Front Page Titles (by Subject) OBJECTION II. - A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts
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OBJECTION II. - Josiah Tucker, A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts 
A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts (London: T. Cadell, 1781).
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“The 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.