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Political, Civil,' and Religious











Remarks on Dr. BRO\VN'S Code of Education,




The SECOND EDITION, corrected and enlarged,

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Printed for J. JOHKSON, No. 7z, in St. ·Paul's Church-Yard.


M Dec L X X I.






DArID, Earl of Bucba»,

'I' !-1 I S E S S .A Y, &c .


I S,













F A C Eo

HIS publication owes its rife to theRcl1zarks I wrote onDr. Brown's

propofal for a code of education. Several perfons who were pleafed to think fa-

vourably of that performance, (ill which I was led to mention the fubject of civil and religious liberty) were defirous that I Ihould treat of it Inore at large, and without any immediate view to the Doctor's work. It appeared to them, that forne of the views I had givell of this important, but diffiCllIt fubjett, were new, and ihowed it, ill a clearer light than any ill which they had feen it reprefented before; and they tllOllght I had

placed the foundation of fome of the 1110fi valuable intereils of mankind 011 a broader and firmer bafis, than Mr. Locke, and others who had formerly written upon this fubjeCl. I have endeavoured to aniwer the wiihcs of Iny friends, ill

A the



vi PRE F ACE .

the belt manner I am able; and, at the fame time, Lha ve retained the hlbftallce of the former treatife, ha Villg diflributed the feveral parts of it into the body

of this. ·


III this feC01111 edition, lIla ve alfo introduced what I had written on Cburcbauthority, in auf wer to Dr. Balgl~r' s fermon 011 that ftlbjeB:, preached at Lam-

beth chapel, and publiihed by order of the Archbiihop. - As I do not mean to


republiih either the Remarks on Dr. Broum,

011 thefe 011 Dr. Bt11g1~1', feparately, and the fubjeB:s of both thofe pieces have a near relation to the general one on Ci'l.Jil and Religious Liberty, I tll0l1g11t there

WQuI(1 be a propriety in throwing them

ill • r'

into one treatue.

I had 110 thoughts of animadverting tlpOn Dr. Warburton in this work, till I was informed by fome intelligent and worthy clergymen of my acquaintance, that his Alliance is gel1crall Y confidered as the beft defence of tIle prefent fyftenl

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of church-authority, and that 1110fr 0- ther writers took their arguments from it.

In a poftfcript to this work he informs us, p. 271, that, in it, ~he reader ~uill

Jee confuted at large, what he calls a puritanical principle, and alfo all abjur{/ ajfertion qf Hooker's, ~y sobicb IJe entanglell · biufclf and bis califf: in inextricable ditficulties, viz. tba; civil and ecclefiaflicalf)ower arc things feparatcd by nature, and more

~/peciaIIJ by douine iliflitu(io1l; and fa inde-

pcudcnt of· one another, that th~J' 1JlZ!ft always continue independent, Whatever Iuc-

cefs this writer Ina y have had in pulling IIp other foundations, I think he had better have left thoie of the church as he

fOUIlCI them : for the difficulties ill which tile fcheme of the Alliance is entangled,

appear to me to be far more inextricable, than rhofe of any otherfcheme of C 11'-:1 fC 11- authority that I have yet Ieen. All that

can be {aid ill its fa vour is, that, ha Vil1g lefs of the fimplicity of truth, and, confequently, being fupported with more art and fophiftry, tile abfurdity of it is 110t [0 obvious at firft figllt, tllougIl it be







ten times lllore glaring after it has been fufficiently attended to.

Sorry I am to be under the neceffity of troublil1g my reader with the repetition of any thing that has been faid before on this fubject, in Iny remarks on

thofe writers ; 'but when the fame argurnents are urged again and again, it is impoffible always to find new, or better anfwers, I flatter myfelf, however, that

feveral of the obfervations in this treatife will appear to be new, at leaft, that fome things will appear to be fet in a new or clearer point of light, But whenever the interefts of truth and liberty are attacked, it is to be wiihed that forne

would Itand IIp in their defence, whether

they acquit themfelves better than their predeceiTors in the fame goa{l old callfe, or not. New books in defence of any prillciples whatever, will be read by many perfons, WIlD will not look into old books, for the proper anfwers to them.

Confiderable advantage cannot but acCI'tlC to tile cauie of religious, as well as civil





civil liberty, from keeping the important illbjecr continually in view. We are under great obligation, therefore, to all the advocates for church-authority, whenever they are pleafed to write in its defence.

