allot a fit Proportion of our Time to his Worship,” which is intimated in the Fourth Commandment, by the Example of the Sabbath.
Table the Second, containing the Duties toward Men, viz. Innocence,§III. In like manner the Second Table of the Decalogue may be deduced from that part of the Law of Nature concerning Universal Justice, by which I have shewn, “That it is commanded, (because it is necessary to the Common Good,) that a distinct Dominion over Things and Persons, and their Actions, should be settled and preserv’d inviolably among all Men; that is, that a Distribution should be made, wisely accommodated to the best End, and that the Distribution should be preserv’d, which we find so settled, by which Necessaries, at least, may be allow’d to every one, both to preserve himself and be of use to others, both which contribute to the Publick Happiness.” This Division of Things, and Actions, or Human Services, to every one, is therefore necessary to this End, because “No-one can live, much less be happy, without the use of many Things, and the Assistance and voluntary Permission of many Men”; and because “The Welfare of all Mankind, which is most evidently connected with the Common Good, consists in the Welfare of particular Men.” But, if we more narrowly inquire, “What is necessarily to be allow’d to every one, that it may be well with all,” the result will be this, 1. “That the Power of preserving Life and Limbs intire, is necessarily to be allow’d to every Man, whose Offences against the Common Good do not exceed the Value of his Life.” This is enjoin’d by the Sixth Commandment, which, therefore, not only permits, but commands, a limited Self-love. 2. “That Compacts, consistent with the Common Good, must have full Force and Credit among All.” Among such Compacts, Marriage is one of the most useful to Mankind; as that, in which all hope of Posterity, and support of approaching Old Age is contain’d. Therefore the Seventh Command enjoins every one, “To keep the Marriage-Bed unviolated”; and, thereby, promotes an extraordinary Affection of every One towards his Off-spring, which, by this Method, is more certainly known. 3. “That some Share in other Things, and in the Services of Men, is necessary to every one, to enable him to support his Life and Family, (which are allow’d him in the Laws foregoing,) and to promote the Common Good of others.” It is, therefore, necessary to the Common Good, both; “That such Goods should be allow’d to every one in the first Division of Things,” and, “That, after they are given, they should be preserv’d unviolated.” This is enjoin’d by the Eighth Commandment. Farther; it conduces to the Publick Good, “That, not only the Actions, but the Words and Desires, of Men be restrain’d from hurting others in the possession of those Things, which have been hitherto allow’d them.”1 This Restraint is the business of the Ninth and Tenth Commandments. In obedience to all these Negative Precepts consists Innocence.
Humanity,§IV. It is farther evident, that it conduces to the Publick Good, not only, “That we should abstain from hurting others”; but, “That we should, upon proper Occasions, assist them by our Affections, Words, and Actions, in such Things as these Commandments insinuate the necessity of, in order to that End”; and this is a representation, or description, of the most diffusive Humanity. And thus the Publick Good is provided for, by “Removing its Impediments, and placing in their stead Benevolent Affections, which may extend themselves to all the Parts of the Rational System, and give to every one what is necessary.
Gratitude,But as, according to the Mechanick Philosophy, the Material System is indeed preserv’d by a Motion communicated to all its Parts; but it is necessary, that such Motion should return into it-self, and, by that means, be perpetuated: In like manner, in the Moral System, a Universal Benevolence, once begun, is daily renew’d by the reciprocal Force of Gratitude, and by its Aid, or even by a prospect or hope thereof, gains new Strength, and an eternal Youth. It is, in it-self, evident enough, “That Benevolence, rightly and in a peculiar manner, directed towards those who had been first Benevolent to us,” (which is the Definition of Gratitude,) “contributes much to the Perpetuity of the Common Good.” We may understand, from what has been laid down in the former Chapter, “That Gratitude is then rightly dispos’d, when it returns good Offices to a Benefactor, without invading the Right of any Person, Family, State, much less of Nations”: And for this Reason I would not treat of it, ’till I had prov’d, from the other Commandments, “That the Rights of others were in no wise to be violated.” This Virtue is enjoin’d in the Fifth Commandment of the Decalogue: For, tho’ Gratitude to our Parents, who are our first Benefactors, next after God the common Parent of All, be there more expressly enjoin’d; this Example instructs us, by Parity of Reason, “To repay to all our Benefactors the Favours they have conferr’d upon us.” These few Precepts, in my Opinion, contain all the Universal Laws of Nature; and, applied to the Actions of different States, with respect to one another, limit also and settle all the Rights of Nations.
2. Civil Government and Laws, necessary to the Publick Good; and, therefore, prescrib’d by the Law of Nature, commanding us to promote this End.§V. From this abstract of the more General Laws of Nature, the Transition is easy to the Consideration of those “Dictates of Reason, which direct all to the forming and preserving Societies with a Power, not only of making Rules, but enforcing them by Punishments.” For “such Societies are necessary, to enforce the Observance of the Laws of Nature, to the Honour of God, and Happiness of Mankind, but especially of those, who are Members of such Societies.” And, therefore, a Law of Nature being Given, “which commands us to promote the End,” a Law is likewise Given, “prescribing the Settlement and Preservation of so necessary a Means as Society with Sovereign Power.” The Necessity of this Means to this End, is easily learn’d from the common Experience of All, “in those Things which respect, the care of a Family, or the building a House, or the production of any other Effect, to which the different Services of several Persons are requir’d”; where we percieve, “that all our Labour is bestow’d in vain, except some Command, and others Obey.” For it is evident, “That the procuring the greatest Good the whole Society of Rational Beings is capable of, is an Effect more complicated and intricate than any of these now mention’d,” and, “That it depends necessarily upon the concurrent Assistance of every one, by mutual Services of very different Kinds,” and, “That it is therefore impossible to obtain such Effect, tho’ foreseen and design’d, with Certainty and Steddiness, except a Subordination of Rational Beings be establish’d, and all obey God, as the Supreme and most Perfect Rational Agent, by observing those Natural Laws, common to all Nations, which I have explain’d.
This demonstrated from Mathematical Principles.I am of Opinion, that this Reasoning, which is grounded on common and obvious Experience, proves, “the necessity of establishing Order,” to all Men not blinded with Prejudice. But, because my Adversaries in this Dispute are usually very importunate in demanding Demonstrations, I will endeavour to point out some Mathematical Principles, whence is universally demonstrated “the necessity of a known Subordination among any number of Corporeal Causes co-operating to the Production of an Effect certainly foreseen and design’d”: Such is the Common Good, in the Estimation of all who would obey the general Law of Nature. For I do not contend for any other Necessity of establishing Order, than what proceeds from the Necessity of this End. We learn, from the second Book of Des-Cartes’s Geometry, “That the most simple Effects arising from compounded Motions (the Descriptions and Properties of Curve Lines) may be exactly known, and certainly produc’d, if the several Motions whence they arise, be so adjusted, that the Latter are govern’d by the Former, but by no means without such a Subordination.”2 And it is certain, “That the fix’d Determination of all kinds of Surfaces, which can thence be produced, as well as of Lines, requires the same Subordination of Motions,” from which will therefore proceed “the certain Genesis of all kinds of Figures.” But true Natural Philosophy (I mean, that which owes its Original to Mathematicks) teaches, “That all natural Effects are produc’d by compounded Motions, and the Figures of Bodies limited by a due Subordination.” It will therefore farther instruct us, “That those natural Effects, by which the Industry of Men can certainly promote the Publick Happiness, must be produc’d by a like Subordination of the Motions proceeding from Human Bodies.” It is evident, “That some bodily Motions of Men are requisite in every good Office, especially in the Aquisition, Use, and Alienation, of Dominion over Things and Persons, in which, all Justice is contain’d.” It is therefore necessary, “To establish a Subordination among such Motions of theirs, and, consequently, among Men themselves, in order to their conspiring to produce one and the same Effect, the Common Good.” But, whilst I attentively consider this somewhat tedious Deduction, I perceive it may be much contracted thus. “If the smallest Effect of compounded Motions, the Description of a Geometrical Curve, cannot be certainly perform’d without a Subordination of Motions; much less can so complicated an Effect of many Causes, as is the Common Good, be procur’d, in any certain Method, without such a Subordination.”
Yet I would not reject the former Deduction, because it may perhaps be acceptable to some, to see, “That there is some kind of Connexion between Natural Philosophy and Civil Government.”
Nevertheless, tho’ the Necessity of establishing Order, “That many may successfully unite their Powers in bringing about any great Effect,” may be demonstrated from such Principles, yet that Necessity was not first learn’d by Men from this Deduction, but from obvious daily Experience in the manner above hinted.
The first Beginnings of Empire are to be seen in a Family. The Power of the Husband over his Wife, of the Parents over their Children, and the just Bounds of Empire, are all drawn from the Relation, which they bear to the Common Good, as to their End.§VI. Having prov’d the Necessity of Government in General, from its End, these Things may easily be applied, to prove the Necessity, both of Domestick and of Civil Government, in order to obtain the several Parts of the best End, first the Happiness of Families, next of particular States, and lastly of the Universe.
I will carry this Geometrical Illustration only thus much farther,“ That, as in Geometry, tho’ the first Example of Subordination is between two Motions, of which one is govern’d by the other; yet Order is most conspicuous and remarkable, when the Subordination is among more Causes: So, when we consider Human Affairs, tho’ the first Example of Order and Government is between the Husband and Wife,3 in which the Husband is by Nature Superior, as generally having a greater Strength, both of Body and Mind, and, therefore, contributing more to the Effect design’d from their Society, the Common Good of both in Things belonging both to God and Man; yet Paternal Government is more remarkable, after Children have been born of that former Society.” Therefore, from the Paternal Power are we to take the Copy, and deduce the Origin, of Power, both Civil and Ecclesiastical. For, in order to that necessary End I have mentioned, both must have been lodg’d in the First Father; a Family, therefore, was the first regular Society, the first Civil State, and, at the same Time, the first Church: And as Families encreas’d in number, so did States and Churches. As these Things agree with the Nature of Things, and, consequently, with right Reason, which is thence deriv’d, so do they with the most Antient and Faithful History, I mean the Mosaick, which is also Divine.4
I must farther observe, “That Government, or the Civil Power, is naturally and necessarily limited by the same End, for which it is establish’d.” Every Means ought to be fitted exactly to its End, so as neither to fall short of, nor exceed, it. It is therefore evident, “That, in order to the Honour of God, and the Happiness of all Nations, no Government can be establish’d, that can have a Right to destroy these.” But, since all Things, absolutely necessary to these Ends, are but few and very evident, and, as I have already shewn, clearly enough laid open in the Decalogue, the Limits of the Civil Power still remain very extensive. Nothing is prohibited the supreme Power, but the Violation of the necessary Division of Dominion, by which their Rights are distinctly assign’d to God, and Men; and the overturning those other Laws of Nature, for preserving which it is it-self founded, and to which the whole Security and Happiness of Rulers is owing. Consequently, from these Restraints nothing harsher is commanded them by the Author of Nature, than“ Not to over-turn the Foundations of their own Happiness and Dominion, nor to destroy themselves along with others, by opposing such Things as are necessary to the Common Good.” However, because “The Dictate of Reason, by which the establishing and preserving Government is commanded, is a Law of Nature,” (as appears from what is already said;) it follows, “That it owes its Original to God,” and “That the Limits I have mention’d, are assign’d by him only,” which makes much for the Honour of Government.
