Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART II.: CONTAINING THE TRUE BASIS OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT, In OPPOSITION to the SYSTEM of Mr. LOCKE and his Followers, By JOSIAH TUCKER, D. D. DEAN of GLOCESTER. - A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts
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PART II.: CONTAINING THE TRUE BASIS OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT, In OPPOSITION to the SYSTEM of Mr. LOCKE and his Followers, By JOSIAH TUCKER, D. D. DEAN of GLOCESTER. - 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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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.
“According to the foregoing Hypothesis, the higher Powers in every Country should be Heroes of the first Magnitude;—or if not Heroes in War, they should at least be endowed with the greatest Genius, the most distinguished and useful Talents in the Arts of Peace. For we are told, that it is their Superiority of natural Endowments, which, like Water finding its Level, laid the Foundation of Civil Government. Whereas, were we to turn from this ideal Perfection, to the plain, simple Fact, we shall find that few of the ruling Powers, especially crowned Heads, are wiser, or better, or braver, or more usefully employed than other Mortals. Moreover, according to the foregoing Representation of the Matter it should also follow, That on the Demise of any of these super-eminent, exalted Beings, a Kind of Dissolution, or at least a Suspension of Government ought to ensue, ’till another Non-pareil could be found out, in order to fill [worthily and properly] the vacant Throne.”
This Objection, smart and plausible as it may appear, is wholely grounded on a Mistake, which being removed, the Objection vanishes. The Mistake is this, That what was necessary, or expedient at first, must continue to be necessary, or expedient ever after. Whereas the Course of Nature in almost every Instance plainly proves the contrary.
Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Boyle had most extraordinary natural Talents and Sagacities in their respective Provinces; which they improved by almost incessant Industry and Application. Their Discoveries in Astronomy, Mathematics, Optics, Natural Philosophy, Mechanics, Chemistry, &c. &c. &c. are wonderfully great and curious. But doth it follow, that every Man must have the Genius of a Boyle, a Newton, in order to be benefited, or n-lightened by their Discoveries? And now, that they have led the Way, may not Men of very moderate Capacities, be able to tread in their Steps? Nay I will go farther, and even ask, may not an illiterate Mechanic [illiterate, comparatively speaking] by Dint of mere Use and Practice, and by the Advantage of having good Models before his Eyes;—may not even such an one be able to construct, or to manage some of their most curious Machines in a much better Manner than the great Philosophers themselves could have done, had they been alive? Surely he may: For nothing can be more obvious, than that the Man, who cannot invent, may nevertheless by Means of daily Use, and Habit, be able to improve on a former Invention, greatly to his own Advantage, and that of others.
The Case in Politics is much the same; or rather it is a still stronger Confirmation of the foregoing Remark. For tho’ it may be necessary to have an Hero to found an Empire;—or [to come still nearer to the Plan of the preceding Chapter] tho’ it may at first require some extraordinary Efforts of an uncommon Genius, to form an Hundred Pair of independent Savages into a regular Community, and to bind them together with the Bonds of Civil Society,—yet when this is once done, and good Order and Harmony well established,—Things will then go on, in a Manner, of their own accord, if common Prudence be not wanting. Nay, what is still more to our present Purpose, it is observeable, that great Geniusses are likely to do more Harm than Good, if there should happen to be a Succession of them in the same Government, for two, or three Generations. The active Spirits of such Men, and their excentric Dispositions will not suffer them to remain in a neutral State; so that they will certainly be employed either for the better, or for the worse. And as Ambition, and the Lust of Power are the reigning Vices of the Great, it is therefore but too probable, that they will become bad Neighbours to other States, in Proportion, as they shall have less Occasion for exerting their Abilitics at Home: Or if they should consine their Attention chiefly to their own Territories;—can it be a Doubt which Course they will take. Whether to encrease, or diminish the Privileges of their own Subjects?—In short. Woe be to the Country, which happens to be cursed with a successive Race of Heroes: Long Experience hath too fatally confirmed this Observation. And the Misfortune is, that the Subjects of these victorious Princes, are, generally speaking, so blinded with the Glare of Glory, and so intoxicated with the Fumes of Conquest, that they will be content to be enslaved themselves, provided they shall be so happy as to be employed in the glorious Work of enslaving others.—It must, I think, be allowed, that a Romulus was necessary to found Rome, and to bring that Set of Banditti, which he first drew together, into some Degree of Order and Regularity, by obliging them to submit to the Rules of Justice among themselves, and the Laws of Civil Government.—But after those good Ends were in Part accomplished, the mild, pacific Disposition, and the steady and temperate Conduct of a Numa, were much fitter to constitute a Successor, than the dangerous Abilities of another Romulus.
“The Account given in the preceding Chapter of the Origin of Civil, or Political Government, must be liable to great Exceptions, because it confounds those Ideas, which ought always to be kept distinct and separate. Thus for Example, there is a Society, which may be called natural, and there is another which is political. And tho’ Man is formed by Nature to become a Member of both Societies; yet it is a very great Mistake to say, that he has the same Inducement, or that he is influenced by the same Motives in both Cases. As a gregarious Animal, he loves to associate with his like, and to herd with them. This is mere natural Society, and cannot be called political. And even after it had been perceived, that there are many Inequalities between the respective Powers, Talents, and Capacities of the several Members which compose this Society:—Perhaps indeed so great as would necessarily introduce some Kind of Difference, or Distinction among them; still it doth not follow, that these Distinctions should change natural Society into political. For no mere Meeting together, or Assemblage of the People, no Contiguity of Habitation, or Vicinage of Inhabitants ought to be allowed to constitute a State politic, till Legislation hath been actually introduced, and Jurisdiction exercised among them:—Which it is apprehended, could not be done without common Consent, or at least the Consent of the major Part.”
“In Fact, the Motives for entering into these two distinct Societies. the natural and the political, are not only different, but in a Manner opposite. For if Men are drawn to herd together as gregarious Animals, by a Kind of instinctive Love;—they may be justly said to be compelled to form political Associations by a Sort of instinctive Fear: That is, dreading the Approach of some alarming Danger, or desirous of retaliating some Injury received;—they collect their scattered Forces together, and put them under the Direction of one Man, or of one Set of Men, in order to be employed for the public Good and Safety. Now this being the proper Cause or Motive, and therefore the only true Origin of political Union, it is plain, that the very Description of it implies both universal Caution, and mutual Distrust. For in this Case, every Man acts from a Principle of Self-Interest, or Self-Preservation. And therefore it is not credible, that any Number of Men, in order to guard against one Danger, would rush headlong into another: It is not, it cannot be supposed, That rational Creatures would surrender up their natural Liberty and Independence, and with it, in some Sense, their Lives and Fortunes, without demanding any Security for the right Use and faithful Application of so great a Trust.”
When Mr. Locke was a very young Man, it was the Custom of the Pastors of his Time to make the junior Part of their Congregations to undergo the following strange Examination, “At what Day or Hour did you feel the Influxes of Saving Grace, and receive the Seal of your Election and Justification?” Something like the same Question is couched under this Objection, founded on Mr. Locke’s System, relating to the [supposed] Time of our first Entrance into a political Union, or Consederacy with the State, under which we live. For it seems, there cannot be any such Thing as a natural-born Subject: It is, according to the Lockian Doctrine, a Solecism in Language, and a Contradiction to common Sense. Surely therefore we have a Right to ask a Lockian this plain Question: As you say you are not a natural-born Subject, tho’ born and bred here in England, be pleased to tell us. Are you now a Member of the British Constitution? Or are you not?—And if you are, When? Or from what Day or Hour did your Membership commence? Moreover what Ceremony of Adoption, Admission, Matriculation, or whatever else you will please to call it, was used by you, or by others on that solemn Occasion? The Answer to these Questions, it is apprehended, would be rather embarrassing; and might draw on Consequences, which a prudent Man would willingly avoid.
Indeed the whole Objection, tho’ seemingly a new one, is nothing more than a Position of Mr. Locke and his Followers already considered and confuted. However, as it is here revived, and appears in something like a new Dress, let us bestow a Remark or two upon it.
“The Incredibility of sliding insensibly, and without any previous Contract, from that Society, which is merely natural, into that which is political!” But why, I pray, is this incredible?—“Because [says a Lockian] the Motives, or Inducements are not only different in themselves, but even contradictory. Inasmuch as the Inducement to form the one is instinctive Love, but to create the other is evidently Caution, Apprehension, or the Fear of Danger.” Now this is taking that very Thing for granted, which ought to be proved. And indeed it is one of those Arguments, which destroys itself. For if Caution is supposed to operate so strongly as to prevent the Formation of political Society, till Men had previously settled the Terms of this intended Association,—and had given, and received Securities for reposing a Trust and Confidence in each other;—it ought to operate still more strongly for the Prevention of natural Society, least the strongest, or the most vicious of these ungoverned Human Animals, when herding together, should bite, or kick, should seize on his Prey, and devour the Weakest:—A Circumstance this, which we must allow, might possibly happen. Therefore, according to this System, neither the Society which is called natural, nor that which is political can exist at all, till there has been a previous Contract entered into for the Safety and Preservation of all Parties. And yet methinks, it is rather difficult to conceive, how a Connection could be formed, how Terms could be settled, and a solemn Contract entered into, for binding all Parties, before Men had once met together, or indeed before they could prudently, or safely trust themselves in the Company of each other for this, or any other Purpose.
The Thing to be proved was this, that there must be some certain Period in each Person’s Life, when he or she first commenced a Member of political Society.—A Period, when he or she surrendered up those Liberties, and that Independence which belonged to him or her, in a State of Nature, in order to receive from the Government of the Country, that Protection, and those Advantages, which result from Civil Society. Now such a Covenant as this, so peculiarly marked and circumstanced, could not easily have been forgotten, if it had ever happened. And therefore we must call upon the Lockians once more [each to answer separately for him or herself] to name the Year, Month, Week, Day, or Hour, when this Contract was made between the Government of Great-Britain on the one Part, and A. B. or C. D, or E. F, on the other.
In the mean Time [as they will not be in Haste to inform us on this Head] let us endeavour to trace this, as well as other dangerous Errors of modern Republicanism, to their proper Source, in order to put the Friends of real and constitutional Liberty on their Guard against such Delusions.
The arguing from particular Exigences to general Practice, and from extraordinary Events to the usual, and (for the most Part) uninterrupted Course of Things, seems to have been the Ignis fatuus, which misled Mr. Locke, and all his Followers. Thus, for Instance, if there happened at any Time to be so much Discord, and such a Dissention between Sovereign and Subject, Prince and People, as could not be healed, without the Help of a written Compact, and a formal Treaty between Party and Party:—Then this excentric Emergence is urged as a proper Precedent for requiring the constant Use of formal Compacts in all Cases, and at all Times and Seasons whatsoever. Now this Reasoning is just as sound and judicious, as it would be to maintain, that if a most violent Remedy was deemed necessary to be prescribed in the last Stage of a most acute Disease, it would be right to prescribe the same Remedy in all Cases, and in every Circumstance that could happen, let a Person be sick, or well, and whatever his Complaint might be, or even if he had no Complaint at all.
Again, when any Number of independent Persons are incorporated into one Society by Means of a parliamentary Law, or of a Royal Charter;—it would be a very easy Matter not only to tell the Year, the Month, and the Day of such a new Incorporation, but also to assign the public Reasons or Motives for establishing such a Body Politic: Nay more, it is apprehended, that it would be no very difficult Task, even to point out the respective Views of Self-Interest and private Advantage, which some at least of these independent Persons proposed to themselves, by giving up their natural Independency, and putting on the Shackles (if they must be so called) of political Concatenation and Dependence. But in the Name of common Sense, what have such Cases as these to do with Civil Government at large? And what Affinity hath any political Institution of this Sort, where the Act of Incorporation is in a Manner instantaneous, with that progressive Course of Civil Society, which like the infant State of Man, [moral and intellectual as well as natural] grows up gradually from small Beginnings to Maturity?—As well might you pretend to define, where the Night ends, and the Day begins, as to assign the exact Period when that Society which is natural, puts on the Dress and assumes the Form of the political.—Besides, if it hath been already shewn in the first Chapter, that Mankind would insensibly slide into some Kind of Subordination or other, in Consequence of the Difference between their respective Talents, Genius, and Capacities;—I would here ask, How could they stop at any given Point of natural Society, and proceed no farther?—How indeed when ’tis also considered, that at the first Creation of the above-mentioned hundred Pair of Patriarchs, those Members of natural Society would be entire Strangers to every Kind of Fear and Jealousy, and to all that Apprehension of Danger, which the Experience of after Ages hath suggested to Mankind.
To make this Matter still plainer, if possible, I would hear observe, That in the Infancy of States and Empires, political Societies were not formed at once, as Guilds of Trades, or Companies of mercantile Adventurers, or Bodies Politic are formed at present, by Means of Paper, Parchment, and Wax, Signing and Sealing. But Civil Societies grew up by Degrees from small, and in a Manner, imperceptible Beginnings, according as the Numbers of Mankind encreased, or as their Wants and Exigencies required. Nay, it is exceedingly probable, that neither the first Governors, nor the first Governed [or if you please, neither the Men of of superior Qualifications, nor those of inferior] had conceived the whole of the Plan, which they were afterwards to pursue through the rest of their Lives. But they were like Men groping in the dark, and feeling their Way by little and little. As new Lights broke in upon them, they still advanced: But it is very absurd to suppose that at first, they saw clearly into those Consequences or Relations of Things, which the present Science of Politics, raised on the Experience of Ages, hath discovered to us. Indeed, whenever new Cases did arise, it is natural to suppose, that such new Powers, both of Legislation and Jurisdiction, would be exerted, as those Cases required: But certainly the Society itself had an Existence before the Exertion of those Powers, or even before it could be known that they were wanted. So that in Fact, and in every View, this second Objection must be deemed to be as groundless as the former.
That which the Lockians ought to have said, is probably to this Effect. That tho’ it be absurd to suppose, that Civil Government in general took its Rise from previous Conventions, and mutual Stipulations actually entered into between Party and Party;—and tho’, whenever such a Contract as here supposed did take Place, at some very extraordinary Conjuncture,—[a Contract, by the by, which could only bind the contracting Parties:]—Yet as Civil Government in general is in Reality a Public Trust, be the Origin, and the Form of it whatever they may;—there must be some Covenant or other supposed or implied as a Condition necessarily annexed to every Degree of Discretionary Power, whether expressed or not.—Had they said only this, they would have said the Truth; and their Doctrine would have exactly coincided with the Ideas of a Quasi-Contract before mentioned. Nay more, they would have avoided all those Paradoxes, which attend their present System, and render it one of the most mischievous, as well as ridiculous Schemes that ever disgraced the reasoning Faculties of human Nature.
“Whatever Difficulties in Theory may be supposed to attend the Idea of a Contract actually [not virtually] subsisting between Prince and People; the Fact itself is so decisive in Favour of an actual Contract, that the bare mentioning of it, with its concomitant Circumstances, is enough to silence any Plea, or Pretence to the contrary. For Example,—even among the most unenlightened Nations, whether ancient, or modern, it is remarkable, that the Powers and Prerogatives of their Kings and Leaders were very limited, and circumscribed.—Sometimes extending little farther, than was just necessary for the carrying on a War, or conducting an Expedition with Secrecy and Success;—at other Times consisting of but little more than a bare Sufficiency to act the Part of powerful Judges and Mediators in civil Disputes;—and at all Times, so balanced by counteracting Powers, as never to be, in a legal Sense, unlimited, or despotic. The Case of the antient Gauls, as described by Cæsar, and of the Germans by Tacitus, strongly confirms what is here advanced. To which we may add that amazing Uniformity of Government so visible in the Feudal System of the barbarous Nations, which overspread all Europe, and exhibited every where a limited Constitution. If we wanted historical Examples of this Sort, our own Country might furnish enough. For surely the Mode of obtaining the famous Magna Charta here in England, and the History of the Wars between the Houses of Stuart and Douglass in Scotland, afford such flagrant Instances of a limited Monarchy, and a conventional Constitution (if I may use the Term) that more could not possibly be desured, or expected.”
These Objectors are very unfortunate in appealing to the Example, or Practice of unenlightened Nations for Proofs of actual [not virtual] Contracts subsisting between Prince and People, if by actual they suppose written Contracts. For it is hard to conceive, how written Contracts could have been in Use among Barbarians, before they had learnt to read and write. But if by actual the Objectors mean verbal Contracts, the Difficulty is indeed removed in one Respect, and as much encreased in another. For it exceeds even the Powers of Credulity itself to believe, That the Prince of any Country entered into a verbal, and personal Contract with every one of his Subjects,—or even with the thousandth Part of them, if his Territories were at all populous and extended. And yet there certainly is such a Thing as an implied Covenant [I say implied, not expressed] between every Prince, and every Subject throughout his Dominions, be the People many, or few in Number, and his Empire great or small. For every Trust implies a Covenant, or Condition of some Kind, or other, according to the Nature of the Case; and therefore these Trusts may with great Propriety be termed Quasi Contracts. So much as to this Part of the Objection.—Need any Thing more be added?
