Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. III.: An Enquiry how far the Authorities of Great Names, and particularly how far the Opinions of Aristotle, Cicero, Grotius, and Hooker can be serviceable to the Lockian Cause. - A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts
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CHAP. III.: An Enquiry how far the Authorities of Great Names, and particularly how far the Opinions of Aristotle, Cicero, Grotius, and Hooker can be serviceable to the Lockian Cause. - 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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An Enquiry how far the Authorities of Great Names, and particularly how far the Opinions ofAristotle, Cicero, Grotius,andHookercan be serviceable to theLockianCause.
HAVING proceeded mostly in the argumentative, or controversial Way in the preceding Parts of this Treatise, it may not be amiss here to alledge the Authority of respectable Writers in Confirmation of what has been already advanced. I know, indeed, that the Gentlemen, with whom I have the Misfortune to differ, disdain the very Thought of paying a Deference to any human Opinion whatever. But I know likewise, that there are not a Set of Men under Heaven, who make more Parade with the Honour of a great Name, than they do, if they are able to quote any Passage from his Writings, only seeming to be favourable to their Cause:—A striking Proof of which will be given in the Course of this Chapter, respecting the great and judicious Mr. Hooker.
Meer Authority, it must be confessed, is not sufficient in many Cases to determine our Assent: But Authority, added to other Arguments, in those peculiar Circumstances, where the Mind is equipoised between opposite Reasonings, ought certainly to turn the Scale. And indeed it generally will; for many of the most capital Affairs in human Life, are often conducted on no other Principle. [Those, who wish to see this important Subject handled more at large, and properly exemplified, may consult my two Letters to the Rev. Dr. Kippis, printed for Rivington.]
The Disciples of Mr. Locke differ from the rest of Mankind, antient and modern, in two essential Points.
They often maintain in express Terms, and the Tenor of their Argument always doth, that Mankind have no natural Biass, no innate Instinct or Propensity towards Civil Society, as an End, or Object. Nay, many of them have not scrupled to declare, That were Men left to follow their own spontaneous Inclination, they would never have incorporated at all; but would have led a Life of absolute Freedom and Independence. Mr. Locke’s own Expression is, That Men are driven into Society.—But why driven? And who drives them? Their own Wants and Fears, he tells us. For, it seems, that after having deliberated on the Matter, pro and can, Men at last resolved to abandon the Charms of native Liberty, in order to guard against those Dangers and Inconveniencies, which they found to be unavoidable in their natural and solitary State. Hence therefore it necessarily follows, according to the Lockian Idea, that Government itself, even in its best Estate, and when best administered, is no other than a necessary Evil, which must be endured, for the Sake of escaping from such other Evils as are still more intolerable.
In Conformity to this leading Principle, they infer very logically, and indeed very justly. [reasoning right from wrong Principles] that no Man, tho’ born within the Confines of some certain State, and all along protected by it, ought to be deemed a Member thereof, ’till he himself hath made an actual Choice; that is, ’till he has voluntarily entered into a solemn Contract with that, or with some other State, by an express, positive, and personal Engagement.—For ’till that is done, he is in fact an independent, unconnected Being, the Subject of no State whatever.
Now, to combat these two erroneous Opinions, which would in Practice be attended with the most fatal Consequences, I might observe, first of all, that all the Notices, which we have from profane History relative to Government, are about the Improvements, or Alterations of those Societies, which were already formed, and not about the original, or impulsive Cause, which first gave them an Existence, and brought them into Being. Minos, Solon, Lycurgus, Numa, and many others, who were justly honoured with the Title of Legislators, were only so in this secondary Sense of the Word: That is, they either improved, or reformed, or new modelled some of those Societies, which already existed in a rude, and imperfect State. But they did not erect new ones among a Set of human Creatures, who were before totally independent of each other;—that is, who were utter Strangers to any Kind of Subordination whatsoever. This is a weighty Matter, and deserves to be well considered. But as it would carry us too far from the Points now immediately before us, if pursued to its full Extent, I shall wave it for the present;—and content myself with producing only four Authorities in Opposition to the Lockian System:—But these four are such, as are worth Thousands of others, the Lockians themselves being Judges, were their Testimonies to be weighed, and not numbered. The four I mean are no less than Aristotle, Cicero, Grotius, and Hooker;—the three first of whom were born, and educated under Republican Governments; and the fourth is the very Person to whom Mr. Locke and his Followers always appeal in disputed Cases.