Every attempt that has hitherto been


made to Ihake, or undermine the foun-

<lations of the chriftian faith, hath ended in the firmer eflablilhment of it. AIfo, every attelnpt to fupport the unjuft claims of churchmen over their fellow chriftians, hath been. equally impotent, and hath recoiled upon themfelves ; and,

I make no doubt, that this will be the


iflue of all the future efforts of interefted '

or mifguided men, in fo weak and unworthy a caufe.

It will be feen, that I have taken no notice of any thing that has been written in the controverfy about the Conftf-

fional. I would only obferve, and I can-

not help obferving, that the violent oppofition that has been made to the modeft attempts, both of the candid difqlli-

. Jitors



fil 0 1'S , and thofe of the author of the

· ConjeJfiOJza.l, and his refpectable friends, to procure a redrefs of only a few of the

.more intolerable grievances the clergy labour under, and a removal of Iome of the moil: obvious and capital defects in the eflablilhed church, has more weight than a hundred argllments drawn from


theory only, in demonfirating the folly

of erecting fuch complicated and llnwieldly fyftems of policy, and in Ihowing the mifchiefs that attend them.

Little did the founders of church eIlablilliments confider, of what unfpeakable importance it is to, the inrerefls of religion, that the ambition of chriftian

· minifters be circumfcribed within narrow limits, "then they left them filch unbounded fcope for courting prefer-

ment. Bllt the interells of religion have been very Iittle confidered by the founders of church eflabliihments. Indeed if they had confidered them, how little were they qualified to make provifion for them? I need not fay what I feel,

when I find fo much in the writings






of ingenious men concerning the wifdol1l of thefe conftitutions. It always brings to lny. mind what St. Paul fays of the ttU ifllolll of t bis suorld in other ref pects,

Such, _ however, is the virtue of fome men , that it is proof againft all the bad influence of the conftitution of which they are members. Without ilatterillg, or tormenting themfel ves with a vain ambitioll, n1allY excellent clergymen, wortliy of a better fituation, contentedly :fit dO\VIl to the 11roper duty of their fia-

tiona Their DIlly object is to do good to tbe Jollls of men, and their 0111 y 110pe of reward is ill that world, where they ~vho liauc been wiJc fh_all jlJillc as the hriglJtllejs of tbe jirl1Za1JZellt, ani/ they nobo basic turncd tnany to rig'hteoz!/izeJs as the flars for ever

and ever. Such characters as thefe I truly revere; and it is clliefly for the ! of forming 1110re Iuch, that I wiih the eftablilliment of the church of England 111ip'11t be reformed ill fome effential


points. TIle pO¥tcrs of reaion and con-

Icience plead for fuch a reformation, but, alas! tile po"\vers of this world are a-


xii P R ~~ F ACE.


gainft it. This unnatural ally of religi-

on (or rather her imperious 11lafler) without whofe permiflion nothing can be done, will not admit of it.

But at the fame time that, from a love of truth, and a juf] regard for the purity of a divine religion, we bear a public teftimony againft thofe ab ufe 5

,I which men have introduced into it; let

lIS, as becomes chrifl:ians, ha ve the calldour to make proper allowances for the prejudices and prepolleflions, even of the founders, promoters, alld abettors of thefe anti-chriflian fyaeIns; and frill farther let lIS be from indll1ging a thought to the prejudice of thofe, ,Vl10 have been educated in a reverence for thefe modes of religion, and have not Ilrength of

mind to feparate their ideas of" thefe !orl1zs, from thofe of the power of it. In

: this cafe, let lIS be particular! y careful how we give offence to any ferious and well ... difpofed minds, and patiently bear with .the wheat and the tares grO\Villg together till the harveit,



PRE F A - C E.



Such is Iny belief in the doctrine of an over-ruling providence, that I have

110 doubt, but' that every thing in the whole :fyfrem of nature, how noxious foever it may be ill fome refpects, has

real, though unknown ufes ; and alfo that every thing', even the grofTeft abufes in the civil or ecclefiaftical conftitutions of particular ftates, is fubfervient

to the wife and gracious' defigns of him, who, notwithflanding tllefe appearances, frill rules in the killgdol1ls of men.

