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III.: The Cafe of the present Congress in America. - 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 Cafe of the presentCongressin America.
It has been observed at the Beginning of this Treatise, that the Lockian System is an universal Demolisher of all Civil Governments, but not the Builder of any. And it has been distinctly shewn, that this Observation has been sound to be remarkably verified in two memorable Instances, [those very Instances which were pretended to correspond the most with the Plan of Mr. Locke] the Revolution in England, and the Reduction of Ireland. Come we now therefore to a 3d Instance, the Revolt of the Colonies in North America.
When it is seriously enquired, what were the chief Grievances which the Colonies had to complain of against the Mother Country, the Answer is, and must be, that she governed, or attempted to govern them in such a Manner as was not agreeable to the Lockian System. For the imposing Laws on them of any Kind, whether good or bad in themselves, and whether for the Purposes of Taxation, or for other Purposes, without their own Consent, is, according to this hypothesis, a most intolerable Grievance! a Robbery! and an Usurpation on the unalienable Rights of Mankind. Nay, we are repeatedly told, that the very Essence of Slavery consists in the being obliged to submit to be governed by such Laws as these. Therefore if you want to know the very Root and Foundation of the present American Rebellion, it is this very Principle: And the Fact is so far from being denied, that it is gloried in by Dr. Price, and others their warmest Advocates. In short, the brave Americans were resolved not to be Slaves; but Slaves, it seems, they must have been (according to the Lockian Idea) had they acknowledged the Right of the Mother Country, even in a single Instance, to make Laws to bind them without their Consent:—I say, even in a single Instance; for the Lockian Mode of Reasoning is, that there is no Difference between being vested with discretionary Power, and with despotic Power. “Inasmuch as, if a Government has any Right to rule me without my Consent in some Cases, it has a Right to rule me in every Case; consequently it has a Right to levy every Kind of Tax, good or bad, reasonable, or exorbitant upon me, and to inflict all Sorts of Punishments whatever.”
But Dr. Price himself, the great Champion of the Americans, has so expressly applied this Train of Reasoning to the American Cause, that I think myself happy in co-inciding with him in Sentiments on this Occasion. “Our Colonies in North America, faith the Doctor, appear to be now* determined to risque, and suffer every Thing under the Persuasion, that Great-Britain is attempting to rob them of that Liberty, to which every Member of Society, and all civil Communities have a natural, and unalienable Right.”
Here therefore the Case is plain: For every Member of Society, as well as the Community at large, hath, according to Dr. Price, not only a natural, but an unalienable Right to be self-governed, and self-directed. Be it so: And then comes the important Question, “Is this the Case at present with every Member of Society in North-America, now groaning under the Dominion of the Congress?” And as Dr. Price has taken such Pains to extoll the American Mode of Government to the Skies,—a most happy Mode, without Bishops, without Nobles, without Kings! I wish he would return a plain Answer to the plain Question here propounded. In Honour and Conscience he is certainly called upon so to do. But tho’ the Doctor loves to set Controversies on Foot, we learn from his own Words, that he loves his Ease too well, to clear up the Objections arising from them. Consequently being deprived of the Doctor’s Assistance, unless he should think proper to change his declared Resolution, we must do the best we can without him.
Here therefore be it observed, that without taking any Advantage from the Arguments that may be deduced from the tarring and feathering of their numerous Mobs; and without insisting on the burning and plundering of the Houses, and destroying the Property of the Loyalists by the American Republicans, even before they had openly thrown off the Masque, and set up for Independence;—I say, without bringing these Instances as Proofs that they would not grant that Liberty to others, for which they so strenuously contended for themselves;—let us come to that very Period, when they had established various Civil Governments in their respective Provinces, and had new-modelled their several Constitutions according to their own good Liking:—I ask therefore, Was any one of these Civil Governments at first formed, or is it now administered, and conducted according to the Lockian Plan? And did, or doth any of their Congresses, general or provincial, admit of that fundamental Maxim of Mr. Locke, that every Man has an unalienable Right to obey no other Laws, but those of his own making? No; no;—so far from it, that there are dreadful Fines and Confiscations, Imprisonments, and even Death made use of, as the only effectual Means for obtaining that Unanimity of Sentiment so much boasted of by these new-sangled Republicans, and so little practiced. In one Word, let the impartial World be the Judge, whether the Americans, in all their Contests for Liberty, have even once made use of Mr. Locke’s System for any other Purpose, but that of pulling down, and destroying; and whether, when they came to erect a new Edifice of their own on the Ruins of the former,—they have not abandoned Messrs. Locke, Molineux, Priestly, and Price, with all their visionary Schemes of universal Freedom, and Liberty of Choice.
On the Abuse of Words, and the Perversion of Language, chargeable on the Lockian System.
THE Importance of this Subject requires a distinct Chapter; but it need not be a long one; for the chief Point here to be attended to, is to six and explain the Meaning of certain Terms and Phrases, and to guard against Misrepresentation or Mistake.
It is observeable, that in every Government, from that of a petty Schoolmaster to that of a mighty Monarch, the respective Rulers must be invested with two Sorts of Power;—the one is that which may be fixed and limited by written and positive Laws; but the other, being unlimitable in its Nature, must be left to the Discretion of the Agent. The Order and Course of Things require the Use of both these Kinds of Power in every Instance where Authority, properly so called, is to be exercised. In respect to the first of these, it is unnecessary at present to consider it in any separate, or independent View; because it is not the Subject now immediately before us. But with regard to the second, it is the very Thing here to be attended to; and by explaining the Nature of this, we shall eventually explain the other.
