Front Page Titles (by Subject) I.: Of the Revolution in England. - A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts
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I.: Of the Revolution in England. - 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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Of theRevolutionin England.
IT is allowed on all Hands, and it has been the continual Boast of the Friends and Admirers of Mr. Locke, that he wrote his Essay on Government with a View to justify the Revolution. We have therefore a Right to expect, that his fundamental, political Maxims tend immediately and directly to vindicate this necessary Measure. How great therefore will be our Disappointment, if the quite contrary should appear!
The grand Objections against King James the Second were, that his Government was tyrannical, and his Proceedings illegal;—that he assumed Powers which the Constitution had expressly denied him;—that he had repeatedly broken his solemn Coronation-Oath, and forfeited his Royal Word;—and that, in short, his Actions proved him to be an Enemy both to Civil Liberty, and to the Protestant Religion.
Now grant these Objections to be well founded (which I think no Man at this Day, even the warmest Friend of the Stuart Family, will pretend to deny;) and the Inference is plain, that such a Prince deserved to be deposed, and that the Nation did very right in deposing him.—So far therefore we are all agreed: For Mr. Locke’s Principles serve admirably well for the Purposes of Demolition in any Case whatever, as far as mere Demolition is concerned. But alas! after we have pulled down, how are we to build up? For something of this Kind must certainly be done, and that speedily. The Nation was then in a State of Anarchy and Confusion, without Law, or Government: The Legislative Power could not assemble, according to the prescribed antient Forms of the Constitution: Nor could the Executive legally act for want of being authorised so to do. In such a Situation the Principle of Self-Defence would naturally suggest to a Nation in general, and to every reasonable Man in particular,—to do the best they could without Loss of Time, and not to stand upon mere legal Punctilios, where the Essentials of the Constitution, and the Happiness of Millions were at Stake: Moreover common Prudence and sound Policy would likewise suggest, that as few Innovation of the antient Form of Government should be introduced, and as many of its Laws and Ordinances be retained, as the Good of the whole, and the public Safety would permit. This, I say, seems to be a fair, and honest, and upright Mode of Proceedure;—a Mode which all impartial Men would allow to be reasonable, and every Lover of his Country would approve and justify:—And in short, this was the very Proceedure adopted at the Revolution.
Now, let us see, what Methods ought to have been taken according to the System of Mr. Locke;—and whether his Plan, and the Revolution Plan, co-incide with each other.
By the Desertion, or Abdication, or Forfeiture, or Deposition of King James [take which Term you please] the Government was dissolved, and no new one was yet appointed. So far we are again agreed. But says a Lockian (if he will reason consistently with his own Principles) this Dissolution of Government set the Nation free from all Ties and Obligations: So that they were no longer the Subjects of a Government, which itself did not exist: And if they were not the Subjects of an annihilated Government, they could be under no Obligation to any other. They were therefore actually returned back to a State of Nature;—that happy State, wherein there is a perfect Equality of Rights of all Kinds whatever; and where no one Man can pretend to have a better Claim than another either to Lands, or Legislations, to Power or Pre-eminence of any Kind. Admirable! Cataline himself could not have wished for a more ample Scope.—not only for paying all his own Debts, and those of his Followers,—but also for coming in for a considerable Share in the general Scramble, on a new Division of Property. Nay, his Speech in Sallust seems to indicate, as if he had some such Notion in his Head, had his Genius been sertile enough to have drawn it out into Form, and to have methodized it into a System.
But evidently as these Conclusions slow from Mr. Locke’s fundamental Maxims, I do by no Means allow myself to suppose, that either he or any of his Followers, with whom I have now Concern, would grant, that these Conclusions are justly and fairly drawn. On the contrary, I do verily believe, that they thought they were serving the Cause of rational Liberty, when they were advancing such Positions, as, if carried into Execution, would unavoidably introduce the most shocking Scenes of Despotism on the one Hand, and of Slavery on the other. [Just as a rank Antinomian wildly imagines, that he is consulting the Glory of God and the Good of Mankind whilst he is instilling such Doctrines, as necessarily derogate from the Supreme Being, by making him the Author of Sin; and as necessarily turn human Creatures into ravenous Beasts to bite and devour one another, by destroying all moral Obligation.]