I make no apology for the frecdol1l

with which Lha ve written. TIle fub-

jeCl is, ill the 11igIlefi degree, interefting to humanity, it is open to philofophical difcuilion, and I have taken no

· greater liberties than becomes a philofopher, . a mall, and an Englilhman. Having 110 other views than to promote a

thorough knowledge of this important fubject, not being fenfible of any biafs to miflead file ill. Iny inquiries, and con-

Icious of the 1] prightnefs of Illy intentions,

I freely fubmit my thoughts to the exami-

nation of all impartial judges, and the friends



friends of their country and of mankind, TIle)T who know the fervour of gellerolls feelings will be fenfible, that Lha ve expreffed myfelf with no more warmth th an :

the importance of the fubject neceifarily prompted, ill a breafi: not naturally the coldeft ; and that to have appeared more indifferent, I could not 11a ve been Iincere.

Betides the freedom with which I have


made this defence of ci viI ancl religious

liberty, is fllfficiently jufiified by the freedom witlt which they ha ve been attacked; and. though the advocates for church power are :very reacly to accufe the Diflenters of indecency, when, ill de-

fending themlclvcs, they reflccl UPOlJ. the efta blilhed church , ,yet I do not fee

"Thy, in a judgment of equity, the fame civility and decency i110l11(111ot be obferved 011 both fides; or "Thy infolence 011 one ficle fhould not be anfwered by contempt on the other,

Not\v~tllnanding the ardour of mind with which, it will be evident, fome parts of jhe following treatife were






P: R E -}:.. A - C E. xv

writ ten, the warmth with which I h aye efpoufed the caufe of liberty, and the feverity with which I have animadverted upon whatever I apprehend to -be unfa-

vourable to it; I think I cannot be' juftly

accufed of party zeal, becaufe it will befound, that I ha V(~ treated all partie's with

equal freedom. Indeed, fuch is rhe ufual violence of human paffions, when any thing interefting - tb them is con-


tended for, that the beft caufe in the


,vorld is not fuflicient to prevent intern-

perallce and excefs; fa that it is eafy to fee too much to blame in all parties: and it by 110 means follows, that, becaufe a man difapproves of the conduct of one,

that he mull, therefore, approve of that

of its oppofite, TIle greateil: ellemy of popery 111ay fee fomething he diilikes in the conduct of' the firft reformers, the

warmeft zeal againft epifcopacy is con-

fiftent with the juft fenfe of the faults of

the puritans, and much more lnay an enemy of Charles the firfl, be an enemy of Cromwell alfo,


N. B~


xvi PRE F A C E.'

N. B. Let it be obferved, that, in this treatife, I propofe no more than to

confider the firfl principles of civil and religious liberty, and to explain forne leading ideas upon the fubjed, For a more extenfive view of it, as affeCl:ing a greater variety of particulars in thefyftem of governmellt, I refer to the CO'llrfi of

lectures on hijlory and civil policy; a fy Ita .. bus of which is printed in the EJfo.r on a courfe of liberal education for civil and ailiuc life, and the whole of which, with enlargemellts, I propofe to publifh in due time.


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SEC ']~ ION I.

o the Fir Principles 0 Government, and the di erent kinds 0 Liberty.

AN derives two capital advantages from the fuperiority of his intellectual powers. The firft is, that, as an individual, he poifeffes a certain comprehenfion of mind, whereby he contemplates and enjoys the

pail and the future, as well as the pre- ~

fenr, This comprehenlion is enlarged

with the experience of every day; and by

this means the happinefs of man, as he advances in intelleCl:, is continually lefs dependent on temporary circumftances · and fenfations .


The next adva.ntage refulting from the fame principle, and which is, in many

refpeC\s, both rhe caufe and effeCt of the

B former,






former, is, that the human fpecies itfelf is capable of a fi111ilar and unbounded improvement ; whereby mankind ill a later age are great1y fuperior to mankind in a former age, the individuals being taken at the fame time of life. Of this

progrefs ·of the fpecies, brute animals are more incapable than they are of that

relating to individuals, No horfe of

this age Iccms to ha ve any advantage 0-

ver other horfes of former ages; and if there be any improvement in the fpecies.~ it is owing to our manner of .breeding·

and training tllC111. But a mall at this

time, who has been tolerably ,veIl edu-

cated, in all improved chriflian country, is a being poflellcd of much greater po"v~r, to be, and to make happy, than a perfon of tile fame age, ill the faIne, or any other country, fome centuries ago. And, for this rcafon, I make no doubt, that a perion fome centuries hence will, at tile fame age, be as much fuperior

to us.