The other Part of the Objection is, “That all the Kingdoms in Europe, erected on the Basis of the Feudal System, were limited Monarchies.” Granted: For the Fact was really so.—But what Inference can be deduced from this Circumstance?—Not surely, that these Limitations arose either from written Contracts, or from verbal Covenants, and personal Conferences made with each Individual, or even with the Majority of the Individuals of any of these States; [because these Things have been proved already to be impossible:]—But they arose from the aristocratical Power of the Heads of Tribes, or the Chieftains of Clans and Families, who in their military Expeditions, acted a Part more like that of Allies and Confederates with the Commander in Chief, than as his own proper Subjects: And who therefore, on the Division of the conquered Country, got so much Territory, and such Royaltic and Jurisdictions to be allotted to themselves, that they were all a Species of little Kings, each on his own Domain.
Granting therefore to these Objections every Thing they ask;—nay granting much more;—granting, I say, that the Heads of Tribes, and Chiefs of Clans of all the barbarous Nations of Antiquity, and more especially of Gaul and Germany, elected their Kings by unanimous Consent;—and that they bound them down to what Terms they pleased;—still the Question will return, Who elected these Heads and Chiefs?—And what Right of fair and unconstrained Delegation had they to act for others, as well as for themselves?—In fact, if the Chiefs of each Tribe, or Clan were not elected by unanimous Consent,—nay if they were not elected at all, What have we gained, by proving, That the Heads of these little Societies took great Care, that they themselves should be the only Tyrants?—Now, there is, I believe, not the least Vestige either in Cæsar, or Tacitus, or any other ancient Author, that the Individuals of each Tribe, or Clan, met together for Election of an Head, or Chief, in Case of a Vacancy.—No; these Chieftains acted on a quite contrary Principle respecting their own Power;—inasmuch as they considered, that they had an inherent and a natural Right to rule over their own Tribes. Clans, or Vassals, tho’ none had such a Right to rule over them.—Consequently all the Parade about the Restraints and Limitations laid on the Power of Kings, according to the Gothic Constitution, and during the Continuance of the Feudal System, ends at last in this, That the Kings were bound, but the Nobles were free.—A Sample and Illustration of which Kind of regal Submission, and of Aristocratical Exaltation, we have, or lately had, in the Gothic Constitution of that fertile but unhappy Kingdom of Poland. Nay more, the History of Magna-Charta itself is a striking Proof, and Confirmation of this Point. For the Barons of England, in that Struggle with King John, did not sight in Defence of the general Liberties of the People of England, but for the particular Preservation and Continuance of their own Domination over their Vassals. And at the last, what little was granted to the People in, and by that Charter, [little, I mean, in Comparison to the Liberties they have since enjoyed] was obtained by the King himself, not only without the Assistance, but even contrary to the Good-Will and Approbation of his Barons. For when he saw himself in danger of being stript of so much feudal Power, which of Course would strengthen his Enemies in Proportion as it weakened himself,* he obliged them to part with some of their exorbitant Claims, in Favour of their Vassals, according as they had compelled him to do the like in Favour of themselves. The Motives of his Action, it must be confessed, were not the purest, nor the most patriotic. But nevertheless the People in general reaped the Benefit. And thus it came to pass, that the Mass of the People of England, by a lucky Concurrence of Circumstances, and without any intentional Efforts of their own, got considerably by that famous Struggle, and thereby laid the happy Foundation of their future Greatness.
Now after having said so much in regard to England, we may be allowed to be very brief in respect to Scotland: For most undoubtedly, neither the great House of Douglas, in all their Civil Wars with the Crown, nor any of the Lords in the Lowlands, nor Chieftains in the Highlands harboured so much as a Wish to have their Power abridged over their respective Clans, Vassals, and Dependents, by their Attempts to abridge the Power of the Crown over themselves. As soon therefore should I believe that the late Mr. Beckford of famous, and patriotic Memory, in his Vociferation for Liberty, intended to set the wretched Slaves on his numerous Plantations in Jamaica free, as I could suppose, that a Gothic Baron meant to part with his Power over his own Vassals and Dependents, when he contended to abridge the regal Power over himself, and his Fellow Barons. And were the Planters in Jamaica to imitate their Brethren on the Continent, by setting up an intire Independence [Would to God, that not only they but all the Leeward-Islands were to do the like!—And that England had the Wisdom and good Sense to permit them to do it!] Were, I say, these Planters, to set up an independent Government, and to elect a King of their own,—there is no Doubt to be made, but that they would tie up his Majesty’s Hands as much as possible, and make him little more than a Cypher;—at the same Time, that they would expect to be at full Liberty themselves to whip and scourge, and torture their poor Negroes, according to their own brutal Will and Pleasure. Nay, it is very observable, that the most eminent Republican Writers, such as Locke, Fletcher of Sallown, and Rousseau himself, pretend to justify the making Slaves of others, whilst they are pleading so warmly for Liberty for themselves. And what is still more extraordinary, the greatest American Champions for the unalienable Right of Mankind, one the Generalissimo of the Republican Army, and the other lately the President of the Congress, have shewn by their own Example, that they have no Objections against Slavery, provided they shall be free themselves, and have the Power of enslaving others: For Mr. Washington, I am credibly informed, has several Slaves now on his Plantations, and Mr. Lawrens got his Fortune by acting as a Kind of Broker in the Slave Trade, buying and selling his Fellow-Creatures on Commission.
“One plain Matter of Fact is better than a thousand Arguments spun out of the Cobwebs of Metaphysics. And therefore the surest Way, in all Cases of Dispute, is to recur to the Fountain-Head, if we can; which in the present Case we may easily do, by appealing to an established Custom among the Savages of America. For it is an historical Fact, universally acknowledged, that the Individuals in each of their Tribes live in a State of absolute Freedom and Equality among themselves, in Times of Peace, without Subordination. Jurisdiction, or Legislation of any Kind: And that they only act in Concert, and submit to some Kind of Authority during a War. When that is over, the Power of their Chief, or Leader ceases of Course; and each returns to his original Equality and Independence. Here therefore we have the fullest Proof, and the clearest Illustration of the distinct Existence of the two Societies above-mentioned, namely, of that natural Society which is founded on the Attractions of instinctive Love,—and of that political Union, which arises from Fear, which operates by Consent, and is grounded on actual Compact.”
Is it fair, just, or reasonable, That any of the peculiar Customs of this savage People, [with whose History natural, moral, or political we are very little acquainted] should be urged in the present Debate, as Patterns of, or Examples to, the rest of Mankind? Before America was ever discovered we had the Customs and Manners of almost all Europe, Asia, and Africa, to descant upon;—a Field, one would have thought, large enough for every Theory of Government, and for all possible Investigations of Civil Society, without having Recourse to another Part of the World, which was discovered but as Yesterday. And now it is in * Part discovered, we have the Mortification to find, that the original Natives, far from being the Ornament, are almost universally the Disgrace of Human Nature;—as having many Defects and Vices peculiar to themselves, with few, or no Virtues and Excellencies to counterbalance them. Surely then, our modern Patriots, and zealot Republicans might have spared both themselves and us the Trouble of going into this Part of the World in Search after Models of Government worthy of Imitation.
But nevertheless, as our Adversaries, after having been defeated every where else, have chosen to entrench themselves on this Spot, and to set us at Defiance, let us not avoid the Combat even on their own Ground, and let us not despair of being able to wrest the Tomahoc, their favourite Weapon, out of their Hands.
Now all that we know of America, relative to the present Subject, seems to be this, That the far greater Part of the Native Indians [Indians I mean, as they were formerly, before their Subjection, or those at present, who are not in Subjection to any European Power] may be divided into three different Ranks, or Classes, mere Savages,—half Savages,—and almost civilized. I do not mention these Distinctions, or Classes, as accurate Definitions, according to logical Rules, but as Descriptions of Men, and Manners sufficiently exact for our present Purpose.
To begin therefore with those in the most perfect State of American Society, whom I call almost civilized. The Reason of giving them this Denomination is, because they had a permanent Government, Legislation, and Jurisdiction of their own before the Spanish Conquests, and enjoyed many Blessings to which the rest of the Natives of that vast Country were almost Strangers. These were the Subjects of the two great Empires of Mexico and Peru. The Question therefore is, How were these Empires formed? Did they arise from the actual and express Consent [I do not say, each Individual, but even of] the Majority of the Individuals, who composed them? Or were these Empires owing to some other Cause or Causes?—The Empire of Mexico, it must be owned, before Montezuma’s Usurpation, was a limited Constitution: and therefore here, if any where, we may expect to find that solemn League and Covenant between the Sovereign and all his Subjects, which we have been so long searching after. But alas! here likewise we must be prepared to meet with a Disappointment. For the Restraints and Limitations laid upon the Emperors did not arise from any Compact solemnly entered into between the Sovereign and the People, or the Mass of the People, or even any Representatives chosen by the People,—but from the Aristocratical Power of the Nobles, or Princes of the Empire;—who, like the Barons of the Gothic Constitution in Europe, chose to have no other Tyrants than themselves: And that their * Tyranny was very great is beyond a Doubt. Granting therefore, for Argument’s Sake, that some solemn Convention had passed between the Emperor and the mighty Princes of his Empire, whereby he was bound to observe certain Conditions stipulated between them,—still the Question returns again, Who elected these Princes, alias great Mexican Barons? And what social Compact had they to shew for exercising any Authority whatever, much less despotic Authority, over their respective Slaves, and numerous Dependents? Or, are we to suppose, that these Slaves and Vassals first met to elect their respective Masters, and then told them, “We prescribe such and such Terms to you; and then you may, if you please, prescribe the like to your Master the Emperor?” Something like this must certainly be made to appear, before these Cases can be allowed to be any Kind of Confirmation of the Lockian System. In the mean Time, I will bring a Case in Point, which is a decisive Proof of the contrary in similar Circumstances. The King of Bohemia, for Example, and the Marquess of Brandenburgh (at War with each other in the Year 1777) are the two greatest Electors in the German Empire; the former of whom was likewise chosen Emperor a few Years before; and the latter is better known by the Stile and Title of the King of Prussia. Now there are extant Volumes of Imperial Bulls and Capitulars, which plainly shew, that the Electors have reduced the Powers and Prerogatives of the Emperor to little more than a Shadow. But what Benefits or Advantage can the oppressed Subjects of Brandenburgh, and of Bohemia, derive from these Limitations? And do the poor Peasants, and other Vassals of either of these great Princes dare to say, “You have no Right to reign over us, but what we voluntarily gave you by such and such Acts of our Assemblies? And therefore we will limit your Power over us, in the same Manner, as you limit the Power of the Emperor over you?” Dare they say these Things? Or indeed can they say with Truth, that either the Bohemians, or the Brandenburghers did ever elect the Houses of Austria, or Brandenburgh to be their respective Sovereign Lords and Masters?
But to return: The great Empire of Peru comes the next under our Consideration. And we read, that Manco Capac, and his Consort Mama Ocollo, were the Founders of it, by making the People believe, that they were the Children of the Sun: Which illustrious Pedigree, and imperial Title, the Incas, their Successors, laid Claim to ever after. Now a rank Republican may, if he pleases, spy out a social Compact even here: For he may assert, with his usual Confidence, that the Peruvians first met together in Congress, and after solemn Debate, and impartially scrutinizing the Matter, allowed the Proofs to be valid, which Manco and his Consort there exhibited of their lineal Descent from that glorious Luminary; and recognized their Title to the Empire. For my Part, I can discern nothing like a social Contract between equal, and independent Beings, in the Formation of this Empire: But I can see plainly enough, that Manco used, what may be called a pious Fraud, as Minos, Numa, and Lycurgus had done before him, in the like Circumstances. All which Examples evidently prove, that these Legislators were conscious to themselves, that their Plans even of doing Good, and of being of Service to Mankind, would have miscarried, had they trusted only to the Consent of the People, convened together a la MonsieurLocke, and had they not had Recourse to Measures of a very different Nature, by availing themselves of the popular Ignorance and Superstition.
So much as to the first Class of original Americans, the almost civilized.
The next is, the half Savages. Now these People may be so termed, because they were in a Kind of Medium State, between the more refined Inhabitants of the great Empires of Mexico, and Peru, and the gross Savages of the Woods and Deserts. They had a Property in Lands and Goods, and consequently some Sort of Industry, together with a Species of Legislation and Jurisdiction within themselves. The Countries, in which they principally dwelt, were Florida, and along the Banks of Mississipi, some Part of the great Continent, and particularly a District called Bagota, Hispaniola, Cuba, and all the greater Islands: Of whom in general one striking Observation may be made; that they had noble Families among them, who enjoyed hereditary Honours, and were possessed of ample Patrimonies, Dignities, and Prerogatives, which they transmitted from Father to Son, without any actual Consent, or Election of the People. Now whether these distinguished Personages [Some of whom claimed also to be descended from the Sun, like the Incas of Peru] Whether, I say, these great Personages, and Heads of their respective Tribes, Clans, or Vassals, ought to be called Chieftains, or Princes, or Kings, is very immaterial, and nothing to the Purpose. Evident enough it is, let them be called by what Name you please, that neither they, nor the People over whom they presided, ever dreamt of a social Compact, as the Foundation of their hereditary Power and Pre-eminence. Whether therefore their Fore-fathers acquired this Ascendency, and these Prerogatives, by Means of a certain Superiority of natural Endowments [according to the Supposition of the foregoing Chapter] which elevated them above the rest of their Species,—Or whether by Virtue of a patriarchal, regular Descent, or by what other unknown Means, is not worth the Inquiry; since it is obvious, that the Merits of the Cause cannot turn on these Points, that all of them are equally repugnant to the Lockian Hypothesis of Contracts and Conventions.
However, we may from hence take Occasion to make one very useful Remark, that the Antiquity of some Families, and the Respect and Veneration every where shewn them, is another distinct Proof, that Mr. Locke and his Followers had not sufficiently studied human Nature, when they ascribed [at least their Arguments, and Train of Reasoning tend to ascribe] the general Pre-eminence of some Families over others to Contracts, Covenants, and Conventions. For it is not consistent with any Degree of common Sense to suppose, that the Dignity and Elevation of some Families, and the servile Condition and mean Estate of others, ever were, or ever could be settled by the mutual Consent of all Parties concerned, who met together in Congress for that Purpose;—each of them equal to, and all independent one of another. Moreover, what makes this Affair still the more extraordinary is, that such Respect paid to Family-Antiquity is greatest, by far, in those Countries, whose Inhabitants are the least removed from the original State of Nature. In rich Countries, for Example, such as England and Holland, the Honour of a long Pedigree is much lessened to what it formerly was, in Proportion as Riches and Opulence have encreased among the People: In Scotland and Ireland it still retains its Influence in the poorer Parts, but is evidently losing Ground in the richer, according as Manufactures and Commerce have begun to spread. In France, the Influence of Family is still considerable; in Germany much more, and in Hungary, Poland, Moscovy, &c. the most of all.
Now, what shall we say to these Things? For the Fact is really so, reason how you please upon it: And therefore, whether this Notion of antient Blood is well, or ill supported in particular Cases, still as it is generally so prevalent throughout the World, we ought, I think, to conclude, that it hath its Foundation in human Nature; Providence graciously intending to stimulate us to great and good Actions, and to prevent us from doing any Thing base and unworthy of our Ancestors. At the same Time, as such a Predilection in Favour of what is not properly our own, is liable to great Abuse, we ought to be the more watchful in guarding against the Abuses and Perversions of it.
Having said thus much, I leave it to every Reader to determine, towards which Extreme, that of paying too great,—or too little a Deference to the Antiquity of Family, and the Notions of high Blood, we of this Age and Country are leaning most at present.—For my own Part, I make no Secret of declaring, that had I now the Option, whether I would chuse to obey the Powers that be, or those that wish to be, I should have a mortal Aversion against submitting to the upstart Sway of an Adams, or a Laurens, or of any other of that Tribe. And Experience hath taught us long ago, that such Sort of newly exalted Beings grow to be the most insolent of Men, and prove the worst of Tyrants.