This first of Men in the Pagan World delivers himself in the second Chapter of his first Book of Politics to the following Effect,—That Man is by Nature a political Animal, much more so than Bees, or any other Animals of the gregarious Tribes;—because he is endowed with the Use both of Speech and Reason:—Of Speech, to make known his Wants, his Feelings, and Intentions;—and of Reason to judge, what is right, and what is wrong, and to discern Good from Evil. Therefore as Nature makes nothing in vain, any Man, who, through Choice, and not from Necessity, is not a Member of some Civil Society, must be supposed to be either much better, or much worse than the common Lot of Human Nature. Consequently, if any Being in a human Shape either has no Propensity for the politico-social Life, or has such a Sufficiency of all Things within himself, as not to want it, that Being is either a God, or a Beast of Prey. For Nature hath implanted in all Men a strong Instinct [Ormé] for this Kind of social Life.
Such is the Substance of Aristotle’s Argument, in a free Translation, when the different Parts of it are brought together, and cleared from some metaphysical Niceties, foreign to the present Subject. On which I must beg the Reader’s Indulgence to make a few Remarks.
In the first Place, it is evident, that this first of Philosophers [as Mr. Hooker, by using a Greek Term (Arch Philosopher) justly calls him] was not here delivering an Opinion, which he thought would ever have been called in Question, or so much as doubted of. He took it for granted, that no Man would be so very absurd as to suppose, that Mankind had not a natural Instinct, Impulse, or Inclination towards forming political Unions or Connections of some Sort or other. Had he suspected that this Point would ever have been controverted, he would certainly have done more ample Justice to his Subject.
For 2dly. Whereas he barely affirms, that Men are Animals much more political in their Nature than Bees, or any of the gregarious Tribes, he might have corroborated his Assertions with such Reasons, as would have been unanswerable. Meer gregarious Animals are not political simply on that Account;—as I have shewn before in the Instances of Sheep, Horses, Cattle, &c. [See Pages 131 and 132.] But gregarious Animals then become political, when they divide their common Labour into separate Shares or Portions, each Individual having a distinct Occupation, and acting within his own Sphere. For such a Police evidently insers a certain Subordination and Government, wherein some are to act in Obedience or Subserviency to others:—Or, to speak still plainer, some are to direct, and others to be directed. Hence it follows, that not only Swarms of Bees, whom Aristotle mentions, but also Ants and Beavers, and every other Tribe of Animals in like Circumstances [if any such there are] must have a Plan or Regulation, or a fixt Mode for the Distribution of Labour;—that is, they must have a general Law, and Constitution of Government settled amongst them.
Now, if this be the Case among the inferior Animals, Aristotle might have observed with great Justice, that the Reasons or Motives for implanting such Instincts in human Animals, as would cause them, not only occasionally to herd together, but to form lasting Connections, are so much the stronger in Proportion to the greater Exigencies of their Condition: For even the natural Wants of Men, Food, Raiment, and Dwelling, are a thousand Times more numerous, and diversified than the natural Wants of either of the Tribes of Animals above-mentioned:—And if to these we should add the artificial, which comprehend all the Elegancies, Comforts, and Conveniences of Life,—(not to mention the infinite Number of fantastic, and imaginary Wants) it must appear next to a Demonstration, that Mankind were formed with much stronger Propensities for Society, than any Tribe of Animals whatever. And Aristotle’s favourite Maxim, that Nature doth nothing in vain, thus returns with more than redoubled Force.
Nay, 3dly. Whereas Aristotle observes, that Mankind are endowed with Language, and Reason,—(Gifts, which he apprehends are appropriated to the human Species, in order to enable them to form political Associations) he might have added another Circumstance, which is still more peculiar to the Human Race:—The Circumstance I mean is the Power of captivating the Passions by Means of public Declamations, or solemn Harangues; for this is a Thing quite distinct from the mere Use of Speech, or of Reason. And it is observable, That when those Geniusses, whom Nature has formed to be great Orators, harangue the lissening Crowds, they are frequently able to enchant their Audience in such a Manner, as to cause them to move and act, to resolve, or to rescind former Resolutions, just as they would have them. Marvellous Talents these! And happily for Mankind, they are not common: For, as in a free State, such as ours, they are more frequently employed in doing Mischief, than in doing Good, we do not so often experience their salutary Effects, as we do their fatal Consequences.—But however that may be, these Talents are so much the Prerogative of Man, that we are not able to discover the least Traces of them either in Herds of Cattle, or Flocks of Sheep, or in any other Animals whatever.
