Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. III. - Patriarcha non monarcha. The Patriarch unmonarch'd
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CHAP. III. - 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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I Desire the Reader in the first place to take notice that I wholly pass by the first Treatise called, The Freeholders Grand Inquest, since I confess my self no Lawyer verst enough in the learning of Records, to answer him in his own way; I shall therefore leave him to those that have made it their business: And as for great part of it concerning the Antiquity and Power of the Commons in Parliament distinct from that of the Peers or Inheritable Nobility, I shall refer the Reader to Mr. Petyts learned Treatise of the Rights of the Commons of England, where all Objections against it are in my opinion fully answered.See likewiss a late Treatise, intituled Jani Anglorum facies nova, written by a young Gentleman of great Learning and Ingenuity. Therefore I shall begin with his Observations upon Aristotle’s Politicks; which I shall not dwell long upon, since I look upon that as one of the confusedest Pieces he hath written: Nor is it my business, as that great Author said once in the case of Plato, to defend Aristotle, but Truth. I shall likewise pass by the Preface, since it contains nothing considerable but his Hypothesis of Adam’s Monarchy; of which there needs no more to be said. And as for the places out of St. Paul and Peter, it not being my designe to write Divinity-Lectures, I shall refer the Reader to the learned Commentators; onely I shall take notice that his Assertion, That these Apostles wrote their Epistles when the name of the Authority and People of Rome was still in being, though the Emperours had usurped a Military Power: and yet though the Government was for a long time, in most things, in the Senate and People of Rome; yet for all this, neither of the two Apostlestake notice of any such Popular Government; and our Saviour himself divides all between God and Cæsar, and allows nothing to the People. All which, though but a Negative Argument against Popular Government, and so not conclusive, yet the foundation of it is not true: For though in Rome there remained a shadow of the Power in the Senate, yet it was onely in such cases as the then Emperours committed to their judgment (as the Kings of France do now make use of the Parliament of Paris) onely to ease themselves of divers troublesome Causes, or to take off the odium from themselves, as in the condemnation of Sejanus and divers other Conspirators against them; and yet they reserved the last Appeal to themselves in Cases both Civil and Capital, as may be observed in St. Paul’s appeal to Cæsar: and it is certain that the Roman Emperours in those times put men to death as often as they had a mind to it, by their own power made what Edicts they pleased, and appointed Proconsuls and Governours of Provinces as often as they saw it convenient, and had all Money coined with their Image or Superscription; and received and disposed of all Tributes & publick Taxes. And yet this Author doubts whether Tiberius, Claudius, or Nero were absolute Monarchs, when they had all the Prerogatives that a Monarch could have.
I come now to the Author’s Observations on Aristotle’s Politicks. It will be easte to prove that he makes use of him in all places that make for his Hypothesis, but takes no notice of those that make against it (a usual course among Writers, especially in Politicks or Divinity:) Nor does he onely do this, but likewise oftentimes perverts Aristotle’s sence to make it subservient to his own; of which I shall produce these instances. In his first Quotation, p. 3. he renders these words, πασ[Editor: illegible character]δ[Editor: illegible character]ὁιϰεία βασιλεύέ[Editor: illegible character]αι ὑπο τȣ͂ [Editor: illegible character]εσϐυτάτȣ. for the eldest in every house is King: Whereas βασιλεύ[Editor: illegible character] does not here signifie to be an absolute Monarch, but to govern as a Master of a Family or chief Ruler; a power falls short of that of an absolute Monarch: And so Lambinus hath rendered it in his Version. So likewise he hath misplaced these