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country was possessed by a few masters, and a great number of flaves.

It is probable, indeed, that military discipline, being entirely useless, was extremely neglected in Greece after the establishment of the Roman empire; and if these commonwealths, formerly so warlike and ambitious, maintained each of them a small city-guard, to prevent mobbish disorders, it is all they had occafion for: And these, perhaps, did not amount to 3000 men, throughout all GREECE. I own, that, if PLUTARCH had this fact in his eye, he is here guilty of a gross paralogism, and affigns causes no wise proportioned to the effects. But is it so great a prodigy, that an author should fall into a mistake of this nature + ?

But whatever force may remain in this passage of PLUTARCH, we shall endeavour to counterbalance it by as remarkable a passage in DIODORUS Sculus, where the historian, after mentioning Ninus's army of 1,700,000 foot and 200,000 horse, endeavours to support the credibility of this account by some posterior facts; and adds, that we must not form a notion of the ancient populousness of mankind from the present emptiness and depopulation which is spread over the world I. Thusan author, who lived at that very period of antiquity which is represented as most populous |l, complains of the desolation which then prevailed, gives the preference to former times, and has recourse to ancient fables as a foundation for his opinion. The humour of blaming the present, and admiring the past, is strongly rooted in human nature, and has an influence even on persons endued with the profoundest judgment and most extensive learning.

+ See NOTE [SS].
I Lib. ii.
I He was cotemporary with CÆSAR and AUGUSTUS,

ESSAY XII.

Of the ORIGINAL CONTRACT

S no party, in the present age, can well support

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bf principles, annexed to its political or practical one ; we accordingly find, that each of the factions, into which this nation is divided, has reared up a fabric of the former kind, in order to protect and cover that scheme of actions, which it pursues. The people being commonly very rude builders, especially in this speculative way, and more espècially ftill, when actuated by party-zeal; it is natural to imagine, that their workmanship must be a little unshapely, and discover evident marks of that violence and hurry, in which it was raised. The one party, by tracing up government to the Deitŷ, endeavour to render it so sacred and inviolate, that it must be little less than sacrilege, however tyrannical it may become, to touch or invade it, in the smallest article. The other party, by founding government altogether on the consent of the People, suppose that there is a kind of original contract, by which the subjects have reserved the power of resisting their sovereign, whenever they find themselves aggrieved by that authority, with which they have, for certain purposes, voluntarily entrusted him. These are the speculative principles of the two parties; and these too are the practical consequences deduced from them. Vol.I. Hh

I shall

I shall venture to affirm, That both these systems of Spec culative principles are just; though not in the sense, intended by the parties : And, That both the schemes of practical consequences are prudent ; though not in the extremes, to which each party, in opposition to the other, has commonly endeavoured

to carry them.

That the Deity is the ultimate author of all government, will never be denied by any, who admit a general providence, and allow, that all events in the universe are conducted by an uniform plan, and directed to wise purposes. As it is impossible for human race to subsift, at least in any comfortable or secure state, without the protection of government; this inftitution must certainly have been intended by that beneficent Being, who means the good of all his creatures : And as it has universally, in fact, taken place, in all countries, and all ages; we may conclude, with still greater certainty, that it was intended by that omniscient Being, who can never be deceived by any event or operation. But since he gave rise to it, not by any particular or miraculous interpofition, but by his concealed and universal efficacy; a sovereign cannot, properly speaking, be called his vicegerent, in any other sense than every power or force, being derived from him, may be said to act by his commiflion. Whatever actually happens is comprehended in the general plan or intention of providence; nor has the greatest and most lawful prince any more reason, upon that account, to plead a peculiar facredness or inviolable authority, than an inferior magistrate, or even an usurper, or even a robber and a pyrate. The same divine fuperintendant, who, for wise purposes, invested a Titus or a TRAJAN with authority, did also, for purposes, no doubt, equally wise, though unknown, bestow power on a Borgia or an ANGRIA. The same causes, which gave rise to the sovereign power in every

8

ftate,

Itate, established likewise every petty jurisdiction in it, and every limited authority. A conftable, therefore, no less than a king, acts by a divine commission, and pofTefles an indefeasible right.

When we consider how nearly equal all men are in their bodily force, and even in their mental powers and faculties, till cultivated by education; we mult necefsarily allow, that nothing but their own consent could at first, associate them together, and subject them to any authority. The people, if we trace government to its first origin in the woods and desárts, are the source of * all power and jurisdiction, and voluntarily, for the fake of peace and order, abandoned their native liberty, and received laws from their equal and companion. The conditions, upon which they were willing to submit, were either expressed, or were so clear and obvious, that it might well be esteemed superfluous to express them. If this, then, be meant by the original contract, it cannot be denied, that all government is, at first, founded on a contract, and that the most ancient rude combinations of mankind were formed entirely by that principle. In vain, are we asked in what records this charter of our liberties is registered. It was not writ on parchment, nor yet on leaves or barks of trees. It preceded the use of writing and all the other civilized arts of life. But we trace it plainly in the nature of

man,

and in the equality, or something approaching equality, which we find in all the individuals of that species. The force, which now prevails, and which is founded on fleets and armies, is plainly political, and derived from authority, the effect of established government. A man's natural force consists only in the vigour of his limbs, and the firmness of his courage; which could never subject muluitudes to the command of one. Nothing but their own

H h 2

consent,

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