Upon the whole, though Aristotle gave his Opinion after a transient or cursory Manner, and without any previous Study to investigate the Nature of the Subject;—yet it is such an Opinion, as leaves not the least Doubt in any Man’s Mind, how fully he was persuaded, that Mankind were formed by Nature to be political Animals, and that civil Government, of some Form or other, was the State or Condition which was most natural to Man. The next great Man is
This eminent Statesman and Philosopher was much in the same Situation with his Predecessor. For he too was a total Stranger to the Paradoxes of modern Days respecting Government. Therefore his Observations can be but short, being, as it were, occasionally uttered. In his First Book of Offices, §. 44, he had been comparing different Duties or Offices together; and he gave the Preference, very justly, to that Duty, or to that Imployment of a Man’s Time, which was dedicated to the Service of his Country,—and not to mere scientific Speculations, or abstract Theories. He placed the Contrast between Communitas, or the Duty owing to the Community, and Cognitio, or the Manner of entertaining one’s self in private with literary Amusements [Which perhaps was intended as a gentle Reproof to his Friend Atticus.] And then observes, “* That as Bees do not form themselves into Communities for the Sake of making their Honey-Combs; but being naturally united into Communities, called Swarms, they therefore set about this Work: So Men, who are formed with much stronger Instincts [than Bees] for a political Life, use, that is, ought to use, their Powers both of Action, and of Thought [for the public Good.”]
The Construction of the latter Part of this Sentence seems to be a good deal embarrassed; probably because a Word or two are missing. But be that as it may, there is no Manner of Obscurity in the Words, sic homines, ac multo etiam magis Naturâ congregati. For they are as clear as the Day: And it was for their Sakes alone, that the Passage was quoted.
Again, in his Treatise concerning the Boundaries between Good and Evil, towards the Close of the third Book, where he is summing up the principal Dogmata of the Stoics concerning Morals, Politics, Religion, &c. &c. which he highly (and in general very justly) extolls, he expresses himself after this Manner, * “As we also use our Limbs [in Childhood] before we have been able to learn for what Use, or with what Intent they were given us; so we are mutually connected, or joined together by Nature herself into a Civil Community, or Body Politic.”
Once more, In his First Book concerning Laws, §. 9, where he is enumerating the superior Gifts and Advantages, which Nature or Providence has bestowed on Man, he mentions, among others, the Power of Speech, as particularly serviceable in the Formation, and Conservation of human Society. [Orationis vis, quæ conciliatrix est humanæ maxime societatis.]
Indeed in his Oration for P. Sextius he has a Passage, which seems (and perhaps only seems) to contradict these two Quotations. The Passage is to the following Purport:—
*Which of you, my Lords Judges, needs be told, that, according to the natural Progression of Things, there was a Period, not characterised by an Obedience either to the Law of Nature, or to Civil Jurisdiction, when Men ran wild in the Woods, subsisting by Rapine and Plunder, and having nothing which they could call their own, but what the strongest could either snatch from, or keep from the weakest? Therefore those who excelled in Wisdom and Virtue, having observed a certain Docility, and innate Disposition in human Nature, gathered these wandering Savages together, and brought them out of their former Ferocity, to have a Regard for Justice, and the Duties of a social Life. Hence a Concern for the public Good may date its Origin; hence those little Congregations, which afterwards grew up into civil Communities, or Bodies politic; and hence also Men were not afraid to build their Huts nearer to each other, which afterwards became Towns and Cities, and were surrounded with Walls, under the Sanction both of divine, and human Law.
Now, though it must be acknowledged, that this Passage seems to clash with the three preceding, yet the following Considerations may perhaps reconcile the seeming Contradiction.
First then, it may be observed, that no great Stress ought to be laid on what is here advanced; because it is the Orator, and not the Philosopher, the meer Pleader at the Bar, and not the moral Instructor, or faithful Historian, who is here speaking. And Cicero’s avowed Principles, as an Academic, (indeed perhaps they are the Principles of all Pleaders, and in all Courts whatever) led him to study Plausibilities, [Verisimilia] more than Truths, in order to make the best of his Client’s Cause.
