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CHAP. II.: Certain Objections and Cavils answered and confuted. - 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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Certain Objections and Cavils answered and confuted.
THE Man who embarks in the Cause of Truth, without any Party Views, must be an entire Stranger to the Ways of the World, if he expects to be better treated on that Account.—It is well, if his Treatment will not be worse: For, as his Conduct is a Reproach to both Sides, he will not find any Favour from either: So that his very Impartiality will be considered as his most unpardonable Crime. I was not ignonorant of these Things when I undertook the present Work; nevertheless I wished to persevere in the Pursuit of Truth, in Spite of all Discouragements. Two Antagonists have appeared already; and others have threatened to commence Hostilities, as soon as the Publication of my Work shall enable them to erect their Batteries. I therefore here dedicate one Chapter for the Purpose of replying to the Objections which have been already made, in order that the Reader may have some Sample of what he is to expect from the Productions of such Kind of Adversaries.
The 1st of these isJohn Cartwright,Esq.
An Author, whose indefatigable Zeal and Industry would deserve great Commendation, were they employed to more rational Purposes, and were he less attached to a System which cannot be defended. To do him Justice, his * Integrity and Fair-dealing are more conspicuous than what is discoverable in many of his Brother-Patriots. For in general he misrepresents but little through Wilfulness and Design: What he doth through Ignorance or Inattention, ought to be ascribed to the Errors of the Head, and not to the Corruptions of the Heart. Respecting Lockianism, he is a very just and consistent Writer, advancing nothing but what is fairly deducible from his Master’s Principles. If in doing this he falls into palpable Contradictions, he doth no more, than what his Master did before him. Thus, for Example, he is so inconsistent with himself, that he will not allow that Right to Females of the Human Kind, which he expressly declares in many Places, to be a Right inseparable from Human Nature. “I have demonstrated [says he, Page 127 of the People’s Barrier] that Representation,—[he means the Right of chusing Representatives,]—“depends on Personality alone: And that all Regulations for making it depend on Property, must be capricious, arbitrary, and unconstitutional.” In other Places, he allows, that Women are Persons, and Moral Agents, as well as Men; and that they have Souls to be saved. Yet in spite of all these Concessions, he maintains, that it is absurd to suppose, that Women have those Rights of voting at parliamentary Elections, which belong to, and are, according to him, unalienable from human Personality. But why, good Mr. Cartwright, is this absurd,—I mean, on your Principle?—He is sure it is absurd: And he refers the Dean of Glocester (see Page 46 of Legislative Rights) “to the Scriptures,—to the Laws of Nature, and the common Law of England,—and to the fair Sex themselves, in order to settle this Point.” Authorities fully sufficient, I allow, were they as decisive in this Gentleman’s Favour as he imagines them to be. But that is the Question.
1st.My kind Instructor refers me to the Scriptures:—So far I am obliged to him.—In them he says [Page 27. of the People’s Barrier] it will be found, “that God, as an Example to all other Kings, insists upon the People’s exercising their Right of choosing their first Magistrate (God) and of assenting to the Laws, under which they were to live.” [For it seems,] “God would not take upon him the Civil Government of their State, until the People had elected him, and by their voluntary Assent had joined in enacting the Laws of the Community, &c. &c.” This he assures us is the Doctrine of Scripture.—I do most willingly acknowledge it to be the Lockian Doctrine,—and a necessary Consequence of that rash, inconfideate, Position, ‘That all Governments whatever, antient or modern, good as well as bad, are so many Usurpations, ’till the People shall have given their actual, explicit, and positive Consent, both to the Formation and to the Continuance of them.’ But even to hint at Usurpations of any Sort, when we are speaking of the Formation or Continuance of the Government of the greatest and best of Beings, who filleth all in all:—I say, even to surmise that his Authority over us depends, in any Sense, on our own good Will and Pleasure, or that his Laws are not binding, till we shall have ratified and confirmed them, is a Liberty which I dare not take. Mr. Cartwright must therefore excuse me, if I decline the Discussiion of such a Topic.
2dly.He directs me also to learn from the Scriptures, that the Rights of voting, chusing, or electing Delegates to Parliament, though unalienable in themselves, are all alienated from married Women, and transferred to their Husbands by a positive and express Law. The Wife is commanded to submit herself to her Husband in every Thing; Ergo;—Husband and Wife are in Scripture called one Flesh; Ergo,—(that is, from thence we must infer, else what would become of Mr. Cartwright’s Argument?) that the Husband is appointed in Scripture to vote for his Wife in all public Relations whatever, and to be her Lord and Master in Politics, as well as in domestic Concerns. [See Page 46, of Legislative Rights.]
