Page images


of paternal and regal power. IR Robert Filmer's great position is, that

men are the foundation on which his absolute monarchy stands, and from which it erects itself to an height, that its power is above every power: “ caput inter nubila,” so high above all earthly and human things, that thought can scarce reach it; that promises and oaths, which tie the infinite Deity, cannot confine it. But if this foundation fails, all his fabric falls with it, and governments must be left again to the old way of being made by contrivance, and the consent of men ('Av&pwrivn xtiris) making use of their reason to unite together into society. To prove this grand position of his, he tells us, p. 12, “ Men are born in subjection to their parents,” and therefore cannot be free. And this authority of parents he calls "royal authority,” p. 12, 14,“ fatherly au

thority, right of fatherhood,” p. 12, 20. One would have thought he would, in the beginning of such a work as this

, on which was to depend the authority of princes, and the obedience of subjects, have told us expressly what that fatherly authority is, have defined it, though not limited it, because in some other treatises of his, he tells us, it is unlimited, and * unlimitable; he should at least have given us such an account of it, that we might have had an entire notion of this fatherhood, or fatherly authority, whenever it came in our way, in his writings: this I expected to have found in the first chapter of his Patriarcha. But instead thereof, having, 1. En passant, made his obeisance to

[ocr errors]

" In

grants and gifts that have their original from God, or nature, " as the power of the father hath, no inferior power of man can limit, nor shake

any law of prescription against them.” Obs. 158. “ The scripture teaches, that supreme power was originally in the « father, without any

limitation.” Obs. 245.


the arcana imperii, p. 5. 2. Made his compliment to the “rights and liberties of this, or any other nation,” p. 6, which he is going presently to null and destroy; and 3. Made his leg to those learned men, who did not see so far into the matter as himself, p. 7. He comes to fall on Bellarmine, p. 8, and by a victory over him, establishes his fatherly authority beyond any question. Bellarmine being routed by his own confession, p. 11, the day is clear got, and there is no more need of any forces : for, having done that, I observe not that he states the question, or rallies up any arguments to make good his opinion, but rather tells us the story, as he thinks fit

, of this strange kind of domineering phantom, called the fatherhood, which whoever could catch, presently got empire, and unlimited, absolute power. He acquaints us how this fatherhood began in Adam, continued its course, and kept the world in order all the time of the patriarchs, till the flood; got out of the ark with Noah and his sons, made and supported all the kings of the earth, till the captivity of the Israelites in Egypt; and then the poor fatherhood was under hatches, till " God, by giving the Israelites kings, re“ established the ancient and prime right of the lineal “ succession in paternal government. This is his business from p. 12 to 19. And then, obviating an objection, and clearing a difficulty or two with one half reason. p. 23,“ to confirm the natural right of regal

power,” he ends the first chapter. I hope it is no injury to call an half quotation an half reason; for God says, “ Honour thy father and mother;" but our author contents himself with half, leaves out “thy mother” quite, as little serviceable to his purpose. But of that more in another place.

$. 7. I do not think our author so little skilled in the way of writing discourses of this nature, nor so careless of the point in hand, that he by oversight commits the fault, that he himself, in his “anarchy of a “ mixed monarchy," p. 239, objects to Mr. Hunton in these words; “Where first I charge the A. that he " hath not given us any definition or description of " monarchy in general; for by the rules of method he


“ should have first defined.” And by the like rule of method, sir Robert should have told us, what his fatherhood, or fatherly authority is, before he had told us in whom it was to be found, and talked so much of it. But, perhaps, sir Robert found, that this fatherly authority, this power of fathers, and of kings, for he makes them both the same, p. 24, would make a very odd and frightful figure, and very disagreeing with what either children imagine of their parents, or subjects of their kings, if he should have given us the whole draught together, in that gigantic form he had painted it in his own fancy; and therefore, like a wary physician, when he would have his patient swallow some harsh or corrosive liquor, he mingles it with a large quantity of that which may diluee it, that the scattered parts may go down with less feeling, and cause less ' aversion.

