« PreviousContinue »
About the same time Locke published the “Two Treatises of Government,” which are now in the reader's hands. They had been licensed for printing on the 23rd of August, 1689.
This argument for Civil Liberty was but a few months old when attacks upon his arguments for Religious Liberty in the “ Letter concerning Toleration,” compelled Locke to defend his position. He did this in a “ Second Letter on Toleration,” which was published in June, 1690, followed afterwards by a
66 Third Letter con. cerning Toleration," in June, 1692.
In the next year, 1693, Locke sought to deepen the foundations of another of the great supports of civilized society, by publishing his Thoughts concerning Education.” Still seeking to add strength to the foundations of his country's power and well-being, his next work was in aid of religious faith ; a book on “ The Reasonableness of Christianity," published in the summer of 1695, nine years before his death. Thus he had dealt in a few years immediately following the Revolution of 1688-9 with all that is most vital in the constitution of a State.
Here we are concerned especially with Locke's part in the argument upon the limit of authority. Richard Hooker, arguing in 1593 for the Church as established by Elizabeth against those who objected to a Church Polity with laws and usages of human institution, proposed in the first book of his “ Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity" to consider what is the foundation of law. His purpose was to prove that laws are the product of man's reason, means adapted to an end; maintained by the majority so long as they attain their end, and subject to change with change of circumstance, by the same action of human reason in readjusting means for the more certain attainment of the end desired.
Hooker's purpose was to show that the Puritans were wrong when they desired to found upon Revelation, and draw wholly from the Bible those arrangements for Church government which had been adopted by the use of Reason-which also is God's gift-to the conditions which it seemed to the majority most necessary to observe at that time for due maintenance of the Church in England. With the Church wholly in his mind, Hooker hardly thought of the possible applications of his argument to Civil Polity; but if he had thought much of them he would not have avoided saying what he thought was true.
But the pure-minded Hooker was the great defender of the Church Establishment; his name, therefore, in the days of conflict, of which Locke's “Two Treatises” were a product, was as that of a great captain of their own in the ears of men who battled, often as honestly but seldom as reasonably, for the maintenance of old forms of authority in Church and State. Yet the foundation of Hooker's argument was the foundation also of Locke's; and Locke had especial satisfaction wher, in his “ Two Treatises of Civil Government,” he quoted Hooker as the “judicious Hooker.” That adjective, “ the judicious," was made current by Locke's use of it in this book, and thus turned what had seemed to his adversaries
their best gun against themselves. Revelation, Hooker had taught, is concerned only with matter of faith, for all else God has given to man Reason as his guide. Men equal by Nature seek communion and fellowship with others, to supply the defects that are in them when living singly and solely by themselves. This was the cause of men's uniting themselves at the first in politic societies; which societies could not be without government, nor government without a distinct law of its own, serving to direct even Nature depraved to a right end. All men desire to lead in this world a happy life. That life is led most happily wherein all virtue is exercised without impediment or let. To take away mutual grievances and wrongs there was no way but by an agreement among men, ordaining some kind of government public, and by yielding themselves subject thereunto. Strifes and troubles would be endless, except they gave their common consent all to be ordered by some whom they should agree upon; without which consent there was no reason that one man should take upon him to be lord or judge over another. So that, in a word, all public rule, of what kind soever, seemeth evidently to have risen from deliberate advice, consultation, and composition between men, judging it convenient and behoveful. These views of Hooker on the social compact are chiefly given in his own words. He goes on to show that if they began by resting central authority in the will of a ruler, “they saw that to live by one man's will became the cause of all man's misery.
By the natural law whereunto God hath made all subject, the lawful power of making laws to command whole politic societies of men belongeth so properly unto the same entire societies, that for any prince or potentate of what kind soever upon earth, to exercise the same of himself, and not either by express commission immediately and personally received from God, or else by authority derived at the first from their consent upon whose persons they impose the laws, it is no better than mere tyranny.” Laws, said Hooker, are available by consent; utterly without our consent, we could be at no man's commandment living.
In the reign of Charles I. the chief English philosopher was Thomas Hobbes, who was born at Malmesbury in 1588, became at Oxford a distinguished scholar, and was tutor to Lord Cavendish, afterwards Earl of Devonshire. He lived to be a very old man, and was at home at Chatsworth with three generations of the family. The pressing questions of the day directed the course of Hobbes's philosophy into considerations of the limit of authority. He spent his best energies in the endeavour to set forth a system of political philosophy. Like Hooker, he founded government upon a social compact among men by nature equal, each of whom gave up to the central power some part of his private right, in order that each might be protected by the strength of all. But Hobbes diverged widely from Hooker' at the next stage of the argument. Hooker had said that if the government so established should fail to fulfil its purpose, those who established it might
1. Sheridan's Plays.
29. Goldsmith's Vicar of Wake2. Plays from Molière. By
field, Plays, and Poeins. English Dramatists.
30. Fables and Proverbs from 3. Marlowe's Faustus and
the Sanskrit. (Hitopadesa.) Goethe's Faust.
31. Lamb's Essays of Elra. 4. Chronicle of the Cid. 32. The History of Thomas 5. Rabelais'Gargantuaand the
Ellwood. Heroic Deeds of Pantagruel. 33. Emerson's Essays, &c. 6. Machiavelli's Prince. 34. Southey's Life of Nelson. 7. Bacon's Essays.
35. De Quinciji's Confessions 8. Defoe's Journal of the
of an Opium-Eater, &c. Plague Year.
36. Stories of Ireland. By Miss 9. Locke on Civil Government EDGEWORTH.
and Filmer's “Patriarcha.” 37. Frere's Aristophanes:, 10. Butler's Analogy of Religion.
Acharnians, Knights, Bird's. 11. Dryden's Virgil.
38. Burke's Speeches and Letters. 12. Scott's Demonology and
39. Thomas à Kempis. Witchcraft.
40. Popular Songs of Ireland. 13. Herrick's Hesperides. 41. Potter's Æschylus. 14. Coleridge's Table- Taik.
42. Goethe's Faust: Fart 11. 15. Boccaccio's Decameron.
ANSTER's Translation. 16. Sterne's Tristram Shandy.
43. Famous Pamphlets. 1'). Chapman's Homer's liad. 44. Francklın's Sophocles. 18. Mediæval Tales.
45. Ni. G. Lewis's Tales of
Terror and Wonder. 19. L'oltaire's Candide, and Johnson's Rasseias.
46. Vestiges of the Natural 20. Jonson's Plays and Poems.
History of Creation. 21. Hobbes's Leviathan.
47. Drayton's Barons' Wars,
Nymphidia, &c. 22. Samuel Butler's Hudibras.
48. Cobbett's Advice to Young 23. Ideal Commonwealths.
Men. 24. Cavendish's Life of Wolsey. 49. The Banquet of Dante. 25 & 26. Don Quixote.
50. IValker's Original.