When the Founder of a School [and the same Observation, mutalis mutandis, would hold good for Things in a much higher Sphere;—I say therefore] when the Founder of a School is about to establish Rules and Constitutions for the Discipline, and good Government thereof;—he finds himself able to establish certain Statutes and Ordinances in respect to some Things, but unable in respect to others. He can, for Example, fix the Salary of the Master by a positive Law;—he can limit the Hours of School, and the Hours of Recreation;—he can ordain, if he think proper, what Authors shall be read in his School, and may prescribe likewise a Regimen of Diet to be observed by the Youths, who shall be maintained on his Foundation;—with a few other Things of the like Nature. But much farther than this he cannot go, were he ever so desirous. He cannot, for Instance, lay down Rules aforehand, how many Periods or Paragraphs each Youth is to learn at each Lesson, or how many Lines or Verses he is to get by Heart on a Repetition Day; and in Cases of Neglect, or Misdemeanor, he cannot determine the Force or Momentum, with which the Ferula or Rod is to fall on the offending Culprit;—nor yet can he prescribe, or limit the Tone of Voice, or Looks, or Gestures of Displeasure, or Words of Reprimand, which are to be used on such Occasions. For as all these Affairs are not, and cannot be, subject to any fixt Regulations, the Master must be vested with a discretionary, alias an unlimited Power in respect to such Things. [Need I add, that the very Institution of a School is (according to the Lockian System), a Contradiction to the social Compact? Because, if every one is to be accounted a Slave, who is obliged to submit to Laws not of his own making,—or to Governors not of his own chusing, then School-Boys and Slaves are synonymous Terms: Hard Measures these! And what Inroads are the Doctrines of Passive Obedience, and Non-Resistance daily making in our English Schools on English Liberty! But to return] The Powers of this Magistrate, [the School-Master] being thus shewn to be partly circumscribed, and partly indefinite;—I here ask, Doth his indefinite Power thereby become infinite? Or is he vested with arbitrary and despotic Power, because he is entrusted with that which is discretionary? Surely no: And the very putting such a Question, one would think, is sufficient to confute every Lockian Cavil on this Head. * Yet, strange to tell, the whole Weight of their Arguments rests on this single Point. For [according to them] if you admit discretionary Power, you must admit it to be arbitrary: If you allow the Power of your Magistrate to be in any Case indefinite, you must allow it to be infinite. Now it so happens, that Experience and common Sense, no bad Judges to appeal to, entirely confute these confident Assertions. For were the Master of any School to treat his Scholars with wanton Cruelty, to beat them unmercifully, or to inflict any unnecessary Severity upon them,—all the World would soon distinguish such Abuses of Power from necessary Chastisement, and moderate Correction; and they would not hesitate in giving their Opinion, that such a Wretch deserved the severest Punishment. So much easier it is, to discern the Use of Things from the Abuses of them, after the Fact has happened, than it is to make Laws in all Cases aforehand for the Prevention of Abuses.
The King and both Houses of Parliament, that is, the supreme Legislature of this Country, have a general, unlimited Right to make Laws for binding the People, in all Cases whatsoever. They have this Right, because it is impossible to define exactly in what particular Instances) they ought not to be entrusted with such a Right, or how far their Power ought to extend in every Case, and every Circumstance, which might occur, and where it ought to be stopped. I say, it is impossible to define these Points before-hand, or to draw the Line between Trust, and Distrust in these Respects. Yet can any Man in his Senses pretend to say, that the King and the Parliament would be justifiable, or even excusable, were they to abuse this discretionary Power of making Laws in all Cases whatsoever;—I mean wilfully and designedly abuse it, so as to enslave the People by cruel, unjust, and tyrannical Laws? Surely no: For even Sir Robert Filmer, and the Jacobites, do not say that such Rulers are at all excusable;—nay, they expressly say the contrary; and are as ready at denouncing Hell and Damnation against such wicked Tyrants, as the Lockians themselves:—Indeed they protest against any Punishment whatever being inflicted on Tyrants, especially on royal Tyrants, during the present Life, by the Hands of Men: For which ill-judged Tenderness, and mistaken Points of Conscience, they are highly to blame: And therefore their Tenets of absolute and unlimited Passive Obedience and Non-Resistance are deservedly had in Detestation: But nevertheless they make no wrong Judgment concerning the Nature of, and the Punishment due to, the Crimes of Tyranny; tho’ they are so weak as to maintain, that this Punishment ought to be deferred, ’till the Criminals themselves are removed into another World, when the Punishment due to such Offences can be no Terror to those Evil-Doers who survive, and who therefore ought to be deterred by such Examples from attempting to do the like.
UPON the whole, if this new political System of Mr. Locke and his Followers hath not received a full and ample Confutation in the preceding Sheets, I must ingenuously acknowledge, that nothing could have prevented it, but the Inability or Incapacity of the Author. For surely a more pernicious Set of Opinions than the Lockian.—[I mean, with regard to the Peace and Tranquility of the present Life] could hardly be broached by Man. And it is but small Consolation to reflect, that probably the original Author, and several of his Disciples never meant to draw Conclusions so horrid in their Nature, and so full of wanton Treason and Rebellion, as the Congresses have actually drawn from it in America, and as the Republican Factions are daily endeavouring to draw from it here in England, had they Power equal to their Will.
