Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE PREFACE. - A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts
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THE PREFACE. - Josiah Tucker, A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts 
A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts (London: T. Cadell, 1781).
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THE long preliminary Discourse, which I had printed in the Specimen dispersed among my Friends, is now totally suppressed. It was their Opinion, that such an Enumeration of Errors, as were there collected together out of Mr. Locke’s Writings, was needless at present; because the Degree of Infallibility, which had been ascribed to his Name and Works, is now greatly lessened. They likewise thought, that such a Catalogue of Mistakes might be made Use of by a subtle Adversary, as an Handle to divert the Attention of the Reader from the main Point, to that which was foreign to the principal Design. I am persuaded of the Justice of these Remarks; and I do hereby request my worthy Friends to accept of my grateful Acknowledgments.
My present Design is to speak to another Subject. Some there are, who think it impossible, that such a Man as Mr. Locke, ever meant to patronize those dangerous Consequences, which his Followers, and particularly Mr. Molineux, and Dr. Price, have deduced from his Principles. They wish, therefore, that all the Censure might sall on the Disciples, and not on the Master. In Reply to this. I submit to them and the Public the following Considerations.
1st.—That Mr. Molineux was Mr. Locke’s Acquaintance, Correspondent, and bosom Friend; that he sent him his famous Book, the Case of Ireland, as a Present;—that he desired his Opinion thereon; which though Mr. Locke declined, or rather deferred to give;—yet he never once hinted, that Mr. Molineux had mistaken his Principles, and had ascribed Consequences to him, which he must disavow. [See the whole Correspondence carried on between them in Mr. Locke’s Works.] Moreover, I desire it may be taken Notice, that Mr. Locke survived Mr. Molineux several Years;—during which Time the Protestants of Ireland were worked up into intemperate Heats by those very. Notions of unalienable Rights and Independence, which Mr. Locke’s and Mr. Molineux’s Writings had infused into them, and which they have since adopted in so decisive a Manner; yet during all this Time Mr. Locke was silent, and made no Remonstrance against such Proceedings. He never intimated to any one, as far as I can learn, that they were mistaken in their Inferences; nor did he retort upon them, by saying, that if they thought they had a Right to deduce such Consequences from his Principles,—the Papists of Ireland [the original Natives of the Country and the vastly greater Majority of the People] had a much stronger and clearer Right to shake off the Protestant Yoke, and to assert their native Independence, and unalienable Birth-right. This he probably would, or at least this he ought to have done, had he really thought, that Mr. Molineux and the Irish deduced such Conclusions from his Premises, as it was incumbent on him to disavow.
2dly.Granting for Argument’s Sake, that the Dean of Glocester is either so illiterate, or so blinded with Prejudice, that he cannot see the obvious Meaning of the plainest Propositions in Mr. Locke’s Work,—yet what shall we say of Dr. Price, his warmest Advocate, and professed Admirer? Is he too in the same Situation with the Dean of Glocester? All the World must allow, that Dr. Price is a very learned Man, and a clear Writer: And if his Prejudices for Mr. Locke, and the Dean of Glocester’s Prejudices against him, should make them agree in the same Opinions; it must at least be allowed, that such a Clashing of opposite Prejudices hath produced that marvellous Effect, which opposite Prejudices never produced before. The Doctor and I see Mr. Locke’s Principles with the same Eyes; we understand them in the same Sense; and all the Difference between us, is, That he admires them, and glories in the Consequences of them, which I do not, and think them to be extremely dangerous to the Peace and Happiness of all Societies.
But 3dly, And to end this Controversy at once: Let some Friend to Truth, blessed with greater Discernment than the Dean of Glocester, or even than Dr. Price, take Mr. Locke’s Book in hand, and shew from the natural Construction of the Words, and the Scope and Tenor of the Context, that both of us [and indeed, that all in general, Admirers, and Non-Admirers] have hitherto mistaken Mr. Locke’s true Sense and Meaning: And in the next Place, let this happy Interpreter or clear-sighted Commentator point out, how such and such Passages fought to have been understood; and what Consequences ought to have been deduced from his Writings, different from all these, which have been deduced before.
This would be coming to the Point; and when satisfactorily performed, a most useful Work it will be.—I, for my Part, shall be exceeding glad to have it proved, that I was mistaken. [For I never wish to find Fault without great and urgent Cause] Therefore if this Point can be satisfactorily proved, I do hereby pledge myself to make a public Recantation. This I promise to do, because I think it to be no Manner of Disgrace to the Character of an honest, fallible, well-meaning Man to say, I am now convinced that I was in an Error; and I ask Pardon.
Two Things more I shall beg Leave to add and these I borrow from Mr. Locke’s own Preface to this very Book on Government.
“First, that cavilling here and there, at some Expression, or little Incident of my Discourse, is not an Answer to my Book.
“Secondly, That I shall not take Railing for Arguments; nor think either of these worth my Notice:—Though I shall always look on myself as bound to give Satisfaction to any one, who shall appear to be conscientiously scrupulous in the Point, and shall shew any just Grounds for his Scruples.”
The PRINCIPAL ERRATA.