Were it necessary to shew, that the Gentleman grossly misapplies these Texts of Holy Writ, and that he ascribes to them a Meaning, they were not intended to convey;—it would be a very easy Matter so to do. But I chuse rather to let him confute himself, as the best Way of answering such an Adversary. In this very Page, in which he condescends to correct the Dean of Glocester, for his Ignorance of the Scriptures, he says, that the “Sexes are equal in Dignity with Regard to God, and his Salvation.” By which he plainly means, that Women have an equal Right with the Men to judge for themselves in the Concerns of Religion. For the Rights of believing, of thinking and praying, and of performing all religious Duties, are unalienable Rights, which cannot be transferred from the Wife to the Husband, or executed by any Kind of Deputation.—Consequently in regard to these Points, the Husband cannot be authorised to represent the Wife,—nor is he her Lord and Master in this Sense.—About what then is my shrewd Antagonist now disputing?—If he intends to say, that civil, and religious Rights are Things of a very different Nature, because the former are transferrable, whereas the latter are not:—He would indeed assert a very capital Truth; but it is such a Truth, as destroys the whole Lockian System at once. On the other Hand, were he to maintain. [which he, and Dr. Price really do] that these two Rights are such exact Parallels to each other, “that the Persons who are to judge for themselves with respect to religious Salvation. equally ought to be the Judges of their political Salvation” (which are his own Words, at Page 134, of The People’s Barrier, in order to prove, that the very lowest of Mankind, such as Footmen, Draymen, and Scavengers, whom he there particularises, as having an unalienable Right of voting) he then must allow, whether he will or not, that the Wives of these Footmen, Draymen, and Scavengers have in civil, as well as religious Concerns, the same unalienable Right with their Husbands.—Either therefore the Cases are parallel, or they are not:—Let him take his Choice.
3dly.In respect to Law, and more particularly the Law of the Realm;—if he means to say, that Women (whether married or single) have no legal Right to vote for Members, I say so too: And will add this as a plain Proof, that, in the Eye of the Legislature, the civil, and religious Rights of Mankind are very different Things; and therefore ought not to be confounded together: Which is the capital Error of Mr. Locke, and his Followers.
But 4thly.My greatest Misfortune is yet to come. For the fair Sex are to be appealed to in this Dispute. And they will—my generous Adversary doth not say, What they will do, But at Page 46 above-mentioned, he says, “Were the Rev. Dean to receive no greater Thanks from the Ministry than he is likely to obtain from the fair Sex for such Attempts, poor indeed would be his Reward! Women knew too well what God and Nature require of them, to put in so absurd a Claim for a Share in the Rights of Election.”—What Reward the Ministry intend the Dean of Glocester is to me a Secret. But how great soever they may be, [as I hope they will not be of an unalienable Nature] I do hereby freely and voluntarily make a Transfer of them all to Mr. Cartwright, with my grateful Acknowledgments for his kind Instructions:—I have not the Honour of his personal Acquaintance; but if he should be like the Majority of his Brother Patriots, he may stand in greater Need of ministerial Favours than the Dean of Glocester:—The Dean is a Man, who, with a very moderate Income, [which many People would think rather scanty] can truly say, that he has all he wishes to have, and more than sufficient to supply his Wants. Would to God, that the Majority both of the Inns, and of the Outs could say their Hands on their Hearts, and say the same Things.
As to the Judgment which the fair Sex is to pass upon us, when the Cause is to be brought before their Tribunal.—I own I am rather anxious for the Safety of us both, at such a Juncture. Because, if Mr. Cartwright, after the Example of his Brother-Patriot, Lord G. Gordon, should summon the Wives of Footmen, Draymen, and Scavengers, and all the Ladies of their Acquaintance to meet in St. George’s Fields, then and there to debate the solemn Question, Whether they should surrender up their unalienable indefeasible Rights, or insist on the free Exercise of them, I will not be answerable for the Consequences of such an Assembly of 20,000 patriotic Ladies, warmed with—Zeal for their Rights and Liberties.
One Thing more I have to add on this Subject, and I have done.—During an Experience of upwards of Fifty Years, I have observed, that in every contested Election, the Females of all Ranks, Ages, and Conditions, both in high and in low Life, married or unmarried, those of rigid, and those of easy Virtue,—so far from not concerning themselves at all in such Matters,—have entered into the Spirit of Electioneering with much greater Zeal, and keener Appetites than the Males.—And let Mr. Cartwright himself be the Judge, if he pleases, whether he thinks they would chuse Lovelaces, or Hickmans to be their favourite Representatives, had they the Privilege of voting. [See Richardson’sClarissa for the Explanation of these oppoposite Characters.]
The Cavils of Mr. ProfessorDunbar,of Aberdeen.