words, [Editor: illegible character] νόμον λε[Editor: illegible character]μεν βα[Editor: illegible character] λεὺ[Editor: illegible character] [Editor: illegible character]ϰ ἵϚτν ε[Editor: illegible character]δ ϰᾴθαπερ εἵπομεν πολιτείας, and makes them to come in as a reason of what he says before concerning a perfect Monarchy; whereas this sentence precedes the former, and there are three or four sentences between them: and therefore it cannot serve for a Consequent, where it is really an Antecedent. Nor is this sentence truely rendered by the Author, For a King according to Law, makes no kind of Gouernment; whereas he should have said, No distinct species of Government: for so are these last words to be rendered; ȣ̓ϰ ἵϚτν ε[Editor: illegible character]δ ϰᾴθαπερ εἵπομεν πολιτείας. or else he would make Aristotle contradict himself, if after he had spoke so much in other **Vid. 3 Pol. c. 14. Speaking of the ancient Heroical Kingdoms. places of a King according to Law, he should make it no kind of Government at all. So likewise p. 4. he misrenders these words: τ[Editor: illegible character] [Editor: illegible character] βελ[Editor: illegible character]Ϛη ἡ β[Editor: illegible character]λ[Editor: illegible character] χειϱίϚη [Editor: illegible character] τιμοϰϱᾳτία, That of all Governments Monarchy is the best, and a Popular State the worst: Whereas any one but meanly skill’d in Greek, knows that βα[Editor: illegible character]λ[Editor: illegible character] does not signifie Monarchy, but Kingship; and τιμοϰϱᾳτίς is not a Popular Estate, but an Aristocratical Commonwealth, and in the same Chapter put in opposition to ὁημοϰϱᾳτία. I shall not trouble my self to inquire whether Aristotle distinguishes well between an Aristocracy and an Oligarchy, or between an Oligarchy and a Democracy; or whether he do well to exclude Artificers from any Vote in the Government: These I shall leave to be defended by those that are greater admirers of him than my self; onely I will see that (if I can) he have fair play, and not that sence put upon him that he never meant. And therefore I shall turn over to p. 12. where he quotes another place out of Aristotle’s fourth Book, cap. 13. That the first Commonwealth among the Grecians, after Kingdoms, was made of those that waged War: From whence he would infer, That the Grecians, after they left off to be governed by Kings, fell to be governed by an Army: So that any Nation or Kingdom that is not charged with the keeping of a King, must perpetually be at the charge of paying and keeping of an Army. Which, though it happened true during the corrupt Oligarchy of the Rump, which was but an armed Faction contrary to the sense of this Nation; yet is not a necessary Consequent of all Commonwealths: Neither is it the Author’s sence in this place, as may appear by what he says before, and what follows these words, That he meant no such thing, a standing Army in constant Pay being a thing unknown among the Greek Commonwealths, where every Freeman served in person as a Horseman or on foot, according to his ability, as any that reads those Histories may easily observe; and a Guard of Strangers, or a constant standing Army, was ever held the Body of Tyranny (as it still continues in all absolute Monarchies from France to China.) But to return to Aristotle, in the place before cited by the Author, where speaking just before of the Government of the Maleans and other Greek Commonwealths, he says, That their Government consisted not onely of those Footmen that bore Arms, but of those that had served in the Army: And then follows these words quoted by the Author, [Editor: illegible character]ὶ ἡ πϱ[Editor: illegible character]τη [Editor: illegible character] πελιτεία. So the words [Editor: illegible character] πολεμȣ́ντων, are not well rendered by those that waged War, since they should rather be rendered by those that went to the Wars; this Force not being to defend them from their own Citizens, but Neighbours with whom they were still at Wars: for it appears that not onely those had a share in the Government who were actually in Arms, but those also that had served in the Army; for Aristotle says immediately after, That their Strength consisted chiefly at first of Horsemen, and that as the