Supreme Powers cannot lawfully be punish’d by their subjects.§VII. This is the peculiar Privilege of the supreme Powers, “That God has appointed, under himself, no Coercive Power to punish them, if they have transgress’d the Laws of Nature, with respect to their Subjects.”5 If this were the Case, for the same Reason “another Power ought to be set over this, to punish it, if it have unjustly punish’d that Power, which I have before suppos’d Supreme”; and for the same Reason “Powers Superior to the Supreme must be establish’d in an infinite Progression,” than which nothing can be imagin’d more absurd. We must, therefore, stop at those, upon whom the supreme Power is devolv’d, and they are not liable to any Punishment from their own State. They who endeavour to subject them to Punishment, do, by this very Action, as far as in them lies, destroy the very Nature of Civil Government; because, “they reduce those who are Supreme to the Condition of Subjects.” For it is no less inconsistent with the Nature of Government, that in it all should be Subjects, than that in it all should be Sovereigns. The Nature of Order (which is essential to Government) necessarily requires, “That something should be First, and nothing before that”: And, therefore, in the present Case it is necessary, “That, among Men in the same State, there should be some First Subject of Coercive Power, from whom it may be deriv’d to all others”; but it is certain, “That they who have receiv’d that Power from it, can thereby have no Right to punish the very Author of their own “Power.” Yet this is no Reason, “Why they should not be punish’d by God, if those Powers, which are Supreme among Men, should transgress the Laws of Nature.” For they are Subjects in the Kingdom of God, or in the Universe, who in a Human Kingdom are Supreme. Therefore it cannot be said, that they have a Right to do those Things, which they do with Impunity from Men; because Right signifies a Power granted by every Law, to which we are subject; and, therefore, Actions done rightfully cannot be punish’d by any Legislator; where as the Crimes, even of supreme Powers, committed against the Laws of Nature, may be justly punish’d by the Author of Nature. By thus distinguishing between Impunity from Civil Laws, and an absolute Right, of which the Law of Nature, and the End or Design of Civil Laws, is the Measure, I think, that both Caesar has his Due, and that their Due is reserv’d, both to God and his other Subjects.
According to the foregoing Principles, a very extensive Power is allow’d to Sovereign Powers.§VIII. How large an Authority may be given to the supreme Powers, within the Bounds of the Laws of Nature, he will easily discover, who considers, from what is already prov’d, “That they extend universally to things Divine and Human, of Foreigners and Fellow-Subjects, of Peace and War”; the Consequence of which is, “That the Magistrate, in order to pursue the Common Good, according those Laws, must be constituted Guardian of both Tables of the Decalogue; and have Right, with relation to Foreigners, to make War and Peace; with relation to his own Subjects, to make Laws, to Judge, Punish, confer Honours, publick Gifts, and all kind of Advantages.” But, because the Publick Happiness of all Mankind, and of every single State, may (as far as Men can judge) be almost equally procur’d by Constitutions, Manners, and Laws, very different; and the Welfare of the Society permits a various distribution of Honours and Advantages, nay, of Pardons and Punishments, where the Persons concern’d are not differenc’d by their Merit; it is evident, “That innumerable Articles may be (as they usually are) with safety permitted to the Discretion of Rulers”; tho’ they are always oblig’d to the Care of the chief End, which is unchangeable; and to very many Means, which are naturally Necessary thereto. And no Body can be ignorant of these Things, who has observ’d “those Changes, which are daily made in the Fortunes of Subjects at the Pleasure of Princes, without any remarkable Prejudice to the State”; or who compares “the several Constitutions of the Kingdoms or Republicks in Europe”; and perceives, “That in each of them prudent Men may live happily,” and, “That all these States do so mutually balance one another, by Commerce and Intercourse of various kinds in Peace, and by mutual Assistance in War, that much is by each contributed to the present Happiness of Europe.” For, altho’ it wants many Advantages, and may justly complain of many Disadvantages, Europe will appear very Happy, “if we reckon and justly value all the Advantages we enjoy, of Society, whether between the Members of the same State, or with Foreign Nations, and compare them with the Miseries which would follow, if all, according to Hobbes’s Scheme, consulted their own Interest only, and every one thence arrogated to himself a Right to every Thing, and engag’d in a War against All.” Now we ought to reckon, as Effects of the Principles of Concord, and of a Propensity to the Common Good, “all those Advantages which would be wanting, if the Principles of Discord and unbounded Self-love only, prevail’d among Men, of which kind are those, which Hobbes has advanc’d for the Dictates of right Reason in a State of Nature.”6 Having shewn thus much in general, it will neither be necessary to my present Purpose, “To enter into a particular Explication of all the Rights of supreme Powers”; nor “To explain the various Forms of Government, and the Causes whence they are form’d, or dissolv’d,” (which belongs to Polititians) the usefulness of our Principles in Civil Government will be abundantly prov’d, if I briefly shew, “That Hobbes’s Doctrine to the contrary, is so inconsistent with the Establishment and Continuance of all States; that, if that obtain’d, they could either never be form’d, or must, of necessity, be immediately dissolv’d.” This will appear in the following Observations.
Hobbes’s Principles overturn the Foundations of all Government.§IX. 1. First; “All those Reproaches Hobbes has thrown upon all Men are thrown also upon all supreme Powers, of what kind soever; and, consequently, upon all Kings, our own not excepted.”
For Kings do not divest themselves of Human Nature, when they put on a Crown. The Nature of Kings remains the same, “as if no State, or Kingdom had ever been erected upon the foot of Hobbes’s Contracts.”1. Because they represent the Nature of Princes, as more Fierce and Cruel, than that of wild Beasts. These are so far from changing the Mind of the Prince for the Better, that Hobbes openly declares, “He is not oblig’d by them,” de Cive Cap. 7. §. 12.7 And thence infers, That “Princes cannot injure their Subjects,” how much soever they may hurt them. §. 14.8 Therefore, whatever he has affirm’d as naturally and necessarily true of all Men universally, and laid down as the Foundation of his Politicks, That “in Cruelty and Ravenousness they exceed Wolves, Bears, and Serpents, who are Ravenousno farther than to satisfy their Hunger, and do not Rage unprovok’d.”9 And, That “Nature has made them Unsocial, and inclin’d them to mutual Slaughter. ” Leviath. Chap. 13.10 And much more to the same Purpose. All these Reproaches, I say, bear hard upon Royal Majesty. Who could love one whom he believ’d to be such? Who could trust such a one with his Life and Fortune and all his Hopes? Must not all of necessity be afraid, “That he will destroy them one by one?” They would have the same, or rather greater, reason to shun and esteem him an Enemy, than any other; because his Inclination to hurt, which Hobbes pretends necessary to all, would be equal to that in them, and his Power would be greater, because the Force of all is in him united.
And deny to all, and consequently, to Princes, that right Reason, by which they might determine according to the Nature of Things, what sort of Actions are good, or Bad to others.11 All those Arguments, by which he endeavours to prove, “That Human Reason is wholly unfit for a Rule of Manners, as not discerning between Good and Evil, but only as we desire that to be done to us, and shun this”; do in the same manner destroy “the Dignity of Monarchs, and all Polity whatsoever. We all” (says he) “rate Good and Evil by our proper Pleasure, or Pain.”12 Therefore, if Hobbes’s Doctrine be true, noone, not even a Prince, either can, or will consider, “what is profitable, or hurtful to others.” And there would remain no Reason drawn from the Common Good, “why a Prince should be appointed, or continued,” because, according to him (as I have shewn in the Chapter concerning Good,13 ) “The Nature of Man,” (not excepting the supreme Magistrate, whether Prince, or Council,) “does not understand Good, or Evil, except with relation to the Person who uses those Words.” Therefore whatever the King commands as Good, is to be understood “Good to the King, or the Representative of the Common-Wealth.” Leviath. C. 6.14 But “not to the Common-Wealth it-self, much less to the Universe,” such as others think those Actions to be, that promote, both the Honour of God, and the Happiness of Mankind. By reasoning thus, “he makes all Government unfit for the End for which it is desir’d, and thereby does but too plainly insinuate, That it ought wholly to be rejected.”
Nor can this Wound given Sovereign Powers, be heal’d by the help of all those Blandishments, with which he afterwards sooths Rulers, namely, that “That is Good, or Evil, Just, or Unjust, whatever they pronounce to be such, and that they make all Things Just by commanding them, Unjust by forbidding them.”15 Whence it follows, “That they are infallible in such Judgments and Declarations, and that they have no occasion to ask the Opinion of Lawyers, or consult with Men of Experience, to inform themselves what will promote, or hinder the Happiness of their State.” Nor will it avail, that he has defin’d “A Crime, to be that only, which has been either done, or omitted, said, or will’d contrary to the Reason of the Common-Wealth,” or, “of the Representative of the Common-Wealth, ”16 as he elsewhere explains himself: And that he has asserted, That “his Reason is to be always esteem’d, Right by the Subject.”17 Because he himself has affirm’d, That “the Commands of States may be contrary to right Reasonin matters of Religion;18and contrary to the Laws of Nature” (in Human Affairs) “which are the Dictates of right Reason.”19 And has also depriv’d States of all Rules that might be taken from the Nature of Things, according to which States might rectify their Commands, since he has expressly asserted (Leviath. C. 6.) That “there is no Common Rule of Good, or Evil, and Contemptible, to be taken from the Nature of the Objects themselves.”20 And elsewhere he plainly enough teaches, “That he does not believe the Reason of the Common-Wealth to be really right Reason”; but that, in order to end Controversies, “The contending Parties, by their own Accord, set up, for right Reason, the Reason of some Arbitrator, to whose Sentence they will both stand, or their Controversy must either come to Blows, or be Undecided, for want of aright Reason constituted by Nature.” Leviath. Chap. 5.21 Where afterwards he compares right Reason to the Trump in playing at Cards, to which the Superiority is given, partly by the Consent of the Players, and partly by Accident.