Moreover what greatly aggravates the Crime of every Attempt of this Nature, and renders it utterly inexcusable, is, that there is no Manner of Need of having Recourse to such Measures, or to such Principles, for the Sake of confuting either the patriarchal Scheme of Sir R. Filmer, or the absolutely passive Obedience Creed of the Jacobites; Insomuch as both these erroneous Systems may be, at least, as fully and effectually confuted without Mr. Locke’s Principles, as with them. Nay, if the Lockians had been content with their own Set of Opinions, and had left others undisturbed in the quiet Enjoyment of theirs, something might have been pleaded in their Favour. For though one may easily see, that theirs is an impracticble Scheme in any Society whatever, great or small; yet, if they think otherwise, and are firmly persuaded that the Affair is of such Importance as to merit a fair and open Trial;—Let a fair Trial be given it; and let those unpeopled Regions of America, those vacua loca, mentioned by Mr. Locke, be the Theatre for exhibiting this curious Phœnomenon, a Lockian Republic! Where all Taxes are to be Free-Gifts! and every Man is to obey no farther, and no otherwise, than he himself chuses to obey! In such a Case, inconsiderable as I am, I will venture to promise [or to use the Language of an Arch-Patriot, I will pledge myself to the Public] that all the Sons and Daughters of genuine Freedom shall be at Liberty to remove thither as soon as they please;—and that Thousands and Tens of Thousands of their Fellow-Citizens will be heartily glad of their Departure.
But if not content with this Liberty for themselves, they will be indefatigable in disturbing the Repose of others, and will incessantly excite the Subjects of every State to rebel, under the shameful Pretence, that their Governors are Usurpers of their unalienable Rights;—they must expect to have their Sophistry detected, and themselves exposed in their proper Colours. Indeed, happy it is for them;—happy it is for us all [notwithstanding some petty Inconveniencies] that we live in such an Age, and such a Country, where Men may dare to say and do such Things with Impunity. I own, the very Contemplation of this Circumstance always gives me Pleasure: For rejoice to find, that on every Comparison between the Liberty pretended to be enjoyed under the patriotic Congress in America, and the Slavery, which it seems, we daily suffer here in England, every Instance is a Demonstration that English Slavery is infinitely preferable to American Liberty: So that in short, while I find, that here in England, a Man may say or do, may write or print, a thousand Things with the utmost Security, for which his Liberty and Property, and even his Life itself would be in the most imminent Danger, were he to do the like in America, I want no other Proofs, that Englishmen are still a Nation of Freemen, and not of Slaves. Sorry I am, that any of my Fellow-Subjects should misapply so great a Blessing as Liberty is, both civil and religious: But at the same Time, I am sincerely glad, that they themselves are such undeniable Evidences of the Existence of Liberty among us, by the Security they enjoy in their manifold Abuses of it. May they grow wiser and better every Day; But may we, on our Parts, never attempt to weed out these Tares from among the Wheat, lest by so doing, we should root out the Wheat also.
CONTAINING THE TRUE BASIS OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT,
THE PREFACE TO THE SECOND PART.
THE Author imogines, that he has confuted the Lockian System in the fore-going Part of this Work. And he is supported in this Opinion by the Judgment of many Persons, not only distinguished for their Learning and good Sense, but also for their zealous Attachment to the Civil, and Religious Liberties of this Country. If this be the Case, that is, if he has really confuted Mr. Locke,he may now, he hopes, with some Propriety, venture to submit to Public Consideration, a System of his own; which he is inclined to think, may serve as a Basis for every Species of Civil Government to stand upon.—At the same Time he is well aware, that it deth not follow, that his must be true, because Mr. Locke’smay have been proved to be false: He is also very sensible, that it is much easier to pull down, than to build up; and that many a Man can demolish the System of another, who cannot defend his own.
For these Reasons he is the more desirous of proceeding with due Reserve and Caution;—not expecting, that this Plan should be adopted, as soon as proposed,—nor yet supposing, that it will be totally rejected, before it shall have undergone some Kind of Examination. In order to give it a fair Trial, he has added a Series of Objections, partly as they occurred to himself, in reasoning on the Case, and partly as they were suggested to him in the Conversation he had with others. In respect to all which it will be readily allowed, that not one Objection has lost any of it’s Force and Weight in passing through his Hands: And as to their respective Answers, every Reader will judge for himself.
He is very willing to allow, that some Parts of his System are weaker than others: For this must happen more or less, to all human Compositions. Therefore he doth not pretend to lay before the Public a faultless Piece, free from all Objections, but only such a Plan for a political Edifice, as may serve all the good Purposes of real and rational Liberty, and at the same Time be more practicable, and better accommodated to the State of Mankind in every Age and Country, than Mr. Locke’sis confessed to be.
The Author doth not build much on the Authority of great Names,—not that he rejects human Authority, when it can be properly introduced in Matters of doubtful Disputation; but because he cannot find that the Point was ever brought into Controversy’till of late, whether the Inclinations of Mankind are naturally and spontaneously turned towards Society and the Subordinations of Civil Government, or towards living in a State of perfect Equality, and Independence. Therefore it is in vain to look for long Argumentations in the Works of political Writers of former Times, relative to this Question, either pro or con, before the Question itself was supposed to exist.
However, as it may be a Satisfaction to some Persons to know, What were the genuine Opinions of the Sages of Antiquity on this Subject, before the Arts of Sophistry, and the Rage of Party-Disputes, had blinded Men’s Eyes, and corrupted their natural good Sense;—such Persons will, I hope, be sufficiently gratified, when they come to peruse the third Part of the ensuing Treatise. They will also there find the judiciousHookernow rescued out of the disagreeable Company of modern Republicans, with whom he has been made to associate for some Time past, much against his Will, and restored to his true Friends both in Church and State.
