Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

them away would serve, if the spirit themselves, the first steps they take and character of the people are lost. in vice, and especially in vice that

Now this method of destroying liaffects the public, and whereof the berty is the most dangerous on ma- public has a right to complain. ny accounts, particularly on this; Those therefore who might with. that even the reign of the weakest stand corruption in one case, from a prince, and the policy of the weak. persuasion that the consequence was cst ministry, may effect the destruc- too certain to leave them any exlion, when circumstances are fa- cuse, may yield to it when they can vourable to this method. If a peo- flatter themselves, and endeavour to ple is growing corrupt, there is no flatter others, that liberty carinot be need of capacity to contrive, nor of destroyed, nor the constitution be insinuation to gain, not of plausibi. demolished by such hands as hold the lity to seduce, nor of eloquence to scepter, and guide the reigns of the persuade, nor of authority to im- administration. But alas! the flatpose, nor of courage to attempt.- tery is gross, and the excuse without The most incapable, aukward, un- colour. These men may ruin their gracious, shocking, profligate, and country, but they cannot iinpose on timorous wretches, invested with any, unless it be on themselves. power, and masters of the purse, Nor will even this imposition on will be sufficient for the work, when themselves be long necessary. Their the people are accomplices in it.- consciences will be soon seared, by Luxury is rapacious; let them feed habit and by example: and they, whu it: the more it is fed, the more pro. wanted an excuse to begin, will want fuse it will grow. Want is the con- none to continue and to compleat the sequence of profusion, venality of tragedy of their country. Old men want, and dependance of venality. will outlive the shame of losing liBy this progression, the first men of berty, and young men will arise who the nation will become the pension- know not that it ever existed. A ers of the least; and he who has spirit of slavery will oppose and optalents, the most implicit tool to press the spirit of liberty, and seem bim who has none. The distempėr at least to be the genius of the nawill soon descend, not indeed to tion. Such too it will become in make a deposite below, and to re- time, when corruption has, once main there, but to pervade the whole grown to this height, unless the body.

progress of it can be interrupted. It may seem a singular, but it is low inestimable a blessing thereperhaps a true proposition, that such fore must the succession of a paa king and such a ministry are more trivt king be esteemed in such cirlikely to begin and to pursue with cumstances as these, which would success, this method of destroying a be a blessing, and a great one too, free constitution of government, than in any other? He, and he alone, a king and a ministry that were can save a country whose ruin is so held in great esteem would be. This far advanced. The utmost that privery esteem inight put many on their vate men can do, who remain unguard against the latter; but the tainted by the general contagion, is former may draw from contempt the to keep the spirit of liberty alive in a advantage of not being feared : and few breasts; to protest against what an advantage this is in the beginning they cannot hinder, and to claim on of corruption. Men are willing to every occasion what they cannot by excuse, not only to others, but to their own strength recover.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

LOCKE ON GOVERNMENT. sembly, which is legislator; it can be (Continued from page 302.]

no more than those persons had in a state of nature before they entered into

society, and gave up to the community: CHAPTER XI.

for no body can transfer to another Of the Extent of the Legislative Power.

