« PreviousContinue »
If it be said, they submit by their own consent, then this allows their own consent to be necessary to give the conqueror a title to rule over them. It remains only to be considered, whether promises extorted by force, without right, can be thought consent, and how far they bind. To which I shall say, they bind not at all; because whatsoever another gets from me by force, I still retain the right of, and he is obliged presently to restore. He that forces my horse from me, ought prefently to restore him, and I have still a right to retake him. By the same reason, he that forced a promise from me, ought presently to restore it, i. e. quit me of the obligation of it; or I may resume it myself, i.e. chuse whether I will perform it: for the law of nature laying an obligation on me only by the rules' she prescribes, cannot oblige me by the violation of her rules : such is the extorting any thing from me by force. Nor does it at all alter the case to say, I gave my promise, no more than it excuses the force, and passes the right, when I put my hand in my pocket, and deliver my purse myself to a thief, who demands it with a pistol at my breast.
S. 187. From all which it follows, that the government of a conqueror, imposed by force on the subdued, against whom he had no right of war, or who joined not in the war
against him, where he had right, bas no obli. gation upon them.
§. 188. But let us suppose, that all the men of that community, being all members of the same body politic, may be taken to have joined in that unjust war wherein they are subdued, and so their lives are at the mercy of the conqueror.
. 189. I fay, this concerns not their children who are in their minority: for fince a father hath not, in himself, a power over the life or liberty of his child, no act of his can possibly forfeit it. So that the children, whatever may have happened to the fathers, are freemen, and the absolute power of the conqueror reaches no farther than the persons of the men that were fubdued by him, and dies with them: and should he govern them as llaves, subjected to his abfolute arbitrary power, he has no such right of dominion over their children. He can have no power over them but by their own confent, whatever he may drive them to say or do; and he has no lawfull authority, whilst force, and not choice, compels them to fubmiffion.
$. 190. Every man is born with a double right: first
, a right of freedom to his person, which no other man has a power over, but the free disposal of it lies in himself. Secondly, & right, before any other man, to inherit with a bis brethren his father's goods.
§. 191. By the first of these, a man is naturally free from subjection to any government, tho' he be born in a place under its jurisdiction; but if he disclaim the lawful government of the country he was born in, he must also quit the right that belonged to him by the laws of it, and the possessions there descending to him from his ancestors, if it were a government made by their consent.
§. 192. By the second, the inhabitants of any country, who are descended, and derive a title to their estates from those who are subdued, and had a government forced upon them against their free consents, retain a right to the pollefion of their ancestors, though they consent not freely to the government, whose hard conditions were by force imposed on the poffeffors of that country: for the first conqueror never having had a title to the land of that country, the people who are the descendants of, or claim under those who were forced to submit to the yoke of a government by constraint, have always a right to shake it off, and free themselves from the usurpation or tyranny which the sword hath brought in upon them, till their rulers put them under sứch a frame of government as they willingly and of choice consent to. Who doubts but the Grecian christians, defcendants of the ancient possessors of that country, may justly cast off the Turkish
yoke, which they have so long groaned under, whenever they have an opportunity to do it? For no government can have a right to obedience from a people who have not freely consented to it; which they can never be supposed to do, till either they are put
in full state of liberty to chuse their government and governors, or at least till they have such standing laws, to which they have by themselves or their representatives given their free consent, and also till they are allowed their due property, which is so to be proprietors of what they have, that no body can take away any part of it without their own consent, without which, men under any government are not in the state of freemen, but are direct saves under the force
§. 193. But granting that the conqueror in a just war has a right to the estates, as well as power over the persons, of the conquered; which, it is plain, he hath not: nothing of absolute power will follow from hence, in the continuance of the government; because the descendants of these being all freemen, if he grants them estates and possessions to inhabit his country, (without which it would be worth nothing) whatsoever he grants them, they have, so far as it is granted, property in. The nature whereof is, that without a man's own consent it cannot be taken from bim.
S. 194. Their persons are free by a native right, and their properties, be they more or less, are their own, and at their own dispose, and not at his; or else it is no property: Supposing the conqueror gives to one man a thousand acres, to him and his heirs for ever; to another he lets a thousand acres for his life, under the rent of 5ol. or 500l. per ann. has not the one of these a right to his thousand acres for ever, and the other, during his life, paying the said rent? and hath not the tenant for life a property in all that he gets over and above his rent, by his labour and industry during the said. term, supposing it be double the rent? Can any one say, the king, or conqueror, after his grant, may by his power of conqueror take away all, or part of the land from the heirs of one, or from the other during his life, he paying the rent? or can he take
away from either the goods or money they have got upon the said land, at his pleasure? If he can, then all free and voluntary contracts cease, and are void in the world ; there needs nothing to diffolve them at any time, but power enough: and all the grants and promises of men in power are but mockery and collufion: for can there be any thing more ridiculous than to say, I give you and your's this for ever, and that in the surest and most solemn way of conveyance can be devised; and yet it is to be understood, that I have Bb