WHEN I first undertook the Task of answering Mr. Locke, I thought it necessary to proceed with the greater Caution, as I had so many popular Prejudices to encounter with. Mr. Locke’s Writings on Government had obtained a Reputation and Character little short of political Infallibility; therefore any Man who dared to depart from this Standard of Orthodoxy, was deemed a State-Heretic, and condemned of Course, as an Enemy to the just and unalienable Rights of Mankind. Finding myself oppressed by this Weight of undeserved Censure, I caused the Press to strike off about 50 or 60 Copies of the principal Parts of the present Treatise. My View therein was to consult the Learned and Judicious both far and near, concerning the Plan of the Work, and the Nature of the Undertaking;—likewise to entreat the Benefit of their Corrections and Amendments, in Case they should judge so favourably of this Specimen, as to encourage me to proceed.
Among other respectable Personages to whom I applied on that Occasion, I mention with singular Pleasure and Esteem, the Reverend Dr. Campbell, Principal of Marischal College at Aberdeen; a Gentleman to whom the whole Republic of Letters is greatly indebted; and from whom the Dean of Glocester has received more Assistance, than from all others. I glory in the Declaration; and am much afraid, that the critical Reader will too soon discern those Portions of the Work which received the Benefit of his judicious Corrections and Amendments, from those, which were never sent, because I ceased to take off Copies of the remaining Parts.
When these Papers were at Aberdeen, it is probable, that a Mr. ProfessorDunbar got a Sight of them. A Gentleman, who appears from his late Publication, The History of Mankind, to be capable of making an useful Writer, could he add a little more sound Sense, and logical Consistency to his florid Periods, and high dressed Stile. Be that as it may, the Impatience of this Gentleman, and his patriotic Zeal, were so ungovernable, that he could not stay ’till the Book was published, but hurried his Confutation of the poor Dean of Glocester into Print, before the Dean’s confuted Book was itself published. This is rather a new Case. But, that the Reader may not be deprived of the Benefit so kindly intended by Mr. Professor, I will here beg Leave to quote, first my own Words, and then his Censures upon them, in the Order in which he himself was pleased to place them, that the Reader may make his own Reflections; and if Mr. Professor should be dissatisfied with this Mode of Proceeding,—I must submit to his Displeasure.
The Dean of Glocester [see Page 171 of the present Treatise.]
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 Europeun 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.
Mr. ProfessorDunbar’sCensure on the Preceding [see his Note to his History of Mankind, Page 204.]
“A well known Writer in Politics affects to have Ideas of the State of Mankind so mathematically precise, that he divides the Indians of America into three Classes, mere Savages,—Half Savages,—and almost civilized.”
The Dean of Glocester [see Page 190 of the present Treatise.]
With respect to the first Class of these bad Qualities (their Want of Tenderness, Sympathy, and Affection) 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 (of Paraguay) to their eternal Praise be it spoken, have converted these blood-thirsty, unfeeling Animals into a very different Sort of Beings: So that if the Accounts given of them (by Muratori, and others) are true, or even near the Truth, there can hardly be a more humane and benevolent People upon Earth, than the Indian Converts of Paraguay.
Mr. ProfessorDunbar’sCensure on the Preceding.
“The Savages he (the Dean of Glocester) describes, in all respects, as a blood-thirsty, unfeeling Race, destitute of every human Virtue. But Miracles have not yet ceased. The Missionaries of Paraguay, we are told, can transform these infernal Savages into the most benevolent Race under Heaven. A Metamorphosis which, though celebrated by a Dignitary of the Church, will hardly command Belief in this sceptical Age: Yet it serves to support a new Theory of Government, which is founded on a total Debasement of Human Nature, and is now opposed to a Theory that asserts its Honour, and derives from an happier Origin the Image of a free People.”
The Dean of Glocester [see the Preface to the 2d Part of the present Work.]
The Author imagines, that he has confuted the Lockian System in the foregoing 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 Government to stand upon.—At the same Time he is well aware, that it doth not follow, that his must be true, because Mr. Locke’s may have been proved to be false: He is also very sensible, that it is much easier to pull down than it is to build up; and that many a Man can demolish the System of another, who cannot desend his own. For these Reasons he is the more desirous of proceeding with due Reserve and Caution;—not expecting that his 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.
Mr. Professor’s Censure on the preceding, is as follows:—
“See a Work by Dean Tucker, Part II. containing, as the Writer modestly declares, the true Basis of Civil Government, [True Basis was the running Title at the Top of the Leaf, which gave Offence] in Opposition to the System of Mr. Locke and his Followers.”
This third Blow of Mr. Professor is so well aimed, and sent with so much Good-Will, that it may be considered as the Executioner’s Coup de Grace, to put the condemned Anti-Lockian out of his Misery. However, as the Malefactor, though executed in his Manuscript-State, might come to Life again under the Shape of an Author in public Print, and by that Means do the more Mischief to the Lockian Cause; Mr. Professor seems to have been desirous of preparing some further Punishment for such a Criminal, as soon as he should revive, and appear in his former Character. With this View it is probable, that he added the following Clause.