Commonwealths increased in the strength and number of them that were of ability or substance to bear Arms, the Administration of the Commonwealth was communicated to more. From whence it appears, that (as also at first among the Romans) they onely had a Voice in their Councils or Assemblies, who were able to maintain themselves in the Wars at their own charge: As amongst us none have a Vote to chuse Parliament-men, but Freeholders? or as in old times, none but those who served in the Wars in person, had Votes in the Withena Gemote, or Great Council: And yet this was no standing Army no more than those in Greece. So likewise neither are these words fairly rendered in the same page, αῦτη γδ ἄ πλήθει, (and that in a Popular State) The Soveraign Power is in the Sword, and those that are possessed of the Arms; but are thus to be rendered, In this kind of Government (i. e. Popular) those govern and have greatest Power, who bear Arms and fight for the rest (which is but reasonable.) I shall not trouble my self with the rest of those Contradictions and Faults he find with Aristotle, since I look upon this Treatise of Politicks as the most confused he hath writ; onely it seems this Author did but skim over Aristotle, when he so confidently asserts, That the natural Right of the People to found or elect their own kind of Government, is not once disputed by him. which whether he asserts or no, let these words judge, lib. 5. Pol. cap. 10. Ἐν δὲ ταῖς [Editor: illegible character]ώ βασιλείας πϑέναι δὶ τῆς φϑο[Editor: illegible character]ὰς αἰτίαν ωρὸς ταἴς εἰρημῴαῖς ϰαὶ τὸ γνέϑαι πολλ[Editor: illegible character] θύ[Editor: illegible character]ταφϱ[Editor: illegible character]νήτοις, ϰαὶ τὸ δύναμιν μὴ ϰεϰτημῴοις τυϱαννιϰἱὼ ἀλλὰ βασιλ[Editor: illegible character]ϰ[Editor: illegible character] πμ[Editor: illegible character]ὼ, ὀϐ[Editor: illegible character]ιζεὶν ῥα δία γδ εγίνετο τί ϰαταλίσις, μὴ βȣλομῴνων γδ ὀ[Editor: illegible character]ϑις ȣ̓[Editor: illegible character] ὁζὶ βασιλεὺς, [Editor: illegible character]λλ’ [Editor: illegible character] τυϱαννὸς η[Editor: illegible character] μὴ βȣλ[Editor: illegible character]μῴ[Editor: illegible character]ν. Which may be thus Englished: But of Kingdoms by discent, this maybe supposed the cause of their dissolution, besides those already mentioned, viz. when it happens to many of them, who not being endued with the power of a Tyrant, but onely with a Kingly Authority, become contemned whilst they will unjustly abuse their Subjects; for then there is an easie dissolution of the Government; for he is not a true King over those that like not his Government, but a Tyrant. P. 20, & 21. He finds fault with Aristotle for making the main distinction between right Forms of Government, and those that are imperfect or corrupt, to consist solely in this, That where the profit of the governed is respected, there is a right Government; but where the profit of the Governours is onely regarded, there is a corruption or transgression of Government. By this it is supposed by Aristotle that there may be a Government (which he calls a Tyranny) onely for the benefit of the Governour. That this Supposition is false, may be proved from Aristotle himself, to instance in the point of Tyranny. And therefore the Author endeavours to make him contradict himself thus: Tyranny (saith Aristotle, lib. 3. cap. 7.) is a Despotical or Masterly Monarchy. Now he confesseth, l. 3. c. 6. That in truth the Masterly Government is profitable both to the Servant by nature, and the Master by nature: And he yields a solid reason for it, viz. It is not possible, if the Servant be destroyed, the Mastership can be saved. Whence it may be inferred, That if the Masterly Government of Tyrants cannot be safe without the preservation of them whom they govern, it will follow, That a Tyrant cannot govern for his own profit onely. And thus his main definition of Tyranny fails, as being grounded on an impossible Supposition. By his own confession, no Example can be shewn of any such Government that ever was in the world, as Aristotle describes Tyranny to be: for under the worst of Kings, though many particular men have unjustly suffered, yet the Multitude, or People in general, have found benefit and profit by the Government.