But to return: It is said, that besides these Aristocratical, or Patriarchal Governments in America, there were others subsisting [that of the Thlascallans in particular] which bore a nearer Resemblance to a Republic, than to any other Form. But even of Republicks, there are so many different Species, that it is hard to say, to which of our European Common-Wealths, the American could be supposed to bear the nearest Resemblance. Suffice it therefore to observe once for all, that neither in the old, nor in the new world, in antient, or in modern Times, was there ever, as far as appears, any one Republic, which was literally democratical, in the Lockian Sense of the Word, For even at Geneva. the most popular of all Governments, which I can think of, a Moiety at least of the Male and adult Inhabitants [not to mention Females, and Male Youths] are excluded from giving Suffrages by the Constitution of the Place:—None but Citizens being permitted to enjoy that Privilege; mere Commorantes, and Sojourners, though of ever so long standing, and Natives of the Place, being all excluded. And were we to mount up into high Antiquity, and ransack the most celebrated Republics of Greece, for Proofs and Illustrations of this Matter, we should find that their Exclusions and Rejections were still greater,
Having now, it is to be hoped, had tolerable Success in this Part of our American Warfare, let us at last have the Courage to face that fell Monster himself with his Scalping Knife; the mere Savage;—of whom we have heard so much from Mr. Locke, and all his Followers, that in Times of Peace he bravely disdains all Subordination, because he is duly sensible of of his natural Rights, and (to use Dr. Priestly’s emphatic Words) feeling his own Importance, he considers himself as fully equal to any other Person whatever.
Well: The Scalping Knife, if you please, we will here lay aside, as having nothing to do with such an Instrument in this Dispute: Nor yet need we descrbe the canibal Feasts which these celebrated, independent Beings used to make on their Prisoners, after having roasted them alive. For as Mr. Locke and all his Followers not only allow but even insist, that the Savages generally elect a Chief, and submit to his Authority during a War, but return to their original Equality after it is over,—our Business is to find out, if we can, how it comes to pass, that they live in a State of absolute Independance, and without the Controul of Authority in Times of Peace;—those very Times, when the Advantages arising from Government and Law would have been productive of the most Good, and the least Evil, both to themselves, and others.
Now, in order to prosecute this Inquiry in such a Manner as would bring us the nearest to the Truth, we ought to compare these human Beings with others of their Kind, in every Point, which can give us any Light. For by so doing we have a better Chance of discovering the real Cause of this surprising Phænomenon, this grand Omission of a Civil Government for Ages upon Ages;—after the rest of the World, all Nations, People, and Languages, had established one every where, of some Kind, or other. If, for Example, this capital Defect is, in a great Measure, owing to some radical Weakness, or Imbecility in the corporeal and mental Powers, or moral Tempers of this singular People,—it is a Disease the more difficult to be cured, in Proportion as it proceeds from those natural Imperfections, which human Art and Instruction may correct in some Degree, but cannot totally remove. But then, if this be the Case, surely the Lockians have not dealt very ingenuously by us, in holding forth this defective Race, as a Sample of the Progenitors of other Men in their original State of Nature: And the Inferences and Conclusion, which they draw from this Instance of the American Savages, must pass for nothing.
1st.Bodily Constitutions: We will begin with these, because all Men, as well as Rousseau, are led almost naturally to suppose, that a Savage is a brawny Creature, healthy, vigorous, and long lived. His simple Diet, his Way of Life, and continual Exercise in the open Air;—and above all his happy Ignorance of the Delicacies, Luxuries, and Debaucheries of populous Towns and Cities, seem to indicate, that he must have a Constitution such, or nearly such as here described. How great therefore is our Disappointment, when we are informed by the united Voice of History, that the Savages of America are in general, a loose-jointed, and weakly Race of Men, frequently afflicted with various Kinds of Diseases, and the least capable of under-going any Degree of hard, and constant Labour, of any Human Creatures upon Earth: And moreover, that they are, in general, very far from being long-lived. Add to this, that their beardless Faces, and smooth Skins betray evident Symptoms of a cold Habit, and a lax Frame; inasmuch as they are destitute of the usual Signs and Characteristics of Vigour and Robustness in other Men. All this is surely ominous at first setting out: And yet every Tittle of it is true. Multitudes of Authorities might here be adduced to corroborate these Points. But I shall content myself with two, both of which for their Singularity, and for the Opening they give to various Speculations, eclipse all the rest.
The first is, the total Ineptitude of the Savages in general for Labour and Toil.
EveryEuropean Nation, which in their Wars with the native Indians has taken any of them Prisoners, hath attempted to make them work; but to very little Purpose. For after repeated Trials, and after using them smoothly, as well as roughly, it has been found, that the weakly Frame of an Indian would sink under that Portion of Labour, which was no more than Exercise to another Man. An old Planter from South Carolina told me about 35 Years ago, that the Carolinians being at War with a Tribe of Indians, had made the Experiment on some of their Prisoners; and found this Observation to be strictly true. “It appears to me, said he, that the Indians have the Agility of a Beast of Prey, but not the Strength of a Beast of Burden. They are light and nimble, and can march at a vast Rate for two or three Days; provided they have no heavy Burdens to carry: They can also subsist without Victuals for as many Days, and perhaps longer, by drawing their Belts closer and closer. But here ends all their Excellence. For when you take them out of this fauntring Life, and put them to any Kind of Labour, their Spirits droop, and they soon die.” Now, this strange Debility of Body was the very Circumstance, which gave rise to that most inhuman Custom of making Slaves of the Negroes of Africa, in order to spare the Americans:—of which detestible Practice the English, those prosessed Patrons, and Guardians of the unalienable Rights of Mankind, are, alas! more guilty than any Nation under Heaven: For they carry on a greater Slave-Trade than any others.
Las Casas. the Dominican Missionary, afterwards Bishop of Chiapa, was the first who began this Practice. And what is really astonishing, he began it from a good Motive. Shocked at the prodigious Numbers of native Americans, who were salling Victims to the Cruelty of the Spaniards in Mexico and Peru, by being made to work beyond their Strength, he conceived a Plan for hiring robust Labourers from Old Spain. But the Landed Interest both of the new, and the old World violently opposed this Scheme, through different Motives;—the former, lest their Country should be drained of its useful Hands by such prodigious Emigrations; and the latter, lest they should be obliged to give up that Power over the Natives, which they had so unjustly usurped, and of which they had made an Use barbarous, and cruel beyond Example. Being therefore defeated in this Project, he conceived another, in which he had none of his former Antagonists to oppose him:—Nay, unhappily for Mankind, he found them ready enough to join him; as soon as they perceived that his Scheme was practicable, and attended with much Profit and Advantage: That was, To purchase Slaves on the Coast of Africa, and transport them to America. And thus it came to pass, that this misguided Zealot became the Author of that very Slavery, of those innumerable Murders, and Calamities to Millions and Millions of his Fellow-Creatures born on one Part of the Globe, which he was endeavouring to prevent, and exclaiming against, in another.—As if the black Inhabitants of Africa had not as good a Title to Life, and Liberty, as the copper-coloured Natives of America, or even the Whites of Europe.
The other Thing remarkable is the sickly Habit of these Indians. Indeed a sickly Habit, and a weak and tender Frame, are very often both the Cause and Effect of each other. But, to pass over this, let it be observed, that there were various Disorders to which the Savages were subject from their Mode of Living. For not having that constant Supply of Food, which is to be found in a civilized State, by Means of Agriculture, and regular Markets; but depending altogether on the precarious Events of their Fishing, and Hunting Expeditions, they sometimes abounded, and then they gorged most voraciously, eating their Fish and Meat almost raw: At other Times they suffered great Want, and were forced to fast for several Days. Hence Palsies, Pleurisies, Consumptions, and all other Diseases, which date their Origin from Indigestions, Repletions, and Inanitions, were very rife among them. Not to mention that terrible Malady, which once was peculiar to America, but now is diffused over every Part of the Globe, to the farthest Part of Siberia, and Tartary. [See the Abbè Chappe’s Account of his Journey into Siberia.] But what is stranger still, these Diseases, and others of the same Stock, continued to make Havock among several of them, even after they had altered their former Modes of Living (at least in Part) by their Conversion to Christianity, thro’ the indefatigable Zeal of the Jesuit Missionaries of Paraguay.
Muratori* is the Author to whom I appeal on this Occasion: And his Testimony is the more to be depended on, as he is reputed not only a very faithful and exact Historian, but also as he particularly endeavoured in this Treatise, to set forth the Contrast in the strongest Point of Light, between the Indians of Paraguay in their converted, and unconverted State. His Words are these: “Hitherto it has been impossible to moderate their ravenous Appetites. Custom, and a craving Stomach, which has a great Power over them, have prevailed constantly against all the Instructions they have had, with regard to the Advantages for the Preservation of Health: And so they continue to eat without Moderation.—This Irregularity is the Cause of many Infirmities, that descend from Father to Son. What is worse, the Indians, when indisposed, cannot take the least Care of themselves. A Reduction [This is a Name given to a Number of Savages converted to Christianity by the Missionaries, and incorporated in one Politico-Ecclesiastical Community] of seven or eight Thousand Souls is esteemed very happy, that has only two Hundred sick at once, or reduced to keep their Beds.” Now, I say, this Circumstance is a very strange one, and not to be accounted for according to the common Vicissitudes of Health, and Sickness here in Europe. For even in those Sinks of Vice, Debauchery, and Disease, London and Paris, there hardly ever is an Instance, unless during the Violence of some epidemical Distemper, that out of a Parish consisting of seven or eight Thousand Souls, two Hundred of them, at an Average, are always sick, and obliged to keep their Beds. And were we to compare this American Account, with the Bills of Health of our large and populous Parishes in Country Towns and Villages, we should find that there are not sixty Persons always sick, out of eight Thousand, taking the whole Year together. Thus much as to the Bodily Constitutions of these poor miserable People.
In respect to the intellectual Powers of these Savages,—very narrow and confined they are, according to the Relation of all Historians. Muratori observes, “That the Indians, before they were taught Christianity, had no Word to signify any Number above four: If they would signify five, they held up one Hand, if ten, both: To express twenty, they pointed to both hands and feet: Any number above twenty was expressed by a generical Word, that signified many. They could not distinguish a Number of Years, Persons, or Things, that should be told exactly. But now they learn Arithmetic from their Infancy. Nor is this all: On Sundays, after Divine-Service, the Numeration-Table is repeated to the People in the Church, that the Indians may retain better what they learned in their Infancy.”—Surely a more convincing Proof need not be given of a slow and dull Understanding, than what is here mentioned. Indeed Dr. Robertson takes Notice, that the very Negroes consider themselves as a Race of Men much superior to the Indians in Point of mental Endowments; and therefore treat them with no small Scorn on that Account. In short the original Natives can hardly be said to discover either a fertile Genius, or a solid Judgment, in any thing they either say or do:—At the same Time, that they are remarkable for Patience, and Perseverence almost invincible in prosecuting such things, as they have undertaken to accomplish, be they what they may. But the worst Part of their Character is yet to come,—Namely,
1st,—Their Want of Tenderness, Sympathy, and Affection;
2dly,—Their astonishing Laziness and Improvidence;
And 3dly,—Their Gloominess, Sullenness, and Taciturnity.
With respect to the first Class of these bad Qualities, all Historians agree, without one Exception, that the Savages in general are very cruel and vindictive, full of Spite and Malice; and that they have little, or no Fellow-feeling for the Distresses even of a Brother of the same Tribe,—and none at all, no not a Spark of Benevolence towards the distressed Members of an hostile Tribe. But the Missionaries, to their eternal Praise be it spoken, have converted these bloodthirsty, unfeeling Animals, into a very different Sort of Beings: So that if the Accounts given of them are true, or even near the Truth, there can be hardly a more liumane and benevolent People upon Earth, than the Indian Converts of Paraguay.
But in Regard to the second Class, namely, Their Indolence, Laziness, and astonishing Improvidence,—here alas! it may be asked, Can the Ethiopian change his Skin, or the Leopard his Spots? For with respect to these Evils, the Missionaries, with all their Zeal and Emulation, with all their Arts of alluring the Passions, and captivating the Imaginations of an ignorant, and simple People, have not been able to work a radical Cure;—if indeed it can be called any Cure at all. Muratori’s Observations are very striking on this Head; and after him I will refer to others.
“After having assigned, says he, (Page 141,) a Parcel of Land, more than sufficient to maintain each Family, they [the Missionaries] distribute among them the Quantity of Grain that is necessary to sow their Ground, but on this Condition, that after Harvest, they shall bring to the public Stores as much Grain as they have received, that the common Fund of Seed-Grain may be always kept up. ☞ Without this Precaution the Indians would certainly eat all their Grain, and leave themselves even without Hopes of another Harvest.
“Every Family has a Pair, or two of Oxen lent them for their Husbandry. ☞ If they were the Property of the Indians, the poor Animals would soon be passed all Service. For it has often happened, that some Indians, to spare themselves the daily Trouble of putting the Yoke on their Cattle, never took it off. Others would knock them down, and soon eat them up, without giving any Reason, but that they were hungry. Now indeed they are more careful of them, as they are obliged at the Expiration of a certain Term, to restore them in good Plight. Whatever Care is taken, Provisions are wanted by many about the Middle of the Year, either through Sickness, or some private Misfortune they have suffered; or it is owing to their imprudent Profusion,—To sence against these Inconveniencies, they [the Missionaries] take this Method. Besides the Lands assigned to Particulars, there is a considerable Extent of Ground, the best, and most fruitful that they can find, which the Indians call Tupambae, that is, the Possession of God. The Management is committed to some understanding laborious Indians. This is cultivated under their Direction, by the Children of the Reduction, who to the Age of fifteen are employed in this Work, and who supply by their Numbers, what they want in Strength—All Grains. Fruit, and Cotton gathered from the Tupambae, are deposited in the public Granaries and Store-Houses, in order to be distributed in the Course of the Year to the Sick, the Orphans, the Handicraft’s Men, who have no Profit from their Labour but being fed and maintained at the public Cost; in a Word to all such as are any Ways dispensed from Tillage by their Imployment and Business, and even to those, who thro’ their own Negligence, or some Casualty reach the End of their Provisions before that of the Year.”
“Keeping the Indians in Clothes does not require less Attention. Were this left to them [the converted Indians] they would soon go naked like the Savages.” Pages 143, 144, 145. Thus far Muhatori: To whom we might add Abundance of other Authorities, were we not apprehensive of having been too tedious already. Suffice it therefore, briefly to observe, from Dr. Robertson, and other Historians, that this inbred Laziness, and unaccountable Indolence, so visible throughout all the original Natives of America, do not arise from the Want of Mementoes of every Kind, were this Class of Men but wise enough to take the proper Warning. Thus for Example, the Indians dwelling in the higher Latitudes both in North and South America, feel the Colds, and Frosts, and Snows of Winter, as sensible as any People whatever: Indeed perhaps more so, as their smooth Skins are evident Symptoms of a cold Constitution: Yet all this is not enough to teach them to get a Stock of warm Cloathing in Readiness, against the Approach of cold Weather. The same Observations may be made with respect to Dwelling. For the return of every Autumn might put them in Mind, that that is the Season for them to repair their Cabins, and to make them strong, warm, and comfortable, before the Rains, and Snows fall, and Frost sets in;—yet the lazy Indian puts off these necessary Repairs from Day to Day, ’till it becomes too late, or at least so late in the Season, that he cannot do it effectually, if he would. In short, he seems to be incapable of using any Forecast: For even the Example of the provident, and industrious Beaver, in a like Situation, tho’ continually before his Eyes, is lost upon him. Lastly, if any Teaching could suffice, respecting Food, one would think that the voracious Stomach of an Indian, and his frequent Disappointments, might tell him, that it would be much better to cultivate some Spots of Ground near his Cabin, and to tame some Animals for domestic Use (which he might do by Way of Amusement and Recreation) than to depend on the uncertain Events of Fishing and Hunting, which he knows must cease at some Seasons of the Year, and which so often sail, that hundreds of Indians are annually obliged to live on the bad Food of wild Roots, Plants, and Berries, and even of the most nauseous Reptiles, for a considerable Time, till Death itself puts an End to their Misery.—Yet alas! plain, and instructive as this Voice of Nature is, it is ineffectual to work a practical Conviction on the Minds of this stupid, and unthinking People. Nay more; the Missionaries themselves, who according to the Faith of the converted Indians, are invested with the Keys both of Heaven and Hell, and can dispense either Happiness or Misery both in this Life and the next;—these Missionaries, I say, who have civilized the Savages, and have wrought great, and happy Changes in them in several Respects; who are therefore beloved almost to Adoration—yet even they are not able to work any tolerable Reformation respecting the capital Points of Laziness and Improvidence, so deeply rooted in the Constitution of an Indian: So that the utmost they can do, is to palliate an unhappy, hereditary Disorder, instead of performing a radical Cure.