Hobbes’s Argument is refuted, by which he endeavours to prove, “That we ought therefore to obey the Reason of the Common-Wealth, because there is no such thing as right Reason, or which can judge according to a Rule establish’d and enforc’d by the Nature of Things.”22 Upon this Head he is certainly so far in the right; “In Controversies which it is necessary to end, it makes for the Common Good, that the contending Parties willingly relinquish their Decision to the Reason of the Common-Wealth, and fully acquiesce therein.” And this common and right Reason persuades; because it is certain, “That this Decision will either be right, or that a righter cannot be had, consistently with the Common Good.” And this Reason is both evident enough, and is preferable to that given by Mr. Hobbes upon this account, that it supposes, “That there is somewhere among Men a practical right Reason; and gives them such Directions, that they may either reach it exactly, or that which approaches nearest it, which is sufficient for all the purposes of Human Happiness and our Duty.” But Hobbes’s Reason supposes, “That there is no right Reason settled by Nature,”23 and upon this Account appoints us, “To stand to the Reason of the Common-Wealth,” as if that were Right, than which nothing can be affirm’d more absurd, or mischievous. For one of the Premisses so contradicts the Conclusion to be thence deduced, that it might much more justly be inferr’d, (upon supposition, that there were no right Reason settled by Nature,) “Therefore, we ought not to stand to the Reason of the Common-Wealth.” This reasoning of Hobbes is so much the more dangerous, because it may easily lead the unwary, when they perceive the falsity of one of the Premisses, to suspect the useful Conclusion he would infer from thence; or the notorious Truth of the Conclusion may cause that most false Principle whence Hobbes infers it, to seem true. Mean while, nothing more reproachful can be said of Sovereign Powers, than, “That their Laws are not the Dictates of right Reason, but only to be taken for such, because they have now got the Supreme Power by their own Fortune and our Consent, but that other Laws in perfect Contradiction to all these would equally conduce to the Common Happiness, and might justly claim an equal Respect, if by chance of War, or the Success of cunning Counsels it should happen, that a Mad-Man should get uppermost, who would enact Laws favouring Universal Cruelty, Perfidiousness, Ingratitude, and the Lust of Rule over all Things and Persons.” There is nothing which could more effectually encourage the most profligate Wretches to raise Rebellion, than the view of filling the Thrones of their deposed Sovereigns, and thereby procuring to their own wild Opinions, and depraved Affections, the Honour of being esteemed Actions of right Reason and Virtue.24
2. Hobbes’s Doctrine of the Right of every one to every thing, would not suffer any one to enter into Civil Society;§X.25 2. “Hobbes’s Doctrine of the Right of every One, to every Thing, in a State of Nature,” (which I have explain’d and refuted in the First Chapter,) “does not permit Men who have imbib’d it, to enter into Civil Society, and disposes them who have imbib’d it, whilst in a State of Society, to throw off all Obedience to Civil Laws,” that is, (according to his own Exposition,) “To commit Treason.”
The former part of this Assertion is thus prov’d. Mr. Hobbes, if we may believe his Principles, (de Cive, C. 1. §. 7–10.26 ) demonstrates, “That every one has a Right to every Thing”; from thence, “That right Reason gives every one a Right to preserve and defend himself.” Farther, he himself asserts, “That a Right can be transferr’d only in this manner, when any one declares to another, by proper Signs, that it is his Will, that it should not hereafter be lawful for him to resist the other, who is willing to accept of this Right, as he might justly before resist him.”27 But (he says) that “Noone can be oblig’d, by such Compacts, not to resist another threatning Death, Wounds, or any other bodily Harm,”28 and that “Every one retains a Right to defend himself against Violence,” and that he does not transfer that to the Common-Wealth, “When he consents to that Union, by which it becomes a Common-Wealth.”29 Therefore, “If a Right to all Things, and to wage War against All, can be inferr’d from his Right to preserve and defend himself,” I affirm, “He stills retains it, even against the Common-Wealth.
It were easy here to prove, “That every one, according to Hobbes’s Principles, is judge, whether the Common-Wealth is about to inflict Death, or any other corporal Punishment upon him, and consequently, whether Rebellion be necessary to his Defenceorno”; and to shew, “That that is a necessary Means to every one’s Preservation, or Defence, which he, as the proper Judge, has pronounc’d to be such”; nay, and “That that right Reason, which had before taught, that all things were necessary to the Preservation of every One, cannot afterwards contradict it-self, and affirm that less is sufficient.” But any Reader, who understands Hobbes’s Doctrine, may make these Objections to it; nor do I see what Hobbes can reply. I therefore hasten to the second Part of my Assertion, which, I believe, will give Hobbes greater Displeasure.
and excites Subjects to Rebellion.30 This might be prov’d by the same Argument, by which I now proved, “That the Right of claiming all things to himself by War, cannot be transferr’d”; for thence it follows, “That every one, according to Hobbes, retain’d to himself a right of waging War against any one, and, consequently, against his own State, except it grant to each Man a Right to every thing, which yet is evident can be granted in no State.” But let us rather have Hobbes’s Sentiments in his own Words. He, from an unlimited Right of preserving and defending Themselves, has openly allow’d the Subjects a Liberty of defending Themselves with united Arm’d Force against the Sovereign Power of the State. Leviath. Chap. 21. he proposes the Question, and Answers it in these Words. “In Case a great many Men together have committed some capital Crime against the Sovereign Power, for which they all, except they defend themselves, expect Death, Whether have they not the Liberty to join together, and assist and defend one another? Certainly they have. For they but defend their Lives, which the guilty Man may as well do as the Innocent. There was, indeed, Injustice in the first Breach of their Duty, but that they afterwards took Arms to defend themselves, is no new Crime.”31 In the English Edition of the Leviathan he asserts the same things, but somewhat more boldly, for, instead of the last Clause, he inserts these two, “Their bearing of Arms subsequent to it, tho’ it be to maintain what they have done, is no new unjust Act, and, if it be only to defend their Persons, it is not unjust at all.”32 I think, indeed, he was to be commended, that, in the Latin Edition he somewhat soften’d so wicked a Doctrine; yet even these second Thoughts seem destructive enough, and to breathe forth nothing less than Rebellion. For, let us imagine that Capital Crime, which he supposes many to have committed, to have been this; “Many had conspir’d together to kill the King, this Crime is brought to the King’s Ears by some One that is privy to it; hence the Conspirators are afraid of that Death, which they deserve: It is lawful (says our Casuist) for them to take up Arms in their mutual Defence, and to do this, is no new Crime.” But, I think, “such Conspirators, taking up Arms against their King, that they might ward off that Punishment they have deserv’d, wage an unjust War, and are truly guilty of Rebellion; and that they, therefore, by this Step add another Crime to their Conspiracy; altho’ both Crimes are equally included in one general Name, and both be a Breach of Faith, it is nevertheless a new Crime, that is, it is another newly added to the First, and they increase their Crimes by every Act in Prosecution of this War. The taking up Arms against the Sovereign Power, endeavouring to bring Criminals to condign Punishment, tends to Sedition and Civil War. Nor, if this be permitted, can they be forbid to kill the King, offering to lay hands upon any of them”; which of how ill consequence it may be, I leave others to judge.
3. Hobbes’s Doctrine of Compacts,§XI.33 3. “Some things also, which he has advanc’d concerning the Laws of Nature, threaten all Civil Government with Ruin; particularly, what he has deliver’d concerning the Obligation of Compacts and Oaths.”
It has a dangerous tendency to Governments, his Assertion, “That Compacts” (by which only, he has affirm’d, they are establish’d and preserv’d) “Do not oblige, except where Credit is given to him who promises.” This is insinuated in his Definition of a Compact, de Cive, Cap. 2. §. 9. which he explains and applies, Cap. 8. §. 3, & 9. where he treats of the Obligation of Slaves. “The Obligation” (of Slaves) “arises from Compact; but there is no Compact, where Credit is not given, as is evident from C. 2. §. 9. where a Compact is defin’d, to be the Promise of him who is believ’d. There is, therefore, along with the Benefit of Life pardon’d, join’da Confidence, in which his Lord leaves him his corporal Liberty, so that, except an Obligation by the Ties of a Compact had interven’d, he might not only run away, but also deprive his Lord, who had sav’d his Life, of Life.”34
He adds more to the same Purpose, in the ninth Section of the same Chapter, where, explaining by what Methods Slaves may be freed from their Bondage, he at last affirms, “That the Slave who is thrown into Chains, or any other way depriv’d of his Corporal Liberty, is thereby freed from that other Obligation of his Compact. For no Compact (says he) can take place, except where Credit is given to him who Covenants; nor can that Faith be violated, which is not given and receiv’d.”35 Nay, he speaks more plainly, §. 4. of the same Chapter, “Slaves, if they be thrown into Prison, or Chains, do nothing against the Laws of Nature, if they kill their Lord.”36 All these Positions are advanc’d by him, in order to explain the Rights of Empire, or of a natural Common-Wealth, which is acquir’d by Power and natural Force, which he affirms, “To be then establish’d, when Captives in War, or the Conquer’d, or those who distrust their own Strength, promise the Conqueror, or the Stronger, that they will serve him,” as appears from the first Sect. of the same Chapter.37 And it is notorious, from the most authentick Histories, that most of the Governments now in being have been set up in this manner. It is, therefore, of the worst Consequence to all those States, “That,” (according to Hobbes’s Principles,)“immediately after a Prince has made any Discovery, that he does not give Credit to any of his Subjects promising him their Obedience, they should befreed from their Subjection, and, notwithstanding their Compacts, may, without any Violation of the Laws of Nature, lawfully kill their Prince. If a Subject be imprison’d, and can escape by breaking Prison, or corrupting his Keepers,” according to Hobbes, “He is freed from his Covenant and Oath of Allegiance, and may raise Rebellion without a Crime.”38 These things are of the more dangerous Consequence, because the Signs are very uncertain, by which we discern, “Whether Princes believe us or no,” and the Caution necessary to their Safety may make Men of suspicious Tempers easily conclude, “That they are not trusted, and that they are, therefore, freed from their Subjection.” Nor may we take bare Imprisonment, or corporal Restraint, for a sufficient Sign, “That we are not trusted,” (which Hobbes has asserted, but not prov’d;) that is often intended, “Only to secure the Innocent, perhaps in order to be examin’d, or to answer for smaller Crimes,” but never as a by Leagues.” But these Sign, “That it is the Will of the Prince, to set the Subject at Liberty from his Covenanted Fealty.”
39 Farther; “It overturns the Foundations of all States, what he asserts,” That “Compacts, in which the Parties contracting mutually give Credit to one another, neither Party performing any thing immediately, are invalid in a State of Nature, if a just Fear arise on either side,”40 that the other Party will not perform what he has promis’d. For it is certain, “The Compacts, by which Common-Wealths (according to Hobbes’s Scheme) were form’d, are made in a State of Nature, and that both Parties, that which is to take upon them the Governing Power, and therefore promises Protection, and that which promises Obedience, cannot immediately perform what they promise”; and, without all doubt, “The contracting Parties may afterwards fear being deceiv’d, and they will think this their Fear just, and therefore (according to Hobbes) it is just, because they themselves are the proper Judges, and there is no third Power able to compel both Parties to observe their Compacts.” Therefore, “These Compacts are not valid”; and, consequently, “The Common-Wealth, which seem’d to be rais’d and supported by them, falls to the ground, like a Building upon an infirm Foundation.” But this short Hint may be sufficient here, for I have already handled at large, in its proper Place, this whole affair of the Obligation of the Laws of Nature, especially that which relates to Compacts.41
and of Oaths, pernicious to supreme Powers.42 Let us now proceed to Hobbes’s Notion of Oaths, “which, in effect, destroys Civil Society, by destroying, or rendering ineffectual its greatest Security.” Chap. 2. §. 22. He has this marginal Note, “An Oath adds nothing to the Obligation of a Compact.” But, in the Text, he expresses himself more equivocally, “That a simple Compact does no less oblige than that which we have confirm’d by an Oath.”43 I readily own, “a Compact not confirm’d by Oath, is Obligatory.” To which I add, that it is thence certain, “That God will punish the Breach of plighted Faith, according to the Prayers of him who takes a lawful Oath,” because, “It is the Trans gression of a natural Law, which God has enforced by a Sanction for the Common Good”; and “That this is known from the Nature of Things, so that there is no need of Revelation, or any Person standing in the place of God, to signify that God accepts to be Guarrantee of such a Vow,” as Hobbes seems to insinuate.44 However, an Oath introduces a new Obligation, because “then we owe Obedience to another Divine Law, by which we are forbid, under a new and most grievous Punishment, to invoke the Name of God rashly, and in confirmation of a Falshood.” Nor is Hobbes’s exception to the contrary, of any validity, when he affirms, that “he who in an Oath renounces the Divine Mercy,” unless he perform his Promise, “does not oblige himself to any Punishment, because it is always lawful for him, to deprecate Punishment how ever provok’d, and to take the benefit of God’s Pardon, if it be granted.”45 For “even they, who may lawfully deprecate Punishment, when they have deserv’d it, are oblig’d, both to caution, not to deserve Punishment, and also to bear it patiently, when they have.” After all these things are duly weigh’d, I beseech the Reader to consider, what firmness Hobbes has left in Civil Society, who contends, “That an Oath adds no Obligation.” Kings are deceiv’d, and vain are the Laws enjoining Oaths of Fidelity to them. In vain are their Privy-Counsellers, their nearest Attendants about their Person, or their Arm’d Guards, sworn. Neither sworn Witnesses, nor Judges, are at all the more oblig’d upon account of Oaths, in publick Judicature. Mr. Hobbes, truly, has by a slight reasoning freed them from all Obligation of this kind, and, with the same ease, has subverted all Civil Government.