If Aristotle were alive, I doubt he would say this Author plaid the Sophister with him, and did not onely misquote his words, but pervert his meaning. For first, Aristotle does not say in that place he quotes, (or in any other that I know of) That Tyranny is a Despotical or Masterly Monarchy: And therefore all he builds upon this Concession is false. It is true indeed, Aristotle says, That the Government of the Master is profitable both to the Servant by nature, and the Master by nature, (that is, upon his supposition that they are either so by nature.) But the Author omits what immediately follows, because it would vindicate Aristotle’s true meaning: for his next words are, Nevertheless it (i. e. the Masterly power) regards chiefly the profit of the Master, and of the Servant but by accident; but Oecumenical Government, or that of a Master over the Wife, Children, and Servants, is for their sakes whom he governs, and for the common good of them all. Hence it appears plainly, that Aristotle, when he says that a Tyranny is for the benefit of the Governour alone, he does not mean that the Subjects can have no benefit at all by it, since it is the Tyrants interest they should live and get Children, or else he would quickly want Subjects. Thus the Children of Israel, under the Tyranny of Pharaoh, had Meat, Drink, and Cloaths, and were not so low kept but they got Children apace; and yet we find God thought them opprest, and heard their cry. But Aristotle clears the point, when he distinguishes an absolute Masterly power over a Slave, from that of a Father of a Family; the Master in the former considering onely his own profit, and the preservation of the Slave but by accident; and so an ill-natured brutish Master takes care of the life of his Slave that works in the Mines or Sugar-works in the Indies, not out of any love to the person of the Slave, but because he cannot subsist without him. So a Grasier or Butcher takes care of his Cattel that they thrive and do well (as they call it) yet every body knows that they take this care onely for their Carcasses, which yield them so much ready money at the Market. So that indeed a Tyrant onely considers his own good in the welfare of his Subjects, and looks upon them as no better than brute Beasts, in which he hath an absolute property to shear or kill, as he thinks it most conduces to his own profit; without considering to what end he is set over them: As the Grand Seignior makes use of the bodies of his poor Christian-slaves (for Subjects I cannot call them) to fill up Ditches, and to blunt the edge of his Enemies Swords. But that all Kings are bound to preserve the Lands, Goods, and Lives of their Subjects, the Author himself confesses, (Patriarcha, p. 94.) Though not by any municipal Law, so much as the natural Law of a Father, which binds them to ratifie the Acts of their Forefathers and Predecessors in things necessary for the publick good of their Subjects. So then I hope there is some difference between the Government of a Father over his Children, and that of an absolute Lord over his Slaves, notwithstanding our Author’s Quotation out of Aristotle, whereby he would make them all one, viz. That a Kingdom will be a Fatherly Government: Which is true, if you take it in the best sence, for that affection that Kings like Fathers should have for their Subjects: And so it is plain Aristotle intended it, by the words immediately foregoing, thus;Anarchy of a limited Monarchy, p. 294.For the Society of a Father with his Sons, has an appearance of a Kingdom; not that it is so indeed. But to make an end with Aristotle, I will give you one place more which the Author does not quote fairly; where Aristotle reckoning up the several sorts of Monarchies, The last (says he) isthe Heroick, which flourished in Heroical times; to whom the People did ** The Greek word is ἐϰούσιαι, of their own accord.willingly obey, and they were paternal and † legal. And then reckoning up the occasions & reasons of their Obedience, he concludes thus: ἐγίγνοντε βασιλεῖς ἑϰόντων, And these were chosen Kings by the consent of those that were willing (Lambinus renders it, à voluntariis) and left the Kingdom so obtained to their Children.† [Editor: illegible character] νομὸν. Which confutes the Author’s fancy, that a King according to Law makes no kind of Government. Which whole sentence is omitted by the Author, because it makes against his Hypothesis, and proves that the most ancient Kingdoms began by Election of the People. So true is that excellent Simile of the elder Dr. Don’s, That Sentences of good Authors, whilst they remain in their proper place, like the hairs of an Horses tail, concenter in one root of strength and ornament; but pulled out one by one, serve only to make Snares. And indeed he hath made use of Aristotle as Lawyers do of their Adversaries Evidence; where it makes for them they allow it, and make use of it; but where it is against them, it is false, or signifies nothing.
I shall now cursorily look over the rest of this Discourse; where (p. 23.) though it be true what Aristotle says, That the People must act as a Monarch, and become as one Person, before it can govern: So after they are so united into one Senate or Council, it is no good Argument to say, That the whole Multitude does not govern where the major part onely rules, because many of the Multitude that are so assembled, are so far from having any part in the Government, that they themselves are governed against, and often contrary to their wills; those people (to contract it) being the major part in one Vote, that are perhaps of another opinion in another: and so every change of business begets a new major part. For though it is true, every individual person does not actually agree to every Vote, yet implicitly he does, since at the first institution of the Government, the first Compact was, That the agreement of the major part should conclude the whole Assembly; and whoever either then would not, or now refuses to be so concluded, is still in the state of Nature, in respect of all the rest, and is not to be lookt upon as a Member of that Commonwealth, but as an Enemy, and a Covenant-breaker.