Hence therefore it comes to pass, that when the Savages in their natural State, are destitute of the Benefit of such faithful Monitors, such wise and able Governors, as the Missionaries have proved themselves to be, they frequently kill their infant Children, because they are not provided with the Means of rearing them up. Thus for Instance, if a Mother should die before her Child is weaned, the Child must be destroyed, there being no Nurse for it: And then it is buried in the same Grave with its Mother. A like Circumstance happens, when a Woman is delivered of Twins; for one, or other of these Innocents must be put to Death, because she cannot rear them both. And as she receives no Assistance from her Consort, or next to none, towards the Support of their common Offspring [he on the contrary always using her as his Drudge, and expecting, when he kills the Game, even at the Distance of several Miles from their Cabin, that his Squaw should go to fetch it Home.] She herself frequently procures Abortion, in order to be freed from the excessive Fatigue of rearing up Children, and of providing for their Sustenance by her own Toil. Nay, we are informed, that there have been Instances of Mothers having murdered their female Infants, through mere Tenderness, foreseeing the perpetual Misery to which they would be exposed, after they were grown up. For this, and for other Reasons it is observable, that savage Nation, ☞ never increase, and multiply like other Men. Nay more, Muratori, and all the Historians agree, that when the Savages have been unsuccessful in their hunting Expeditions, and are extremely pinched with Hunger, they hunt, kill, and eat one another. See particularly the Lord Bishop of Oxford [Secker’s] Sermon preached before the Society for propagating the Gospel, 1740-1. Page 8.
Now, as one Evil follows another, all these horrid Consequences, and perhaps many more, derive their Origin from that almost unconquerable Aversion to Labour, which prevails so universally in this defective Race. For were they but frugal, and industrious, even in a moderate Degree, they might not only prevent those Calamities, with which they are often so grievously afflicted, but also abound in all the Necessaries, and in many of the Conveniencies, and Elegancies of Life. But alas! industrious, and provident they will not be: Indeed their very Natures seem to be repugnant to it: For we find, that the Missionaries themselves would have failed of Success, had they urged no other than rational Motives to induce the Indians to Labour; and then had they left it to their own Choice, whether they would work, or not, without using any Sort of Compulsion.
This being the Case, can we want a Reason, why Civil Government is not introduced among the Tribes of Savage Indians?—Yea rather, might it not be very properly asked, How can it be introduced among such a Sort of People?—that is, How can the Expences of Government be supported by a Race of Men, who will not work enough to support themselves? Besides; Of what Use, would it be to them? For as to * Property, that great Source of Litigation among other Men. They have nothing to contend about; because they have no Labour, which is the Foundation of Riches: So that they are all equal, because equally poor. Having therefore no special Right to Lands, Woods, or Waters, one more than another, there can be no Disputes concerning them. And as to their Wives and Children, the mere Savages seem to be quite careless and indifferent about such Sorts of Chattels. In short, their general Mode of Life is this: They fish, and hunt wherever they think it most likely for them to get Plenty of Fish, or Game: Then they greedily devour what they have caught: After this they sleep; and when they are hungry, they fish, or hunt again; giving themselves little, or no Concern, what is to become of them, or how they are to subsist, when these Resources shall fail. Now, whilst they remain in this Situation, and follow such a Course of Life, Civil Government must be almost, if not altogether an useless Thing:—In fact, it never can be of any real Service, unless it causes them to forsake their savage Manner of living, and to become civilized. Then, indeed, notwithstanding the Ravings of Rousseau, it must be owned that it would be of signal Advantage to them, and a great Blessing. But in order to accomplish these good Ends, there are very great Difficulties to be encountered. For first, you must either change and alter the whole Frame of their Constitutions, if I may so speak, in order to render them fitter for receiving a good and liberal Plan of Civil Government: Or, 2dly. You must oblige them to submit to those Terms which you shall prescribe, by the mere Dint of absolute Power, according to the fundamental Maxims of the great Empires of Mexico, and Peru:—Or 3dly. You must win them to cooperate with your Measures, by such Combinations of Force and Persuasion, happily blended together, as the Jesuit Missionaries have devised and practiced in the Countries of Paraguay. The first of these is, I think, beyond the Reach of any human Power to effect.—The second is certainly no actual Compact, voluntarily entered into between equal and independent Beings;—the Lockians themselves being Judges: And as to the third,—If these enlightened, and benevolent Philosophers will undertake the Province of Missionaries to Paraguay, or to any other American Country, now the Jessuits are expelled, may good Success attend them! And may no one detract from the Merits of their Labours!
In the mean Time, and ’till they shall have returned from this Expedition, let them learn a little Modesty here at Home; and not boast of Victories, which they never won. Let them in short, be silent for the future, on this Topic: And let them not din our Ears with the Examples of the Savages of America, as being any Proofs and Illustrations of their Hypothesis;—which, when thoroughly discussed, and accurately examined, prove and illustrate just the contrary.
Respecting the third Class of bad Qualities, their native Sullenness and Taciturnity;—It has been frequently observed by Travellers, that the Savages of North-America are, in general, a joyless Race, seldom discovering any Symptoms of Gladness, unless when exulting over a vanquished Foe, and contriving to inflict some new Torture. Moreover, it has been noted, that they are such Strangers to the Pleasantries of Conversation, and so sparing of Speech, [except, when haranguing in Public, in order to prepare for, or to give an Account of, some hostile Expedition] that they will spend whole Days without uttering a Word, contenting themselves with dumb Signs and Nods.
Surely, surely Mr. Locke and his Followers either did not know what they were about, when they ventured to produce these unhappy, defective Beings, as the Prototypes of Mankind in all other Countries;—or they must have acted a very disingenuous Part, if they knew better, and yet wished to serve their Cause at the Expence of Truth.
A Comparison of the different Forms of Government with each other,—A Preference given to the Mixt, and the Reasons why,—The Republics of Sparta, Athens, and Rome, proved to be improper Models for a Commercial State,—The supposed unalienable Right of each Individual to be self-governed in the Affairs of Legislation, examined, and refuted.
ACCORDING to the Lockian System there ought to be no other Legislators but the People themselves,—or those at least whom the People had expressly commissioned for that Purpose;—nor ought there to be any Magistrates, Judges, Justices of the Peace, civil or military Officers, or any executive Powers whatever, but such only, as either mediately or immediately receive their Commissions from the People. Every other Species of Legislation or of Government is, it seems, a manifest Usurpation of the unalienable Rights of Mankind, let the Antiquity of it be ever so remote, or the System and Administration of it ever so productive of public Peace and Happiness.
It is to be hoped, that these idle Notions have received a full and satisfactory Confutation in the former Part of this Work. However, though we must reject the absurd Doctrine of personal Contracts between Prince and People, as a Thing which never existed in any State, and which never can (except perhaps in a very small Village for a few Days, or rather Hours) yet as all Governments whatever are so many public Trusts for the Good of the Governed;—therefore there is a Contract implied, though not exprest, a quasi, tho’ not an actual Contract always subsisting between all Sovereigns, and every one of their Subjects. The Consequence of which is, as hath been afore observed, That these Quasi-Contractors ought to be made responsible to each other, for the due Performance of their respective Engagements.
This being the Case, we are now to consider which is the best Method of obliging these reciprocal Contractors to perform their respective Duties;—the best I mean, as being the safest and easiest, as well as the most effectual.
In respect to one Side of the Obligation, viz. The Duty and Obedience of the People,—the Rulers themselves are to enforce this Part of the Covenant, and no others. For as they are to enact the Laws, and as they likewise, or their Deputies, are to put them in Execution, it is their Duty, as well as their Interest, to see, that none but good Laws are made, and when made, that they are impartially and universally obeyed. Therefore, if they should permit the People wantonly to trample upon legal Authority, and to transgress with Impunity, the Blame must rest upon themselves. For Lenity in such a Case is only another Name for Timidity; and Timidity and Government, where the public Good is concerned, are inconsistent Things. Only let me add, that those Laws are the readiest obeyed, and therefore the easiest to be executed, which are plain and simple, and obviously calculated for the general Good,—not to serve a present Turn, or gratify a Faction. Therefore great Care should be taken to enact such only as will stand the Test, and bear to be examined by this Rule. For when any of the Laws in being are of such a Nature, that it would be better to connive at their Infraction, than to enforce their Observance, it is high Time that such Laws should be repealed. Indeed every Plea or Pretence for their Continuance, is only so many Evidences, that Mankind had much rather find out Excuses to gloss over that System, which they know they cannot defend, than ingenuously to acknowledge themselves in the wrong, and alter their Conduct. Thus much as to the Governing Part in all Societies, let the Form of the Government he whatever it may.
We are now to turn to the opposite Side, the Case and Circumstance of the Governed.—Here therefore we must set out with this Inquiry, How shall the People receive a reasonable Security, that the Powers, wherewith their Governors are entrusted for their Good, both in making Laws, and in executing them, shall not be misapplied?—That there is a Danger of Misapplication is, alas! a Case too apparent to admit of any Doubt. And therefore the Question comes to this;—First, What is to be done, in order to prevent, as far as human Foresight can reach, the Misapplication of such a Trust? And 2dly. What Methods should be taken to cure those Evils, or redress those Abuses, which either were not, or could not be prevented at the first, so that Government in general may be restored to its original Ends and Uses, the Good of the Governed?
To solve these Questions in any Manner, that can bear some Proportion to the Importance of the Subject, several Points ought to be previously considered:
As 1st. What are those essential Principles, on which every Government must be founded, and by Virtue of which it doth actually subsist?
2dly.What are those Forms, or exterior Modes of Administration, which give distinct Denominations to different Governments?
And 3dly. Which Form affords the best, and most reasonable Security to the People, that they shall be well and happily governed?
With respect to the first Branch of the Inquiry, there must be Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, subsisting in one Degree or other, in every Government worthy to be so called, let the exterior Form of it be whatever it may.
For Example, without Power the very Idea of Government is annihilated; and there are no Traces of it left.
WithoutWisdom to conduct this Power towards some certain End, or Object, the Thing itself would not be Power, in a moral Sense, but blind Impulse, or mechanic Force.
And without Goodness to influence and incline the Operations both of Wisdom and Power towards some benevolent Uses, conducive to public Happiness, the Efforts of Wisdom would in effect be Knavery, Trick, and Cunning; and the Display of Power mere Tyranny and Oppression. There must therefore be a Coalition, or Co-operation of all three, in order to form a Government fit to rule over such a Creature as Man.
Secondly, as to the several Forms, or external Modes of Government, they are almost as complicated and various, and their Origins as different, as the Degrees of parental Authority may be supposed to vary in different Cases,—or as the Skill and Foresight of discerning and good Men may be found to be greater or less in others,—or as the Caprice and Humour of the giddy Populace,—or lastly, as the Intrigues, Wiles, and Address of popular Leaders, or daring Usurpers, may happen to prevail. But notwithstanding this great Variety, and these different Origins, all Sorts of Governments may be reduced to four Classes,—the Monarchical,—the Aristocratical, the Democratical, and the Mixt. Let us therefore endeavour to investigate the Quasi-Contracts contained or implied in each of these Forms, in order to discover their respective Excellencies or Imperfections.
Now this very Attempt will usher in the third grand Inquiry, namely, which of the several Modes of Government affords to the People the best and most reasonable Security against the Misapplication of the Trust reposed in the Governors for the Sake of the Governed.
Of all the Forms of Government, Monarchy, according to all History sacred and profane, is the most antient: It is likewise the most extensive and universal, for a very obvious Reason. For as it is neither clogged in its Motions, nor counteracted in its Schemes by rival Factions, it can exert more Power both offensively and defensively, and with greater Ease and Expedition, than either of the other Forms. Consequently it would be the very best, were there a Certainty, that it would be endowed with Wisdom and Goodness proportionably to the Advantages it receives from united Strength and combined Power. But here, alas! lies the great and incurable Imperfection of all human Monarchies. An earthly Monarch cannot see every Thing with his own Eyes, nor hear with his own Ears, even were he ever so well disposed to do what is right, and to make his People happy. Moreover he is continually subject to strong Temptations to abuse his Power through various Motives, some of them of a pitiable Nature, and others highly blameable. Add to this, That the very Persons, who ought to inform him better, and dissuade him from pursuing wrong Courses, are, generally speaking, the most intent in keeping him ignorant of what is right, and to divert his Thoughts from the real Welfare of his People. Hence it is, that they study his Weaknesses with a View to flatter his Vanity, gratify his Vices, inflame his Passions, and to instigate him to divert that very Power towards accomplishing some By-ends of their own, which ought to have been consecrated to the Promotion of public Happiness. For these Reasons an absolute Monarchy in the Hands of such a frail, imperfect, and peccable Creature as Man, is by no Means a desirable Species of Government.
Nor is an hereditary Aristocracy much more preferable than an absolute Monarchy. For it is subject to several of the same Inconveniences, without that Glare of Glory, which surrounds a Throne, and which, by amusing the Bulk of Mankind, captivates their Imaginations, and attaches them strongly to that Form of Government. However, it must be allowed, that there are Advantages attending an Aristocracy, provided it be a numerous one, which serve to mitigate some of its greatest Evils, and to provide an Antidote against others. For its very Numbers, which occasion so much Faction and Contention, serve as a preventive Remedy against their conniving at each other’s Tyranny and Oppression: So that out of mere Spite to each other, they become a mutual Check on the Conduct of Individuals. Likewise they often enflame each other with an Emulation of doing Good: Hence therefore it is, that in Matters of mere civil Concern, where the Disputes are only between Man and Man in private Life, there we find, that Justice is administered under an Aristocratical Government impartially enough, and that Life, Liberty, and Property, are as well secured under that Form, as under any other. Indeed it must be confessed, that wherever the Aristocratical Power is supposed to interfere with some particular Branch of the People’s Rights, there the whole Body of the Nobles will immediately oppose the Demands or Expectations of the Commons, and act as one Man in keeping them still in Subjection. [Moreover, wherever the Lords have such a personal Jurisdiction over their Vassals, as is distinct and separate from the general Jurisdiction of the State (which is still the unhappy Case in Poland) there Despotism and Tyranny prevail to a shocking Degree, without the Hopes of any Thing to counter-balance, mitigate, or correct them. And I will add, that there cannot be a worse Constitution upon Earth than an Aristocracy of Barons tyrannising over their Vassals;—or, what comes to nearly the same Thing, of Planters amusing themselves with the infernal Pleasure of whipping and slashing their Slaves.]
Therefore, were it to be asked in general, what Degree of Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, naturally belong to an Aristocratic Government,—I think it would not be difficult to give an Answer clear and satisfactory enough.
For as to Power, it is externally very weak, even on the defensive Side, where it ought to have been the strongest, being hardly able to protect itself against Invaders. This Weakness is owing to its numerous Factions and Divisions caballing against, and thwarting each other:—The secret Springs of which are more frequently to be ascribed to foreign Gold successfully applied to the pretended patriotic Leaders of each Party, than to any other Cause. But internally all those Factions and Divisions cease; inasmuch as the poor Subjects are destitute of the Means of making the like Application. Moreover, as they have no Persons particularly appointed to represent them in this Form of Government, they have none to stand forth as their Guardians and Protectors, being left in a Manner without Defence. Here therefore an Aristocracy is the strongest: Because the Nobles will of Course unite against the Plebeians, in maintaining, and perhaps extending, the Dignity and Power of of their own Order.
As to the Wisdom, which may be supposed to be contained in this Institution, it has certainly some Advantages over a Government merely monarchical, or merely popular. For all the Members, of which it is composed, are by then Education, their Rank in Life, and other Circumstances, better qualified than most others, to enact Laws with Judgment, with Prudence, and a Knowledge of the Subject. The Independence of their Station, and Distance from mercantile Connections, prevent them from making Laws respecting Trade and Commerce with a View to some present dirty monopolizing Job: And being Sovereigns themselves, they are not compellable to submit to the arbitrary Will of an ignorant or absurd Tyrant, nor yet to obey the imperious Dictates of a foolish, headstrong, conceited Populace,* who are almost universally bent on gratifying some present destructive Whim, at the Expence of their future Happiness. Moreover as to the executive Part of an Aristocratical State, that, as I observed before, is tolerably free from very gross Abuses;—because it is under little Temptation to act amiss, except in those unfortunate Cases, where the peculiar Interests, Honour, or Dignity of the Patrician Order happen to interfere with the general Welfare of the People.—There indeed, it is much to be feared, that the Quasi-Contract, on the Part of the Nobles, would be made a Sacrifice to their Lust of Power, their Pride, and Ambition.
Having said thus much as to the Power and Wisdom of an Aristocracy, the Reader will of his own Accord suggest to himself every Idea that is necessary, concerning the Goodness or Benevolence of such an Institution.
A MERE DEMOCRACY.