Concerning those Principles in Human Nature, which may serve as a Basis for any Species of Civil Government to stand upon, without the actual Choice, or personal Election of every Member of the Community either towards the first Erection, or the Continuation of such a Government.
AS Mr. Locke, and his Followers have objected to our deducing Kingly Government, or indeed any Kind of Civil Government from the Authority of Parents over their Children [though the Out-Lines, and first Rudiments of all Governments had probably no other Origin,] and have taken such Pains to shew the Disparity of the Cases; we will gratify them to their Hearts Content in this particular: For we will endeavour to shew, that were Numbers of the Human Species to be brought together, (tho’ no otherwise connected than by being of the same Species) they would soon fall into some Kind of Subordination among themselves, and consequently into some Kind of, Government;—and that too without that personal, and particular Election, for which Mr. Locke and his Followers have so strenuously contended.
In order therefore to keep at a sufficient Distance from the Patriarchal System, and the indefeasible Right Lined Monarchy of Sir Robert Filmer;—Let us suppose, that, instead of one Pair, an Hundred Pair of Men and Women were at first created: And let us contemplate the various Instincts, Qualities, and Propensities (as far as the present Subject is concerned) with which this Tribe of Animals would be found to be endowed;—supposing them to be made of the same Sort of Materials, which we see Mankind to be of, at present.
And as we are now setting out on our Inquiries, be it carefully remembered, that the first Difference between the Lockians, and others seems to be this;—The Lockians maintain, that Mankind have a Capacity for becoming Members of a Civil Society;—but no natural Desire, or Inclination for entering into such a State of Life: [Indeed they do not say the latter in express Terms, but they do by necessary Consequences:] Whereas we maintain, that Human Nature is endowed with both Capacity, and Inclination:—And that the natural Instinct precedes the Capacity, much in the same Manner, tho’ not with the same Strength, or in the same Degree, as the innate Instincts of Individuals towards Food, or of the Species towards each other, precede the Arts of Cookery, and Brewery, of Marriage-Ceremonies, and Marriage-Settlements.
This therefore being the Question, we are now to endeavour to find out, how far Nature herself hath led the Way towards the Formation of Civil Government by means of various Instincts, Biasses, and Propensities implanted in Mankind before Art was introduced either to mend or mar her Handywork.
1. Therefore, the first Thing observable in the Class of Animals above-mentioned [the hundred Pair of adult Men and Women] is, That they are formed by Nature to be of the gregarious Kind. For most certainly the Individuals of the Human Species are so far from seeking Solitude, as their natural State, that such a Course of Life would be one of the forest Punishments which could be inflicted on them: And nothing can be a clearer Proof of a contrary Bias in Nature; than the strong Desire which not only Children manifest to associate together, but which adult Persons feel, to be acquainted even with Strangers, differing from themselves in Language, Manners, and in almost every Thing, excepting their being of the same Species, rather than not to enjoy any Company at all. Now this Disposition in Human Creatures to associate with their Like, is a leading Step towards Civil Society; because no Animals whatever, but the gregarious, can be fit to form a Community, or a Common-Wealth.
2. A second Thing observable is, That there is a prodigious Variety even in the natural Endowments, both of Body and Mind belonging to the several Individuals of the human Species: So that probably no two among them are altogether, and in every Respect alike. Far therefore, very far it is from being true, that all Mankind are naturally equal, or on a Par, respecting their several Endowments either mental, or corporeal. Indeed had this been the Case, it is hard to say, how any Kind of Subordination, and consequently Government, could have been introduced among such a Tribe of equal, independent, unconnected Beings: Wherefore
3. A third Observation is, that these Differences of Genius and Talents, these several Excellencies and Defects, these Capacities and Incapacities are found, for the most Part, to be relative and reciprocal; so that wheresoever one abounds, another is defective, and vice versa: By which Means all these Animals stand in Need of each other’s Assistance in some Respect, or in one Degree or other:—Surely this is another plain Proof, that they were not framed by Nature for an equal, independent, unconnected State of Life.
4. A fourth Remark is, That as these Animals mutually want each other’s Help and Assistance; so are they naturally endowed with a Power of making known their Wants to each other, and their mutual Willingness to relieve them. Now, as this is a Fact, which cannot be controverted, it is very immaterial to decide, whether the Manner of making known such mutual Wants, or Intentions, was at first by Means of dumb Signs and Gestures, and inarticulate Sounds, or thro’ the Medium of some primæval Language infused in, or communicated to them at the Time of their Creation. Therefore be that as it may, it is more material to observe in the
5th and last Place, That each of these human Animals feels, generally speaking, a strong Instinct to succour and relieve the Wants and Distresses of his Fellow-Creatures:—Inasmuch as, next to providing what is necessary for his own Preservation, and removing Pain from his own Person, he is prompted and spurred on to do the like good Offices for others. And he finds, that he receives great Pleasure both in the immediate Gratification of this benevolent, sympathizing Instinct, and in his subsequent Reflections on it.