4. His Original of Government inconsistent with its stability.§XII.46 4.“Hobbes’s Doctrine, concerning the Original of Civil Power, contains some Principles evidently inconsistent with the Stability thereof.”
Its Original, in a Common-Wealth form’d by Compact, according to him, is this. Many, out of mutual Fear, transfer all their Rights to one Political Person, (whether a single Man, or a Council,) by a Compact of this sort made with all their future Fellow-Subjects.47“I transfer my Right to this Person, upon this Condition, that you will transfer your Right to the same Person.” And to the same purpose, Leviath. C. 17.48 As soon as the Person design’d for Government has accepted of this, the Common-Wealth is form’d. The other two kinds of Common-Wealths, the Despotick, which is the Government of the Conqueror over the Conquered, whose Lives are preserv’d, (who are call’d Slaves;) and the Paternal, which is over Children begotten and educated, and, consequently, preserv’d from that Death, which it was in the Power of the Parent to have inflicted, he insinuates to be form’d by the same Compacts; not express’d indeed, but implied and understood; Reason (truly) teaching, “That Conquerors and Parents do not on other Conditions spare those Lives, which are once in their Power”; and the same Reason commanding, “both the Conquered and Children, to accept their Lives on these Terms.” These Conclusions may easily be inferr’d, from what he says Cap. 1. §. 14. and Cap. 8. §. 1. &c. and Cap. 9. §. 2.49 Therefore the whole matter is briefly resolv’d into a conveyance of Rights by Compacts.
But, if we inquire how, according to Hobbes, they convey their Rights, he informs us, C. 2. §. 4. He says, This is then perform’d, when any one “declares it to be his Will, that it should no longer be lawful for him to resist the other, doing any certain thing, as he might before with Right resist him.”50 Therefore Subjects, in Hobbes’s Scheme, in their Compacts with the Person going to take upon him the supreme Power, promise only this, “That they will not resist him Doing, or Commanding, any thing (consistent with Self-preservation.”) And, from this Principle Hobbes justly infers, That “the Obligation to yield unlimited Obedience does not immediately arise from the Compact, by which we have convey’d all our Right to the Common-Wealth.”51 That Compact obliges only to a Passive, not to an Active Obedience. And, indeed, Civil Power will be very scanty, if by this Compact, to which it entirely owes its existence, no-one be oblig’d to obey it, only not to hinder the King, for Example, “from doing what he can with his own Hands.” But (says Hobbes) “from this Compact, indirectly, arises an Obligation, viz. thus, that, without Obedience, the Right of Empire would be vain; and, consequently, a Common-Wealth would not at all have been form’d.”52 But I affirm, that this is a juster Consequence, “That Hobbes’s Compact to convey Right, which contains nothing more than a promise, not to resist, does not truly and sufficiently explain the Original of Civil Power”; for “such a Right of Empire is in vain conferr’d,” so that (according to Hobbes’s own Concession) “a Common-Wealth is not formed by conveying that Right,” because “no-one would be thereby obliged to yield Obedience to the Prince appointed.” And, according to Hobbes’s Principles, “Right cannot otherwise be convey’d”; because “he, to whom any Right is to be convey’d, is suppos’d to have that Right before”; for “he has a Right to all Persons and Things,” which yet he could not use, because “others had a Right to resist him”; whence “Compacts were, only to remove this Obstacle, that The Right of Ruling over all,” which is “in every one coeval with his Nature,” (C. 15. §. 5.53 ) should exert it-self, when Impediments were taken away.
But let us pass by this Difficulty, and grant, “That Hobbes’s Subjects had, along with the Compact conveying their Rights, involv’d a Covenant to yield as much Obedience as was necessary, that the Right of Empire might not be wholly in vain.” Yet still the Bounds of that Empire are too narrow, which is only not vain, or null. Besides; “since Hobbes obliges Subjects to no certain Measure of Obedience to be yielded to Sovereign Powers, but to so much only, that the Right of Empire may not be conferr’d in vain; and since this very Thing is to be deduced by themselves, by a consequence arising from Compacts about transferring their Rights”; of necessity he has left them Judges of this Question, “How much Obedience is necessary to be given, that the Right of Empire they have convey’d be not in vain?” For “they themselves can best judge of the End intended by themselves in making such a Compact”; nor can it be known, “whether any Act be vain, but by him who perfectly understands the End of that Action.” But, how dangerous this would be in a settled Government, every one must see: For “Subjects will, at pleasure, set Bounds to their Obedience” whereas “the supreme Powers,” as I have already shewn, “are to be limited by the Divine Laws only, which are not changeable by the Will of Man”: And “Subjects are oblig’d by the same Natural Laws, to obey in all things not forbidden by an evident Law of Nature.” The sagacious Reader will hence observe, “That the principal and direct Cause of Sovereign Power in every Common-Wealth, is, according to Hobbes, that imaginary Right to all Things, which he pretends Nature has given every one, and, consequently among the rest, to him who is design’d for Government.” And, “That the Compacts of others, conveying their Right to him, only remove the Impediment, or Resistance of others, by which the Exercise of that Right, coeval with the Nature of the Sovereign, might be restrain’d”: And, “That Fear is no otherwise the Cause of forming a Common-Wealth, than as it obliges to remove that Impediment”: And, “That the Nature which he bestows on Man, more Savage than that of wild Beasts, is no otherwise necessary to the forming Hobbes’s Common-Wealth, than as it is the Cause of such Fear, that is, as a remote Cause, upon account whereof it may be necessary by Compacts to remove that Resistance of others, by which the Right of one to Rule over all was restrain’d.” He professes this openly enough, where he discourses of the Original of the Right to punish a Subject. Leviath. Chap. 28. In the beginning, where he has these Words. “It is manifest, therefore, that the Right which the Common-Wealth (that is, he, or they, that represent it) hath to punish, is not grounded on any Concession, or Gift of the Subjects. But I have also shew’d formerly, That, before the Institution of a Common-Wealth, every Man had a Right to every Thing, and to do whatsoever he thought necessary to his own Preservation; subduing, hurting, or killing any Man, in order thereto. And this is the true Foundation of that Right of punishing, which is exercised in every Common-Wealth. For the Subjects did not give the Sovereign that Right, but only in laying down theirs, strengthen’d him to use his own, as he should think fit, for the Preservation of them all, so that it was not given, but left to him, and to him only.”54 It is evident, “That in this Power are contain’d, a Power to guard the Laws by Sanctions,” and “To cause those Sanctions to be executed,” and “To make War,” and, consequently, “All the Sinews of Government.” But what is this else than to say, “That all Rights of Empire may be overturn’d by all those Arguments, by which a Right of every one to every Thing is overturn’d,” which destroys it-self by implying infinite Contradictions, and which I have prov’d in the first Chapter, not to be supported by any Reason?
To all which I will here add this Remark only; “That, upon these Principles, any Enemy and Invader of a Foreign Dominion, has as good Right to kill lawful Princes, as Hobbes allows Kings to punish their rebellious Subjects”; which may make Subjects more remiss in defending their Princes from Foreign Invasion. An Enemy invades rightfully, because he has a Right to every Thing: And a Prince has no other Right to punish a Rebel, than because in a state of Nature he had a Right to all Things, and that Right is still left to him. Nay, a Subject (by Hobbes’s confession) becomes an Enemy by Rebellion; but every Enemy has that Primitive Right, as well as a Prince, “To punish every one at pleasure”: It therefore follows, “That a Rebellious Subject acquires, by his Rebellion, the same Right to punish his Prince at pleasure, which the Prince has to punish his Subject for any Crime whatsoever.”
5. The Power Hobbes ascribes to Princes, more than what other Philosophers have done, pernicious Flatteries, particularly;§XIII.55 5. “All those Powers, which, under the notion of Rights, he ascribes to supreme Powers, more than what other Writers concerning Government acknowledge, must, of necessity, weaken the Power and Firmness of Common-Wealths, if they were put in practice”; and he himself, in other places, denies them those same Rights; whence we have just Reason to suspect, “that he first inserted those Passages, only to flatter them.” I will give only two Instances, but those the Principal, 1. His attributing to them a Right to make what Laws they please concerning Property, Just and Unjust, Honest and Dishonest, Good and Evil. 2. His declaring them free from all Obligation by Compacts.