2dly. The latter Part of this Paragraph weakens the Authority of the former. For if there ever was such a Time as above described, when every Savage was independent of, or unconnected with, the rest, subsisting like a Beast of Prey on Rapine and Plunder; it is inconceivable, how so much Docility and good Disposition as Cicero mentions, should be discoverable in an Animal so very unsocial, fierce, and cruel;—especially, if the pretended Discoverer was himself (according to the Hypothesis) no other than a Brother-Savage of the very same Sort.—The Truth therefore seems to have been this: On the Dispersion of Mankind, which, according to the Scripture-Account, came to pass after the Attempt to build the Tower of Babel, it is very probable, that the Multitude were scattered abroad far and wide, by breaking themselves into very small Societies, if not single Families. For not only the sacred Historian, who is likewise the most antient of Writers, favours this Conjecture, but also the local Traditions of almost every Country seem to corroborate it. These little Nests of Men, or single Families, afterwards so encreased and multiplied, as to become large Clans, Tribes, or Hordes; each of whom had an internal Form of Government of some Sort or other, probably of the patriarchal Kind, distinct from the rest, and peculiar to itself:—A Government, which answered all the general Ends of being a Terror to evil Doers, and for the Praise of them that did well. And if ever there was such a Time, as the Golden Age, this was the Period for it,—I mean, as far as their own internal Modes of Living were concerned. Horace is also of the same Opinion;
But nevertheless, as the People of these several Clans, Tribes, or Hordes, raised also the Necessaries of Life within their own Districts, and had no Intercourse or Communication with other Countries, unless by Accident, or in order to carry on some bad Design,—they very soon mutually conceived both a Contempt for, a Jealousy of, and an Aversion to each other (The same is but too prevalent among the common People of most Countries to this very Hour) So that Stranger and Enemy became convertible Terms. It was therefore deemed lawful, and not only lawful but honourable for one People to make Incursions into the Territories of their Neighbours, and to commit those Violences and Depredations, which Cicero mentions;—only with this Difference, that the Pillages, which he complains of, as the Outrages of Individuals against Individuals, were (at least for the most Part) the Hostilities of one Tribe against another. For, like the Pirates or Banditti, or the roving Arabs both of antient and of modern Times, they observed the Rules of Justice, Equity, and Humanity among themselves at the same Time that they robbed, and plundered, and perhaps massacred those unhappy Strangers, who became the Victims of their Power.
Now this State of the Case reconciles Cicero with himself; and, what is still better, with the Truth of History, and with Matter of Fact. Therefore the Orator’s Observation seems to be a very just one, that such Men as excelled in Wisdom and Sagacity, and were eminent also for Goodness of Heart, endeavoured to reconcile these jarring Tribes, by explaining to them the Folly and Absurdity of their Conduct, and by exposing the horrid Nature of their Crimes, in thus violating that natural Sense of Justice, and those very Instincts of Humanity, which they themselves mutually recognized, and revered in each other. And one would hope, for the Honour of our common Humanity, that such good Men, and real Patriots, did frequently so far succeed, as to persuade many of the Heads and Leaders of these hostile Bands to lay aside their ill-grounded Antipathies, to look on each other as Friends and Brothers, and to acknowledge the Ties of Nature in a wider Extent. Hence therefore it was possible, indeed it was very probable, that the original narrow Circles of Civil Polity became so widened and extended, as to comprehend many lesser ones within their Bounds. For by these Means, every Tribe, Clan, or Hord, might so far join, or coalcsce with others, as to have one common Interest, one common Head, or Government, in the greater Concerns of State, and yet retain its own Peculiarities, its own Customs, and Traditions in other lesser Matters. Now this will account (which perhaps no other System can do) for the vast Variety of different Laws and Customs that prevail in different Parts of the same Common-wealth, the same Kingdom, or Empire throughout the World.