$. 8. Let us then endeavour to find what account he gives of this fatherly authority, as it lies scattered in the several parts of his writings. And first, as it was vested in Adam, he says, “ Not only Adam, but the

succeeding patriarchs, had, by right of fatherhood, royal authority over their children, p. 12. This lordship, which Adam by command had over the whole

world, and by right descending from him the patri" archs did enjoy, was as large and ample as the abso“ lute dominion of any monarch, which hath been since " the creation, p. 13. Dominion of life and death,

making war, and concluding peace, p. 13. Adam " and the patriarchs had absolute power of life and " death, p. 35. Kings, in the right of parents, suc“ ceed to the exercise of supreme jurisdiction, p. 19. As kingly power is by the law of God, so it hath

no inferior law to limit it; Adam was lord of all,

p. 40. The father of a family governs by no other “ saw than by his own will

, p. 78. The superiority of “ princes is above laws, p. 79. The unlimited juris“ diction of kings is so amply described by Samuel,

p. 80. Kings are above the laws,” p. 93. And to this purpose see a great deal more, which our A. delivers in Bodin's words : “ It is certain, that all laws,


“ privileges, and grants of princes, have no force but

during their life, if they be not ratified by the express consent, or by sufferance of the prince following, especially privileges, 0. p. 279. The reason

why laws have been also made by kings, was this: " when kings were either busied with wars, or dis"" tracted with public cares, so that every private man “ could not have access to their persons, to learn their “ wills and pleasure, then were laws of necessity in“ vented, that so every particular subject might find "his prince's pleasure decyphered unto him in the di tables of his laws, p. 92. In a monarchy, the king " must by necessity be above the laws, p. 100. A per" fect kingdom is that wherein the king rules all things, " according to his own will, p. 100.

Neither common nor statute laws are, or can be, any diminution of " that general power which kings have over their peo

ple by right of fatherhood, p. 115. Adain was the “ father, king, and lord over his family; a son, a subject, and a servant or slave, were one and the same

thing at first. The father had power to dispose or " sell his children or servants; whence we find, that, " in the first reckoning up of goods in scripture, the

man-servant and the maid-servant are numbered

among the possessions and substance of the owner, as “ other goods were, O. pref. God hath also given to “ the father a right or liberty to alien his power over “ his children to any other; whence we find the sale " and gift of children to have been much in use in the

beginning of the world, when men had their servants for a possession and an inheritance, as well as other

goods; whereupon we find the power of castrating " and making eunuchs much in use in old times, O.

Law is nothing else but the will of him that “ hath the power of the supreme father, 0. p. 223. It was God's ordinance that the supremacy should be “ unlimited in Adam, and as large as all the acts of his " will; and as in him, so in all others that have supreme


$. 9. I have been fain to trouble my reader with these several quotations in our A.'s own words, that in them

p. 155.

[ocr errors]

p. 245.


might be seen his own description of his fatherly authority, as it lies scattered up and down in his writings, which he supposes was first vested in Adam, and by right belongs to all princes ever since. This fa therly authority then, or right of fatherhood, in our A.'s sense, is a divine unalterable right of sovereignty, whereby a father or a prince hath an absolute, arbitrary, unlimited, and unlimitable power over the lives, liberties, and estates of his children and subjects; so that he may take or alienate their estates, sell, castrate, or use their persons as he pleases, they being all his slaves, and he lord or proprietor of every thing, and his unbounded will their law.

$. 10. Our A, having placed such a mighty power in Adam, and upon that supposition founded all government and all power of princes, it is reasonable to expect, that he should have proved this with arguments clear and evident, suitable to the weightiness of the

That since men had nothing else left them, they might in slavery have such undeniable proofs of its necessity, that their consciences might be convinced, and oblige them to submit peaceably to that absolute dominion, which their governors had a right to exercise over them. Without this, what good could our A. do, or pretend to do, by erecting such an unlimited power, but flatter the natural vanity and ambition of men, too apt of itself to grow and increase with the possession of any power? And, by persuading those, who, by the consent of their fellow men, are advanced to great but limited degrees of it, that by that part which is given them, they have a right to all that was not so; and therefore may do what they please, because they havo authority to do more than others, and so tempt them to do what is neither for their own, nor the good of those under their care; whereby great mischiefs cannot but follow.

$. 11. The sovereignty of Adam being that on which, as a sure basis, our A. builds his mighty absolute monarchy, I expected, that, in his Patriarcha, this his main supposition would have been proved, and established with all that evidence of arguments that such a


« PreviousContinue »