First, the pretended Right of making what Laws they please concerning Property, Just and Unjust, Good and Evil.On the first Head he writes thus. “What a Legislator has commanded, that we are to esteem Good, what he has forbid, Evil: He is the Legislator, in whom the supreme Power of the Common-Wealth is lodg’d”; and a little after, “Before Common-Wealths were form’d, there was no Difference of Just and Unjust, whose Nature relates to a Command, and every Action is in its own Nature indifferent.”56Except in Civil Life, there is no common Standard of Virtue and Vice to be found, which therefore can be no other, than the Laws of every Common-Wealth. For” (says he) “the Laws of Nature, after a Common-Wealth is establish’d, become part of the Laws of theState.”57 Hence he defines “a Crime, what any one has done, or omitted, said, or will’d, contrary to the Reason of the Common-Wealth, that is, contrary to the Laws.”58 Numberless are the Passages in which he inculcates this Doctrine, especially Cap. 6. §. 9. which he closes thus, “The Civil Laws are the Commands of him, who is invested with supreme Power in the Common-Wealth, with relation to the future Actions of his Subjects.”59 Truly, Whatever he commands to be done, tho’ it proceed from asudden Fit of Passion, and contradict his own deliberate written Laws, is a Law nevertheless, and the only Measure of Honesty. For he affirms, “That it cannot be exactly and certainly known, that the Laws promulg’d are enjoin’d by him who has the Sovereign Power, except by those who have received them from his own Mouth.”60 To apply such Laws, that is, Arbitrary Commands, to particular Cases, is to judge according to Laws, as he affirms in the close of the same Section;61 whether it be done, immediately by the Sovereign himself, or by any other, with whom the Power of promulging and interpreting these Laws is entrusted. But the great Privilege of Princes, which he endeavours to prove from hence, is this, “That they are incapable of committing a Crime,” and, consequently, “that they can never be justly blam’d”; because “they are not subject to the Laws of the State,” for “no-one can be brought under an Obligation to himself,” as he asserts C. 12. §. 4.62 And, therefore, “they cannot invade the Property of another”; for, since “their Will is the Law, whatever they will, is their legal Property; they can be guilty of no Dishonesty”; because “that only is Dishonest, which they forbid, whose Will is the only Measure of Honesty”; but “they forbid themselves nothing,” nor “can any one bebrought under an Obligation to himself.”63 And it is insidiously said by Hobbes, “That the Ruling Powers are not bound by Civil Laws,” because in truth there are many Civil Laws made, only to regulate the Actions of Subjects, which, consequently, bind them only. But the principal Point which Hobbes would here insinuate lies deeper, “That Rulers are neitheroblig’d by the Laws of Nature, nor by any others Reveal’d by God.” He has directly asserted, “That the Laws of Nature are not properly Laws,”64 and therefore are not properly Obligatory, except as they are part of the Laws of the State, (as I have already shewn;) and “That it is impossible, that Civil Laws can contradict the Laws of Nature.”65 He has also laid down both the Premisses of this Syllogism, and left the Conclusion to be drawn by any one that pleases. “The Sovereign Power is not oblig’d by Civil Laws. The Precepts of the second Table of the Decalogue are only Civil Laws,” Cap. 14. §. 9. Cap. 6. §. 16. C. 17. §. 10.66Therefore “the Sovereign Power is not oblig’d by those Precepts of the Decalogue,” (which are really Laws of Nature.) Elsewhere he affirms, “That the whole Body of the sacred Scriptures are in no other respect Laws, than as they are incorporated by the Sovereign Power into the Laws of the State, (which he may change at pleasure;)” and, therefore, “the Commands of Scripture do not oblige the Supreme Powers.” Leviath. C. 33.67 By these Arguments, truly, Hobbes has taken care, (out of his great Veneration for all Sovereign Powers,) to prove “they are wholly unblameable,” (how wicked soever all others may think them;) nay, “that they are most Just and Holy,” because “their Actions are conformable to their own Will, and therefore always agree with that, which is the only Rule of Action.” Whereas I am of Opinion, “That nothing more Reproachful can be said of Princes; nothing, which could expose them so much to the Hatred of all, both their own Subjects and Foreigners; and consequently nothing, which would so surely deprive them of the Good-Will of all, which is the greatest Security of Rulers.” For this Apology for Princes professedly allows all those Charges, which their bitterest Enemies usually draw up against them. “That their Actions are not at all regulated by any certain Rules, or Laws, taken from the Nature of the best End, and of the Means naturally fitted to that End”; and, therefore, That they are wholly lawless. He openly professes, That he cannot otherwise vindicate them from the Crimes laid to their Charge, than by endeavouring to shew, “That their Actions ought not to be reduced to the Standard of the Laws of Nature, or of the Scriptures, in that sense, in which others are oblig’d to obey them; but that they are Rules to be warp’d to the pleasure of Princes, so as to have no other meaning, than what they are pleas’d to put upon them; and that, by this method only, they can be justified from those Crimes, which seditious Spirits, for the most part falsly, lay to their charge.” Without doubt, all Good Princes will reject such a Defense, as no less false, than reproachful. And among the Bad, there is not one so perfectly profligate, who would not suffer and desire, that some, at least, of his Actions should be tried by some certain Rule besides his own Will; and, therefore, would justly spurn at this Defence by Mr. Hobbes.
68 Moreover, whilst Hobbes endeavours, by this method, to free Princes from all imputation of Fault, he is most highly injurious to them; because “at the same time, he deprives them of all Praise, arising from Wisdom and Justice.” For “those Virtues (and, consequently, all others which flow from them) are conspicuous in such Actions only, as are govern’d by certain Rules taken from the Nature of the subject Matter, about which they are conversant.” Practical Wisdom consists in the Skill of designing an End, or Effect, in its own Nature worth our Pains, and of chusing and applying means naturally sufficient to produce the design’d Effect. And Universal Justice is nothing else than a constant Will agreeing with that Wisdom, which designs the best and greatest End, the Common Good, as I have already shewn. No Praise, therefore, is due to Princes for the Practice of any Virtue, “if they themselves both act, and command others to act, according to Hobbes’s Doctrine, without any respect to the Nature of the End and the Means.” No Prince is reckon’d Wise, or Just, “for doing whatever chances to come into his Thoughts, or to be his Will, without any regard to the Nature of God and Men, and of those things which may be applied to their Service.” If every Action were Wise, and Just and Good, for no other Reason, but “because the Prince Will’d it,” there would remain no difference between Nero, whom the Senate condemn’d as an “Enemy of Mankind,” and Titus, to whom they gave the Title of the “Delight of Mankind”; no Praise, by which to distinguish Tiberius and Caligula from the two Antonines, the Pious and the Philosopher.69 All the Actions of each of these Emperors were equally agreeable to their own Will; and were, therefore, according to Hobbes, equally Good, Just, and Honest. But Mankind can never be so blinded, as not to see, “That the Safety of any particular Common-Wealth, (and, consequently, that of all Nations,) is a natural Effect, not of every Action of the Prince, or the Subjects, but of a due Search and Application (in Laws, Judicature, and the whole publick Administration) of those natural Causes, which are proper to preserve the Lives, Fortunes, and Minds of Men, in a perfect State.” These Causes are no other, than such Actions as I have already prov’d, to be commanded by the Laws of Nature; namely, “A voluntary Division of Things and mutual Services, by which may be assign’d and preserv’d to each, at least, what is necessary to the Preservation of Life and Health, and the Improvement of the Mind; the Exercise of all the Virtues, and the Establishment of Civil Government, where it is wanting, or the Preservation of it, where it is already established.” And, therefore, unless Sovereign Powers frame their Laws, and administer publick Affairs in such a manner, as to make it evident, “they have a view to this End and apply Means some way suitable thereto”; Subjects will of necessity lessen their Reverence for the Laws. For “Men, as being Rational, and in some measure endued with the Knowledge of Truth, do naturally and necessarily set a great Value upon that alone, which appears to be greatly Valuable; and therefore they set the greatest Value upon, and pay a sort of Divine Veneration to, that publick Administration of Affairs, which they see promotes the Publick Good, which is by much the greatest Effect of Human Industry.” But, because, on the contrary, “it is below the Dignity of the meanest of the People, to act without respect to an End, or to take improper Measures, even in Affairs of the smallest Consequence; and it is much more beneath the Dignity of Princes, to act wholly by a blind Impulse, without any care of the common Safety, by means naturally adapted to this End, in matters of the greatest Consequence; where the Interest of the whole Common-Wealth is concern’d”; therefore, “Men cannot so highly esteem the Laws of Princes, in which they plainly perceive any thing inconsistent with the Means necessary to this End, which are contain’d in the Laws of Nature, already explain’d.” Nevertheless I own, “That, where the same good End may be obtain’d by Actions of diverse kinds,” (such Actions are called Indifferent,) “it is not to be expected, that any weighty Reason should be given, why one indifferent Action is commanded, rather than another.” It is sufficient, “if the proper End may be obtain’d by the Method commanded.” For such a Command is truly rational; nor is Obedience to such a Command less rational, whether in Affairs Ecclesiastical, or Civil. I own farther, “that it is not necessary, that the whole Reason of every Law should be particularly explain’d to all”; it is sufficient, “if they are not inconsistent with, or may any way serve to promote, the chief End, and the Means necessary there to”; and, therefore, Princes usually Preface their Laws with Reasons, briefly drawn from the Publick Good, and the known Rules of Equity, as appears from many of the Constitutions of Justinian and Leo in the Body of the Civil Law, and in most of our own Acts of Parliament. But, on the contrary, to teach openly, “That it is owing only to the Command of the Common-Wealth, or of the Law, that any Action is Good, and the contrary, Evil; and that, therefore, the most useful Actions, if not commanded, conduce nothing to the Publick Good; and that it cannot be foreseen by the Legislators, that a good Effect will naturally follow from them,” (all which follow from Mr. Hobbes’s Doctrine;) this were to make the Government of Sovereigns, and the Obedience of Subjects, equally brutish and unreasonable; either of which Assertions is a Reproach to them both, and threatens the Ruin of the Common-Wealth. For, if every thing were Good, for this Reason, “that it is commanded by the Prince”; he would have no occasion for a Council, in order to deliberate, by what means the Safety of the Common-Wealth might best be provided for: Any Means would be best for this Reason, “that it was commanded.” For “the same Power, which can make Actions Good, can give them any Degrees of Goodness; and, consequently, make any Actions to be the best, or serviceable, beyond all others, to the Common-Wealth.” The Prince, who thinks his Commands thus Effectual, would in vain consult with Men of Experience. He will always believe his own Method of Government, however rash, to be the best, which he will find by experience to be of the worst Consequence, both to Himself and his Subjects.70
This Doctrine is the more pernicious to Princes, because “It at once hurries them on to Rashness in Action, and destroys all hope of correcting in their Laws, whatever, thro’ human Frailty, may be foundamiss in them.” For Hobbes has taken away all Standard of Good and Evil, except the single Will of Sovereign Powers; and has, therefore, left no Rule, by which That, when Wrong, may be set Right. Yet we see, that all States and Princes every where candidly and freely own in subsequent Laws, “That they have observ’d many Things not sufficiently provided for in former Laws”; and, “That they themselves have learn’d by experience, that many things are prejudicial to the Common-Wealth, which they before were of opinion would be of publick Benefit”; consequently, they openly acknowledge, “That they have discover’d, from the natural Effects of Human Actions, what kind of Actions will be publickly Useful, or Good”; and, therefore, “That they cannot make all such Actions Good, as they are pleas’d to command.” To this Head belongs all amendment of Civil Laws, and of Judicial Sentences given in pursuance of them by Equity and the known Rules of the Law of Nature. For which there would be no Room, “If Civil Laws only, (or the Will of the Prince made known by them,) were the Rule of Action.” But it is certain, “That no Common-Wealth can subsist long, where such Equity is excluded”: And, therefore, in all Common-Wealths we know, “Many things are left to the decision of Equity, in a manner different from what the Laws determine.” Wherefore Princes themselves every where reject this Privilege, which Hobbes allows them.