Upon the whole, take Cicero in what Light you please, and it must follow from his Principles, than an Inclination for Government is natural to Men. For in the three Instances, where he is instructing us in the true Principles of Morality and Philosophy, he directly asserts it: And in the fourth, where, in the Exuberance of his Eloquence, he deviates a little from the right Path, he affords us such a Clue, as might easily serve to bring him back, and to make the latter Part of his Assertion harmonise with the former. So much as to the first Head, in Opposition to the Lockians.—We come now to the second grand Point, Whether Children are the natural-born Subjects of that State, to which their Parents were subject at the Time of their Birth? Or whether they are such perfectly independent, unconnected Beings, as to belong to no State whatever, ’till their own free and unconstrained Choice hath fixt their political Relation? This is a Point, which cannot admit of a long Discussion.—For not only Aristotle and Cicero, but the Antients to a Man, Greeks and Romans, were so far from favouring the Lockian Notion, that they carried the contrary Doctrine of an implicit Veneration for the Institutes, Rites, and Customs of their Ancestors to very great Excesses. They bred up their Children from their Infancy, with such enthusiastic Conceits concerning the Goodness, the Superiority, and even Sacredness of what their Fore-fathers had ordained, and established, both in civil and religious Concerns, that it was deemed a Kind of Impiety or Sacrilege, to set up any thing else in Opposition to them. Happy therefore was that Youth, who should expose his Life in their Defence: And Dulce et decorum est pro patriâ mori, or Expressions of the same Import, whether in Greek or Latin, were Maxims to be inculcated on all Occasions. Hence that contracted Love for their own Country, its Customs, and Constitutions, which caused them not only to despise, but even to detest almost all others; and consequently to persecute them when in their Power.—And hence also, that false and spurious Patriotism, which in many Instances, blotted out the very Ideas of Justice and Humanity, towards the rest of the Human Species. But as this is a Subject of a most important Nature, opening the Way to many others, both in religious, as well as civil Concerns, and highly deserving a more thorough Discussion, than can here be given it, I must refer it to some others, who have more Leisure, and greater Abilities, than I can pretend to, to do Justice to it.
Pass we on therefore at present to another great Authority, namely
This learned Writer, and experienced Statesman is my third Republican Voucher. In the Prolegomena, to his celebrated Work, De Jure Belli ac Pacis [A Work which cannot be too much admired, notwithstanding a sew Slips and Imperfections.] He tells us, that he was entering upon an important Task, wherein he was to explain and vindicate the Rights of War and Peace;—Rights, which derive their Obligation [not from actual Compact, but] partly from the Voice of Nature,—partly from the Commands of God.—partly from the Nature of moral Duties,—and partly from the tacit or implied Consent of Mankind: He then delivers himself after the following Manner:—“Not a few there are who doubt, whether any such Law of Nature [prior to some Compact. Regulation, or Agreement] can possibly exist, especially in Time of War; and others, who positively deny the Existence of it:” Some of these he particularly mentions, and then refers us to many others, as acting according to the same mistaken Principles.
* “Seeing therefore, says he, it would be in vaintocompose a Treatise about Natural Right, or the Law of Nature, if no such Right, or Law exists, it will be incumbent on us in the first Place, and in order to protect and defend the ensuing Work, briesly to consute this most pernicious Error. And that we may not contend with a Multitude of anonymous Adversaries, let us assign some Person, or other, as the Advocate for, or the Patron of such an Opinion. And who so proper, as Carneades, the Academic, or rather the Sceptic? for he carried the Maxims of his disputatious Sect so far, as to maintain that the Powers of Eloquence ought to be employed as much in the Defence of Falshood, as of Truth. Therefore when he undertook to oppose the general Idea of Justice, especially of that Branch of of it now before us, he found no Argument more plausible than the following: That Men had from Time to Time made various Laws relating to Morals, meerly from a Principle of Self-Interest, or Convenience;—and had changed such Laws as often as these Circumstances had varied. Consequently there was no such Thing as an invariable Rule, or Standard for Morals, because Men, like all other Animals, are guided by Nature to gratify their own Appetites:—If so, there can be no Justice in opposing Nature;—or if there be, it must be the Height of Folly, to promote the Happiness of another, at the Expence of our own.
“But this philosophic Delusion is by no Means to be admitted. For though Man is indeed an Animal as well as others:—Yet he is an Animal of a superior Class in the Scale of Being;—and placed at a much greater Distance from other Tribes of Animals, than they are from each other. In Proof of this, many Actions or Qualities might be mentioned, as the distinguishing Prerogatives of the Human Race: Among others, that Appetite for Society, or for a political State, which is so peculiarly human. For this Inclination is of a particular Sort [not like the Instincts of other Animals, barely to herd or flock together, but] to live in a regular and peaceable Community with those of his own Species, according to the Nature of a rational Creature, &c. &c.”