TIle great inllrumcnt in the hand of

divine providence, of this progrefs of the

. · · fpecies


fpecies towards perfection, is flciety, and confequently gover1UJlell!. In a {late of nature the po,vers of any il1Clividtlal are diffipated by an. attention to a multipli-

city of objects. TIle employments of all are Iimilar. From generatioll to genera-

tion every mall does the fame that every other does, or has done, and no perfon begills w here another ends; at leaft,

general improvements are exceedingly flow, and uncertain. This we fee exemplified in all barbarous nations, and clpecially ill countries thinly inhabited,

where the connections of the people are iligllt, and confequently fociety and go-

vernmcnt ·very imperfeCl:; and it Inay be feen more particularly in North Arnerica, and Creenland. Whereas a ftate of more perfect fociety admits of a proper diflribution and divifion of the ob-


jeds of human attention. 'In fuch a

flare, lnen are connected with and fubfervient to one another; fo . that,' while

one man confines himfelf to one fingle objeCt, another may give the fame undi-

vided attention to another object.







Thus the powers of all have their full effeCt; and hence arife improvements in all the conveniences of life, and ill every branch of knowledge. In this Itate of things, it requires but a few years to comprehend the whole preceding progrefs of any one art or fcience , and the refl: ofa ulan's life, in which his faculties are the moil perfect, may be given to the extenfion of it. If, l1Y this means, one art or fcience Ihould grow too large

for aneafy comprehenfion, in a moderate fpace of time, a commodious fubdivifion will be made, Thus all knowledge will be Iubdivided and extended; and knots» ledge, as Lord Bacon obferves, being

poiua; the human powers will, ill fact,

be enlarged ; nature, including both its materials, an-d its laws, will be more at our command ; men will make theirfitua ... tion in this world abundantly more cafy and comforta·ble; they will probably prolong their cxiflence in it, and will grow daily more happy, each in himfelf, anti more able (and, I believe, more difpofed) ro communicate happinefs to others. 'I'hus, whatever was the be-

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gil1nillg of this world, the end will be gloriolls and paradifaical, beyond what

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our Imaglnatlons can now conceive.

Extravagant as forne may fuppofe thefe views to be, I think I could {ho,¥

them to be fairly fuggefled by the true theory of human nature, and to arife from the natural courfe of human affairs.

But, for the prefent, I wave this fubject, the contemplation of which always makes me happy.

Coverument being the great inilrument of this progrefs ofthellumanfpecies towards this glorious flate, that form ofgovernment will have a juft claim to Ollr approbation which favours this progrefs, ~ and that muft be condemned in which

it is retarded. Let lIS then, my fellow

citizens, confider the bufinefs of governmerit with thefe enlarged views, and trace fome of the fundamental principles of it, by an attention to what is moft conducive to the happinefs of mankind at prefenr, and mofl favourable to the increaie ofthis happinefs ill futurity ; alld, perhaps, \ve may underfland this intricate fl1bj eCl:"vitll

B 3 fome





fome of its moftimportant circumflances, better than we have done; at leaf} we Inay fee fome of them in a clearer and ftronger point of light.

To begin with firft principles, we mufl, for the fake of gailling clear ideas on the fubject, do what almofl: all political writers ha ve done before us ; that is, we mull fllppofe a number of people exifting, \V}lO experience the inconvenience oflivillg independent and unconnected ; who are expofed, without redrefs, to infults and wrongs of every kind, and are too weak to procure themfelves many 'of the advantages, which they are fenfible might eafily be compafled by united ftrength.

Thefe people, if they would engage the

protection of the whole boily, and join their forcein enterprizes and undertak ..

il1gS calculated for their common good, muft voluntarily refign fome part of their natural liberty, and f ubmit their conduCt to the direction of the commu-

nity : for without thefe conceflions, fitch an alliance, attended withfuch advan-

tages, cO'111d not be formed,






Were tliefe people few in humber, and

living within a fmall difiance of one another, it migllt be eafy for them .ro

aflemble UpOll every occafion, in which the whole body was concerned ; and every thing might be determined by the votes of the majority, provided they had previ-

oully agreed that the votes of amajority fhould be decifive. But were the fociety numerous, their habitations remote, and the occalions on which the whole body mull interpofe frequent, it would be abfo-

lutely impofIible that all the members of the ftate Ihould aflemble, or gi,re their

attention to public bufinefs. In this cafe, though, with ROl!lfeatt, it be a givi!lg lll) of their liberty, there mufl be deputies, or public officers, a ppointed to act ill the name of the whole body; and, in

a Itate of very great extent, where all

the people could - never be affembled, the whole po\ver of the community finn: neceffarily, and' almoft irreverfibly, be lodged rin the hands, of thefe deputies,

In England, the king, the hereditary lords, and the electors of- the houfe of commons, are thefe janc/illg deputies; and






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the members of the houfe of commons are, again, the temporary deputies of this Iaft order of the ftate.