Therefore I observe, that though all these shocking Consequences are justly chargeable on the Principles of a Lockian, yet I do not charge the Man, the Individual, with the Guilt of them, provided he declare his Abhorrence of such Inferences. Now, taking it for granted that he would disavow them, were the Question asked, I will charitably suppose, that if Mr. Locke and his Followers, had the Management of an Event similar to that of the Revolution in 1688, they would not dissolve the Bands of Society any farther, than was just necessary for compassing their Ends of a free and general Election, according to their peculiar Ideas of Freedom, and of the unalienable Right of human Nature. I will therefore suppose also, that they would permit Men to enjoy unmolested their hereditary Honours and hereditary Estates, and Property of all Kinds, notwithstanding that their Principles necessarily tend to level every thing without Distinction, and to bring us back to a State of Nature: Nay, I will suppose, that they would admit a Majority of the Voters present to include not only the Minority present, but also the great Majority, who might happen to be absent:—Though the Lockian Principles have in themselves a very different Tendency; as I have fully made to appear in the preceding Chapter. However, granting all this with a liberal Hand; and granting also for Argument’s Sake, that it is consistent with this modern System of unalienable Rights, to exclude every Male under twenty-one Years of Age, and Females of every Age, from the unalienable Right of voting:—And then we have still remaining all the Males in England of twenty-one Years of Age and upwards, to compose an Assembly of Legislators, Electors, and Directors, according to the Lockian System. A goodly Number truly! All Voters by the unalienable Rights of Nature! All equal, free, and independent! This being the Case, the first Step to be taken is, to summon all these adult male Voters throughout the Kingdom to meet at some certain Place, in order to consult about erecting a new Government, after pulling down the old one: Here therefore I make a Pause;—and ask a Question, Was this done at the Revolution? No. Was it attempted to be done? No. Were there any Meetings appointed in different Parts of the Kingdom, from whence Deputies could be sent up to represent these Meetings, and to act in their Name? No. Was there then, [tho’ that at best is a very preposterous Mode of Representation, according to Mr. Locke, yet] was there a previous general Election of Members of Parliament, in order that there might be at least a new Parliament to elect a new King? No, not even that, according to any legal, or constitutional Forms.—What then was that great national Vote which established the Revolution?—A few Scores of Noblemen, and a few Hundreds of Gentlemen, together with some of the Aldermen and Common Council of London, met at Westminster, [but without any Commission from the Body of the People authorising them to meet] and requested (thereby empowering) the Prince and Princess of Orange to assume the Royal Prerogative, and to summon a new Parliament. They summoned one accordingly, which was called the Convention Parliament: This Assembly put the Crown on their Heads [the Power of which they had exercised before] The Crown, I say, not only of England, but also of Ireland, and of all the English Dominions throughout every Part of the Globe, and this too, not only without asking the Consent, but even without acquainting the People of those other Countries with their Intentions. Now if this Transaction can be said to be carried on agreeably to Mr. Locke’s Plan, or if it can be justified by his Principles, I own myself the worst Judge of Reason and Argument, and of a plain Matter of Fact, that ever scribbled on Paper. Nay, I appeal to all the World, whether the whole Business of this famous Revolution, from whence nevertheless we have derived so many national Blessings, ought not to be looked upon as a vile Usurpation, and be chargeable with the Guilt of robbing the good People of England, of Ireland, and of all the Colonies of their unalienable Rights, if Mr. Locke’s Principles of Government are the only true and just ones. But I ask further, Was the Convention itself unanimous in its Decisions? No, very far from it. On the contrary, it is a well-known Fact, that the Members of it [I mean a Majority of the Members] would never have voted the Crown to the Prince of Orange, had it not been for his threatening Message, that he would leave them to the Resentment of King James, unless they complied with such a Demand. So that even a Majority of this very Convention would have acted otherwise than they did, had they remained unawed, and uninfluenced. And thus, Reader, it is demonstrated to thee, that this samous Convention [and in them the whole Nation] was self-governed, and self-directed, according to the Lockian Principle, in establishing the glorious Revolution!