Now from a Contemplation of this Sketch, or Out-line, if I may speak, of the Portrait of Human Nature, it is, I think, not very difficult to determine, what would be the probable Result of an Assemblage of an Hundred Pair of such Animals as these, after a short Acquaintance, respecting Society and Civil Government. For
1. They would not be long before they endeavoured to gratify the first, and the quickest in Succession, of all the Calls of Nature, the Appetites of Hunger and Thirst; and that too without having any distinct Knowledge, perhaps without the least Ideal that such a Gratification was necessary for the Preservation of the Individual. Nay, it is highly probable, that Nature at the first Creation of the Human Pairs, proceeded much farther in her instinctive Instructions, than she need do at present. For at the first, Men were not only impelled by the Appetites of Hunger and Thirst to seek for Meat and Drink, but were also taught, either by some Guardian Angel sent on purpose to instruct them, or were led by some extraordinary Impulse to discover and chuse what were proper Eatables and Drinkables in their peculiar Situation.—To suppose the contrary, would be to suppose, that this Hundred Pair of adult Men and Women, were left to themselves to make Experiments, as they could, on every thing around them,—by endeavouring to swallow perhaps Sand or Gravel, instead of Water, towards quenching Thirst, and to gnaw a Stone, or a Stick, instead of chewing a Root, a Fruit, or a Berry for appeasing Hunger. It cannot therefore reasonably be doubted, but that the first Race of Men were taught by Nature, or rather by Nature’s God, to distinguish, without the tedious Process of uncertain Experiments, the proper from the improper, the wholesome from the unwholesome in such a Situation.
[As to the Instinct between the Sexes for the Renovation of the Species (as the former was for the Preservation of the Individual) suffice it just to put the Reader in Mind, that as we have supposed the Creation to have been made in Conjugal Pairs, we have thereby avoided, at least for the present, all the Difficulties, that might otherwise have arisen in the Choice and Preference of Objects;—only this much is necessary to observe on this Head, as well as on the former, that ’till they had been taught by Experience, it was impossible for the wisest of them to have guessed what would have been the Consequence, at the Expiration of a certain Term, of such an Intercourse of one Sex with the other.]
2dly. These human Animals, when herding together, and beginning to eat and drink, would soon discover a vast Superiority, and Inferiority of Talents among themselves, in respect of making Provision for satisfying the Cravings of Thirst and Hunger. For some would be found to be much more ingenious, and perhaps more industrious and provident than others, either in the gathering of Viands, and the procuring and portage of drinkable Liquids;—or in storing them up, and preserving them sweet and wholesome. This Man would excel either in turning the Ground in search after Roots, or in climbing Trees for Fruit;—another in swimming and diving for Fish, or in the Pursuit of Game;—a third in the taming certain Beasts and Birds for domestic Use, or in the planting of such Vegetables, as were found to be good for Food, and so quick of Growth as soon to come to Maturity;—whilst a fourth perhaps would display a Dexterity and Genius in the Preparation of several Kinds of Victuals, and in the first Rudiments of the Arts of Cookery. Now in all these Cases, it is obvious to conceive, That the less ingenious, or adventurous, the less provident and frugal would naturally become, without any formal Contract, dependent on, and subservient to their Instructors and Benefactors, in one Degree or other.
3dly. The like Superiority of Parts and Talents would necessarily appear, tho’ at somewhat a later Period in the Cases of procuring Rayment, and of constructing Habitations. For no Man can pretend that all the Human Species are endowed with equal Powers, or equal Capacities in these Respects. And therefore in Proportion as the less adroit, or less provident, felt themselves incommoded by the Extremes either of Heat, or of Cold, and wished to free themselves from their Evils;—in nearly the same Proportion would they become the Ministers of those, who could, and would relieve them from their Distresses. For here it must be remembered once for all, that in such a Situation as we are now describing, and before Commerce and Money were introduced, the Person who felt himself inferior in any of these Respects, could make no other Compensation to his Superior, but by some Kind of personal Service.
4th. The Advantage arising from a peculiar Genius to abridge Labour by Means of Machines,—or to divide, and subdivide it into distinct Parts, or Portions for the Sake of greater Ease, Expertness, and Expedition, is another Cause, why some Men must rise in Society, without any Compact, or Election, and others as naturally sink;—and consequently, why Subordination at first, and Government afterwards, must take Place. For had there been no Difference of natural Genius between Man and Man;—and no Distinction of Talents and Powers both mental, and corporeal, between Males and Females,—it is hardly possible to conceive, how there could have existed any Distinction of Trades, or Diversity of Employments. And without them a regular Plan of Government cannot be supported.
To illustrate this Matter, be it observed, that tho’ Horses, and horned Cattle naturally herd together, as well as Men, being all of the gregarious Kind;—yet as none of these Individuals display any Genius either to abridge Labour, or to divide it into separate Parts or Portions,—so there is nothing approaching towards a Distinction of Trades, or a Diversity of Imployments to be found among them;—consequently they are total Strangers to any Forms of Government, Republican, or Monarchical; and they know nothing of the Rules of Justice or Equity, or of any Laws, but those of brutal Force. Whereas Bees, Ants, and Beavers, who are remarkable for dividing the Labour of the Whole into distinct Portions, assigning to each Individual a proper Share, become of Course a regular Community among themselves, wherein some preside, and others must obey. All Authors, who have favoured us with the natural History of these three Tribes of Animals, speak with Raptures of their admirable Police, Discipline, and Œconomy. Yet not one Writer, that I know of, hath once suggested the most distant Thought, that these Things are owing to any social Compact, or popular Form of Government:—No, not one hath hitherto dared to maintain, that each Bee, Ant, or Beaver is his own Law-giver, Governor, and Director.