III all flares, great or fmall, the fentimerits of that body of men in whofe hands the fupreme power of the fociety is lodged, muft be underflood to be tIle fentiments of the whole body, if there be no other method in which the fentiments of the whole body can be expreiTed. Thefe deputies, or reprefentatives of ~11e people, will make a wrong

judgment, and purfue wrong meafures, if "they confult not the good of the whole fociety, whofe reprefentatives they are; juft as the people themielves : would 'make a wrong jlldgment, and purfue

wrong meafures, if they did not confult their OW11 good, provided they could be aflembled for that purpofe. No maxims or rules of policy can be binding upon

them, but fuch as they themfelves Ihall


jtldge to be conducive to the public good.

Their ownreafon and confcience are their



only guill-e, and the people, in whofe

R~~~ they aCt, their only jtldge.

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In there circumftances, if I be afked what I mean by liberty, I fhould chufe, for the fake of greater clearnefs, to divide it into two kinds, political and civil; and the importance of ha ving clear ideas 'on this fubject will be my apology for the innovation. POLITICAL LIBERTY; I

would fay, c01y!ftS in the power, which

tbe members of tbe }late refer-velo thCl}!ftlves, of al"rivillg at tb« pithlit offices, or, at leafl, oJ~ iJavillg votes in the nomination qf thofl who fill tbcm : and I would chufe to tall C I ,7 ILL I BE R T Y that pourer over oW their

tnun ailions, which the members 'Of thcflati: referve to thellifelttJes, and which their if

fieers l1zuJlnot il1!rillge.

Politicalliherty, th ere fore, is equivalent to the right of magiftracy, being the claim that any member of the flare hath, to have his private opinion or judgment become that of the public, and thereby control the actions of others; .whereas civil liberty, extends no farther than to a man's own conduct, and fignifies the rigllt he has to be exempt from the control of the fociety, or its agents; that


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is, the power lIe has of providing for llis own advantage and ha ppinefs, It is a man's civil liberty, which is originally in its full force, and part of which he facrifices when he enters into a Ilate of fociety;

and political liberty is that which he may, or may not acquire in the compenfation he receives for it. For he may either fiipulate to have a voice ill the public de-

terminations, or, as far as the public de-

termination doth take place, he may fuhmit to be governed wholly by others. Of thefe two kinds of liberty, which it is of the greateft importance to diftinguifll, I Ihall treat ill the order in which I have

mentioned them .



S_ E C T I 0 I~



o F



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N countries where every member of the fociety enjoys an equal power of arriving at tIle fupreme offices, and confequently of direCling the ftrength and


the Ientiments of the whole community,

there is a ftate of the moil: perfect political liberty. On the other hand, in coun-

tries where a man is, by his birth or fortune, excluded from thefe offices, or from a power of voting for properperfons to fill them; that man, whatever be the form of the government, or whatever ci viI liberty, or power over his own aClioris he may

have, has no power over thofe of another , he has no Ihare in "the government, :and

therefore has no political liberty at all.




Nay his own conduct, as far as the fociety does interfere, ~'S, in all cafes, directed by others.

It may be {aid, that no fociety on earth was ever formed in the mariner reprefented above. I anfwer, it is true; becaufe all governments whatever have been, ill fome meafure, compulfory, tyrannical, and oppreffive in their origin ;

but the method I have defcribed muft be

allowed to be the only equitable and fair

. method of forming a fociety. And fince every man retains, and can never be deprived of his natural right [founded on a regard to the general -good) of relieving himfelf from all opprellion, that is, from every thing that has been impofed upon him without his own confent; this mufl be the only true and properfoundation of all the governments fnbfifting in the world, and that to which the people who compofe them .have an unalienable right to bring them back.

