Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE PREFACE To the Reader. - Patriarcha non monarcha. The Patriarch unmonarch'd
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THE PREFACE To the Reader. - James Tyrrell, Patriarcha non monarcha. The Patriarch unmonarch’d 
Patriarcha non monarcha. The Patriarch unmonarch’d: Being Observations on a late treatise and divers other miscellanies, published under the name of Sir Robert Filmer Baronet. In which the falseness of those opinions that would make monarchy Jure Divino are laid open: and the true Principles of Government and Property (especially in our Kingdom) asserted. By a Lover of Truth and of his Country (London: Richard Janeway, 1681).
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THE PREFACE To the Reader.
IT may not be unknown to those that have been conversant in Books and Pamphlets published during the late unhappy times, that all the Treatises (except the Patriarcha) which are the subject of the ensuing Observations, were published at first in single Tracts without Name, though they have since come out under that of Sir Robert Filmer Baronet, deceased: All which, though I hope they might be written with an honest designe, and in defence of Kingly Government, and of his then Majesties lawful and just Rights, then trampled upon by a domineering Faction, and may contain some things useful enough to confute divers levelling Notions then too much in fashion; yet whilst this Gentleman (as violent men commonly do) ran into the other extream, and must needs assert an Absolute Monarchy Jure Divino, so that no other Government can be lawfully exercised, nor the least Limitations set to it, without Sacriledge, and diminution of that Soveraignty which is derived from no less an Original than God himself; and by denying that Princes can ever be obliged by any Fundamental, or after-Contracts, or Concessions, or by any Coronation-Oaths, to abstain from the Lives, Liberties, or Properties of their Subjects, farther than as they themselves shall think it convenient; so that there can be no such thing in nature as a Tyrant: I leave it to the judgment of the impartial Reader, whether what this Author might designeas Physick, hath not served rather to inflame the Distemper; and whether he hath not by such rash and ill-grounded Assertions given too much advantage to the Enemies of Kingship to retort, That since all Government was ordained by God for the good of Mankind, that could never be of divine institution which would render all things to be so much the Princes Right, that the Subjects can claim a Property in nothing which he shall please to take from them; and that however they use them, yet they still exercise but their own Royal Rights and Prerogatives. So that by thus taking away all distinctions between Kings and Tyrants, and between Slaves and Subjects, I fear that (like Rehoboam’s harsh Answer to his Peoples Complaints) he hath not given many of his Readers a prejudice against that Government, which temper’d by known Laws, I take to be the best in the World.
For as Superstition can never serve to advance the true Worship of God, but by creating false Notions of the divine nature in mens minds, or render it not as it ought to be, the Object of their Love and Reverence, but servile Fear; so I suppose this asserting of such an unlimited Power in all Monarchs, and such an entire Subjection as this Author exacts from Subjects, can produce nothing but a Slavish Dread, without that Reverence, Esteem, and Affection for their Princes Person and Government which is so necessary for the quiet of Princes, and which they will have, whilst they believe he thinks himself obliged in Conscience and Honour to protect their Lives and Fortunes from Slavery and Oppression, according to just and known Laws: And that contrary Notions of this Supreme Power, are so far from setling mens minds in a sober and rational Obedience to Government, that they rather make them desperate and careless who is their Master, since let what change will come, they are sure to be no better than Slaves, as may be seen in all the Absolute Monarchies from France to China.
You may also consider whether most of the Argumentsthis Author makes use of for absolute Obedience to Usurpers, as representing the lawful Prince and Father of the People, might not serve for the establishing of Oliver and the Rump-Parliament, as well as a lawful Soveraign; since I am sure Milton makes use of the same places of Scripture for this purpose, which this Author and Salmasius do for another.
So that most moderate men, nay, the Author’s own Friends, may wish that either these Treatises had never been published, or at least have been left in private Studies and Book-sellers shops, amongst those heaps of Pamphlets condemned to dust and oblivion; since no man can imagine to what end this Patriarcha and other Tracts should come out at such a Time as they did, unless the Publishers thought that these Pieces, which printed apart could onely serve to ensnare the Understandings of some unthinking Country-Gentleman or Windblown-Theologue, could do no less, being twisted into one Volume, than bind the Consciences, and enslave the Reasons of all his unwary Readers.