The third Class of Civil Government is the Democratical.—I mean, a Democracy literally such, unmixt with any other Form: Where therefore all the adult Males [and why the adult Females should be excluded, is impossible to say] are supposed to assemble together, whenever they will, in order to deliberate and vote on all public Affairs, to change and alter, to pull down, and build up, without Controul, and as often as they please.—Consequently, where every adult Individual is to consider himself as his own Legislator, his own Governor, and Director in every Thing.—Happily for Mankind, this wild and visionary Plan of a free and equal Republic is absolutely impracticable in any District of larger Extent than a common Country Parish! And happily again, even there it could not subsist for any Length of Time, but must be transformed either into a petty Sovereignty or Aristocracy, or at least into an Oligarchy, much after the same Manner, and for the same Reasons, that the Business of populous and extensive Parishes here in England, devolves at last into the Hands of a few, and is managed by a select Vestry.
But waving all Considerations respecting the several Changes it may probably undergo;—let us, since so much Stress is laid upon it by our modern Republicans,—let us, I say, consider it in its own Nature, as either abounding, or deficient in the three Qualities afore mentioned, of Power, Wisdom, and Goodness;—Qualities, so essential for the Formation and Establishment of all Civil Governments, that none can subsist without them in one Degree or other.
And 1st as to Power;—Scanty indeed must the Pittance of Power be, which is to result from the Union of 40, 50, or even 100 Savages, issuing forth from their Dens and Caverns, and assembled together for the first Time, in order constitute a Body Politic. We will not now enquire, Who among this Herd of equal and independent Sovereigns had the Right of appointing the Time and Place of Rendezvous for the rest of his brother Sovereigns to meet at and consult together: Nor will we presume so much as to ask, How or Why such a Superiority came to be vested in him alone, or how long this extraordinary exclusive Privilege was to last:—Or what corporal Punishment [it being to be presumed that they could not be fined in their Goods and Chattels, before meum and tuum was established.] Therefore, I say, what corporal Punishment was to be inflicted on those independent Sovereigns, who either would not, or did not obey the Summons. But not to boggle at little Matters, let us suppose all these Difficulties happily got over:—And then the first Question at this first Meeting is, What are they to do? And wherefore were they called together?—Perhaps the very Appearance of such a Body of Savages might be sufficient to fray away a few Eagles, or Vultures, Wolves, or Tygers, if they were too near them: But most certainly it would not be adequate to the Purposes even of a defensive, not to say an offensive War, if this genuine Republic should happen to exist in the Neighbourhood of any State, whose Union was more perfect, and consequently whose Skill and Dexterity were superior to their own. Therefore this Insect Common-wealth, this Grub of a free, equal, and Sovereign Republic would be swallowed up, as soon as hatched, by some devouring political Animal of a firmer Texture, and stronger Stamina;—unless these lately independent Sovereigns would condescend either to fly away to remote Woods and Deserts, or to submit to the Terms which their Conquerors should think fit to impose upon them.
After this Specimen of the Power, it will be unnecessary to say a Word about the Wisdom or Goodness of such a reptile, democratical Institution. But here, methinks, some of the enthusiastic Admirers of Antiquity will be apt to say, “What? Do you compare the famous Republics of Greece and Rome to Insects, Grubs, and Reptiles? Do you dare to say, That either of these were of short Continuance? Or that they were at all remarkable for the Want of Power, Wisdom, or Goodness?”
To this smart Objection I have the following Reply to make:
1st. That neither of the Common Wealths above mentioned, were pure Democracies in the Sense here set forth:—For they had other Magistrates, and other Institutions besides those which were merely popular;—and even in respect to the most popular Part of their Government, they excluded much greater Numbers from enjoying a Share in the Privileges and governing Part of the Constitution than they admitted: So that this whole Objection falls to the Ground.
2dly. The Subjects of these Republican Governments were so far from enjoying greater Liberty than the Subjects of other States, that they were known to be more oppressed, and more enslaved, than any others: So that no Proofs can be drawn from hence concerning the Wisdom and Goodness, that is, the Justice and Benevolence, of such Republics, whatever may be said of their great Power, and despotic Sway.
But 3dly, Granting more than can be required, even granting [what is absolutely false in Fact] that each of these Republics were modelled and administered, according to the Heart’s Desire of a true Disciple of Mr. Locke, had he been then in being.—Still even on this Supposition, there was nothing so inviting in the fundamental Maxims, and distinguishing Practices of either of these Institutions, to make us so much in love with it, as to wish to copy it into our own.
The SPARTAN REPUBLIC.
The fundamental and distinguishing Maxim of Sparta was, to lead a military Life in the City, as well as in the Camp, and never to enjoy any of those Comforts and Conveniences which Peace and Plenty naturally bestow. Consequently, the Police of their * Legislator was, to forbid Improvements of every Kind (excepting in the Science of War) to banish all Trades and Manufactures whatsoever, which related to the Arts of Peace, to prescribe every Part of a learned and ingenuous Education, and more particularly, and above all the rest, to expel the Use of Gold and Silver from the State of Lacedemon. But as these military Heroes must eat, as well as fight, it was contrived that they should have Slaves [the Helotes] for the Purposes of Agriculture, and other menial Offices, whom they used much worse, and with more wanton Cruelty, than the Planters do the Negroes in the West-Indies:—And that is saying a great deal. Now I ask, are these Measures proper to be adopted in Great-Britain? And is this the Plan of a Republic, which some future patriotic Congress is to set up, in order to correct the Evils of our present unhappy Constitution?
The ATHENIAN REPUBLIC.
The distinguishing Practice of Athens, or at least, that which made the Conduct of the Athenians to appear different from that of most other States, was the Use of the Ostracism. Nothing could have been better calculated for gratifying the Caprice and Licentiousness of a Mob, or for indulging the Spleen and Jealousy of a Rival, or for concealing the Wiles and Intrigues of a pretended Patriot, than this very Project. For by Virtue thereof, any Man, even the best and most deserving in the State, was liable to be banished for ten Years, whenever the Citizens should have a public Assembly (which they often had) consisting of 6000 Suffrages and upwards;—and when any one of this Number should write, or cause to be written on a Shell, or a Leaf, the Name of the Person he chose to doom to destruction, then this upright, sagacious, and impartial Sentence immediately took Place: And the accused [if that Person can be called accused, against whom no Crime was alledged] was not permitted to say a Word in his Defence, or to expostulate on the Hardships of his Case, but must go instantly into Banishment, there to remain ’till the ten Years were expired.
By Means of a Condemnation of this Sort. Aristides, who had born some of the highest Offices in the Common-wealth, and who had obtained the Surname of the Just, from his great Integrity and inflexible Honour,—even this Aristides was banished from his native Country, and dearest Connections, and was reduced to such abject Poverty, that his only * Daughter was maintained by public Charity after his Death. The Story of this unhappy Victim to democratical Insolence well deserves to be repeated as a Memento to the present Times.—On a Day of public Assembly he was accosted by a Citizen, whom he did not know, desiring him to write the Name of Aristides on his Shell. Aristides, surprized at such a Request, asked him whether he knew Aristides, and whether he had ever offended him? No, says the other, I should not know him, were I to meet him. But I hear such an universal good Character of him, that I am resolved to banish him, if I can, from the Athenian State. Aristides wrote his Name on the Shell as the Patriot had desired: And as there happened to be no other Names than his then proposed to be proscribed, he was banished of Course, according to the fundamental Law of this celebrated Republic. The Truth is, [and this explains the Matter] Aristides was a remarkably just Man, by much too honest to cajole the Populace, and to gratify their Follies at the Expence of their own Interest; therefore he was not popular; as indeed few honest Men really are: * Whereas Pericles, who laid the Foundation of their Ruin, and deserved Banishment an hundred Times, was the Idol of the Athenians.
Another Instance of the great Sagacity of this People as Politicians, and Benevolence as Men, is observeable in the Methods they took for narrowing and contracting the Foundations of their Republic, instead of making them broader and firmer. For in the Times of their Prosperity, they shut up every Avenue against the rich, or ingenious, the industrious, deserving, or oppressed of other Countries, from partaking in the common Rights of Citizens of Athens. No Invitations, or general Naturalizations were so much as thought of: But on the contrary, the whole Tenor of their Laws ran in a different Strain. [See particularly Potter’s Greek Antiquities, and Taylor on Civil Law] Nay, they contrived to exclude as many as they could, even of their own natural-born Subjects, from enjoying the common Rights and Privileges of Citizens. And as to their Slaves, tho’ almost twenty in number to one free Man, they were excluded of Course. So that in Fact, had this People been always successful in their Wars, and had they made great and extended Conquests, or had their State been of very long Duration, their Republic would have become an hereditary Aristocracy, similar to that of Venice; for it was strongly verging that Way.
Indeed in Times of universal Calamity, when their Losses by Sea and Land were so great that they were in Danger of being annihilated, as a People, then they naturalized Foreigners, and manumitted Slaves. But it was their Necessity that compelled them, and not their Benevolence, Penetration, or Wisdom, which prompted them to adopt such patriotic Measures.
But above all, the Probity and Rectitude of this celebrated People will be displayed in the strongest Light, by setting before the Reader their Mode of dispensing Justice. In order to do this, let us suppose a parallel Case existing in our own Times. The present Livery-Men of London answer very nearly, if not altogether, to the Idea of the antient [Andres Athenaion] the Men of Athens. Let us therefore imagine, that these select Citizens, were the only Legislators in the State;—not only making Laws for themselves and for Great-Britain, but also for Ireland, and for all our Colonies and Settlements abroad. This is something: but what is to come, is still more extraordinary: For we are to suppose farther, That these Law-giving Liverymen, are also the supreme Judges both of Law and Equity, constituting the only sovereign Court of Judicature for all the Provinces of the British State. Hence it becomes necessary for every Suitor to this High Court of Justice,—every Suitor, I say, whether English, Scotch, or Irish, whether Armenian, West, or East-Indian, to slatter and cajole all the Members thereof, as much as he can,—bowing and scraping to the highest, and taking the meanest by the Hand, as he is entering Guildhall to hear the Cause, and to pronounce the final Sentence. The Court being now assembled, let us attend also to some of the Pleadings of the Council on such an Occasion.
Gentlemen of the Livery,
“My Client is a rich and generous Man. If you will decree for him, he shall treat his Judges with splendid Entertainments at Ranelagh, Vauxhall, and Sadler’s Wells, and at other Places of Diversion. Moreover he will give you Tickets to go for several Nights to both the Theatres, &c. &c. &c.
Now what shall we say to such an Oration? The Parallel here supposed, is either just or unjust in the principal Features, for there can be no Medium. I am therefore content, that the learned Reader should sit in Judgment on me relative to this Point. Only let me add, that I would have produced the very Passages from the original Authors, as Vouchers for the general Truth and Justness of the Parallel, [mutatis mutandis,] if I had had the Convenience of Greek Types at the Place where I am printing. One Thing more, I must beg Leave to suggest, namely, that every Man of Learning must be sensible, that, so far from exaggerating Matters,—I have taken the Words of Xenephon concerning the Athenian Polity, in the most advantageous Sense, of which they are capable. For I have allowed him to say, that the supreme Court of Athens was a Court of Appeal from inferior Jurisdictions; whereas his Words, and the Context strongly imply, that the Athenians would not suffer any Court whatever, to exist in any Part of their Empire but their own. Nay, Xenephon expressly declares, that the Allies of the Athenians, or their Auxiliaries, or Fellow Soldiers, or Colonies, or by whatever Name you will please to call them [Symmachoi is the Term in the original] were enslaved by the Athenians by these Means. Many other curious Observations might yet be made; and some of them of Importance to Great-Britain, by Way of Caution.—But surely enough has been said already, to give every true Friend to Liberty an Abhorrence of the Idea of an Athenian Common-Wealth.
The ROMAN REPUBLIC.
Come we now to the Roman State, whose Citizens were the great Masters of the World. But here an unlucky Observation arises at first setting out, viz. That the Roman Citizens, for the most Part, were not Tradesmen: For Trades of all Kinds were held at Rome in sovereign Contempt. Therefore its Tradesmen and Mechanics, its Shop-keepers and Retailers of all Sorts, were almost all either actual Slaves, or Slaves, lately made free, or the very Scum of the People. This was the original State of Things. But in the Time of Cicero, the Condition of Tradesmen, and the Idea affixed to Trade were a good Deal advanced in Reputation. Yet even he represents the Matter in such a Light, as would make, I should think, those consummate Politicians, the learned Liverymen of London, not very desirous of seeing a Return of such Times. *Cicero expresses himself to this Effect: “That according to antient Tradition, and as far as he can learn, Trades and the Gains thereof may be distinguished into the reputable and disreputable, after the following Manner. In the first Place, these Professions must be reckoned infamous, which are odious to Mankind, such as the Business of Toll Gatherers, at the Ports and Gates of Cities, also of Usurers, or Pawn-Brokers. In the next Place, all those Person, should be considered as a base and servile People who work for Hire, or Wages, because they are paid for their Labour, and not for their Skill or Ingenuity. For the very receiving of Wages is a Badge of Servitude. Those also who buy of the Merchants to sell again directly, must be ranked in a dishonourable Class; for they can get nothing thereby unless they cheat and lye abominably; and nothing can be baser than cheating. Moreover all Artificers whatever are a base Order of Men: Indeed it is hardly possible, that a Shop and Work-House should have any Thing of an ingenuous Nature belonging to them: And least of all, are those Professions to be approved of, which are subservient to Luxury, such as the Trades of Fish-mongers, Butchers, Cooks, Pastry-Cooks, and Fishermen: To whom you may add, if you please, Persumers, Dancers, and Tumblers, and the whole Tribe of such, who administer to gaming.
“But those Arts, which require much Study and Knowledge, or are of great Use to Mankind, such as Medicine, Architecture, and teaching the liberal Sciences, these, if exercised by Men of a certain Rank, [that is under the Degree of Patricians] do not dishonour their Profession. As to Merchandize, if in a little low Way, it is mean; but if great and extensive, importing Goods from various Countries, and dealing them out again to various Persons, without Fraud, it is not altogether to be discommended. Nay, if the Persons who follow it, could be satiated, or rather be content with their Profits, not making long Voyages, but returning speedily to their Farms, and landed Estates, they would deserve to be rather commended. But after all, in Things of this Nature, nothing is better, more profitable, more pleasant, or more honourable than the Cultivation of Land.”
What a strange Jumble of Things is here! And how little did this great Man understand the Nature of the Subject, about which he was writing! But leaving our City Patriots to censure Cicero, and to settle the Points of Precedency, and the Punctilios of Honour between the different Companies of Trades, as they shall think proper, I hasten to observe.
2dly. That there is another essential Difference between the Freemen of Rome, and the Freemen of London. For the Freemen of Rome voted very often by Classes, Tribes, or Companies; which I am well persuaded the Freemen or Livery-men of London would consider as a manifest Infringement of their Rights and Privileges. And indeed very little can be said in Defence of such a Practice. For if one Tribe, or Company should have 1000 Voices, and the other not a tenth Part of the Number, it seems very unreasonable, that the larger Tribe should be deprived of nine-tenths of its Suffrages, [which it is in Effect by this Mode of voting] merely because the smaller Tribe had not an equal Number.—However such was the Practice of those Lords of the World, the Citizens of Rome.
A 3d capital Difference between their Case and ours, consisted in their Method of enacting or repealing Laws. For when a Law was propounded to the whole Body of the People in their public Assemblies, to be either confirmed, or repealed, they had not the Choice of mending, or altering any Part, by correcting this, or rejecting that, by adding any thing to it, or substracting from it, but were obliged either to approve all, or refuse all. This was a very great Defect in the Constitution of the Roman Common-wealth, but it was unavoidable in their Situation. For as the People did not send Deputies from certain Districts, or particular Classes, to represent them in the Senate, similar to our Members of Parliament, they could no otherwise transact the Business of the State, in their numerous and tumultuous Assemblies [convened together for a few Hours] than by a simple Affirmation, or Negation. Therefore the only Part, which this Mob of Voters had to act, or could act, in the grand Affair of Legislation, wherein the Majestas Populi Romani was so immediately concerned, was to pronouce a single Yes or No. [The sovereign Council, that is the Body of Citizens, at Geneva, do the same at this Day.] A mighty Matter truly, and greatly to be envied by us Britons!