It mufl neceifarily be underI1:ood, therefore, whether it ... be expreiled or not,



not, that all people live in fociety for their mutual advantage; fa that the good and happinefs of the members, that is the majority of the members of any Ilate, is the great ftandard by which

every thing relating to that ftate muft finally be determined. And though it rna y be fuppofed, that a body of people may be bound by a voluntary refignation of all their interefts to a fingle perfon, or to a few, it can never be fuppofed that the refignation is obligatory on their pofterity; becaufe - it is manifeilly contrary to the good of the whole that itjhollid

be}0. ·

I· own' it is rather matter of furprife to me, that this great' objed of all government iliould have- been fo little illfilled on by our great, writers who have treated of this fllbjeCl:, and that more

ufe hath not been made of it. In treating of particular regulations in frates, this principle neceffarily obtruded itfelf; all arguments in favour of any law being always drawn froma confideration of its tendency to promote the public -good;



and yet it has often. efcaped the notice of writers ill diicourfing on the firft principles of fociety, and the fubject of civiI and religious liberty.

This one general idea, properly purfued, throws the greateft light UpOll the whole fyftem of policy, morals, and, I may add, theology too. To a mind not warped by theological and metaphyfical fubtilties, the divine being appears to be actuated by no other views than the

nobleft vve can conceive, the happinefs of his creatures, Virtue and right con-

duct confift in thofe affections and actions which terminate in the public good; jllftice and veracity, for inftance, having nothing intrinfically excellent in them, feparate from their relation to the happinefs of mankind , and the whole

fyftem of right to power, property, and every thing. elfe in fociety, muft be regulated by the fame confideration: the

decifive queftion, when any of thefe

. fubje~s are examined, being, What

is it that the good of the community


requires !



Let it be obferved, in this place, that I by 110 means aflert, that the good of mankind requires a ftate of themoft perfeCt political liberty. This, indeed, is 110t poffible, except in exceeding fmall ftates; in llone, perhaps, that are Io large as even the republics of ancient

Greece; or as Genoa,. or Geneva inmodern times. Such fmall republics as thefe, if they were defirable, would be impracticable ; becaufe a ftate of - perfeB: equality, in communities or indi-


viduals, can never be preferved, while

lome are more powerful, more enterpriiing, and more fuccefsful in their attempts than others. And an .ambitious nation could not wiih for a fairer opportunity of arriving at extenfive empire, than to find the neighbouring countries

cantoned out into a number of fmaII governments , which could have no power. to withftand it fingly, and which could never form fufficiently extenfive confe-

deracies, or act with fufficient unanimiry, and expedition, to oppofe it with fuccefs,






... - ......

Suppofmg, therefore, that, in order to prevent the greateft of all inconveniences,

v very extenfivc, and confequently abfolute monarchies, it may be expedient to have fuch flares as England, France, and Spain; political liberty D1Ufl, in fome meafnre, be reflrained ; but in what

manner a reflraint fhould be put upon it, or how far it Ihould extend, is not eafy to be afcertained. In general, it Ihould feem, that none but perfons of confiderable fortune Ihould be capable of ar-

riving at the higheft offices in the government ; not only becaufe, all other

circumflances being equal, fnch perfons will generally have had the heft education, and confequently be the heft qualified to a~ for the public good; but be-

caufe alfo, they will neceffarily have-the moft properry at ftake, and will, therefore, be moft interefted in the fate of their country.

Let it be obferved, however, tllat what maybe called a moderate fortune (thougll a thing of fo variable a nature cannot

be defined] Ihould be confidercd as equi-

, valent .



.... . ..

in this refpett, to the moil afHuent one. Perfons who are bornto a moderate fortune, are, indeed, generally better educated, have, confequently, more enlarg .. ed minds, and are, in all refpe8:s, more trul y independent, than thofe who. are born to great opulence.

For the fame reafon, it may, perhaps, be more eligible, that thofe who are ex- · tremely dependent fhould not be allowed to ha ve votes in the nomination of

the chief magiflrates , becaufe this might, in fome inftances, be only, throwing more votes into the hands of thofe per .... fons OIl, whom they depend. But if, in every flare of confiderable extent, we fuppofe a gradation of elective offi-

ces, and if we likewife fuppofe the lowell claffes of the people to have votes ill the nomination of the lowefi: oflicers, and, as they increafe in wealth and importance, to have a Ihare in the choice of

perfons to fill the higher pofls, till they themfelves be admitted candidates for

places of public truft ; we Ihall, perhaps, form an idea of as much political liberty

C as




as is confiltent with the ftate of man-

kind. And I think experience Ihews, 'tllat the 11igllefl: offices of all, equivalent to that of king, Ollght to be, ill fome meafure, hereditary, as ill EIlgland ; elective monarchies llaving generally been the theatres of cabal, confufion, and

mifery. .