71Lastly; “Hobbes contradicts himself upon this Head, and deprives Common-Wealths of what he had before allow’d them.” So C. 6. §. 13. after he has given Examples of unjust Commands, with respect to which he denies, that the Subject is oblig’d to obey the Common-Wealth, as in case of a Command to kill himself, his Prince, or his Parent, he proceeds thus. “There are many other Cases, in which what is commanded, being unlawful to some, but not to others, the latter may justly obey, but not the former; and that consistently with the absolute Right granted to the Sovereign Power. For the Right is in no Case taken away from him, of putting those to Death, who shall refuse Obedience. But they, who thus put Subjects to Death, altho’ they do it by a Right granted from him who had Authority to do so, yet using that Right, otherwise than right Reason requires, sin against the Laws of Nature, that is, against God.”72 In this Passage I observe, 1. That Hobbes confesses, “Some things are unlawful to some, tho’ they are enjoin’d by the Will of the Supreme Power, or by the Laws of the State”; whence it follows, “That the Laws of the State are not the only Standard of what is Lawful,” which he has elsewhere affirm’d. 2. That he confesses, “That Sovereigns, when they punish Subjects for disobeying their Laws, may sin against right Reason, the Laws of Nature, and God”; tho’ he has elsewhere affirm’d, “That their Commands cannot contradict the Law of Nature, because their Subjects have covenanted to yield them absolute Obedience.”73 3. It implies a Contradiction, where he affirms, “That they can use their Right otherwise than right Reason directs.” For “No one can have a Right to act contrary to right Reason,” because Hobbes himself defines “Right” to be “The Liberty which every one has to use his Natural Faculties according to right Reason.”74 And elsewhere he teaches, That “Sovereign Powers may many ways sin against the rest of Natures Laws, as by Cruelty, Injustice, Reproach, and by other Crimes, which are not properly Injuries,”75 that is, are no breach of Compact.
I shall presently76 inquire into this last Crime.77 Here I shall only take notice, “That he confesses that the Wills of those who have the Right of making Laws may be corrupted by many Vices,” whence it follows, “That he prescribes some certain Rule of Action, even to Sovereigns,” and consequently, “That he does not leave every thing to their Will”: Whence I infer, “That Subjects are certainly no less oblig’d by such Laws of Nature”; and therefore, “That all their Actions ought not to be in Obedience to the Will of their Sovereigns, unless they would chuse to sin against God in Obedience to Man.” And thus much Hobbes himself has own’d, where he treats of the Duties which are owing to Men. To the same purpose he acknowledges, where he treats of the Commands of Natural Reason, about the Worship and Respect due to God. For after he had affirm’d, “That Obedience is to be given to the Common-Wealth, commanding us to worship God by an Image,” (that is, openly commanding Idolatry,) and other gross Absurdities of that Kind, he confesses, That “such Commands may be contrary to right Reason, and, therefore, may be Sins in those who command them”;78 and he acknowledges, That “Common-Wealths are not at their Liberty, nor can be said to make Laws, with respect to God”; and, consequently, “That they have no Right to make Laws, to the dishonour of God.”79 Whence I infer, “That the Reason of the Common-Wealth, is not always Right,” and, consequently, “That it is not always the Measure of what is Good, Honest and Just; but then only, when it is conformable to the Nature of those Things, or Actions about which it is conversant”; and, therefore, That Hobbes contradicts himself, elsewhere (C. 14. §. 17.) defining “Sin” to be nothing else, than “what is contrary to the Reason of the Common-Wealth.”80
Secondly, The pretended freedom of Supreme Powers, from all Obligation by Compacts to their Subjects.81 There remains to be consider’d the second Instance of exorbitant Power, which Hobbes gives to Sovereigns, which is not so extensive as the former, and might have been comprehended under it: But, because Hobbes has handled it a-part, and because it is press’d with Absurdities peculiar to it-self, I thought it proper also to considerit distinctly, namely, That Sovereign Powers are bound by no Compacts to any One. It is incumbent upon me to shew, “That this pretended Right of theirs, does in reality lessen or destroy their Power, and that he is not here very consistent with himself.” This is affirm’d by him in general terms C. 7. §. 14. and is inferr’d from what he has advanc’d §. 7, 9, 12. of the same Chapter,82 in which he speaks of Compacts with their Subjects only, by which he denies Princes are obliged, and therefore concludes, “They can do no Injury to their Subjects.”
This is an Opinion before unheard of, new out of Mr. Hobbes’s Mint. For Epicurus, from whom he has borrow’d most of his other Sentiments, altho’ “He has much weakened Justice in its other Parts, allowing them no other Force, than what they receive from the Faith of Compacts,” yet, “Would have this unshaken in every State.”83 Let us then hear Hobbes’s Reason, by which he would support so extraordinary a Paradox. It is to be taken wholly from C. 7. §. 7. where he affirms, That “The People84are bound by no Obligation to any Subject.”85For “The other Kinds of Sovereign Powers, the Senate in an Aristocracy, and a Monarch, receive all their Rights, according to Hobbes’s Doctrine, from the People,” and are, therefore, “Freed from the Obligation of Compacts, in the same manner with the People.” Take it in his own Words from the Place last quoted, “Aftera Common-Wealth is established, if a Subject enters into a Compact with the People, it is void; because the People include, in their Will, the Will of that Subject, to whom they are suppos’d to be oblig’d, and, therefore, they can free themselves at pleasure, and, consequently, they are now actually free.”86 The force of this Reasoning lies here. Because “A Subject has power to free any one from the Obligation of Compacts enter’d into with himself, by renouncing his own Right; and has conveyed all his Power to the People”; therefore “The People can free themselves from their own Compacts,” and “What they can, they will.”
I answer, 1. No Reason can be brought to prove, that at the framing the Common-Wealth, the future Subjects agreed in this grant to the People, “That it should be in their Power to free themselves from all Obligation of Compacts they should afterwards make with the Subjects themselves”: For “This is so far from being necessary to the forming a Civil Government, that it is wholly inconsistent with that End, for which it is form’d, The common Happiness of all.” I own it is necessary, “They should renounce all Right, to compell those, whom they have invested with Sovereign Power.” But there is another Obligation, by which the People are bound to observe Compacts enter’d into with their Subjects, the Obligation of the Law of Nature, which owes both its Authority and Sanction to God. “The Benefit arising from this, Subjects can safely reserve to themselves,” and it is to be suppos’d, “That it is their Will to reserve it,” because it is necessary to the common End. And truly I believe, “That it is neither lawful for Subjects to give their Sovereigns a Liberty to break their Faith, nor lawful for Sovereigns to accept it when offer’d,” because “The Obligation to the Law of Nature cannot be dispens’d with”; by which, for the sake of the Common Good, both Parties are oblig’d by the Authority of God, to procure, as far as in them lies, that the Faith of Compacts be preserv’d inviolable.
2. I answer, That the Inference is false, by which Hobbes immediately draws his Conclusion. “The People can free themselves by their own Will, therefore they are actually free.” The falsity of the Inference is hence evident, because “The Contradiction to Hobbes’s Conclusion, may be inferr’d by a Consequence just as good, Thus.” The People can chuse, not to free themselves (from the Obligation of their Compacts) by their own Will, therefore they are not actually free. In neither Case will the Consequence hold, from the Power to the Will in free Agents. The only Reason why, upon Mr. Hobbes’s Principles, the former Conclusion should rather hold good than the latter, is this, “That he supposes all Mankind, and consequently Princes, cannot but Will what is Evil to others, if ever so little Power accrues thence to themselves.” But I beseech the Reader to observe, “How odious to their Subjects, and consequently how weak, this would make Princes.” Why might we not as well infer, “That it is the Will of the People, to neglect that Security which is necessary to the Subjects,” because “They have a Power to do so?” And then every Common-Wealth would be dissolv’d immediately, because (according to Hobbes, C. 6. §. 3, 4.87 ) “No-one is supposed to have submitted himself, or to have stept out of a State of War against All, if he be not sufficiently secur’d by Punishments so great, that it would be evidently a greater Evil, to hurt a Subject, than not to hurt him.” The Common-Wealth can indeed sometimes lawfully dispense with punishing a guilty Person. It were, nevertheless, of mischievous consequence thence to conclude, “That the State is free from all Obligation to punish the Guilty.”
From what I have said, I think it is plain, “That Hobbes has not sufficiently prov’d this extraordinary Doctrine of his, which sets Sovereigns free from any Obligation, to keep Compacts they make with their Subjects.” I have at the same time prov’d “It of pernicious consequence to Common-Wealths.” To which I will add only this, “That Sovereign Powers can neither be set up, nor preserv’d, by Men making use of their Reason, but for some End common to them All”; that is, unless it appear, “That their Government will be a means to promote the Publick Welfare, of those especially, by whom it is set up and preserved.” But, because this is future, and depends upon the Will of the Sovereigns, it can no otherwise be ascertain’d, than from the Promises, or Compacts, (which may be confirmed by Oath,) of the Supreme Powers, and from their Care that they be exactly observ’d. Hobbes, therefore, having destroyed the Obligation of such Compacts, there remains no Reason, “Why Subjects should hope that Sovereigns would perform these Compacts”; there is likewise no Reason, “Why Sovereigns should trouble themselves about keeping their Promises,” and so all Reason is taken away, “Why States should be either erected, or continued,” and so of course “They fall to the ground.” Nay farther; “That Subjects may have no Security left, from any thing their Sovereigns can say,” Hobbes advances, That “An Oath adds nothing to the Obligation of Compacts,” C. 2. §. 22.88 And therefore, “Where the Obligation of Compacts is void,” (which, according to Hobbes’s Doctrine, is the case, where Princes Covenant,) “The Obligation of Oaths added to them, at Coronations and in some Leagues, will likewise be void and null.” This makes the Condition wretched, not of Subjects only, but of Princes also; for, “If this Doctrine were true, their Subjects would never have reason to believe them, nor is there any method left, by which they could assure Men who deserv’d well at their Hands, that they should receive the Rewards they promised them.” But in these Circumstances, (where there is no Faith, no prospect of Rewards,) the Power of Princes is nothing, and all the Sinews of Civil Government are cut asunder, by which they might move their Subjects to Fidelity, or Courage, in Peace, or War.
89 Let us now inquire “What Hobbes’s Sentiments are, of Compacts between different States.” This we may discover with ease, from what he before affirmed of the State of Nature, in which he alledges, “That the Laws of Nature do not oblige to external Acts.”90But “To keep Faith, and to perform Compacts, is a Precept of the Law of Nature, and an external Act is here requisite.” So he affirms “That the Laws of Nature are silent in the midst of Arms,”91 (or in a State of War of every one against every one,) at least “With relation to external Actions”; and, “That those common Measures, which are usually observed in War between Nation and Nation, are not to be looked upon, as what they are obliged to by the Law of Nature.” He elsewhere (C. 13. §. 7.) gives a direct Answer to this Question, “The State of Common-Wealths with respect to one another” (says he) “Is a State of Nature, that is, a State of War. Neither, if they leave off Fighting, is it therefore to be called Peace, but a Breathing-time, in which each Enemy, watching the Motion and Countenance of the other, judges of his own Security, not from Compacts, but from the Forces and Counsels of his Adversary. And this from the Law of Nature, as is shewn, Chap. 2. §. 11. from this, That Compacts are not Obligatory in a State of Nature, whenever a just Fear interposes.”92“In all times” (says he, Leviath. C. 13.) “Kings, and Persons of Sovereign Authority are in a Posture of War.”93 But “What is a just Cause of Fear in the one Party, That the other Party will not perform his Promise, he who Fears, is the proper Judge,” according to Hobbes, C. 2. §. 11.94 And, therefore, “Any new Cause of Suspicion will be sufficient to make void any Compact of mutual Trust,” (such all Leagues between different States are,) as is evident from the Passages already quoted, compared with Leviath. C. 14.95because, truly, “There is no Power which can compell both States, to hinder one from deceiving the other.” Upon these Principles has Hobbes allow’d “A Right to Princes, to falsify their Faith to other Princes, whenever they please.” This, tho’ it seem to flatter them, under the appearance of Liberty, does in truth greatly weaken their Power, and leaves them hardly any Security. For “There is no State Self-sufficient, or that can support it-self against the united Force of all neighbouring States, except in Confederacy with other Nations, by means of Treaties of Commerce and of mutual Aid.” And this even those Princes, who are most guilty of Breach of Faith, are sensible of. For “They no sooner break their Leagues with one State, or Monarch, than they find it necessary to strengthen themselves with new Alliances, to prevent being oblig’d to fight singly against all”; and so change their Leagues or Compacts, but do not reject all; and, by having recourse to the Faith of Others, condemn “their own Perfidiousness.”
