Page images

being that the magistrate has some authority so far, and to such ends, and the private man has none at all: for it is not the commision, but the authority, that gives the right of acting ; and against the laws there can be no authority: But, notwithstanding such resistance, the king's person and authority are still both secured, and so no danger to governor or government.

$. 207. Thirdly, Supposing a government wherein the person of the chief magistrate is not thus sacred; yet this doctrine of the law. fulness of resisting all unlawful exercises of his power, will not upon every flight occafion indanger him, or imbroil the government : for where the injured party may

be relieved, and his damages repaired by appeal to the law, there can be no pretence for force, which is only to be used where a man is intercepted from appealing to the law : for nothing is to be accounted hostile force, but where it leaves not the remedy of such an appeal; and it is such force alone, that puts him that uses it into a state of war, and makes it lawful to refift him. A man with a sword in his hand demands my purse in the high-way, when perhaps I have not twelve pence in my pocket : this man I


lawfully kill. To another I deliver 1001. to hold only whilft I alight, which he refuses to restore me, when I am got up again, but draws his sword to defend the possession of it


by force, if I endeavour to retake it. The mischief this man does me is a hundred, or possibly a thousand times more than the other perhaps intended me (whom I killed before he really did me any); and yet I might lawfully kill the one, and cannot so much as hurt the other lawfully. The reason whereof is plain 3 because the one using force, which threatened my life, I could not have time to appeal to the law to secure it : and when it was gone, it was too late to appeal. The law could not restore life to my

dead carcass: the loss was irreparable ; which to prevent, the law of nature gave me a right to destroy him, who had


himself into a state of war with me, and threatened my

destruction. But in the other casę, my life not being in danger, I may have the benefit of appealing to the law, and have reparation for my rool. that way.

Ş. 208. Fourthly, But if the unlawful acts done by the magistrate be maintained (by the power he has got), and the remedy which is due by law, be by the same power obstructed ; yet the right of resisting, even in such manifest acts of tyranny, will not suddenly, or on Night occasions, disturb the

government : for if it reach no farther than fome private men's cases, though they have a right to defend themselves, and to recover by force what by unlawful force is taken from them; yet the right to do so will not easily engage


them in a contest, wherein they are sure to perish ; it being as impoffible for one, or a few oppressed men to disturb the government, where the body of the people do not think themselves concerned in it, as for a raving mad-man, or heady mal-content to overturn a well-settled state ; the people being as little apt to follow the one, as the other.

S. 209. But if either these illegal acts have extended to the majority of the people ; or if the mischief and oppression has lighted only on some few, but in such cases, as the precedent, and consequences seem to threaten all; and they are perfuaded in their consciences, that their laws, and with them their estates, liberties, and lives are in danger, and perhaps their religion too; how they will be hindered from resisting illegal force, used against them, I cannot tell. This is an inconvenience, I confess, that attends all governments whatsoever, when the governors have brought it to this pass; to be generally sufpected of their people ; the most dangerous ftate which they can possibly put themselves in; wherein they are the less to be pitied, because it is so easy to be avoided ; -it being as impossible for a governor, if he really means the good of his people, and the prefervation of them, and their laws together, not to make them fee and feel it, as it is for the father of a family, not to let his children see he loves, and takes care of them.

S. 210.

[ocr errors]

§. 210. But if all the world shall observe pretences of one kind, and actions of another; arts used to elude the law, and the trust of prerogative (which is an arbitrary power in some things left in the prince's hand to do good, not harm to the people) employed contrary to the end for which it was given: if the people shall find the ministers and subordinate magistrates chosen suitable to such ends, and favoured, or laid by, proportionably as they promote or oppose them: if they see several experiments made of arbitrary power, and that religion underhand favoured, (tho' publicly proclaimed against) which is readiest to introduce it ; and the operators in it supported, as much as may be; and when that cannot be done, yet approved fill, and liked the better : if a long train of actions Sew the councils all tending that way; how can a man any more hinder himself from being persuaded in his own mind, which way things are going; or from cafting about how to save himself, than he could from believing the captain of the ship he was in, was carrying him, and the rest of the company, to Algiers, when he found him always steering that course, though cross winds, leaks in his ship, and want of men and provisions did often force him to turn his course another way for some time, which he steadily returned to again, as soon as the wind, weather, and other circumstances would let him?

C H A P.


[ocr errors]


c.nelo -- 03 i CH A P. XIX. EL of the Diffolution of E ,

that will with any clearnefs

speak of the disolution of govern ment, ought in the first place to distinguish between the dissolution of the fociety and the diffolution of the government. That which makes the community, and brings men out of the loose state of nature, into one politic society, is the agreement which every one has with the rest to incorporate, and act as one body, and so be one distinct common-wealth. The usual, and almost only way whereby this union is disolved, is the inroad of foreign force making a conquest upon them: for in, that cafe, (not being able to maintain and support themselves, as one intire and independent body) the union belonging to that body which confifted therein, must necess sarily cease, and so every one return to the state he was in before, with a liberty to shift for himself, and provide for his own safety, as he thinks fit, in some other society. Whenever the fociety --is, diffolved, it is certain the government of that society cannot remain. Thus eonquerors swords often cut up governments by the roots, and mangle societies to pieces, separating the subdued or scattered multitude from the protection of, and de pendence on, that fociety which ought to


« PreviousContinue »