more power than he has in himself; and 134. The great end of men's entering no body has an absolute arbitrary powinto society, being the enjoyment of er over himself, or over any other, to their properties in peace and safety, and destroy his own life, or take away the the great instrument aud means of that life or property of another. A man, as being the laws established in that so- has been proved, canuot subject himciety; the first and fundamental positive self to the arbitrary power of another; law of all commonwealths is the esta. and having in the state of nature no arblishing of the legislative power; as the bitrary power over the life, liberty, or first and fundamental natural law, which possession of another, but only so much is to govern even the legislative itself, as the law of nature gave him for the is the preservation of the society, and preservation of himself, and the rest of (as far as will consist with the public mankind; this is all be doth, or can good) of every person in it. This legis- give up to the commonwealth, and by lative is not only the supreme power of it to the legislative power, so that the the commonwealth, but sacred and un-' legislative can have no more than this. alterable in the hands where the com- Their power, in the utmost bounds of munity have once placed it; nor can it, is limited to the public good of the any edict of any body else, in what form society. It is a power, 'thai hath 20 soever conceived, or by what power other end but preservation, and theresoever backed, have the force and obli- fore can never have a right to destroy, gation of a law, which has not its sanc enslave, or designedly to impoverish the tion from that legislative which the pub- subjects. The obligations of the law lic has chosen and appointed : for with- of nature cease not in society, but oily out this the law could not have that in many cases are drawn closer, and which is absolutely necessary to its be- have by human laws known . penalties ing a law, the consent of the society, annexed to them, to inforce their obover whom no body can have a power servation. Thus the law of nature stands to make laws, but by their own consent, as an eternal rule to all men, legislators and by authority received from them; as well as others. The rules that they and therefore all the obedience, which make for other men's actions, must by the most solemn ties any one can be as well as their own and other men's obliged to pay, ultimately terminates actions, be conformable to the law of in this supreme power, and is directed nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which by those laws which it enacts : nor can that is a declaration, and the fundaany oaths to any foreign power whatso- mental law of nature being the preserever, or any doinestic subordinate pow- vation of mankind, no buman sanction er, discharge any member of the society can be good, or valid against it. from his obedience to the legislative, 136. Secondly, The legislative, or su• acting pursuant to their trust; nor preme authority, cannot assume to itself oblige him to any obedience contrary a power to rule by extemporary arbito the laws so enacted, or farther than trary decrees, but is bound to dispense they do allow; it being ridiculous to justice, and decide the rights of the subimagine one can be tied ultimately to ject by promulgated standing laws, and obey any power in the society, which known authorized judges : for the law is not the supreme.

of nature being unwritten, and so no 135. Though the legislative, whether where to be found but in the minds of placed in one or inore, whether it be men, they who through passion or intealways in being, or only by intervals, rest sball miscite, or misapply it, çanthough it be the supreme power in every not so easily be convinced of their mise commonwealth.; yet,

take where there is no established First, It is not, nor can possibly be judge: and so it serves not, as it ought absolutely arbitrary over the lives and to determine the rights, and fence the fortunes of the people : for it being but properties of those that live under it, the joint power of every member of the especially where every one is judge, insociety given up to that person, or as. terpreter, and executioner of it too, and

that in his own" case : and he that has received laws, and not by extemporary right on his side, having ordinarily but dictates and undetermined resolutions; his own single strength, hath not force for then mankind will be in a far worse enough to defend himself from injuries, condition than in the state of nature, or to punish delinquents. To avoid these if they shall have armed one, or a few inconveniences, which disorder men's men with the joint power of a multitude, properties in the state of nature, men to force them to obey at pleasure the unite into societies, that they may have exorbitant and unlimited decrees of the united strength of the whole society their sudden thoughts, or unrestrained, to secure and defend their properties, and till that moment unknown wills, and may have standing rules to bound without having any measures set down it, by which every one may know what which may guide and justify their acis his. To this end it is that men give tions: for all the power the government up all their natural power to the society has, being only for the good of the sowhich they enter into, and the cominu- ciety, as it ought not to be arbitrary nity put the legislative power into such and at pleasure, so it ought to be exerhands as they think fit, with this trust, cised by established and promulgated that they shall be governed by declared laws; that both the people may kubw laws, or else their peace, quiet, and their duty, and be safe and secure withproperty will still be at the samne un- in the limits of the law; and the rulers certainty, as it was in the state of nature. too kept within their bounds, and not