But 4thly, and above all, the Propensity of the Romans for War, and their Aversion to any lasting Peace, constituted, or ought to constitute the most direct Opposition between their Conduct, and ours. A Nation, whose only Trade was to conquer and subdue, might with some Propriety, or at least with no Inconsistency, seek every Occasion of following their destructive, bloody Occupation. But how a commercial Nation, such as ours, whose continual Aim it should be to increase the Number of its Friends, and to attract Customers from every Part of the Globe, by promoting the mutual Interests of Mankind, and by giving no just Alarms to their Fears and Jealousies:—I say, how such a Nation should entertain that Fondness for War, and should espouse so many Quarrels as the English have eagerly done for almost half a Century last past, is, I own, beyond my Comprehension. Nor can I find, even if we had come off Conquerors in every Engagement, which we had, or* wished to have, whether by Sea or Land, and had triumphed over all the People upon Earth, that these shining Victories would have reduced the Price of our Manufactures, or have rendered them one Jot the better, or cheaper, or fitter to be exported to foreign Markets. In fact, there is something so preposterous, and indeed so ridiculous in the Farce, were any Shop-keeper to try to bully all his Customers in order to compel them to deal with him against their own Interest and Inclination, that one can hardly treat it in a serious Manner. Yet alas! mutato nomine de te Fabula narratur. [See the Case of going to War for the Sake of Trade among my American Tracts, printed for Cadel.] Moreover our affecting the Dominion of the Ocean, in the Manner we do, greatly prejudices all Mankind against us. For the Ocean, and all open Seas, are the bountiful Gifts of Providence, like the Winds and Atmosphere, wherein all the World have a common Right; and ought to enjoy it unmolested.
I have now, I think, cleared off a great deal of those vast Heaps of Rubbish, which lay in my Way; and therefore might proceed to erect a Super-Structure on the Foundation already laid. But there is one Objection still remaining, which though a very false one, and supported by no Proof, is yet of so popular, and plausible a Nature, that it must not be passed over unnoticed.
The OBJECTION is this:
“The People, that is, every individual moral Agent among the People,” [for it must mean this, if it means any Thing, it being impossible to admit some, and refuse others the Right of Voting, with any Face of Justice, where all have an equal, indefeasible Right: Therefore the Objection means, that] “every individual Moral Agent among the People has an unalienable Right to be self-governed, that is to chuse his own Legislator, Governor, and Director. Consequently to take from, or to deny any of them the free Exercise of this natural and fundamental Right, is to act the Tyrant, and to be guilty of the worst Kind of Robbery that can be committed. It is such an atrocious Violation of the just Rights of Mankind, as will authorise every Man to use the most speedy and efficacious Methods in his Power, to assert and recover his native Freedom, by redressing his Wrongs, and punishing the Tyrants and Usurpers.”
Now, if the Case be really such, as is here supposed, all that we have hitherto said, must pass for nothing. And therefore we must first examine into these strange Pretensions of our modern patriotic Objectors, which tend to unhinge all Society, before we can propose any Scheme for regulating the Mode of electing Deputies or Representatives.
There are two Kinds of Rights, and only two belonging to human Nature which are strictly and properly unalienable. These are the Functions of Nature, and the Duties of Religion. And they are in no other Sense unalienable, but because they are inseparable from the Subject to which they belong, and cannot be transferred to another.
A Man, for Instance, must perform his animal Functions for himself alone; there being no such Thing as Eating and Drinking by Means of a Proxy, or Deputation. Neither can one Man discharge the Duties of Religion in another’s Stead: For these are personal Acts, which become null and void the Moment that one Man shall pretend to give, or another undertake to execute a Commission to act for him. In short, no Man can believe for another: Every Man do this for himself. And no Man can substitute another to repent, or obey in his Stead: For the Repentance and Obedience must be his own, otherwise it will not be valid. So far the Cases are clear: Indeed they are self evident.
But will any Man dare to affirm, that the Affairs of Government and Legislation, and all the Concerns of Civil Society relative both to Peace and War, are under the same Predicament, and incapable of being performed by Proxies or Deputations Surely no: Nothing less than Insanity could excuse the uttering of such a Paradox. Indeed the Lockians themselves, to give them their Dues, are conscious that the Cases are not parallel. They are obliged to make this Confession, notwithstanding all their Parade about their unalienable Rights to be self-governed (as Dr. Price phrases it) that is, to elect their own Legislators, Governors, and Directors. For all of them [except honest Rousseau, who is generally consistent, whether in Truth, or Error, and perhaps also except Dr. Priestly;—I say, all of them] scruple not to maintain, that the Minority ought, for the most Part, to be concluded by the Majority; and that it is their Duty to acquiesce under such Determinations, tho’ those Decrees may happen to be very contrary to their own private Judgments. Now this is a Thing impossible to be complied with in the Functions of Animal Life: For no Man can, even if he would, consign over his own Privilege of eating and drinking; or depute another to act in his Stead: In this Respect the Minority cannot compliment the Majority with their unalienable Rights. Moreover as to the Affairs of Religion, and the Performance of moral Duties,—in these Cases also the Rights of Conscience cannot be transferred either from the few to the many, or from the many to the few, by any Covenant or Compact whatsoever: Because they are truly and literally unalienable. Therefore no Majority of Votes can bind in these Cases.—
What then becomes of this boasted Demonstration, this unanswerable Argument, whereby the Lockians have undertaken to prove, That all the Governments and Legislatures upon Earth are so many Robberies and Usurpations, (yea too, and all their Subjects Slaves) such only excepted, if any such there be, as are administered according to the Lockian System?—Why truly, this same Confidence of boasting, when sifted to the Bottom, dwindles into nothing: And the Mountain in Labour is brought forth of a Mouse. However, one Thing must be acknowledged on their Part, That this very Argument of unalienable Rights, weak and trifling as it is, may nevertheless become a formidable Weapon, in the Hands of desperate Catalinarian Men, for establishing a real and cruel Tyranny of their own (according to the Example which the American Rebels have already set) instead of that harmless, imaginary Tyranny, of which they so bitterly complain at present.
Of a limited Monarchy, and mixt Government. Its component Parts, Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy. Of the comparative Influence of each:—On which Side the greatest Danger is now to be apprehended.—The Remedy proposed, and proper Regulations.
HAVING at last, it is to be hoped, got over every material Difficulty, let us return to the main Point, from which we have been detained so long.—Deputies from, or Representatives of the People, though not absolutely necessary to the very Being and Existence of every legitimate Government, might nevertheless be of great Use and Benefit to them all. For though we dare not join with that unhappy Principle which denounces open War, or meditates Conspiracies and Assassinations against all who should presume to govern without an actual Election, Nomination, or Consent of the People;—yet we would by no means derogate from the singular Advantage, which might arise from a proper Choice of Representatives, to act as their Trustees and Guardians. But above all, be it ever acknowledged, and for ever gloried in, that the Election of Persons to represent the People of Great-Britain in Parliament, is a fundamental Part of the British Constitution. Here in Britain, the important Distinctions, so oftenmentioned, of actual Contracts and of Quasi-Contracts, enter into the very Essence of our Government. For every Voter or Elector, by giving his Vote, makes himself an actual Contractor: And every Non-Voter, whether Male or Female, young or old, by living peaceably and securely amongst us, and enjoying the Protection of the State, is a Quasi-Contractor. By means of that actual Contract, which is made between the Representatives in Parliament, and a certain Number of Electors or Voters in every District, the Abuse of delegated Power may be in a great Measure guarded against;—perhaps as effectually as can be expected in the present imperfect State of Things. And by means of that Quasi-Contract, which always subsists between the Governing Powers of a State, and the whole Body of the People, and every Individual thereof; the Evils of democratical Anarchy and Confusion are prevented, and Government itself is rendered an useful, practicable Thing, instead of being either a visionary Scheme, or an Engine of the blind Fury of a mad Populace.
Towards the Beginning of the former Chapter, we set out with the following Enquiry, “How shall the People receive a reasonable Security, that the Powers wherewith their Governors are entrusted, both in making Laws, and in executing them, shall not be misapplied?” And in the Progress of the Work, we examined into those constitutional Principles [Wisdom, Power, and Goodness] on the Exexercise of which, in one Degree or other, all moral and civil Governments must depend.—In the next Place, we took a View of those several Forms, or exterior Modes of Administration, which give distinct Denominations to different Governments, the Monarchical, the Aristocratical, and the Democratical. The chief Defects and Imperfections of each of which were then endeavoured to be pointed out. [And besides this, particular Exceptions were made to the Governments of Sparta, Athens, and Rome, as being altogether improper for our Case and Circumstances, and indeed very repugnant to that Provision for general Safety, and social Happiness, which ought to be the End and Aim of every political Institution.]
From this Survey of Things, it evidently follows, That as neither of the above Forms is desirable in itself, a Government compounded of all three, and partaking of so much of the Nature of each, as shall make every Part be a Check and Counter-balance to the others, [without impeding the Motion of the whole] seems to be the best: It is indeed the fittest to give a reasonable Security to the People, that they shall be well governed. And such a Constitution, Thanks to kind Providence, is that under which we now live;—did we but attend properly to it, by correcting those few Errors, which Time has introduced; and did we but improve every Circumstance belonging to it to the most Advantage.
Now, as the British Government is compounded of three distinct Parts, the Regal, Aristocratical, and Popular; the first Inquiry should be, which of these wants rectifying the most? Or, in other Words, Which of them seems to preponderate so much at present, as to threaten Destruction to the other two?
It hath been a Practice of many Years standing with those Gentlemen who chuse the Road of Opposition, (instead of pursuing other Methods) for obtaining Honours, Places, and Preferments, to alarm and terrify well-meaning People with incessant Cries, that the Constitution is in Danger, through the corrupt Influence of the Crown:—And that they are the only Persons who can save a sinking State.—This was the Watch-Word always made use of during a very long Contest against Sir Robert Walpole. But no sooner were these uncorrupt Patriots got into Power, and had gratified their Ambition and Revenge, than they changed their Note. They then happily discovered, what was hid from their Eyes before, that each of the component Parts of a mixt Government, ought to have a certain Influence on the others;—and that the Influence of the Regal on the Aristocratical and Democratical Branches, was neither more, nor greater than it ought to be. Nay, these new-enlighted quondam Demagogues then deigned to instruct us in their celebrated Treatise, Faction detected by the Evidence of Facts, in how many several Respects the ancient feudal Prerogative had been abridged and curtailed, and how much greater Security we enjoy for the Preservation of our Liberties, than our Fore-Fathers had before us. There is no Doubt to be made, were our present Race of Patriots ever to become victorious, either by the Subversion of the Ministry, or the Subversion of the State, and the Erection of a Common-Wealth, but that they too would wish to mimic their Predecessors in displaying the vast Advantage which their Country have reaped from their Labours for the public Good.—The plain English of which is, That they ought to be well paid. In the mean Time, as this Event is perhaps not so near its Accomplishment as they could wish;—and as neither the Inns nor the Outs are to be relied upon for giving a fair and impartial State of the present Influence of the Crown [neither Side being willing to discover the real Truth:] It is not impossible but that a Person of infinitely less Abilities than those who have undertaken to give an Account of this Matter, may succeed better; because he is enlisted under no Man’s Banners, has no Party to serve, has nothing but the Truth in View, none to fear, and none to flatter.
What is generally understood by the Influence of the Crown, must arise either from an open and avowed Exertion of some undoubted Prerogative of the Crown;—or from some secret Artifice, not authorised by Law, and therefore not to be justified, which the Crown is supposed to make use of, in order to obtain some certain End.
If the former is here meant by the Assertion, that the Influence of the Crown has rapidly encreased of late Years;—it is saying in other Words, that the legal or constitutional Prerogative of the Crown has been extended, instead of being curtailed,—has been enlarged instead of being abridged;—and that the Power of the Prince is more absolute and unrestrained, and less confined by Law since the Revolution, than it was before. Will any Man in his sober Senses dare to maintain such a Paradox?—
But if the Term Influence is to be taken in the latter Sense; that is, if by it is meant such clandestine Practices as the Law condemns, and therefore would punish, if legally detected;—this is an Accusation, which must first be proved before Sentence can be past on the Offenders. For tho’ it is very probable, that the best of human Governors have, in all Ages, shewn themselves not much averse to the Use of bad Means for the attaining such Ends as they wish to accomplish, and not otherways attainable;—yet it is much to be questioned, whether the particular Vices of Bribery and Corruption, [I mean in the gross Sense of the Word] have been practiced by the Agents of the Crown, to a greater Extent of late Years than they used to be.—Far therefore from suggesting a Thought, that our present Ministers, any more than their Predecessors, are perfectly immaculate;—I only say, that it has not yet appeared, that they are worse in this Respect than former Ministers;—much less has it been proved, that Bribery and Corruption have of late Years made such a rapid and alarming Progress, as to deserve a peculiar Stigma. My Reasons are the following: First, in the greatest Electioneering Contests, which perhaps this Country ever saw, when every Species of undue Influence was put in Practice, with shameful Notoriety:—Yet it was not so much as attempted to be proved, that the public Treasury had been opened to bribe the Electors in any of those Disputes.—For the Truth of this, I appeal to those, who remember all, or any of the most violent Contests which have been raised within the last 30 Years;—particularly the three great ones at Bristol within that Period,—the great Contest in Oxfordshire, at Northampton,—in Cumberland,—and lately in Glocestershire. In all which there can hardly be a Suspicion, much less a direct Proof, that the Bribery and Corruption, (but too much practiced) whether in Money, or by other Means, were owing to the Sums issued from the Treasury. My second Reason is, That by means of that quick Vicissitude of Things, to which perhaps this Country is more subject than any other, it has often happened, that many of the Outs have come in, and many of the Ins have gone out;—yet no Side, notwithstanding their mutual Rancour, hath impeached the other, when they had the Books of the Treasury in their own Hands, of having been guilty of those Mal-Practices, and of that Bribery and Corruption which are here surmised.—Now this they most probably would have done, had any such Proofs been upon Record;—or even could they have brought any Thing suspicious from the Minutes in the Treasury-Books, of such a Misapplication of public Money.—Thirdly, the Sums generally spent at such contested Elections, is another strong Evidence, that Place-Men and Pensioners are not the principal Actors in these modern Tragedies. A Place-Man [or, if you please, a Pensioner] has perhaps 1000l. or 1500l. or even 2000l. a Year: This is accounted to be his Summum Bonum, his Conscience, his Country, and his God. Now, can it be imagined, that such a Man, who is thus characterized to have no Regard to any Thing but his own Interest, would spend, if he could, 10,000l.—perhaps 20,000l.—nay, 30,000l.—or even more, for obtaining a Seat in Parliament to secure his Place, or his Pension? No: The Supposition is foolish and absurd: It consutes itself. Any Book of Calculations may suffice to inform us, that such precarious Things as Places or Pensions, are not worth a tenth Part of such Purchase-Money.—Lastly, in almost all vehement Electioneering Struggles, where vast Sums are expended, the Ground of the Contest is seldom or never about any national Affair:—But about the important Question,—Who shall be uppermost?—Whether this great Family, or that, in such a County, or such a Borough?—What Party Connection, or Party Colour shall have the Ascendent? And whether this Leader, or that Leader, this Club, or that, in such a County, City, or Borough, shall poll the most Votes?—Points, which concern the Public, or even the Minister for the Time being, just as much as the Big-endians, or Little-endians of the facetious Dean Swift.
Well then; if the great Influence of the Crown, that dangerous Influence, which is every Day encreasing, and ought to be diminished, doth not arise from such Causes as these, at least in any considerable Degree;—from what doth it arise? and how is the Growth of it to be prevented?—The Causes of this encreasing Influence, are the vast Territories abroad, and those ruinous Wars, and immense Expences which they occasion; and ever will occasion whilst we are connected with them, under one Pretence or other. Can any Man make a Doubt of this?—If he doth, let him try, even in Thought and Imagination, to substitute a System for the Government, or Reduction of such remote Countries, which would stand clear of those Evils, which we now feel, and continually deplore. Suppose, for Example, a certain Event, which most probably is approaching with hasty Strides; viz. That the English settled in Bengal, and in the other Provinces of the Indian Empire, should take it into their Heads, that they too have unalienable Rights as well as the Americans;—and that, like them, now they are freed from the Apprehensions of a French Domination, they will no longer receive Laws from a little, paultry Spot in Europe, distant by Sea almost 10,000 Miles. Fired therefore with the glorious Thought of native Freedom, the Birth-right of every Englishman [though not of other Men; for by the by, the most zealous of our English Independents, are the least inclined to make other Men independent: And therefore I say] sired with the glorious Thought of their own Independence, and of Self-Government, they bravely desy not only the Gentlemen and *Ladies of Leaden-Hall Assembly, but also the King, Lords, and Commons of Great-Britain in Parliament assembled. Now here I ask, How is this Rebellion to be suppressed? And who is to have the Appointment, and the Payment of all the Troops, and of all the Squadrons, Transports, &c.; also of the several Officers, Commanders, Contractors, Purveyors, Surveyors, Examiners, Store-keepers, Deputies, Clerks, and of numberless other Beings to be employed for the Suppression of it? The Crown undoubtedly,—for it is the undoubted Prerogative of the Crown,—as the supreme executive Power: Otherwise there will be two Supremes within the same State;—a Solecism this, which even our modern political Refiners have not yet attempted to propose. This being the Case, how will you prevent the Crown from gaining a prodigious Influence by the Creation of such a Multitude of new Appointments, and by the annual Expenditure of of the many Millions which will be wanted for the Payment of them? How will you prevent it, I say, whilst it has such gainful Things to give;—even supposing (which no Man in his Senses can suppose) that not a single Place would be created, nor a Farthing expended, beyond what the Nature of the Case required? Yet, even on this Supposition, and without Jobs or Embezzlements of any Kind, so many lucrative Places and Employments, [all necessarily in the Disposal of the Crown] must create a Dependence, call it by what Name you please, as long as human Nature shall continue to be what it has ever been since Government began. And this is the very Influence which now too much preponderates in our public Councils. Here then the Secret is out at last. The legal and constitutional Prerogative of the Crown is not to be blamed: But our distant, unwieldly Colonies, and our ruinous Wars for their Sakes are the real Causes of all our Complaints.—It is these which involve us in thousands of Distresses, of which we should have been happily ignorant, had it not been for such Connections. They therefore, and they only, are the Authors of our present Misfortunes; and will involve us in still greater, if we shall obstinately persist in retaining these remote, unmanageable Possessions:—☞ For the Governing of which, I will be bold to say, the English Constitution was not calculated, and is not fit. This is so plain a Case, that no Man of Reason will pretend to deny it, or undertake to prove the contrary. How then comes it to pass, that neither Ministers, nor Anti-Ministers have ever assigned the true Cause of those Evils, which we daily feel, and of which we are perpetually complaining?—The Reason is this, Neither Ministers, nor their Opponents ever meant to serve the Public, at the Risque of their own Interest.—The uttering of disagreeable, unpopular Truths might be attended with certain Consequences to themselves which they wish to avoid: And therefore they desire to be excused.