[There are other Causes which might be mentioned, as greatly contributing towards the first Formation of Government, without any explicit Compact, or mutual Stipulation. And these are the Power of Language,—and the Power of saving, or protecting from impending Dangers. In regard to Language, some striking Observations might have been made, had we the Time, and Abilities to have done Justice to the Subject:—Suffice it for the present just to declare my Opinion, That at the first Creation of the human Kind, the Adams and Eves, spoke some certain Language (whatever it was) by mere Instinct, without any previous Teaching (excepting the instantaneous Teaching of Nature) and without Education, or Instruction. I know indeed, that the contrary is the prevailing Opinion, That all Words, and the Meaning of all Words were originally settled by mutual Consent, and at some certain Congress held for that Purpose. But here I should be glad to know, what particular Language was spoken by Adam and Eve, and their Sons and Daughters,—or by this hundred Pair of Adams and Eves, before they met in Congress?—In what Language or Dialect were they summoned to meet?—And even after they, had met, how came they to understand one another so readily before they had learnt to speak?—And how came they to speak at all, to define, and to agree about the Meaning of certain Words, before these, or any Words whatever had been known among them?—Away therefore with this absurd Notion: And let us believe, as we ought to do, that Nature was more benevolent to her Children at their first Appearance on the Theatre of the World, than this and such like Schemes represent her to be. She certainly infused the first Rudiments of Language,—she instilled the first Knowledge of Things proper for Meats and Drinks,—and she implanted the constituent Principles of Government into Mankind, without any previous Care or Thought on their Parts. But having done this, she left the rest to themselves; in order that they might cultivate and improve her Gifts and Blessings in the best Manner they could.
As to the Power of protecting from impending Danger,—if that should mean only the Power of rescuing, or preserving from the Injuries of the Weather, from the Attacks of wild Beasts, or from some other natural Evils, it is included, at least in Part, under some of the former Heads.—But if it is to signify a Power of protecting the Weak from the intended Violence of the Strong, it will include likewise the Right of Retaliation and Reprisal,—and in its Consequences, the Right of Conquest. Therefore if this should be the Thing meant, I shall not insist on such a Subject at present;—because I wish to shew, That Government can date its Origin from other Causes, besides those of popular Elections, or popular Defeats;—and because a Government founded on Conquest, however justifiable the Occasion of it might have been, is at first very odious, and requires a Length of Time to reconcile Men to it.]
Lastly, there is yet another Consideration, which when properly developed, greatly corroborates all the former. And that is this, That there is found to exist in Human Nature a certain Ascendency in some, and a Kind of submissive Acquiescence in others. The Fact itself, however unaccountable, is nevertheless so notorious, that it is observable in all Stations and Ranks of Life, and almost in every Company. For even in the most paltry Country Village, there is, generally speaking, what the French very expressively term, Le Coque de Village;—A Man, who takes the Lead, and becomes a Kind of Dictator to the rest. Now, whether this arises from a Consciousness of greater Courage, or Capacity,—or from a certain overbearing Temper, which assumes Authority to dictate and command,—or from a greater Address, that is, from a Kind of instinctive Insight into the Weaknesses, and blind Sides of others,—or from whatever Cause, or Causes, it matters not. For the Fact itself, as I said before, is undeniable, however difficult it may be to account for it. And therefore here again is another Instance of great Inequalities in the original Powers and Faculties of Mankind:—Consequently this natural Subordination (if I may so speak) is another distinct Proof, that there was a Foundation deeply laid in Human Nature for the political Edifices of Government to be built upon;—without recurring to, what never existed but in Theory, universal, social Compacts, and unanimous Elections.
Here therefore I will fix my Foot, and rest the Merits of the Cause. An hundred Pair of Adams and Eves are supposed (for the Sake of Argument in this Debate) to have been created at once, and to have been endowed with the various Instincts and Inclinations above described, all tending in one Degree or other, to the Formation of Civil Government. As soon as they see each other, they associate and converse. [N. B. Infants and Children do still the same in their Way.] The next Step they take, is to gratify those Desires and Inclinations towards which * Nature has most powerfully incited them. But they find almost instantaneously, that they are hardly able to satisfy any one of these Desires without the Help and Assistance of others of their Kind. And they feel also, that in whatsoever Sort of Talents, Geniusses, or Capacities they are deficient, others are generally abounding, and vice versa:—They perceive likewise that in receiving good Offices from others, there is a certain pleasing Temper of Mind excited, now called Gratitude,—and that in conferring good Offices, there is another very pleasing Sensation raised, now termed Benevolence.—And thus it came to pass, that a mutual Dependence and a mutual Connection were originally made by the wise Creator of all Things to pervade the Whole:—Yet with this remarkable Diversity, that the Power and Talents of winning and obliging, of influencing, persuading, or commanding, were imparted to some in a much greater Degree than they were to others.
Surely therefore in such Circumstances as these, every human Creature would fall into that Rank in Society, and that Station in Life, to which his Talents and his Genius spontaneously led him,—as naturally, I had almost said, as Water finds its Level. And be it ever remembered, that distinct Ranks and different Stations, would produce a Civil Government, of some Kind or other, in a new World much sooner than they could in an old one.—I said much sooner; because in a new World, there could be no Complaints made against former Mismanagements, no Fears about the Incroachments of Power on the one Hand, or the Intrigues and Declamation of Faction on the other, and consequently no Distrust arising from the Abuses either of former Governors, or of former Demagogues. In short, as in such a World there could be no Manner of Experience, there could hardly be any such Things as Caution and Reserve; and therefore all the Disputes of later Times about social Compacts, Contracts, and Conventions, about positive Stipulations, reciprocal Engagements, and Reservations of Rights, would have been probably as little understood at that Juncture, as the Terms of Art in Cookery, before Cookery became an Art, or the Orders in Building, before a single Building was erected. In short, and to sum up all in one Word, where Nature alone was the Guide, the Terms of Art, and the Additions, or Alterations of subsequent Times, whether for the better, or for the worse, must have been absolutely unknown, and consequently could not have been attended to, at the first Formation of Civil Government.