The first Head of this Enquiry being thus established beyond the Possibility of Doubt, namely, that, according to the Testimony of Grotius, Mankind are naturally inclined [not to live unconnected with, or independent of each other, but] to join in a social State, and to partake of the Blessings of a Body Politic:—Let us now proceed to the second Point of Inquiry, Whether it was his Opinion, that Men are under any Obligation to obey those civil Laws, to which they never gave, and in most Cases never could have given, their personal Consent, or positive Approbation?—Now this is in fact to ask the Question, Whether Grotius wrote such a Book, or not?—For every Page, and every Line of his Treatise, concerning the Rights of War and Peace, tend either mediately, or immediately to establish this momentous Truth. And he demonstrates in various Parts of his Book, that private Subjects, young as well as old, are bound in Duty to pay a prompt and willing Obedience to all the Laws of that State, under which they live, and by which they are protected, except in those unhappy Cases (if any such should happen) where the Laws of the State are manifestly and directly repugnant to the Laws of Nature, and of God.
Thus therefore it appears, that the Authority of the three most eminent Writers, that perhaps ever lived, all born and bred in Republics, Aristotle, Cicero, and Grotius;—[of whom the Poet who wrote the Epitaph upon upon Milton, might likewise have justly said,
Thus, I say, it appears, that their Authority is as opposite to the Lockian System of Government, as the Sentiments of any Writer whatsoever.
It remains now, that we attend to what Mr. Hooker has said on the same Subjects. This excellent Man has obtained the Epithet of judicious by a Kind of universal Consent;—a Consent, by the by, tacitly given, never voted, or ballotted for in any Respect whatever. But waving that Point, he certainly deserved those Honours in every Sense, which the grateful Public have bestowed upon him. For his superior Judgment appeared not only in what he professedly treated of and largely expatiated upon, but also in what he more briefly hinted at, and did not so amply express: Would to God, that one of his Cautions contained in his second Book, had been better attended to!—That Caution, I mean, which was levelled at a very weak Notion entertained by too many Protestants at the Beginning of the Reformation, concerning the Use of the Bible. For they conceived it to be a Book, which was intended to furnish them with every Plan, every System, every Mode, and Species of Reformation, which their distempered Fancies wished to introduce both into Church and State. Full of this absurd and dangerous Persuasion, they found, or thought they found, all their own crude and visionary Reveries authorized by the Word of God. Consequently having Divine Right on their Side, what could they do less than contend for it even unto Death, by appealing to the God of Battle for the Justice of their Cause? They did appeal; and in the Contest they deluged their Country with Seas of Blood, by fighting and fighting so long, ’till at last they reared up a bloody Tyrant, to serve them in the same Manner as they had served others.—It is well, if the modern Doctrine of unalienable Rights, which seems to be a Kind of a Successor to the former, be not attended with the like fatal Consequences.
But to return,—
The first Lockian Error mentioned at the Beginning of this Chapter, is, that Mankind are driven into Society, as having no natural Inclination of their own to become the Members of a civil State. Now, what says the judicious Hooker concerning the natural Disposition of Mankind in this Respect? He says, [Book I. Sect. 10, Page 17,] that they have a natural Disposition; and a strong one too; so very strong, as to become one of the great Foundations on which Civil Society was originally built, and is now supported. “Two Foundations there are which bear up public Societies; the one a natural Inclination, whereby all Men desire sociable Life and Fellowship; the other an Order expressly, or secretly agreed upon, touching the Manner of their Union in living together.”
Can any Words express my own Sentiments more clearly and emphatically than those? Or can any Testimony more strongly corroborate the whole System of my Book? I own, when I first entered upon this Work, relying on the Testimony of Mr. Locke, and others, I took for granted that Mr. Hooker was not favourable to my Opinion: This I signified in a short Note at the Bottom of the Page of that printed Specimen, which I dispersed among my Friends—Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus. But, having found Cause to distrust the Truth of certain Assertions, though uttered with amazing Confidence, I began to suspect, that too much Art and Colouring had been used in the present Case; and I was confirmed in the Suspicion, by the Consideration, that as the whole Scope and Tenor of Mr Hooker’s Writings were to consure the Republican Rant, and to chastise the factious Behaviour of Cartwright and Travers, it was not credible that such a Man as he, one of the best Reasoners in the World, should be so far overseen as to favour the very Schemes he was confuting and condemning. For these Reasons I determined for the future to see with my own Eyes, and to trust no longer to such Guides; and my earnest Request to every Reader is to do the same by me.
2dly. Another grand Principle of the Lockian System, and a necessary Consequence of the former, is—That no Man ought to be reputed the Subject of any State (tho’ born and protected by it) ’till he has acknowledged his Subjection by some particular, positive, and express Engagement. Now this comes to the same Thing with that other Lockian Declaration,—That Laws cannot bind us without our own Consent, either given in Person, or by some Representative, or Proxy, chosen by us for that Purpose.