“When the Benevolence of this Writer [the Dean of Glocester] is exalted into Charity, when the Spirit of his Religion corrects the Rancour of his Philosophy, he will learn a little more Reverence for the System to which he belongs, and acknowledge in the most untutored Tribes some Glimmerings of Humanity, and some decisive Indications of a moral Nature.”
The Words Benevolence, Charity, Religion, are undoubtedly very good Words. And (as I do not set up for a Judge of fine Writing) perhaps I might likewise allow, that the Period which contains them, is well turned. Nevertheless, what Reference all this can have to the Conduct of the Dean of Glocester in the present Dispute, is a Thing which surpasses my Comprehension. And I do freely acknowledge, that I am myself so far one of the untutored Tribes, notwithstanding the Professor’s great Pains to tutor me, that I have not the least Idea of having transgressed the Bounds of Benevolence, Charity, or Religion, in what I have said concerning the Savages of America. The Relation, it seems, has incurred the high Displeasure of the Professor of Philosophy at Aberdeen.—Be it so.—But did the Dean forge this Relation? No. Did he falsify the Accounts he had received from others? No. Did he misquote, or misrepresent any of his Authors? No. What then was his Offence? And what Provocation has he given to this Lockian Champion?—He has dared to contute the Lockian System.—A most unpardonable Crime indeed! For the Punishment of which, the Rules of Decorum are to be violated, and the Modes of dark Attack to be practiced. Surely, if the Lockian Cause is no otherwise to be defended, it is high Time that such a System should be banished from the Society of Men.
Had this Gentleman cited but one Author of Note, who had given an Account different from those of Dr. Robertson, Muratori, and others, to whom I referred, something like the Shadow of an Excuse might have been framed for the Rancour of his Invective. But as he has not, I will help him to a Writer as full of Romance, and as paradoxical as himself. The JesuitLafitau in his Mæurs des Sauvages, has said more to apologize for the Conduct of the Savages, than any Writer that I have seen. Nevertheless, the general Character which he gives of them, tallies so exactly with the Relation of other Historians, that plain Men of common Sense, like myself, cannot see the Difference. The Jesuit’s Words are these, ‘Leur bonnes Qualités (which he had been enumerating in the preceding Paragraph) ‘sont mélées sand doute de plusieurs defautes: Car ils sont legers et volages, faineans au dela de toute expression, ingrats avec excess, soupçonneux, traitres, vindicatiss, et d’autant plus dangereux qu’ils scavent mieux couvrir, et ils couvrent plus long temps leur resentiments: ils sont cruel a leur ennemis, brutaux dans leur plaisirs, vitieux par ignorance, et par malice.’ (Tom 1, P. 106.)
Such is the Portrait, which their own Apologist has drawn of this unhappy People. But nevertheless, though it is much to be feared, that this is too truly their general Character, yet we will charitably suppose, and do most willingly hope, that many Exceptions are to be found among them. St. Paul in his first Chapter to the Romans, presents us with a Picture of the degenerate Heathens not much unlike this of the benighted Indians. But no Man ever understood the Apostle in that rigid Sense, as if he intended to say, that there was not one single Exception to the Description he had given of Men and Morals, to be found in all Rome.
For my Part, I think it reasonable and right, that Exceptions should be made to all general Characters. Sometimes indeed I am obliged to make them with Regret: This is my present Case.—I have admired and respected the Literati of Scotland for upwards of 30 Years: The present is certainly their shining Period, their Augustan Age. They are now become not only a Credit to themselves, but an Honour to enlightened Europe. And were some of them to attend more to Facts than to Theories, and to pay a greater Regard to the Strength of an Argument, than to the Arrangement of Periods, or the Choice of Words, their Excellence and Usefulness would still be greater.—Unconnected as I am with them, and unbiassed in my Judgment, I pay this free-will Offering to their distinguished Merit.—Nor shall the unprovoked, and unjustifiable Behaviour of one of their Members lessen my Esteem for so illustrious a Body.
[* ]Mr. Cartwright’s Quotations from the Dean of Glocester, are from Works already printed, and published. This was fair and honourable. He did not have Recourse to a Manuscript, or, what was the same Thing, to a Copy printed for the Use of a few select Friends, and their Acquaintance, in order to obtain the Benefit of such Correction;—to which an Advertisement was prefixt, that the Press was no other than an expeditious Amanuensis.—Mr. Cartwright, I dare believe, would have acted a Part very different, on such an Occasion, from what Mr. Professor Dunhar, of Aberdeen, has thought proper to do in his late Publication: The History of Mankind.