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Observations on the foregoing Extracts. - 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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Observationson the foregoingExtracts.
Thus I have finished my Extracts from Mr. Locke, and some of the most eminent of his Disciples;—Men, whose Writings, (we charitably hope, not intentionally, or maliciously;—though actually) have laid a Foundation for such Disturbances and Dissentions, such mutual Jealousies and Animosities, as Ages to come will not be able to settle, or compose. Many more Passages might have been added from other celebrated Writers on the same Side.; but surely these are full enough to explain their Meaning. And therefore from the following may be collected.
I. That Mankind do not spontaneously, and, as it were, imperceptibly slide into a Distinction of Orders, and a Difference of Ranks, by living and conversing together, as Neighbours and social Beings:—But on the contrary, that they naturally shew an Aversion, and a Repugnance to every Kind of Subordination, ’till dire Necessity compells them to enter into a solemn Compact, and to join their Forces together for the Sake of Self-Preservation. Dr. Priestly, the fairest, the most open, and ingenuous of all Mr. Locke’s Disciples, excepting honest, undissembling Rousseau, has expressed himself so clearly and fully on this Head, that I shall beg Leave to quote his Words again, tho’ I had mentioned them before.
“To begin with first Principles, we must, for the Sake of gaining clear Ideas on the Subject, do what almost all political Writers have done before us, that is, we must suppose a Number of People existing, who experience the Inconvenience of living independent and unconnected; who are exposed without Redress, to Insults and Wrongs of every Kind, and are too weak to procure to themselves many of the Advantages, which they are sensible might easily be compassed by united Strength. These People, if they would engage the Protection of the whole Body, and join their Forces in Enterprizes and Undertakings calculated for their common Good, must voluntarily resign some Part of their natural Liberty, and submit their Conduct to the Direction of the Community: For without these Concessions, an Alliance cannot be formed.”
Here it is very observable, that the Author supposes Government to be so entirely the Work of Art, that Nature had no Share at all in forming it; or rather in predisposing and inclining Mankind to form it. The Instincts of Nature, it seems, had nothing to do in such a complicated Business of Chicane and Artifice, where every Man was for driving the best Bargain he could; and where all in general, both the future Governors and Governed, were to be on the catch as much as possible. For this Author plainly supposes, that his first Race of Men had not any innate Propensity to have lived otherwise, than as so many independent, unconnected Beings, if they could have lived with tolerable Safety in such a State: In short, they did not feel any Instincts within themselves kindly leading them towards associating, or incorporating with each other; though (what is rather strange) Providence had ordained, that this Way of Life was to be so essentially necessary towards their Happiness, that they must be miserable without it:—Nay, they were driven by Necessity, and not drawn by Inclination to seek for any Sort of Civil Government whatever. And what is stranger still, it seems they were sensible, that this Kind of Institution, called Government, to which they had no natural Inclination, but rather an Aversion, and whose good or bad Effects they had not experienced, might easily procure Advantages which they then wanted, and protect them from many Dangers, to which they were continually exposed, in their independent, unconnected State. All these Things, I own, are strange Paradoxes to me: I cannot comprehend them. However, fact it is, that almost all the Writers on the republican Side of the Question, with Mr. Locke at the Head of them, seem to represent Civil Government at the best, rather as a necessary Evil, than a positive Good;—an Evil to which Mankind are obliged to submit, in order to avoid a greater.
But if Mr. Locke and his Followers have not granted much to human Nature in one Respect, they have resolved to make abundant Amends for this Deficiency in another. For tho’ they have not allowed human Nature to have any innate Propensities towards the first Formation of civil Society;—yet they do most strenuously insist, that every Man, every Individual of the human Species hath an unalienable Right to chuse, or refuse, whether he will be a Member of this, or that particular Government, or of none at all.
This was to be my second Observation: And a material one it is. For Mr. Locke and his Followers have extended the Privilege of voting, or of giving actual Consent, in all the Affairs of Government and Legislation, beyond what was ever dreamt of before in this, or in any other civilized Country;—Nay, according to their leading Principles, it ought to be extended still much farther, than even they themselves have done.
Before this new System had made its Appearance among us, the Right of voting was not supposed to be an unalienable Right, which belonged to all Mankind indiscriminately: But it was considered as a Privilege, which was confined to those few Persons who were in Possession of a certain Quantity of Land, to Persons enjoying certain Franchises, (of which there are various Kinds) and to Persons of a certain Condition, Age, and Sex. Perhaps all these Numbers put together may make about the Fortieth Part of the Inhabitants of Great-Britain: They certainly cannot make much more, if an actual Survey and Enumeration were to be made. Whereas the great Mass of the People, who do not come within this Description, are,* and ever have been, excluded by the English Constitution from voting at Elections for Members of Parliament, &c. &c. And heavy Penalties are to be levied on them, if they should attempt to vote. Now, according to the Principles of Mr. Locke and his Followers, all this is totally wrong; for the Right of voting is not annexed to Land, or Franchises, to Condition, Age, or Sex; but to human Nature itself, and to moral Agency: Therefore, whereever human Nature, and moral Agency do exist together, be the Subject rich or poor, old or young, male or female, it must follow from these Principles, that the Right of voting must exist with it: For whosoever is a moral Agent is a Person; and Personality is the only Foundation of the Right of voting. To suppose the contrary, we have been lately told by a Right Reverend Editor of Mr. Locke, is gross Ignorance, or something worse: And to act on such restraining Principles, by depriving the Mass of the People of their Birth-Rights, is downright Robbery and Usurpation.
III. If all Mankind indiscriminately have a Right to vote in any Society, they have, for the very same Reason, a Right to reject the Proceedings of the Government of that Society to which they belong, and to separate from it, whenever they shall think fit. For it has been inculcated into us over and over, that every Man’s Consent ought first to be obtained, before any Law whatever can be deemed to be valid, and of full Force.—We have been also assured, that all, and every Kind of Taxes are merely Free-Gifts: Which therefore no Individual Giver is obliged to pay, unless he has previously consented to the Payment of it. From these Premises it undoubtedly follows, that every individual Member of the State is at full Liberty either to submit, or to refuse Submission to any, and to every Regulation of it, according as he had predetermined in his own Mind. For being his own Legislator, his own Governor, and Director in every Thing, no Man has a Right to prescribe to him, what he ought to do. Others may advise, but he alone is to dictate, respecting his own Actions. For in short, he is to obey no other Will but his own.
These are surely very strange Positions; and yet they are evidently deduceable, and do naturally result from the Extracts given in this Chapter. Nay, there are several others equally paradoxical, and equally repugnant to every Species of Government, which hath ever yet existed in the World. Such Paradoxes therefore deserve a distinct and particular discussion.
[* ]See an express Dissertation towards the Close of this Work on the three Orders of Men formerly in England, Slaves,—Tradesmen,—and Gentlemen.