But after all, perhaps some will say, “We do not differ from you in real Sentiments, tho’ we express ourselves somewhat differently. We mean to say, that no Part of the human Species, has a Right to enslave the other; and we mean no more.” Very well, be it so, and we are agreed: But let us first know, what do you mean by Slavery? And what Ideas do you include under that Term?—For if you mean to say, that every Man is a Slave, who has not the Power of electing his own Lawgiver, his own Magistrate, his Colonel, Captain, or Judge, I deny the Position, and call on you to prove it by better Arguments, than your own bare Assertion. But if you only meant to say, that bad Laws, if any, ought to be repealed, and good Laws enacted, and faithfully and impartially executed;—and that when Governors shall abuse their Power to the Detriment of the People, they ought to be stopped in their Career, and even to be called to an Account for their Misconduct, in Proportion to the Detriment received.—If this be all you meant to say, when you talked about original, unalienable Rights, social Compacts, &c. &c. we are agreed again: But surely, surely, this is a very odd, and intricate Way of expressing the plainest, and most obvious Truths imaginable.
Moreover, if you intended to say, that tho’ Government in general did not derive its Existence from any personal Contract between Prince and People, between the Governors and the Governed;—yet, that it hath so much of what a Civilian would term a Quasi-Contract in the Nature of it, that the Duties and Obligations on both Sides of the Relation, are altogether to the same Effect, as if a particular Contract, and a positive Engagement had been entered into;—If this be your Meaning, we are ready to join Issue with you once more;—and this the rather, because the Ideas of a Quasi-Contract contain our own on this Head, and those of every Constitutional Whig throughout the Kingdom.
However, though we are ready to grant you all these Things, yet it is plain, that you meant a great deal more;—else, why do you cavil at the Phrases, implicit Consent, tacit Agreement, implied Covenant, virtual Representation, and the like?—All which naturally and necessarily imply the Idea of a Quasi-Contract. Moreover why so loud in your Exclamations, and bitter in your Invectives against supposing, that a Government may be good and lawful in itself, tho’ the People are not represented in it, according to your Mode of Representation? Recollect the several Extracts from Messrs. Locke, Molineux, Priestly, and Price, already produced in the former Part of this Work: And then you must maintain, in Conformity to the leading Principles of your Sect,—That throughout this whole Dispute, your grand Objection lies not so much against the mere Laws themselves, or against any supposed Culpability in the Manner of administering them,—as against the Right, Title, or Authority to make, or to execute any Laws at all, be they in themselves good, or bad. In one Word, according to your Doctrine, that Man is a Slave, who is obliged to submit to the best Laws that ever were made, and to the mildest Government, that ever existed, if he did not give his previous Consent towards establishing the one, and enacting the other: And that Man is free, who submits to no other Government but that which he himself hath chosen, and obeys no other Laws, but those, which he himself hath helped to make; tho’ they should be in themselves as tyrannical and cruel, as unjust, and unreasonable, as can be conceived. So that the great Good of political Liberty, and the intolerable Evil of political Slavery, are according to this blessed Doctrine, resolved at last into the single Words—CONSENT, or not Consent, What astonishing Absurdities are these!—And yet, alas! how prevalent, and contagious!
The Idea of a Quasi-Contract, instead of an actual Contract [which never existed] between any Sovereigns, and all, or even the major Part of their Subjects, would have prevented Men of good Intentions, and honest Minds, from falling into these gross Absurdities, and dangerous Mistakes. Therefore as the Term itself Quasi-Contract may be new to some Readers, tho’ the Sense it obvious to every one, when properly explained, I will beg Leave to beslow some Words upon it, before I conclude this Chapter.
In all human Trusts whatever, from the highest to the lowest, where there is a Duty to be performed, which is not actually expressed, specified, or contracted for,—but nevertheless is strongly implied in the Nature of the Trust;—the Obligation to perform that implied Duty, is of the Nature of a Quasi-Contract;—a Contract as binding in the Reason of Things, and in the Court of Conscience, as the most solemn Covenant that was ever made. This I think is a plain Case; at least I cannot make it plainer, and therefore tho’ I might illustrate this Matter by appealing to the Proceedings of the Courts of Equity, which are little more than the inforcing of the Performance of Quasi-Contracts, yet I will consine myself to Subjects, that are altogether political;—because I with to meet the Lockians on their own Ground, and to confute them by their favourite Principles.
Be it therefore allowed, for Argument’s Sake, that there is an actual, and not a Quasi-Contract, this Day subsisting in Great-Britain between Prince and People. The Question then is, When was this Contract made? And the Answer must be [for no other can be given] that it was made at his Majesty’s Coronation, when he took a solemn Oath to govern his People according to Law; and when they on their Parts expressed their Consent to his Accession to the Throne by loud Huzzas, and Shouts of Joy.—Well: To take no Advantage of one material Omission among many, that the Spectators on this Occasion were not a thousandth Part of the People of Great Britain and Ireland [not to say a Word about the Colonies.] Let it be granted, that this was a good Contract, fair, valid, and reciprocal.—Yet the difficulty is still to come,—What was the Case before this Contract was made? And how stood Matters during the long Interval, which elasped between his Accession, and Coronation? Or suppose, that he had not yet been crowned, Was the Prince in that Case, and during these nineteen Years of his Reign, not obliged to govern his People according to Law? Or were the People, on their Parts, not obliged to become his dutiful and loyal Subjects, ’till they had shouted and huzzaed at his Coronation? Resolve this Difficulty, if you can, on the Lockian Principle of an actual Contract: But if you will admit of a Quasi-Contract, the Difficulty vanishes at once: So that Reason and Common Sense, and the known Laws of the Land all co-incide in perfect Harmony: I said the known Laws of the Land, because it is notorious to all the World, that there was not one political Duty incumbent on either Prince, or People, after the Solemnity of a Coronation, but was equally incumbent before that Ceremony was performed.