Farther; it is evident by common Experience, “That all States limit the Power of other States by the help of Leagues, and that it is a principal part of Political Prudence, to know the various methods of balancing the Power of their Enemies by Leagues.” But these could never take place, “if Compacts of mutual Faith between different States, were not obligatory,” according to Hobbes’s Doctrine. If these things were true, “our King,96 when he was banish’d from his own Dominions, by a Rebellion prevailing in Britain, might justly have been put to death, (I mention it with Horror,) by the French, Spaniards, or Dutch, among whom he sojourn’d; and that after Friendship promis’d by Compacts.” But God instructed them better by the Laws of Nature imprinted upon their Minds; tho’ Hobbes at that very time publish’d, thro’ France and Holland, his Doctrine favouring Perfidiousness, and boasted he had demonstrated it in his Treatise De Cive, and inculcated the same among the English by his Leviathan.97
Lastly; “If the State of Common-Wealths, with respect to one another, were necessarily a State of Enmity, and Force and Wiles were therein Cardinal Virtues, as Hobbes teaches, Leviath. C. 13.,98 there would be no Intercourse, or Commerce among them, which would deprive them all of many Advantages, they now enjoy.” Princes would then receive no Customs arising from Traffick, and so would lose a great part of that Wealth, by which they are now strengthen’d; there would be no safety, nor indeed any use for Ambassadors; for it were vain to make Leagues, if the slightest Suspicion of Non-performance render’d them immediately void, as he affirms Lev. C. 14. These, truly, are the glorious Privileges, which Hobbes offers to Princes; these are the Gifts and no-Gifts, which he bestows on them. Yet he himself has justly render’d suspected his so great Officiousness to serve Princes, because he avows, “That to flatter others, is to honour them”; because, truly, “it is a sign that we stand in need of their Protection, or Assistance,” (Lev. C. 10. P. 45. of the Latin Edition.99 ) But it is obvious, “That to say things which we believe to be false of any one, provided they seem great, is essential to Flattery.” Princes have, therefore, just ground to suspect, “that Hobbes has complimented them with such Powers, not because he believ’d them true, since he so often contradicts himself, upon that Head, but because they seem’d to be great, and he believ’d he did them Honour by Flattering.”
6. Hobbes’s Doctrine concerning Treason encourages subjects to commit that Crime.§XIV.100 6. “Hobbes’s Doctrine concerning Treason,” consider’d in company with the principal of his other peculiar Notions, “encourages Subjects to commit this Crime”; and, therefore, “tends openly to the Subversion of Civil Government.”
For he affirms, That this Crime “is a Trans gression of the Law of Nature, not of the Civil Law.” And, consequently, “those guilty of this Crime are punish’d, not by Right of Dominion, but by Right of War; not as bad Subjects, but as Enemies of the Common-Wealth.”101 It is obvious hence to conclude, “That any Member of the State, may, by Rebellion, free himself from the condition of a Subject, and transfer himself into a Hostile or Natural State.” Hence it directly follows, “That this Rebel has recover’d his Natural Right to put his Sovereign, from whom he has revolted, to death, in like manner as his Sovereign has a Right to put him to death.” For in a State of War, or Hobbes’s State of Nature, the Rights are on both sides equal. It will farther follow, “That a Subject deserves no other Punishment for Treason, than that to which he is expos’d for defending his Right to the Necessaries of Life in a State of Nature.” For then also he will be treated as an Enemy, by any other claiming to himself a Right to all things. Nay, Hobbes openly teaches (Leviath.C. 28.) That “Harm inflicted upon one that is a declar’d Enemy, (tho’before subject to the Law,) falls not under the name of Punishment.”102 Whence it follows, “That Rebels are not liable to any Punishment, tho’ they are expos’d to the Calamities of the State of Nature.” Farther; since there are numerous Civil Laws in most States, particularly our own, which have enacted most grievous Punishments against Traytors, nothing can be affirm’d more in opposition to the Laws, than “that they are not liable to Punishment, or that their Crime is no Transgression of the Laws of the State, which threaten them with Punishment.” It is a ridiculous Evasion to say, That “the Obligation is superfluous to that which we were before oblig’d to, by the Law of Nature.”103Several Bonds are certainly a stronger Tie than a single One. Beside; he himself has many ways attempted to weaken, or even to destroy, the Obligation of the Law of Nature; and it was therefore necessary, “To have recourse to the assistance of Civil Laws”; that they, whom he had instructed to throw off all Reverence for the former, might be kept within some Bounds of Duty, thro’ fear of the Civil Power. For it is evident, “That every thing, which weakens or destroys the Obligation of the Laws of Nature, especially, of that which commands Fidelity in keeping Compacts, does so far extenuate or take away the Sin in Treason; and does, consequently, allure Men to perpetrate that detestable Crime.” Therefore, whether Hobbes will, or no, he solicites Men to be guilty of this Crime, as often as he affirms, “That the practical Dictates of Reason are improperly called Laws, and are only Theorems, concerning such things as conduce to the Preservation of Men,” as Leviath. Chap. 15. and De Cive Chap. 3.§.33.104 where he says indeed, “That, as they are enacted by God in Scripture, they are properly Laws”; but, if we inquire of him, “Whence the Holy Scripture is a Law?” He answers Leviath. C. 3. “That they to whom God has not supernaturally revealed, That the Scriptures are from him, are oblig’d by no Authority to receive them, except His, who is invested with supreme Power in the Common-Wealth; for He is the only Law-giver.”105 Hence it follows, “That the Law of Nature, even as contain’d in Scripture, is not properly a Law, except by the Sanction of the State.” For, altho’ he just before acknowledges, “That it is the Law of God, and of manifest Authority”; yet, because he would have this Authority to be no other, than what belongs to every Moral Doctrine, if true, he would insinuate, “That it is not sufficient to make them Laws properly so call’d, if they be not enacted by the Authority of the Common-Wealth.” It will hence follow, “That Treason is not forbid by any Law properly so called,” and therefore, “That it is not properly a Crime.” For “the Law of Nature forbidding it,” according to Hobbes, “is not properly a Law”; and, according to him, “this Crime is not a Transgression of the Law enacted by the Civil Power.”
All those Passages also favour this Crime, where he affirms, “That the Laws of Nature,” (for Example, this of keeping Compacts, by which Rebellion is forbid,) “do not oblige to external Acts,” (for Example, do not forbid the external Act of Regicide;) “except sufficient Security be given to every one by the Civil Power, which can compell both Parties to obey the Laws of Nature, that they shall not be injur’d by any others,”C. 5. §. 1, 2, &c.106 But here he teaches, “That the Civil Power it-self can neither be constituted, nor preserv’d safe from Treason, except by virtue of the Obligation of the Law of Nature,” which, if it does not reach even to external Acts, Princes will not be secure from Rebellion. Wherefore he must needs confess, “That the Civil Power, and the Obligation to obey it,” (in the intire Violation whereof Treason consists,) “are supported by a Foundation, which he himself has taught to be of no validity, but whilst it is supported by the force of its own Effect.” But it is impossible, “That the Effect can, before it exists, give strength to its Cause, by which it must be at first produc’d, and afterwards preserv’d.” But whatever invalidates the ground of the Obligation to Civil Obedience, that lessens, or rather takes away intirely, the Crime in Treason, by which is at once thrown off all Obedience to the Civil Power.
Lastly; “Men are animated to Rebellion by Hobbes’s Principles, as they allow equally all Rights of Empire, to those who have ascended the Throne by Rebellion, or Regicide, as to Kings with the best Titles.” This is evident, because he openly declares, “That from the natural Right of every one to all Things, every one has a Right, coeval with his Nature, to rule over All.”107 And, therefore, “whoever can any how shake off all superior Power, does, in so doing, remove all Impediment debarring him of the Exercise of his Right”; and, after he has seiz’d the Throne, according to these Principles, “he shall be esteem’d rightfully possess’d of it, and,” consequently, “no Usurper.” Hence it is that Hobbes, consistently enough with his own Principles, affirms, “That, in time of Rebellion and Civil War, there are two supreme Powers form’d out of one,” C. 6. §. 13.108 The Author of the Civil War has by his Rebellion, truly, acquir’d Sovereign Power over his Accomplices, and may rightfully defend himself and them against their Sovereign; as I have before shewn, from the express Words of the Leviathan. Hence also he most justly confesses, in the Epistle Dedicatory prefix’d to his Leviathan, That “he defends the supreme Powers, as the Geese, by their cackling, defended the Romans, who held the Capitol”; for “they favour’d them no more than the Gauls their Enemies, but were as ready to have defended the Gauls, if they had been possess’d of the Capitol.”109 The Reader may compare, (if he thinks it worth while,) the Epistle before his English Edition of the Leviathan, which was publish’d, when the Rebellion in Britain was at the height, and our lawful King banish’d, (where he professes this Doctrine more openly,) with the Latin Edition of the same, somewhat chang’d, where he thought it proper to insinuate the same Thing more covertly, after our most gracious Sovereign had recover’d his Rights.110 What I have already said, seems to me a sufficient Proof, “That Hobbes, whilst he pretends with one Hand to bestow Gifts upon Princes, does with the other treacherously strike a Dagger to their Hearts.”
I. A Summary of the Controversy between Dr. Samuel Clark and an anonymous Author, concerning The Immateriality of Thinking Substance.
II. A Treatise concerning the Obligation, Promulgation, and Observance, of the Law of Nature.
Printed in the Year M. DCC. XXVII.
[1. ][Maxwell] “That is, in the foregoing Commands.”
[2. ]Descartes, La Géométrie, II.
[3. ][Maxwell] “The true Foundation of the Power of Husbands over their Wives seems this, That in a Society of two, ’tis necessary there should be in one the casting Voice: The generally greater Ability of Men for management of private Affairs does make it Prudent in any State, if they make a general Regulation, to lodge the casting Voice in the Man, where the Parties make no contrary Agreement. The Gospel has done no more. But in this Case I see not, why the old Axiom may not take place, Provisio Hominis tollit provisionem Legis; as well as in Jointures, Division of Estates, and many other Cases, where the Regulation of the Law is only to take Place, when the Parties have made no contrary Covenant. So the Woman, knowing the general Regulation, either Divine, or Civil, and yet contracting Marriage without reserve, does tacitly contract to submit herself. But, if any Woman, conscious of her Superiority of Sense, or Fortune, should stipulate the contrary, and the Man consent, she would have Right, by the Law of Nature, to the same Dominion, which now is in the Husband, according to the Custom of our Country; nor do I see that the Gospel would invalidate this Contract. Greater Strength of either Body, or Mind, is not universal in Men.” Maxwell seems to be following Locke’s argument here, Two Treatises of Government, II.82.