137. Absolute arbitrary power, or be tempied, by the power they have governing without seitled standing laws, in their hands; to employ it to such can neither of them consist with the purposes, and by such measures, as ends of society and government, which they would not have known, and own men would not quit the freedom of the not willingly. state of nature for, and tie themselves 138. Thirdly, The supreme power canup under, were it not to preserve their not take from any man any part of his prolives, liberties and fortunes, and by perty without his own consent: for the stated rules of right and property to se- preservation of property being the end of cure their peace and quiet. It cannot government, and that for which men be supposed that they should intend, enter into society, it necessarily suphad they a power so to do, to give any poses and requires, that the people one, or more, an absolute arbitrary should have property, without which power over their persons and estates, they must be supposed to lose that, by and put a force into the magistrate's entering into society, which was the end hand to execute his unlimited will arbi- for which they entered into it; too gross trarily upon them. This were to put an absurdity for any man to own. themselves into a worse condition than Men, therefore, in society having prothe state of nature, wherein they had perty, they have such a right to the a liberty to defend their right against goods, which by the law of the commuthe injuries of others, and were upon nity are theirs, that no body bath a right equal terms of force to maintain it, whe- to take their substance or any part of it ther invaded by a single man, or many from them, without their own consent : in combination. Whereas by supposing without this they have no property at they have given up themselves to the all; for I have truly no property in that, absolute arbitrary power and will of a which another can by right take from legislator, they have disarmed them- me, when he pleases, against my conselves, and armed him, to make a prey sent. Hence it is a mistake to think, of them when he pleases ; he being in that the supreme or legislative power of a much worse condition, who is exposed any commonwealth can do what it will, to the arbitrary power of one man; who and dispose of the states urbitrarily, or has the command of 100,000, than he take any part of them at pleasure. This that is exposed to the arbitrary power is not much to be feared in governments ot 100,000 single men; no body being where the legislative consists, wholly or secure, that his will, who has such a in part, in assemblies which are variable, command, is better than that of other whose members, upon the dissolution of men, though his force be 100,000 times the assembly, are subjects under the stronger. And therefore, whatever form common laws of their country, equally the commonwealth is under, the ruling with the rest. But in governmenis, power ought to govern by declared and where the legislative is in one lasting as

assembly always in being, or in one man, 140. It is true, governments cannot as in absolute monarchies, there is dan- be supported without great charge, and ger still, that they will think themselves it is fit every one who enjoys his share to have a distinct interest from the rest of the protection, should pay out of his of the community; and so will be apt to estate "his proportion for the mainteincrease their own riches and power, by nance of it. But still it must be with taking what they think fit from the peo- his own consent, i. e, the consent of the ple: for a man's property is not at all majority, giving it either by themselves, secure, though there be good and equi-' or their representatives chosen by them: table laws to set the bounds of it be- for if any one shall claim a power to lay tween him and his fellow subjects, if he and levy taxes on the people, by his own who commands those subjects have authority, and without such consent of power to take from any private man, the people, he thereby invades the funwhat part he pleases of his property, and dumental law of property, and subverts use and dispose of it as he thinks good. the end of government: for wbat pro

139. But government, into whatsoever perty have I in that, which another may hands it is put, being, as I have before by right take, when be pleases, to hino shewed, intrusted with this condition, self? and for this end, that men might have 141, Fourthly, The legislative cannot and secure their properties; the prince, transfer the power of making laws to any or senate, however it may bave power other hands : for it being but delegated to make laws, for the regulating of pro power from the people, they who have perty between the subjects one amongst it cannot pass it over to others. The another, yet can never bave a power to people alone can appoint the form of take to themselves the whole, or any ihe commonwealth, which is by constipart of the subject's property, without tuting the legislative, and appointing in their own consent: for this would be in whose hands that shall be. And when effect to leave them no property at all. the people have said, We will submit to And to let us see, that even absolute rules, and be governed by laws made by power, where it is necessary, is not arbi- such men, and in such forms, no body trury by being absolute, but is still li- else can say other men shall make laus mited by that reason, and confined to for them; nor can the people be bound thuse ends, which required it in some by any laws, but such as are enacted by cases to be absolute, we need look no those whom they have chosen, and aufarther than the common practice of thorised to make laws for them. The martial discipline: for the preservation power of the legislative, being derived of the army, and in it of the whole com- from the people by a positive voluntary monwealıb, requires an absolute obe- gravt and institution, can be no other dience to the command of every superior than what that positive grant conveyed, officer, and it is justly death to disobey which being only to make laws, and not or dispute the most dangerous or unrea- to make legislators, the legislative can sonable of them; but vet we see, that have no power to transfer their authorineither the serjeant, that could com- ty of making laws, and place it in other mand a soldier to march up to the mouth hands. of a cannon, or stand in a breach, where 142. These are the bounds, which the he is almost sure to perish, can com- trust that is put in then by the society, mand that soldier to give him one penny and the law of God and nature, bave set of his money; nor the general, that can to the legislative power of every comcondemn him to death for deserting his monwealth, in all forms of government. post, or for not obeying the most despe- ' First, They are to govern by promul. rate orders, can yet, with all his absolute gated established laws, not to be varied power of life and death, dispose of one in particular cases, but to have one rule farthing of that soldier's estate, or seize for rich and poor, for the favourite at one jot of his goods; whom yet he can court, and the country man at plough. cominand any thing, and hang for the Secondly, These laws also ought to be least disobedience; because such a blind designed for no other end ultimately, obedience is necessary to that end, for but the good of the people. which the commander has his power, Thirdly, They must not raise taxes on viz. the preservation of the rest ; but the the property of the people, without the disposing of his goods has nothing to do consent of the people, given by theinwith it.