Again: The Lockians stiffly maintain, that every Civil Government must be an Usurpation of unalienable Rights, if the People are neither permitted to assemble together in their personal Capacities, for the Purposes of making Laws, for seeing them executed, and the like,—* nor allowed to elect Deputies to represent them, and to act as their Attornies or Proxies. Well: Be this Position admitted for the present:—Nay, be it likewise admitted, that whenever the Freeholders or Freemen of any County, City, or Borough do appoint such Parliamentary Attornies, they have a Right to insist on their renouncing their own private Judgement (at least in Practice) in order to act in Conformity to the Instructions of their Constituents, and not according to the Dictates of their own Consciences. Such a Contract as this [for a Contract it must be of the Lockian Principle, if it be any thing at all] methinks, founds a little odd.—especially when considered as the diseriminating Characteristic of the professed Friends of Liberty! But let it pass at present among other odd Things.—And then comes the main Question to be resolved:—What Contract or Covenant have these Electors made with the other Members of Parliament, chosen by other Freemen or Freeholders, and for other Places, where they have no Concern, and no Right to interfere,—who nevertheless make Laws to bind them?—“Laws to bind them!” Yes to bind them in all [reasonable] Cases whatsoever, as much as the Members of their own electing. “Surely this is strange to tell:” And yet not more strange than true.—Therefore I ask again. What express Covenant or Stipulations have Mess. Priestly. or Price, made with the rest of the Members of Parliament,—perhaps not so few as 550 in Number, whom they did not elect,—and for whom they had no Votes to give?—I ask this Question even on a Supposition, that they had expresly covenanted with their own Members to act agreeably to those Instructions, which from Time to Time they were to have received from them?—Or do they indeed pretend to have an Authority to instruct all the Representatives of the united Kingdom, as well as their own?
But to return to the principal Subject. On the whole, and turn which Way you will, the Upshot of the Matter must come to this, that Civil Government is natural to Man;—and that at the Beginning, before the Human Heart was corrupted by the Tyranny of Princes, or the Madness and Giddiness of the People, by the Ambition of the Great, or the Crafts and Wiles of scheming Politicians, Civil Government as naturally took Place among Mankind, according to their respective Talents and Qualifications, as the Marriage Union between Adam and Eve so elegantly described by Milton.
In after Times we will readily allow, That the Scenes were greatly changed in both Cases:—But to argue from the present State of Things, occasioned either by the Mal-Administration of Governors on one Side, or by the false Pretensions of Demagogues on the other, or by the still greater Evils which the Public suffers by the Struggles and Conflicts, and Counter-Machinations of both;—to argue, I say, from these Corruptions and Adulterations to the Origin of Civil Government in its pure and uncorrupted State,—would be just as preposterous, as it would be to maintain, that Adam and Eve did not begin their domestic Government till the Marriage Portion was fixt and ascertained, till the Marriage-Articles were signed and sealed, the Jointure, Dowry, Pin-Money, &c. &c. all previously settled, and Trustees appointed for the due Execution of these several Contracts.
Therefore, to sum up all in one Word, let a thousand Revolutions happen in the Forms or Modes of Government, and ever so many Changes take Place in the Persons or Families of the Regents of the State, still Civil Government itself is no other than a public Trust, in whatever Shape it may appear, or in whose Hands soever it may be placed. In some few Instances [very few indeed] the Terms and Conditions of this important Trust may perhaps be ascertained and specified: But in Multitudes of others they cannot, tho’ of the highest Concern: Yet wherever they cannot, they are implied: And this Implication may be very justly termed a Quasi-Contract.
HAVING in the preceding Chapter humbly submitted to the Consideration of the Public, my own Opinion concerning the Origin of Civil Government, in Opposition to the Notion of Mr. Locke and his Followers, I esteem it my Duty in the next Place to endeavour to answer such Objections, as seem to militate the strongest against what has been advanced.
[* ]Happy would it have been for Great Britain, had the Colonies come to this Determination 50 or 60 Years ago; for then we should have avoided two most expensive and bloody Wars, and, to speak the honest Truth, very unjust ones, entered into for their Sakes. But better late, than never. America ever was a Mill-Stone hanging on the Neck of this Country; and is we would not cast it off, the Americans have done it for us.
[* ]Dr. Price and the Congress ground all their Outcries against the declaratory Law, for binding the Colonies in all Cases whatsoever, on this very Plea, weak and illogical as it is.
[* ]The Appetite between the Sexes can have no Place in this Question; because it is not of that Sort, or Kind, which renders Mankind gregarious. Indeed it is observable, that the most solitary Animals, which are not fond of herding together, yet, at certain Periods, converse in Pairs.
[* ]The proper Use, and great Advantages of Deputies from, or Representatives of the People, will be set forth at large in the 4th Chapter of the ensuing Work.