[4. ][Maxwell] “Parental Power is wholly upon a different Foundation from Civil, see Mr. Locke on Government. Nor does the Mosaick History assert such Power in Parents, much less in elder Brothers, as can be called Civil Power.” See Locke, Two Treatises of Government, II.1–3; Cf. Pufendorf, De Jure Naturae, VI.2.10.
[5. ][Maxwell] “There is nothing in this Section contrary to the Right of Resistance in Subjects, who have reserv’d to themselves certain Privileges in the Constitution of the supreme Power, or who see the supreme Magistrate openly counteracting all Ends of Government. This Resistance does not suppose the Subjects Superior to the supreme Magistrate, nor that they have a proper Right of punishing him, any more than the rising in Arms against an Independent State upon their Invading us, supposes us Superior to them, or having a Right, as Superiors, to judge, or punish them.” Although Maxwell wishes to reconcile Cumberland’s statement with the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Cumberland is unlikely to have supported such a position in 1672, and his argument explicitly endorses an account of passive obedience. Indeed, Cumberland’s text is remarkable for the absence of any discussion of tyrannicide.
[6. ]Section IX of the Latin text begins here. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 390.
[7. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 7.12, p. 96.
[8. ]Ibid., 7.14, p. 97.
[9. ]Hobbes, De Homine, X.3, p. 59.
[10. ]The quotation translates the passage from Hobbes’s Leviathan, printed in his Opera Philosophica (1668), ch. 13, p. 65: “Naturam hominess dissociavisse, & ad mutuam caedam aptos produxisse.” The milder English version reads: “that nature should thus dissociate, and render men apt to invade and destroy one another.” Hobbes, Leviathan, (1994), ch. 13, pp. 76–77.
[11. ]Section X of the Latin text begins here. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 391.
[12. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 14.17, p. 162–63.
[13. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 3.2ff.
[14. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 6, pp. 28–29.
[15. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 12.1, pp. 131–32.
[16. ]Ibid., 14.17, pp. 162–63.
[17. ]Ibid., 2.1n, p. 33.
[18. ]Ibid., 15.18, pp. 183–85.
[19. ]Ibid., 6.13, pp. 81–84; 7.14, p. 97.
[20. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 6, p. 29.
[21. ]Ibid., ch. 5, p. 23.
[22. ]Section XI of the Latin text begins here. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 392.
[23. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 5, p. 29.
[24. ]In the margin Cumberland added the following: “It follows from this, that the subjects need respect the laws of their sovereign no more than the fall of the dice; and that they would be acting just as reasonably if they allowed decisions to be made about their lives by any sort of blind fate, as if they subjected themselves to the judgement of princes whose reason can never be safely directed by the nature of things.” The addition is deleted, but it is not clear whether by Cumberland or Bentley. Cumberland, Trinity College MS.adv.c.2.4, p. 393.
[25. ]Section XII in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 393.
[26. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 1.7–10, pp. 27–29.
[27. ]Ibid., 2.4, pp. 34–35.
[28. ]Ibid., 2.18, pp. 39–40.
[29. ]Ibid., 5.7, p. 72.
[30. ]Section XIII of the Latin text begins here. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 394.
[31. ]Hobbes, Leviathan (1668), ch. 21, p. 109.
[32. ]Ibid., p. 143. The change to the lines in the Latin edition is typical of several alterations that Hobbes made to tone down the argument of Leviathan.
[33. ]Section XIV in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 396.
[34. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 8.3, p. 103.
[35. ]Ibid., 8.9, p. 105; cf. Pufendorf, De Jure Naturae, VI.3.6; Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis, III.7.1, 6.
[36. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 8.4, pp. 103–4.
[37. ]Ibid., 8.1. In his note, Maxwell paraphrases Hobbes in Latin, which can be translated as follows: “The natural commonwealth (as distinguished from the commonwealth by institution) is acquired by natural power and strength . . . if, on being captured or defeated in war, or losing hope in one’s strength, one makes (to avoid death) a promise to the victor or the stronger party, to serve him, i.e. to do all that he shall command.”
[38. ]Not a quotation from Hobbes, but an argument based upon the implications of On the Citizen, 8.3–4, pp. 103–4.
[39. ]Section XV in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 397.
[40. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 2.11, p. 37.
[41. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 5.54.
[42. ]Section XVI in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 398.
[43. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 2.22, p. 41.
[44. ]Ibid., 2.12, 13, pp. 37–38: “From the fact that acceptance of the transferred right is a requirement of all gifts and agreements, it follows that no-one can make an agreement with someone who gives no sign of acceptance. . . . Nor can one enter in to agreements with the majesty of God, nor be bound by a vow to him, except in so far as it has pleased him, through the holy scriptures, to make certain men his substitutes, with authority to review and accept such vows and agreements and to accept them as his representatives. Thus men who live in a state of nature, where they are not bound by any civil law, make vows in vain (unless they know by certain revelation that the will of God accepts their vow or agreement).”
[45. ]Ibid., 2.22, p. 41.
[46. ]Section XVII in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 399.
[47. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 5.12, p. 74.
[48. ]Ibid., 6.20, p. 90; Leviathan, ch. 17, p. 109.
[49. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 1.14, p. 38; 8.1, pp. 102–3; 9.2, p. 108.
[50. ]Ibid., 2.4, pp. 34–35.
[51. ]Ibid., 6.13, p. 82.
[52. ]Ibid.: “The obligation to offer it [simple obedience] does not arise directly from the agreement by which we transferred every right to the common-wealth, but indirectly, i.e. from the fact that the right of Government would be meaningless without obedience, and consequently no common-wealth would have been formed at all.”
[53. ]Ibid., 15.5, pp. 173–74.
[54. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 28, p. 204.
[55. ]Section XVIII in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 403.
[56. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 12.1, pp. 131–32.
[57. ]Hobbes, De Homine, XIII.9, p. 75.
[58. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 14.17, p. 163.
[59. ]Ibid., 6.9, p. 79.
[60. ]Ibid., 14.13, p. 160.
[61. ]Ibid., p. 161.
[62. ]Ibid., 12.4, pp. 134–35.
[64. ]Ibid., 3.33, pp. 56–57.
[65. ]Ibid., 14.10, pp. 158–59: “Since therefore the obligation to observe those laws is older than the promulgation of the laws themselves, because contained in the actual formation of the commonwealth, natural law commands that all civil laws be observed in virtue of the natural law which forbids the violation of agreements. For when we are obligated to obey before we know what orders will be given, then we are obligated to obey universally and in all things. From this it follows that no civil law can be contrary to natural law except a law which has been framed as a blasphemy against God (for in relation to Him commonwealths themselves are not sui juris, and are not said to make laws).”
[66. ]Ibid., 14.9, p. 158; 6.16, pp. 86–87; 17.10, pp. 213–14.
[67. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 33, pp. 250–61.
[68. ]Section XIX begins here in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 406.
[69. ]For Nero’s reputation, see Pliny, Natural History, VII.45; for Titus, see Suetonius, Vitae duodecim Caesarum, XI.1.
[70. ]Cumberland manuscript annotation: “Experience, drawn on the nature of the effects necessarily produced by human actions, teaches all men, that the surest way is to deliberate with people educated by long observation of what has happened, for having noted the natural results of such and such an action which has already occurred, they usually foresee those of similar actions which are to occur.” Cumberland, Trinity College MS.adv.c.2.4, p. 408.
[71. ]Section XX begins here in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 409.
[72. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 6.13, p. 83.
[73. ]Ibid., 14.10, pp. 158–59.
[74. ]Ibid., 1.7, p. 27.
[75. ]Ibid., 7.14, p. 97: “There are however many ways in which a people, a council of optimates and a Monarch can sin against natural laws, by cruelty, for example, or by unreasonableness, by insolence and by other vices, which do not come under the strict and accurate signification of wrong.”
[76. ][Maxwell] “In the following Paragraph, and to the end of the Chapter.”
[77. ][Maxwell] “Breach of Compact.”
[78. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 15.18, pp. 183–85: “For instance, if an order were given to worship God in the form of an image in the presence of people who believe that to do so is a sign of honour? Certainly it must be done. . . . For although such commands may sometimes be against right reason, and are therefore sins in those who command them, yet they are not against right reason nor sins in subjects.”
[79. ]Ibid., 14.10, p. 159.
[80. ]Ibid., 14.17, pp. 162–63.
[81. ]Section XXI begins here in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 411.
[82. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 7.14, p. 97: “Since it has been shown above (articles 7, 9, 12) that those who have obtained sovereign power in a commonwealth are not bound by any agreements to anyone”; 7.7, p. 95; 7.9, p. 96; 7.12, p. 96.
[83. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 5.54.
[84. ][Maxwell]: “In a Democracy.”
[85. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 7.7, p. 95.
[87. ]Ibid., 6.3, 4, pp. 77–78.
[88. ]Ibid., 2.22, p. 41.
[89. ]Section XXII begins here in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 415.
[90. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 5.50.
[91. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 5.2, pp. 69–70: “It is a commonplace that laws are silent among arms. This is true not only of the civil laws but also of natural law, if it is applied to actions rather than to state of mind.”
[92. ]Ibid., 13.7, pp. 144–45; Cumberland silently corrects Hobbes’s mistaken reference to 2.10 in On the Citizen.
[93. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 13, p. 78.
[94. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 2.11, p. 37.
[95. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 14, p. 84.
[96. ]Charles II.
[97. ]On the Citizen was published in Paris in 1642, with the second edition appearing in Amsterdam in 1647. Leviathan was published in London in 1651, the Latin version was published in Amsterdam with the 1668 edition of Hobbes’s two-volume Opera.
[98. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 13, p. 78.
[99. ]Ibid., ch. 10, p. 52.
[100. ]Section XXIII begins here in the Latin text. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, p. 417.
[101. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 14.21, 22, p. 166.
[102. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 28, p. 205.
[103. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 14.21, p. 166.
[104. ]Ibid., 3.33, pp. 56–57; Leviathan, ch. 15, p. 100.
[105. ]Ibid., ch. 33, p. 259. Maxwell’s reference in the text omits a “3.”
[106. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 5.1, 2, pp. 69–70.
[107. ]Ibid., 15.5, p. 173.
[108. ]Ibid., 6.13, p. 82.
[109. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, Dedicatory Epistle, p. 2; the reference is to Livy, History of Rome, V.47.
[110. ]Cumberland is referring to the slight changes Hobbes made to the Latin version of the dedication. In the English edition, Hobbes had written: “But yet, methinks, the endeavour to advance the civil power, should not be by the civil power condemned; nor private men, by reprehending it, declare they think that power too great.” This is replaced with “But I see no reason why either side would be angry with me. For I do but magnify as much as I can the civil power, which any one who possesses it wishes to be as great as possible.” Hobbes, Leviathan, Dedicatory Epistle, pp. 1–2 and n. 4.