selves, or their deputies. And ibis pro

perly concerns only such governments, both by your royal word and act ; where the legislative is always in being, What could your Majesty have done or at least where the people have not re- more for us ; Or what is left for served any part of the legislative to deputies, to be from time to time chosen

n us further to ask of the King? And by themselves.

forasmuch as it bath pleased your Fourthly, the legislative neither must most excellent Majesty, to give this nor can transfer the power of making safe port to your poor subjects, so laws to any body else, or place it any long tossed with tempests, and justly where, but where the people have.

to believe, that loyalty is not intail. It was our intention to have given ed to a party, as we hope we shall the remainder of this excellent work

ever justify the credit, which your to our readers, but this being the Majesty's charity in that point bath concluding number, we are prevent given us ; so we shall not ccase 10 ed. The remaining Chapters relate bow our knees to the God whom we to the duties of the different branches

serve, and hy whom kings reign, of the legislature, and the right of heseeching him

beseeching him to recompense this the people to resist, when rulers act royal favour to your Majesty, with contrary to their trust, by setting up length of days, uninterrupted health, “ their own arbitrary will, contrary felicity in your royal relations, suc. to, or above the laws, or by bribing cess in your great councils and af“ or corrupring members, candidates, fairs, and finally, with the most or voters, thus cutting up govern- glorious liberty of the sons of God, “ ment by the roots, and poisoning heartily crying, as with one voice, “ the very fountain of public sccu

Let the king live for ever! “ rity:")

Subscribed on the behalf of ourselves, and the rest of our persuasion.

THE KING'S ANSWER.

GENTLEMEN, BYTERIANS TO JAMES II. AND

I have already found two good HIS ANSWER.

effects of my declaration; the casing (From Lord Somers's Tracts.

and pleasing my subjects you speak

of, and my restoring to God the Presented to the King by Mr. Hurst, empire over conscience: It has been

Mr. Chester, Mr. Slater, Mr. my judgment a long line, that none Cor, Mr. Roswell, Mr. Turner, has or ought to have any power Mr. Franklin, Mr. Deal, and Mr. over the conscience, but God! I · Reynolds. With his Majesty's gra. understand there are some jealousiee cious Answer.

among my subjects, that I have May it please your most Sacred done this in a design'; but you look Majesty,

like gentlemen of too great ingenuity To believe the thankfulness of our to entertain any such suspicion. hearts, beyond any expressions of Gentlemen, I protest before God, our lips or pens, for vour most gra- and I desire you to tell all manner cious declaration for liberty for us, of people of all persuasions, as you in the worship of God, which we have vpportunity to converse with trust we shall ever value above our them, that I have no other design property, as that without which we than that I have spoke of. could enjoy norbing which we could · And Gentlemen, I hope to live to call our own, without the greatest see the day when you shall as well uneasiness imaginable: But your have Magna CHARTA for the LIMajesty having in the same decla. BERTY OF CONSCIENCE, as you have ration also secured that unto us, had for your properties !

CURIOUS ADDRESS OF THE PRES

« ZurückWeiter »