In Contradiction to these Positions, hear Mr. Hooker. He has already said in the former Quotation, that one of the Foundations which bear up public Societies, is an Order [or Rule, a Plan, or Constitution] either expressly, or secretly agreed upon, touching the Manner of Man’s Union in living together. Now here I ask, What is this express Agreement but the same with my actual Contract? And what is Mr. Hooker’ssecret Agreement but my Quasi-Contract in other Words? Find out a Difference if you can.—But further: In the same 10th Section (Page 19 of Fol. Edit. 1723) is this remarkable Paragraph;
“Approbation not only they give, who personally declare their Assent, by Voice, Sign, or Act, but also when others do it in their Names by Right, originally at least, derived from them as in Parliaments, Councils, and the like Assemblies, although we be not personally ourselves present, notwithstanding our Assent is [present] by Reason of other Agents there in our Behalf. And what we do by others no Reason [can be assigned] but that it should stand as our Deed no less effectually to bind us than if ourselves had done it in Person. ☞ In many Things Assent is given, they that give it not imagining they do so, because the Manner of their assenting is not apparent. As for Example, when an absolute Monarch commandeth his Subjects that which seemeth good in his own Discretion, hath not his Edict the Force of a Law, whether they approve, or dislike it? Again, that which hath been received long since, and is by Custom now established, we keep as a Law, which we may not transgress; yet what Consent was ever thereunto sought, or required at our Hands? Of this Point therefore we are to note, that sithence [seeing] Men naturally have no full and perfect Power to command whole political Multitudes of Men; therefore utterly [altogether] without our Consent, [expressed or implied] we could in such Sort be at no Man’s Commandment living. And to be commanded we do consent [that is, we consent to be commanded] when that Society whereof we are Part, hath at any Time before consented, without revoking the same after by the like universal Agreement. Wherefore as any Man’s Deed past is good as long as he himself continueth it; ☞ so the Act of a public Society of Men done 500 Years since, standeth theirs who presently are [who are at present] of the same Society, because Corporations are immortal: We were then alive in our Predecessors, and they their Successors do live still. Laws therefore human of what Kind soever are available by Consent, [either expressed or implied.”]
I have ventured to add a few Words within Crotchets [NA] by Way of Explanation. Let the Reader judge whether the Sense doth not require some of these Additions, in order to acommodate the Author’s Stile to modern Ears;—and whether the least Injury has been done to his true Sense and Meaning in any of the rest. In short, this whole Paragraph is so full an Illustration of, and doth so effectually corroborate, all that I have said concerning the Nature of an actual Contract and of a Quasi Contract, and of the peculiar Uses and Advantages attending each of them,—That I am in no Pain on that Account.—Nay, I repeat it again, let the keenest of my Adversaries discover, if he can, wherein Mr. Hooker’s Opinion, in these Respects, differs from mine.
But further, I had said throughout my Work, That Civil Government was so natural to Man, that hardly an Instance could be given of a People, Hord, Tribe, or Clan living together for any Length of Time, without a Civil Institution of some Sort or other. Mr. Locke and his Followers do not controvert this Assertion, as far as relates to all the Regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa: At least, I never found that they did. But they say, that there are a few Exceptions to this general Rule among some of the Savages in the more interior Parts of America: Savages who live, especially in Times of Peace, without any Degree of Civil Rule, or Power, or Subordination. Whether this be the Case or not, is very immaterial to determine; because I have assigned Reasons at large from Page 181, to Page 200 of the present Treatise, why such Exceptions (if indeed any such there be) are no Prejudice to the general Rule. But as drowning Persons will catch at a Straw, so it has happened with our Disputants in the present Case. Mr. Hooker, they tell us, befriends their Cause; and helps them in Time of Need. For he says in the same Section of the 1st Book,—“That there is no Impossibility in Nature, considered in itself, but that Man might have lived without any public Regimen.”—Therefore they infer, that what is not naturally impossible is perhaps probable:—And what is perhaps probable, is very probable:—And what is very probable, must be a Matter of Fact. Most curious Reasoning this! And worthy of such a Cause!