Should, for Example, the Minister for the Time being, have the Honesty and Sincerity openly to declare, that extended Commerce, and extended Territorial Acquisitions are repugnant to each other: That Industry, Probity, and Frugality are much more serviceable to the Promotion of Agriculture and Manufactures than all the Glare of War and military Glory;—and that the Boast of conquering America in Germany, or any where else, was, an improper, idle, Bravado, fitter to raise the Resentment of other Nations, than to serve ourselves. Should, I say, a Minister have the Honesty and Sincerity openly to avow these unpopular Truths, and venture to declare, that the proper Way of diminishing that Influence of the Crown which is really dangerous, would be to diminish our Expences,—by renouncing all foreign Possessions, and cultivating the Arts of Peace in the two fruitful Islands of Great-Britain and Ireland: Should any oftensible Minister have the Courage to utter these honest, unwelcome Truths;—Who would support him?—Who would thank him?—Who would not persecute him.
Again, Were any of our Demagogues to tell their best Friends, the Mob, that Gibraltar and Portmahon are very expensive, and very useless Things;—that the Ocean is the great Common of Nature, which belongs to no Nation, Language, or People, in any exclusive Sense; but ought to be free, like the Air, for the Use of all; and that the keeping up any Pretensions to the contrary, is as impolitic, as it is unjust; serving no other End, but to irritate all the World against as:—Also should he observe, that Colonies of every Sort or Kind are, and ever were, a Drain to, and an Incumbrance on the Mother-Country, requiring perpetual and expensive Nursing in their Infancy;—and becoming headstrong and ungovernable, in Proportion as they grow up,—and never failing to revolt, as soon as they shall find that they do not want our Assistance:—And that even at the best, those commercial Advantages, which are vulgarly supposed to arise from them, are more imaginary than real;—because it is impossible to compel distant Settlements to trade with the parent State, to any great Degree beyond what their own Interest would prompt them to: [And Self-Interest needs no Compulsion.]—Moreover, should any Orator of this Stamp proceed to shew, that since the Laws for governing the Colonies, have from the Beginning proved nugatory and vain, attended with vast Expence, and no proportionable Profit;—therefore should he propose a total Separation, and recommend the shaking them entirely off;—in Consequence of which Multitudes of Places would be abolished, Jobbs and Contracts effectually prevented, Millions of Money saved, universal Industry encouraged, and the Influence of the Crown reduced to that Mediocrity it ought to have:—Should, I say, any of our modern Demagogues dare to recommend these salutary Truths, what would his Brother-Demagogues say to him?—Would they assist him in this good Work?—No; they would not,—though conscious to themselves, that nothing better, or more seasonable, could be recommended.—On the contrary, they would open in full Cry against such an Apostate from the common Cause,—would persecute him in every Shape, and excite the Populace to pour forth the bitterest Execrations against him;—if not to proceed to still greater Extremities.
What Course is he then to take? And how is he to act, in order that he may seem to aim at a national Reformation, and a Redress of Grievances, without intending any Thing real? The public Good requires one Conduct: But Popularity and Party another. Pressed by this Dilemma, it is but too obvious which his Choice would be. Such a Man would warmly recommend a Reform in the K—g’s Kitchen, in his Cellar, in his Houshold Servants, and his Houshold Furniture;—nay, I had almost said, in his Dog-Kennel.—In short, he would propose to save and to retrench in every Article, except that grand one, a Separation from the Colonies, which is worth a thousand of the rest.—So that in order to gratify the perverse Humours of these unhappy Times, Majesty must be sacrificed to a republican Faction, and the Power of the Prince in the Management of his own private Concerns, be reduced to a Condition much more abject than that of any of his Subjects.
As long as the Temper and Intellects of Mankind shall remain in this wretched and disordered State, nothing truly good is likely to be done. We must therefore wait with Patience for better Times; hoping, that kind Providence will inspire one Part of the Community with sounder Understandings, and the other with better Hearts.
§. The Aristocratical Part of the Constitution.
Respecting this Branch very little need be said. For the present Aristocracy is very far from being formidable. Indeed it can hardly be said to have Weight enough in the political Scale, so as to maintain a proper Balance between the two other great Powers of the Constitution.—’Tis true, the Baronage in former Times was a dreadful Engine of Tyranny and Oppression. A few great Lords combining together, often shook the Throne, often trampled on Law and Justice, and oppressed the common People at their Pleasure. But these Times are no more: A Peer of the Realm has no Jurisdiction annexed to his Barony; he is entitled to no Privilege or Prerogative authorising him to treat his Tenants, as Slaves and Vassals; but is as amenable to the regular Courts of Law, as any private Subject. Moreover as to the landed Estates of Peers, they being as divisible into small Shares as the Estates of Commoners; therefore the Power of the Peerage is so far from encreasing, that it is greatly on the Decline, if compared with what we find on Record in former Times.
§. The Democratical Part of the Constitution;—wherein the Power of electing Deputies to represent the People is particularly considered.
That Government was ordained for the Good of the People; and that this is the great Object which ought always to be attended to in every political Institution, are Points, which I shall take for granted. The only Matter worthy our present Inquiry is, How shall this public Good be most effectually promoted? And, if divers Means should be proposed, which is the best?—Deputies from, and Representatives of the People, not only bid the fairest of any others, for this Purpose; but are likewise made an essential Branch of the British Constitution. Therefore the Benefits and Advantages thence arising, are the Subjects which come next to be considered.
The best of human Institutions cannot be supposed to be so absolutely perfect, as to want no Correction or Amendment. Nay, Time, and an Alteration of Circumstances will introduce some Disorders into the best, and point out Desects, which could not be foreseen at first. This is the Case with Respect to the democratical Part of our Government. Disorders undoubtedly there are, and Defects not a few, which call aloud for a Remedy; if any can be found, which will not increase the Discase, instead of curing it, or will not introduce new, and worse Evils, by attempting to remove the old ones.
The Remedies which have been of late Years most warmly proposed, by those Gentlemen, who glory in the Title of being the Disciples of Mr. Locke, are the following:
1st, That there shall be a more equal Representation of the People, respecting their Numbers:
2ndly, That there shall be a more equal Representation of them, respecting their Property.
And 3dly, That these Representatives shall not continue longer than one Year, or at most than three Years, without a new Election.
Let us begin with the first of the Remedies here proposed for the Cure of our political Disorders. This Notion of the Necessity of an equal Representation, is grounded on that Lockian Idea of the unalienable Right of each Individual to be Self-governed; Notions, which I hope, have been sufficiently confuted. However, as Truth will bear to be seen in various Lights, and what is wrong never can become right, I will now pursue this Deception, through a new Disguise, and endeavour to present the Reader with a second Confutation of it.
Therefore in Conformity to the Lockian Plan of equal Representation, I will state the following Case: [A Case sufficiently exact for our present Purpose] Let us suppose that the Island of Great-Britain contains seventy Millions of Acres, and seven Millions of Inhabitants;—and that it is proposed by the Lockian Politicians, [something similar to which is done almost every Day] That these seven Millions of Inhabitants ought to send nearly seven hundred Deputies to represent them in Parliament: So that each Million shall elect an hundred Representatives. So far the Scheme looks plausible; but mark the Consequences:—One Million out of the seven are crowded together, inhabiting a small Spot, perhaps not more than twenty thousand Acres; whilst the remaining six Millions are scattered over the Face of the Country; also several Millions of Acres lie waste, without any Inhabitants at all. Now this central Million, as it may be called, [alias London, Westminster,Southwark, and their Environs] with an hundred Deputies, all of their own electing, and continually under their Influence, and always ready at Hand, will be an over-match for the Rest of the Kingdom in every Contest, and become every Day more and more predominant.—Can any Man doubt of this?—He cannot, if he either knows, what human Nature is in general, when armed with Power;—or can reflect on the many Monopolies and Exclusions, which London in particular hath already obtained both by Sea and Land. For even at present, when London, Westminster, and Southwark, have but eight Representatives, they have encroached on the Liberties and Trade of their Fellow-Subjects in Hundreds of Instances, have had the Appropriation of vast Sums of the public Money, for building of Bridges, &c. &c. and have engrossed several Advantages, which ought to have been left common to all. Now, if the Metropolis has the Balance of Power already so much in its Favour, would you wish to make it preponderate upwards of twelve Times more than it doth?
Again: All over-grown Cities are formidable in another View, and therefore ought not to be encouraged by new Privileges, to grow still more dangerous; for they are, and ever were, the Seats of Faction and Sedition, and the Nurseries of Anarchy and Confusion. A daring, and desperate Leader, in any great Metropolis, at the Head of a numerous Mob, is terrible to the Peace of Society, even in the most despotic Governments:—But in London, where the People are the most licentious upon Earth,—In London, where the Populace are daily taught, that they have an unalienable Right to be self-governed;—and that their Rulers are no other than their Servants:—In London, where nothing is held sacred, but the Will of the People [blasphemously called, the Voice of God] what are you to expect from an Addition of Privilege and Power, but an Encrease of the most daring Outrages, and the Subversion of Law and Government? The audacious Villanies recently committed in June, 1780, are sufficient, one would think, to give any Man a Surfeit of the very Idea of adding still greater Influence and Power to a London Mob.
Once more, If a Man has any Sense of Rectitude and good Morals, or has a Spark of Goodness and Humanity remaining, he cannot wish to entice men into great Cities by fresh Allurements. Such Places are already become the Bane of Mankind in every Sense, in their Healths, their Fortunes, their Morals, Religigion, &c. &c. &c. And it is observable of London in particular, that were no fresh Recruits, Male and Female, to come out of the Country, to supply those Devastations which Vice, Intemperance, Brothels, and the Gallows are continually making, the whole human Species in that City would be soon exhausted: For the Number of Deaths exceed the Births by at least 7000 every Year.—So much as to the 1st Remedy proposed by the Lockians for the Cure of our political Disorders.
The 2d is, That there shall be a more equal Representation of the Inhabitants of this Island respecting their Property.
Mr. Locke himself strongly leans towards the Doctrine of representing Property;—and many of his Followers directly maintain it.—Though the Notion itself is little less than a Contradiction to their favourite grand Principle of unalienable Rights belonging to each Individual, whether poor or rich. For if such Rights do belong to any Beings whatever, they must belong to Person, not to Property. Moreover, according to this Doctrine, every Man, who has no Property, ought to have no Vote, notwithstanding the supposed unalienable Rights of his Nature. And a rich Man, with large and extensive Property, ought to have many Votes in Proportion to his Riches. Consequently the Grand Turk, and every other Despot, who is the only rich Man, being the Proprietor and Lord of all, is justly entitled to every Vote within his Dominions:—Or rather, he is the only rightful Voter, and therefore represents all Property in his own Person. What a Revolution is this! For hence it comes to pass, that the Ottoman Empire, the very Quintessence of Tyranny, is all of a sudden transformed into a mild, just, and equitable Government; exhibiting a most perfect Model of fair Representation.
The last Remedy proposed for the Cure of our political Disorders, is the Frequency of general Elections, which it seems ought to be triennial,—if not annual: And then all would be well. Never did Mountebank Doctor puff off his sophisticated Drugs with more rhetorical Flourishes, than our State Doctors have celebrated the Virtues of their insallible Nostrum of annual or triennial Parliaments. Nay, they have assured the Populace in some of their Harangues, that they have an unalienable Right to require us to swallow this Prescription.—But let us enquire a little before we swallow.—The first Benefit, we are told, which is to accrue from annual General Elections, is, “That we shall be restored to our antient Constitution of annual Parliaments.” What? Doth not the Parliament now meet annually? And hath it ever failed to meet annually since the Revolution? “Oh, no: “It meets, ’tis true: But it is not a new Parliament, [a new House of Commons] which meets; but only a Continuation of the old one; whereas there ought to have been a new House of Commons every Time that there is a new Sessions of Parliament. And the People have an unalienable Right to demand a Restoration of their antient Privileges.”—How doth it appear, that annual General Elections ever were an antient Privilege of the People?—And what Authority do you produce in support of this extraordinary Assertion?—“There was a Law made the 4th of Edward III. C. 14.—which enacts, that Parliaments shall be held once a Year, or more often, if need be: This Law was confirmed in the 36th Year of the same Prince, and still remains unrepealed. Therefore”—Therefore what?—“Therefore, the holding of a Parliament once every Year, or more often if need be,—signifies the same Thing, [in patriotic Language] as that there shall be a General Election of the House of Commons once every Year, or oftener.”.—Surely the candid and impartial Reader doth not expect a formal Consutation of so wild an Argument.—Taking therefore for granted, that the holding of a Parliament, and a General Election of the Commons, are not synonymous Terms, I will endeavour to employ the Reader’s Time and my own to better Purposes, by stating the Fact, from which this strange Notion of the constitutional Right of annual General Election seems to have taken its Rise.—When the Commons of England were excessively poor, and when the Members of the House of Representatives were, almost to a Man, either the Tenants of the Crown, or the Vassals, Dependents, and Retainers of the great Barons [there being hardly such a Person then existing, as what we now call an independent Country Gentleman] two Things were deemed great Favours at that Juncture, which would be looked upon in these Times in a very different Light. The one was, The excusing of the poorer Boroughs (especially the Tenants of the Crown) from sending Members to Parliament: And this was so frequent a Practice, that even the Sheriffs would sometimes make Returns, that this or that Borough was in such a pauper State, as not to be able to bear the Expence of sending Representatives. The other was, That the Elected themselves [for small Cities and Towns Corporate] did not consider the Office of a Member of Parliament in that high and honourable Light in which it stands at present. Men, who have not much to give, and no Favours to bestow, and who stand more in need of the Protection of others, than others do of them, are not much courted and caressed at any Time. * Now this was the very Case with the Representatives in Parliament, I mean for small Cities and Borough-Towns, during all the Reigns of the Plantagenets, and the Tudors; (as shall be more fully made to appear in the ensuing Chapter] therefore many, if not most of such Members, thought it a greater Favour to be excused from serving a burthensome Office, than to be elected to it. As to the Wages they received from their Constituents, every one must know, that at any Time, and according to the most frugal Mode of Living, the Sums received could not be sufficient for defraying the Expences incurred. Hence therefore it was natural for them to consider the Dissolution of the House at the End of every Sessions as a Matter of Grace and Favour; in order that they might have a Chance of not being elected a second Time. So that from this Circumstance we may trace the true Cause, how it came to pass, that at the End of every Sessions of Parliament, the House of Commons was generally dissolved:—I say generally: For there were some Exceptions: And most assuredly the Prince was not then under the Obligation of any positive Statute Law [as he now is] for dissolving it at any particular given Time. It was wholely at his own Option, when to do it. The Irish House of Commons, copied from the English Model, puts this Affair beyond Dispute. For in that Kingdom, when an House of Representatives was elected, at the Accession of a new King, it was to remain undissolved [’till the late octennial Act altered the Case] during the Life of the reigning Prince, if he thought proper:—If not, he might dissolve it as often as he pleased, and command new Elections to be made.—So much as to the boasted constitutional Rights of annual Elections.