Since therefore short Treatises of this kind, written in a gentile stile, and a formal appearance of Law and Reason, do more mischief among young men, and those that have not leisure to look much into the grounds of this Controversie, than tedious Volumes: And that this Notion of the Divine and Patriarchal Right of absolute Monarchy hath obtain’d so much among some modern Church-men, who cry it up as their Diana, and consequently hath so much infected our Universities, that are the Seminaries where the Youth of this Nation do commonly receive Principles both in Religion and Politicks, which if they have not a mind large enough to overcome the prejudices of Education, will mis-lead them as long as they live, and so make them desire at least to alter that Government, and give up those Priviledges which their Ancestors were so careful to preserve and deliver down to Posterity: I thought my self obliged (having perhaps more leisure, though less parts and learningthan a great many others) to do God, my King, and Country this service, as to lay open the weakness of the Reasons, and the dangerous consequences of this Author’s Principles. And though men of greater abilities may either dispise such weak Arguments as this Author makes use of, or else think it below them to spend so much time from their more useful and benesicial Employments, and that indeed his Reasons are not so knotty or intricate, that they require any more than honest sence and plain English to lay them open to the unprejudiced Reader; yet since the Poyson hath spread so far among the men of Letters, and in the Country among divers of the Gentry and Clergie, I thought it not amiss to do my weak endeavour to undeceive them: And in so doing, I desire to be thought no other than what I really am, a zealous assertor and defender of the Government establisht by Law; being so far from a Commonwealths-man, that for my own part I reverence Monarchy above all other forms of Government, and should be as willing to have it unmixt (it being that by which God Almighty governs the Universe) could humane nature be long trusted with it, and could we be as certain that his Vicegerents on Earth would as easily imitate those divine Attributes of wisdom and goodness, as they are prone to lay claim to his absolute Power. For as where those Perfections direct the Scepter, a Prince is to be loved and reverenced as the best Representative of the divine nature; so the exercise of an absolute unlimited Power, without these, can create no other Idea in mens minds, than what the barbarous Indians have of those perrible Gods they worship, to whom though they often make Oblations of what is dearest to them, yet it is upon no higher motive of Devotion, than that they thereby hope to cajole them not to do them any mischief, and would soon cast them off if they knew how to get rid of them. Therefore the fault is not in the Government as absolute, but in humane Nature, which is not often found sufficient, at least for above one or two Successions, to support and manage sounlimited a Power in one single person as it ought to be. And for this I desire the Reader to look over the Catalogue of all the Persian, Roman, and Turkish Monarchs that have ever succeeded in so many hundreds of years, and see how many good ones they will finde among them, and who truly considered the good and prosperity of that Empire which God had trusted them withal; the effects of which absolute Power being very well known to the Satyrist who lived under it, when he thus shrewdly observes:
— Nihil est quod credere de se NAJuven.
Non possit, cum laudatur Diis æqua potestas. Sat. 4. And how much Christian Religion hath altered the case, I desire all observing Readers to consult the late Histories of France and Muscovy, and other despotick Governments in Europe.
But since the Government of this Nation, as now establisht, I conceive the best in its kind, as most equal and beneficial both to the Prince and People; so that it is onely their faults who would go off from it, if they are not both Prince and People the happiest in the World: I hope I may, without sin, wish those accursed from God, who would remove our ancient Land-marks, and pull up all Limits between Prerogative and Law; and who (as it may justly be feared) would mis-lead Princes, enslave Mankind, and (if occasion were) sacrifice both to their own private Interests and Ambition. The like I may say of those who would destroy this ancient Government, and set up a Democracy amongst us; since I know not which is worst, to be known to death by Rats, or devoured by a Lion.
Nor is it that I am conscious to my self of having writ any thing in these ensuing sheets contrary to Law, destructive to Government, or that Obedience which all good Subjects own their Prince and his Laws, which hath made me forbear prefixing my Name to this Treatise; since perhaps some of those Motives which might perswade this Author to forbear it in the Treatises he published, might likewisehave the same effect upon me; especially since I doubt not but what I have here written will provoke those Craftsmen who esteem this Notion of our Authors (by which they expect to get both Riches and Honour) as the Diana that fell down from Jupiter: And therefore it is no wonder if they are angry with any man that should go about to pull off the specious Vails with which they have covered it, and shew it (as it really is) a wooden Idol of their own making; and if they knew the man, would, according to the usual course of those who abound more in Malice than Reason, quit the matter, and fall upon the person of their Antagonist, and endeavour to stir up both the great Vulgar and the small Vulgar (as Mr. Cowley ingeniously terms men of Title without Sense.)
Besides all which, joyn’d with the small opinion I have of my own performances, or that I think these Papers capable to transmit my Name to Posterity; yet if I were sure I could do it, however writing against an ingenious Gentleman long since deceased (and whose good Name upon all accounts I designe not to diminish) yet I should not think it generous to raise my self a Fame to the prejudice of another mans: And therefore my Request to you is, That you would believe I write these Observations for no other end than for the Truth, and in defence of the Government as it is establisht, and the just Rights and Liberties of all true English-men. All which, I pray God preserve as long as the Sun and Moon endure.
I am your Friend,