But the Misfortune is, that this very Matter of Fact, on which so much is built, is not only controverted, but absolutely denied. For Lafitau, who says he was five Years a Missionary among the Savages of North America, and had had a personal Acquaintance with many, and even a Friendship with some of them, positively denies the Charge, and is very angry with those, who surmise any thing so much to the Disadvantage of the native Indians. His Words are these:—“On n’a pas fait une moindre Injustice aux Sauvages de l’Amerique, en les faisant passer pour des Barbares sans Loix et sans Police, qu’en disant, qu’ils n’avoient aucun Sentiment de Religion, et qu’on n’en trouvoit chez eux aucun Vestige,” &c.—See the whole Chapter Du Gouvernment Politique Tom I. p. 456.
Now, whether Father Lafitau is right, or wrong in these Assertions, is of no Consequence to the present Argument. If he is right, then the whole Lockian Objection to the Universality of Civil Government falls at once to the Ground. But if he is wrong, surely one single Exception to the Practice of all the Nations, and in all the Ages of the World, (and for which very probable Reasons have been assigned) ought to be considered in no other Light, than as some monstrous Production; which in every other Case is never esteemed to be an Objection of Weight against the regular, standing, permanent Course of Nature. Either Way therefore the Conclusion is much the same: And Mr. Professor Dunbar, Mr. Cartwright, &c. &c. &c. may take their Choice.
In the mean Time it is of much more Importance, to the Friends of Truth, to find that the judicious Hooker has been rescued out of the Hands of our modern Republicans, and restored to his own proper Province, the Defence both of Church and State. He certainly was no Favourer of the debasing Doctrine of absolute and unlimitted passive Obedience, and Non-resistance. And if that is sufficient to denominate a Man, a Lockian, I too must humbly request to be enrolled among their Number. For I maintain the Right of resisting in certain Cases of extreme Necessity, as warmly as any modern Patriot whatever. But be it ever remembered, that when Mr. Hooker avoided one Extreme, he did not run into the other. On the contrary, he rightly distinguished between Liberty and Licentiousness, keeping at an equal Distance from the Machinations of factious Demagogues, and the servile Submission of cringing Slaves. In short, though the Terms Whigg and Tory were not then in Use, yet his Principles and Writings were of such a Nature, that he might have been characterised (as soon as the Meaning of those Terms was known) as a true Friend to a limitted Monarchy, and a Constitutional, (though not a Republican) Whigg.
[* ]Ut apum examina non fingendorum favorum causâ congregantur, sed, cum congregabilia naturâ sint, singunt, savos; sic homines, ac multo etiam magis naturâ congregati, adhibent agendi, cogitandique solertiam.
[* ]Quemadmodum etiam membris utimur, priusquam didimus cujus ca utilitatis causâ habeamus; sic inter nos naturâ ad civilem communitatem conjuncti, et consociati sumus.
[* ]Quis vestrûm, judices, ignorat, ita naturam rerum tulisse, ut quodam tempore homines nondum neque naturali, neque civili jure descripto, fusi per agros, ac dispersi vagarentur, tantumque haberent, quantum manu, ac viribus per cædem ac vulnera aut eripere, aut retinere potuissent? qui igitur primi virtute et consilio præstanti extiterunt, ii perspecto genere humano docilitatis, atque ingenii dissipatos unum in locum congregarunt, eosque ex feritate illa ad justitiam, atque mansuetudinem transduxerunt. Tum res ad communem utilitatem, quas publicas appellamus, tum conventicula hominum, quæ postea civitates nominatæ sunt, tum domicilia conjuncta, quas urbes dicimus, invento divino et humano jure mœnibus sepserunt.
[* ]Cum vero frustra de Jure suscipiatur disputatio; si ipsum jus nullum, et ad commendandum, et ad præmuniendum opus nostrum pertinebit, hunc gravissimum errorem breviter refelli. Cæterum ne cum turba nobis res sit, demus ei advocatum. Et quem potius quam Carneadem, qui ad id pervenerat, quod academiæ suæ summum erat, ut pro falso, non minus quam pro vero vires eloquentiæ possit intendere? Is ergo cum suscipisset justitiæ, hujus precipuæ de qua nunc agimus oppugnationem, nullum invenit argumentum validius isto: Jura sibi homines utilitate sanxisse varia pro moribus, et apud cosdem pro temporibus sæpe mutata: Jus autem naturale esse nullum: Omnes enim et homines, et alios animantes ad utilitates suas natura ducente ferri: Proinde aut nullam esse justitiam, aut si aliqua, summam esse stultitiam, quoniam sibi noceat alienis commodis consulens.