I shall not quarrel with the Author, if he hold that Monarchy does most conduce to the main ends of Government, Religion towards God, and Peace towards men; since I agree with him, that absolute Monarchy (if a man could be sure the Monarch would still continue prudent and just) were the best sort of Government for mankind. Onely I cannot but smile to finde the Author (p. 27.) so much admire the high respect the great Turk pays the Muftí or chief Bishop, as he calls him, (where by the by, I never heard the Turkish Church-Government was Episcopal before) yet every printed Relation can tell us, that this wonderful Reverence is but a meer piece of Pageantry, the Idol being of his own making, and whom he again unmakes at his pleasure; a sort of Ordination I suppose the Author would not allow to those of an indelible Character. It is true indeed what the Author affirms, (p. 29.) That Rome, being in any desperate condition, was still forced to flie to Monarchy, chusing a Dictator with absolute Power: Yet this was onely as a General in time of War, or some great civil Commotion being very near it; where it must be confest that the absolute power of one is best at such times, which needed a speedy Remedy: And argues no more the Romans good opinion of Monarchy, than it does any mans approbation of Martial Law; which though perhaps the best that can be used in War, it will not therefore follow that it were to be chosen in times of Peace, no more than because Brandy may do a man good when he is sick in his stomach, therefore he ought to drink it constantly. So that as one benefit of the Dictatorship was the help it gave them upon an Extremity, so the next happiness they wisht for after that was over was, that the Dictator would lay down his Office again. And the People of Rome were never more tyrannized over and opprest, than when these Dictators held their Power by force, contrary to their Institution, and longer than there was need of them; as may be seen in the Examples of Sylla and Cæsar. But the Consuls, though they had in many things (especially in calling the Senate, and in commanding the Army) a Kingly power, yet it was not absolute, but was liable to be questioned by the Senate and People; as any man that reads the Roman History may observe. [See the Oration of Valerius in Dionysius Halicarnassæus, lib. 7. upon the difference between the Senate and People.] I shall not now stay to dispute whether the People of Rome did well or ill in expelling Tarquin; but besides his personal faults, he was never their lawful King, having ascended the Throne by the murder of his Father-in-Law Servius Tullius, and kept it by the power of a standing Army, without the due Election of the Senate and People; which was contrary to the Institution of that Kingdom, which was Elective.
The Author (p. 32.) makes a great difficulty to grant the Roman Commonwealth to be Popular: It is true, it was not so absolutely, but was mixt with an Aristocracy in the Government of the Senate, and with Regal power in the Authority of the Consuls; yet it is plain, the supreme Power remained in the Body of the People: And though by the unequal division of the Centuries, it is true, the greater part of the common People were seldom admitted to vote, being concluded by the major part of the first 97 Centuries, who consisted of the better and richer men; yet this inequality begot the Tributa Comitia, which (with the Author’s good leave) was more absolute than the former Comitia Centuriata: For Dion. Halicarnas. lib. 9. relating the original of these Tributa Comitia, and how they differed from the other, says, That the latter were transacted in one day without any Auspicia, and could make a Law at once without any precedent Senatus Consultum; which the Curiata Comitia could not. And though it is true that the power of making War and Peace, creating of Magistrates, remained in the Comitia Curiata, yet the judging of great and capital Crimes, and of altering and making Laws, remained in the Tributa Comitia; as may be observed in the panishment of Coriolanus, and other punishments by them inflicted; and all Appeals were to this Assembly. Yet granting that the force of the Government lay in the Curiata Comitia, or better sort of Citizens, yet it was still vertually in the common People, who resumed it when they would. And it was to this whole Body of the People that Valerius Publicola used, when Consul, to make the Lictors abase his Fasces, and in that sufficiently acknowledged where the Soveraign Power Presided.
I shall not trouble my self farther to defend the Model of the Roman Commonwealth, which I look upon is one of the most unequal and irregular that ever were; and if it had not been for the excellent Temper, admirable Discipline, and exact Education of that People, it was impossible it could ever have lasted so long: In which when they began to grow remiss through Riches and Luxury, their Commonwealth soon fell to pieces, being indeed never well compacted at first. Much less shall I take upon me to defend a Popular Government, where the mixt Multitude, without any Representatives, consult of Affairs, or make Laws. Any man that will but read Thucydides and Livy, will see enough of it.
As for the Author’s Arguments against the People being able to agree to institute any Government at all, they are most of them but meer Wrangling, and have been answered in the foregoing Observations, and so need not be repeated. I shall likewise pass by the Author’s Directions for Obedience to Government in doubtful times, since I have already taken notice of all that is considerable in it.