However, though our Modern-Patriots have failed most egregiously in this Point; yet, if they can make it appear, that annual or triennial Elections would be productive of more Good than Evil, every real Patriot will wish Success to their Endeavours, whatever may have been their Motives.
And 1st. They assure us, “that annual Elections would put an End to all Bribery and Corruption.” Good News indeed! But are you really sure of that? “We are; for when General Elections were annual, there was no “Bribery.”—Probable enough; and if you intend to reduce the Power of the House of Commons to the like insignificant State it was in during the Reigns of the Plantagenets and the Tudors, that very Insignificance would effectually remove all the Evils of which you now complain. As a Proof of this, take the following Example in modern Times.—The Clergy are no longer taxed by their Representatives in Convocation, but by Laymen in the House of Commons.—And what is the Consequence?—The Election of Convocation-Men is now become one of the most peaceable Things in Nature. No Bribery, no Corruption are even suspected, not a Treat, not an Intrigue is heard of, and Calumny herself is dumb. Now do you really wish to have our State-Diseases cured, and our political Complaints removed after the same Manner? and is this one of those insallible Nostrums, of which such Boastings have been lately made?—However, let us hear what you have further to propose.
2dly.You say “Were Elections to become annual, Bribery would cease; because it would be worth no Man’s while to bribe so often, as every Year.” To this I answer, that there is an Ambiguity in the Phrase worth no Man’s while, which must be first explained: And then the Merits of the Cause will soon appear. Among the many Motives which induce Men to stand Candidates for a Seat in Parliament, some good, and some bad, two of the most predominant are, Avarice, and Ambition. Now, as far as mere Avarice or the Thirst of Gain is concerned, no Man in his sober Senses would think it worth his while to give 20,000l.—or 10,000l.—or 5000l.—or 2000l.—or even 1000l. annually, in Bribes, in order to procure a Place, or a Pension of 1000l.—2000l.—or at the most 3000l.—without any Security of holding it a Day:—I say, no Man in his Senses would think it worth his while to risque such a certain Sum on such an Uncertainty. And so far I agree most cordially with you. But remember that I have already proved [Page 247.] that no Man doth act after this senseless Manner, even at present. But as to Ambition, and Vain-Glory, and the Lust of Power, the Stings of Envy, Hopes of Revenge, Religious Bigotry, and Party-Rage, &c. &c. &c.—are these Evils to be cured by having Recourse to annual Elections? No, no: You cannot suppose any Thing so foolish and absurd. As soon might you undertake to quench Fire with Oil, as to cool and moderate the Passions of Mankind, by keeping them in a perpetual State of Strise, Jealousy, and Rancour. It has ever been the Advice of medical People, to keep sore Places from being fretted;—but it seems, our modern State-Doctors prescribe the Use of continual fretting, as an infallible Means of Cure.
Besides, if Experience is to be our Guide, let the Experience of former Times decide the Question. During the long Contest between the Houses of Lancaster and York, annual Elections were according to this Hypothesis, the constant Practice. Whether that was the Case, or not, is immaterial. If it was, what Good did these annual Elections then produce? And how much of the Fury and Madness of the Combatants did they restrain?—If annual Elections were then set aside, what was their Efficacy, if not used, when most wanted?—That Parliament upon Parliaments were held during those troublesome Times, is an undoubted Fact:—And therefore if annual Elections are such a sovereign Remedy, as here supposed, this was the Time for them to have produced their salutary Effects. Yet alas! the only Effect which we can learn from History, was, That the victorious Side always reversed what the vanquished had enacted, and added new Confiscations, and Attainders of their own.—Could any Thing better have been expected from the annual Revivals of civil Discords?
But above all, if you will view the Matter in a commercial Light, you must acknowledge, that annual, or even triennial Appeals to the whole Mass of the People, [each of whom, it seems, hath an equal and an indefeasible Right to be represented, and to be self-governed, &c.] would bring swift Ruin and Destruction on all our Trade and Manufactures. The Clubs and Combinations of Tradesmen to raise the Price of Goods, and of Journeymen to raise their Wages, have a bad Effect on national Commerce even at present;—judge therefore what would be the Consequences, were every Tradesman, and every Journeyman, to be annually authorised [as he would be in effect] to make his own Terms with the Candidate, before he would promise him his Vote! Most undoubtedly Birmingham and Manchester, Leeds, and Halifax, and many other populous Towns and manufacturing Places would soon be reduced to mere Villages, when blessed with equal Representations, and frequent Elections: And the Trade and Manufactures, the Shipping and Navigation of England would soon migrate into Scotland:—Into Scotland, I say, where the common People have no Concern in County Elections, and not much in most of their Cities and Boroughs; and therefore they suffer but very little from the Drunkenness and Intemperance, the Idleness and Dissipation, and other Vices, which generally prevail in Consequence of contested Elections.
But be that as it may, enough hath surely now been said to prove the Inefficacy of the Remedies hitherto proposed. And if what I have to offer in their Room should be found on Examination to be equally defective, I can only say that these Defects must be charged either on the Nature of the Disease, which will not admit of a Cure,—or on the Incapacity of the Author, who cannot discover one. [For as to Care and Attention in considering, and reconsidering the Subject, nothing has been wanting in that Respect] If therefore the Disease is really incurable, Patience and Resignation is the only Prescription. But if a great Part of the Evils now complained of, might be rectified, and others so far redressed as to be of small Importance,—it is to be hoped that some happy Genius may yet arise, who will propose a Plan more efficacious in itself, and free from those Difficulties, which perhaps may be objected to what I have now to offer.
Having premised thus much. I would now beg Leave to observe, that the following Points appear to me of such Consequence, that every Man, who would propose any Remedy either for removing, or palliating the present Evils, ought to have them constantly in View, as the Scope and End of all his Endeavours.
1st.True Policy requires, that every Part of a compact [middle-sized] State, such as Great-Britain, ought to be well cultivated, and fully settled;—Therefore every Scheme, Plan, or System, which has a contrary Tendency, ought to be discouraged and opposed, as much as possible.
2dly.True Policy requires, that in the well peopling of a Country, Abundance of single Farm-Houses and Cottages, numerous Country Seats, Villages, and Towns, and not a few Cities of a moderate Size are much preserable to large, unwieldy Capitals in, or near the Centre, with Wastes and Deserts, or Districts thinly inhabited, at or near the Extremities:—Consequently every good and really patriotic Scheme should have an Eye towards promoting the former, and checking the Encrease of the latter, as much as the Nature of the Case will permit.
3dly.Though it would be highly absurd, to admit indiscriminately every individual Moral-Agent to be a Voter, yet true Policy requires that the Voters should be so numerous, and their Qualifications respecting Property be so circumstanced, that the actual Voters could not combine against the Non-Voters, without combining against themselves, against their nearest Friends, Acquaintance, and Relations.
4thly.Good Policy also requires, that in the Matter of electing Representatives, or sending Deputies to the great Council of the Nation, the general and particular, the national and personal Interests both of the Electors, and of the Elected, should be made to harmonize as much as possible.
Lastly, it also requires, that the proposed Alterations from the present System, should deviate as little as may be, from the present Forms of Government, and cause no remarkable Changes in the external Police, and long established Customs of the English Nation.
On these Positions, which I hope the candid, and judicious Reader will readily allow, I will venture to proceed in my intended Scheme of Amendment or Improvement.
[* ]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.
[* ]It was a great Mistake in a late noble Author to assert, That the Army of the Barons at Running-Mead was an Assembly of the People, demanding a Restitution of their Rights from a tyrannical Prince.—No: The Fact was just the contrary. For it was this tyrannical Prince, who took the People’s Part, even whilst they themselves were ignorant of the Matter, in order to raise a Power towards counter-balancing the Aristocracy of his great Barons.—I am credibly informed, That there is a Copy now extant of the very Magna-Charta, which the Barons intended should have passed, had their Plan succeeded in all Respects, in which there are none, or next to none of those great Advantages in Favour of the Bulk of the People, which the real Magna-Charta now contains. But it was hardly possible for them to withstand the Force of that Argument urged by the Royal Party, [and that too in the Presence of their own Vassals, then in Arms for their Sakes,] which was to this Effect:—“As you, who are the Vassals of the Crown, demand such and such Concessions from your Prince, you must grant the like Concessions to your own Vassals, to be inserted in the same Magna-Charta.”—See particularly the 69th Clause of Magna-Charta.
[* ]See Dr. Robertson’s excellent and impartial History of America, Vol. I. Book IV. viz. Condition and Character of the Americans, Pages 281—409. I myself have heard Mons. Condamine at Paris confirming almost all the Particulars mentioned in these Pages. He added likewise one Circumstance, which I ought not to omit: Speaking of the Indians in the Empires of Mexico and Peru, whom the Spaniards had converted to Christianity for several Generations past. “They make, says he, excellent Catholics; for they are charmed with the Pomp and Ceremonies of Religion, and never think. Indeed it appears to me, that they are incapable of much Thought: For they are Children all their Lives.—Toujours Enfans.”
[* ]See Robertson’s History of America, Vol. I. Book 7, concerning the State of the Mexican Empire before the Invasion of the Spaniards.—See also the same concerning the State of the Empire of Peru.
[* ]Muratori’s Relation of the Missions of Paraguay. The English Translation printed for J. Marmaduke, 1759. P. 101—102:
[* ]The Savage Indians occupy no Lands in severalty: Therefore there is neither Tillage, nor Planting among them; except perhaps what their Wives may do in little Spots near their Cabins. In fact, as the whole Country lies open before them, in the Nature of a great Common, they hunt and fish whereever they please. But tho’ these Lands, Woods, and Waters are considered as common to all the Individuals of the same, Tribe;—yet, in their public Capacity, or as a collective Body, they claim an exclusive Right to vast Tracts of Country against other Tribes. In this respect they are so greedy, that perhaps an Extent of Wastes, Forests, and Deserts as large as England, is hardly judged sufficient for a few Hundreds of these Vagabonds to roam about. And it is the Invasion of this [supposed] public Property, which furnishes them with Pretences for their frequent, bloody, and scalping Wars: For the better Management of which, they elect a Chief, or Governor. Hence therefore we see, even from this imperfect State of Things, that wherever the Idea of Property prevails, Government must follow, as a necessary Consequence for the Preservation of it. N. B. Since their Commerce with the Europeans, the Indians have begun to use Horses, not for the Purposes of Husbandry, but for their Journies. They treat these Creatures with shocking Inhumanity; and indeed they seem to exhibit very little Fondness or Affection for any Sort of Beings whatever, but for self. In this they are quite the Reverse of the wild Arabs, who are as remarkable for their Kindness and Attachment to all their domestic Animals, and particularly to their Horses, as the Indians are for the contrary.
[* ]During an attentive Observation, and the Experience of 50 Years, sorry I am to say, but Truth obliges me to do it, that I hardly ever knew an unpopular Measure to be in itself a bad one, or a popular one to be truly salutary. Internally the People violently opposed the best of all Schemes for a commercial Nation,—That of warehousing Goods on Importation, and paying the Duties by Degrees. They were also as bitterly averse to the making of Turnpike Roads, to the Use of Broadwheel Waggons, to the enclosing and improving of Lands, to the Freedom of Trade in Cities and Towns corporate, to the Introduction of Machines for abridging Labour, and also to the Admission of industrious Foreigners to settle among them. Nay, they very lately were so absurd as to raise loud Clamours against the Execution of the Act for preserving the public Coin, and their own Property from Debasement and Adulteration. Externally, they are perpetually calling out for new Wars (though against their best Customers) on the most frivolous or unjustifiable Pretences. Moreover, if there was any Convention or Treaty to be broken through or disregarded, (the Observance of which would have restored Peace or prevented Bloodshed) or if there was any new Colony to be planted in a desart Country, or Conquest to be undertaken in a populous one, even in the most distant Part of the Globe.—All these Measures, though totally opposite to a Spirit of Industry at Home, and though the Bane of a commercial Nation, were sure to receive the Applauses and Huzzas of the unthinking Multitude. Such was the Vox Populi for 50 Years last past, which some Persons blasphemously stile Vox Dei.
[* ]Quere,—Whether this famous Legislator was not guilty of a gross Equivocation in the very Act of making his social Contract with the People of Lacedemon? It is said, that he bound them by an Oath to observe his Laws and Regulations, till he should return from a Voyage to Crete, where he then purposed to go. He went, but never returned: And lest they should bring back his Bones after his Death, and thereby suppose themselves released from the Obligation he had laid them under, he ordered his Body to be thrown into the Sea. Few Moralists, I believe, would judge such a fraudulent Contract as this, to be good and valid. And no Court of Equity upon Earth would pronounce such a palpable Deception to be binding in any other Case. The learned Reader is requested to consult Xenophon’s Account of the Policy of the Lacedemonians in the Original. He will there find, that many of the Institutions of Lycurgus were very whimsical and absurd, (notwithstanding Xenophon’s Endeavours to gloss them over) that some of them were very criminal, others obscene, that few were worthy to be adopted into that benevolent and liberal Plan of Government, where true national Liberty was to be the Basis.
[* ]Plutarch doth not mention this Circumstance of the Daughter of Aristides, exactly after this Manner, but other Authors do.
[* ]The most unpopular Man in all France in his Day, was the Duke de Sully; the most popular the Duke de Guise: The most unpopular Ministers in England, were the Earl of Clarendon, and Sir Robert Walpole, during their respective Administrations; the former a true, a steady, and equal Friend to a limitted Monarchy, and the just civil Rights of the People; and the latter the best commercial Minister this Country ever had, and the greatest Promoter of its real Interests:—The most popular in their Turns, were Mr. Pulteney, and Mr. Pitt.Sed Opinionum Commenta delet Dies.
[* ]Jam de artificiis & quæstibus, qui liberales habendi, qui fordidi fint, hæc fere accepimus. Primum improbantur ei quæstus, qui in odia hominum incurrunt; ut portitorum, ut fœneratorum. Illiberales autem, & sordidi quæstus mercenariorum, omniumque, quorum operæ, non quorum artes emuntur. Est enim illis ipsa merces auctoramentum Servitutis. Sordidi etiam putandi, qui mercantur a Mercatoribus, quod statim vendant; nihil enim proficiunt, nisi admodum mentiantur. Nec vero quidquam turpius est Vanitate. Opificesq; omnes in sordida arte versantur. Nec enim quidquam ingenuum potest habere officina. Minimæque artes hæ probandæ, quæ ministræ sunt voluptatum, cetarii, lanii, coqui, fartores, piscatores. Adde huc, si placet, unguentarios, saltatores, totumque ludum talarium. Quibus autem artibus aut prudentia major inest, aut non mediocris utilitas quæritur, ut medicina, ut architectura, ut doctrina rerum honestarum, hæ sunt iis, quorum ordini conveniunt, honestæ. Mercatura autem, si tenuis est, sordida putanda est: Sin magna, et copiosa, multa undique apportans, multisque sine Vanitate impartiens, non est admodum vituperanda. Atque etiam si satiata quæstu, vel contenta potius, ut sæpe ex alto in portum, sic ex ipso portu se in agros, possessionesque contulerit, videtur jure optimo posse laudari. Omnium autem rerum, ex quibus aliquid acquiritur, nihil est agricultura melius, nihil uberius, nihil duleius, nihil homine, nihil libero dignius.—Vide Ciceronem de Officiis, Liber 1. § 42.
[* ]One Time the People were very clamorous for assisting the Queen of Hungary; and nothing else could content them.—Then the Tide turned, and they were equally clamorous to assist the King of Prussia. At one Time that miserable Island Corsica was the favourite Object, at another a Set of Rocks, absolutely barren, in the midst of a most inhospitable Sea, and in a most wretched Climate, called Falkland Island, engrossed their Attention. In short, any Thing, and every Thing, excepting that one Thing the most needful for a Commercial State, To study to be quiet, and do our own Business.
[* ]The Ladies have Votes at the East-India House.—Let the Lockians give a Reason consistently with their Principles, if they can,—Why Women are debarred from voting for Directors in Parliament, and yet allowed to vote for Directors at the India House.
[* ]An Observation of the very learned and Hon. Daines Barrington, Esq; corroborates what is here advanced. In his useful Annotations on ancient Statutes, Page 417, of 3d. Edition, he remarks, That “Henry [the VII.] had the Merit either from Reasons of Policy, or perhaps more humane Motives, to render the lower Class of People less dependent upon the rich and powerful.” And adds at Page 419, “This Protection of the inferior Classes of his Subjects, produced, as a natural Consequence, a greater Freedom and Independency in the lower House of Parliament. Sir Thomas More opposed a Subsidy with Success, in the last Year of this King’s Reign; which is, perhaps, ☞ the first Instance of Opposition to a Measure of the Crown by a Member of the House of Commons.”