Page images

it is in the state of nature, wherein men are not bound to submit to the unjust will of another : and if he that judges, judges amiss in his own, or any other case, he is answerable for it to the rest of mankind.

§. 14. It is often asked as a mighty ob-. jection, where are, or ever were there any men in such a state of nature? To which it may

suffice as an answer at present, that since all princes and rulers of independent governments all through the world, are in a state of nature, it is plain the world never was, nor ever will be, without numbers of men in that state. I have named all governors of independent communities, whether they are, or are not, in league with others : for it is not every compact that puts an end to the state of nature between men, but only this one of agreeing together mutually to enter into one community, and make one body politic; other promises, and compacts, men may make one with another, and yet still be in the state of nature. The promises and bargains for truck, &c. between the two men in the desert island, mentioned by Garcilaso de la Vega, in his history of Peru ; or between a Swiss and an Indian, in the woods of America, are binding to them, though they are perfectly in a state of nature, in reference to one another : for truth and keeping of faith belongs to men, as men, and not as members of society,

§. 15. To those that say, there were never any men in the state of nature, I will not only oppose the authority of the judicious Hooker, Eccl. Pol. lib. i. fe&t. 10. where he fays, The laws which have been hitherto mentioned, i. e. the laws of nature, do bind men absolutely, even as they are men, although they have never any settled fellowship, never any folemn agreement amongst themselves what to do, or not to do: but forasmuch as we are not by ourselves fufficient to furnish ourselves with competent store of things, needful for such a life as our nature doth desire, a life fit for the dignity of man; therefore to supply those defects and imperfections which are in us, as living hngle and solely by ourselves, we are naturally induced to seek communion and fellowship with others: this was the cause of men's uniting themfelves at first in politic societies. But I moreover affirm, that all men are naturally in that state, and remain so, till by their own consents they make themselves members of some politic fociety ; and I doubt not in the sequel of this discourse, to make it



Of the State of War.

f. 16.

HE state of war is a state of

enmity and destruction : and therefore declaring by word or action, not



a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man's life, puts bim in a state of war with him against whom he has declared fuch an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other's power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel ; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction : for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred : and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may

kill a wolf or a lion ; because such men are not under the ties of the commonlaw of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.

$. 17. And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a flate of war with him ; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life : for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too

when not,



when he had a fancy to it ; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, ii e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation ;

' and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to its so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with

He that, in the state of nature, would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state, muft necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest ; as he that, in the state of society, would take away the freedom belonging to those of that fociety or common-wealth, muft be supposed to design to take away them every thing else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.

f. 18. This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any

farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his

. money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would

away from

not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else.

And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i. e. kill him if 'I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

§. 19. And here we have the plain difference between the fate of nature and the state of war, which however some men have confounded, are as far diftant, as a state of peace, good will, mutual assistance and

preservation, and a state of enmity, malice, violence and mutual destruction, are one from another. Men living together according to reason, without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of nature. But force, or a declared design of force, upon the person of another, where there is no common superior on earth to appeal to for relief, is the state of war : and it is the want of such an appeal gives a man the right of war even against an aggreffor, tho' he be in society and a fellow subject. Thus a thief, whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to the law, for having stolen all that I am worth, I may kill, when he sets on me to rob me but of my horse or coat; because the law, which was made for my preservation, where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which, if loft, is capable of no reparation, permits me P


« PreviousContinue »