It muft be acknowledged, however, to be exceedingly hazardous to the liberties of a people, to have any office of importance

frequently filled by the fame perfons, or

their defcendants, TIle boundaries of very great power can never be fo exactly defined, · but that, when it becomes the intereft of men to extend them, and

when fo flatterillg an object is kept a

long time in view, opportunities will be


found for the purpofe. What nation

would not have been enfiaved by the un ...

· controverted fucceffion of only three fuch princes as Henry IV. of France, Henry VII. of England, or the prefent king of , Pruilia ? TIle more accomplifhed and

. - .

: gloriolls they were as warriors, or fiatef-

men, the more dangerous would they be




be as princes, ill free ftates, It is nothing but the continual fear of a revolt, in fa-

vour of fome rival, that could keep fitch princes within any bounds; i. e. that

could make it their interefl to court the favour of the people.

Hereditary nobles frand in the fame predicament with hereditary princes. TIle long continuance of the fame parliaments have alfo the fame tendency.

And had not thefe tllings, together with

all independent ecclefiaftical power, been wonderfully balanced in our conflitucion, it could never have flood fo long. TIle more complex any machine is, and the more nicely it is fitted ~to anfwer its purpofe, the more liable it is to diforder. The more avenues there are to arbitrary

power, the more attention it requires to gllard them; and with all the vigilance of the people of thefe nations, they have more than once been obliged to have recourfe to the f word. The liberties we

now enjoy, precarious as they are, have

not been purchafed without blood .

Though it be very evident that no of..l

C .2 nee



fice of great trufl and ,power Ihould be. fuffered to continue a long time ill the fame hands, the fucceffion might be fo rapid, that the remedy would be worfe

than the difeafe. With refped to this nation, it Ieems to be agreed, that fep-


tennial parliament s have brought our li-

berties into very eminent hazard, and that triennial, if not annual parliaments would be better. Indeed Ieptennial par-

liaments were at firft a direct ufurpation of the rights of the people: for, lry the

- fame authority that one parliament pro-

longed their own power to feven years, they might have continued it to twice

[even, or, like the parliament in 1641, have made it perpetual. The bulk of the people never fee the mofl obvious.

tendencies of things, or fo flagrallt a violation of the conflitution would never have been fuffered. But whereas a gene-'

ral clamour might have prevented the

evil, it may require fomething more to redrefs it.

~ ~

But though the exact medium of po ..

Iitical liberty, with refpeCl: either to .rhe property




property of men in offices of trufl, or to their continuance in power, be not eafily

"':fixed, it is not of much confequence to do it ; Iince a confiderable degree of perfecrioll in government will admit of gr-eat varieties in this refpect; and the extreme of political Ila ver}T, which excludes all

perfons, except one, or a very few, from 11a ving accefs to the chief magiftracy, or from ha ving votes in the choice of magi-

firates, and which keeps all the power of the {late in the fame hands, or the fame families, is eafily marked out, and the fatal efFecrs of it are very firiking. For fuch is the flate of mankind, that perfons poffeIfed of unbounded power will generally ac] as if they forgot the proper nature and defign of their ftation, ~ and purfue their own intereft, though it be oppofite to that of the community

.. ~

at large. · .

Provided thofe who make laws fub ..

Init to them themfelves, and, with refpeC1: to taxes in particular, fo long as thofe who impofe them bear all equal :lhare

with the refl: of the community, there

C 3 will




will be no complaint. But ill all cafes, when thole who lay the tax lIpan others exempt themfelves, there is tyranny; and


the man who fubmits to a tax of a penny,

levied in this manner, is liable to have

the laft penny he has extorted from him .


Men of equal rank and fortune with thofe who 1.1fllally compofe the Englilh houfe of Commons have nothing to fear

. from the impofition of taxes, fo long as there is any thing like rotation in that office; becaufe thofe who impofe them are liable to pay them thernfelves, and are no better 'able to bear the burden , but

. perfons of lower rank, and efpecially

thofe who have no votes in the election

... ..


of members, may have reafon to fear,

becaufe an unequal part OI~ the burden may be laid upon them, TIley are 11eceflarily a dijiillEl order in the community, and have no direct method of con-

.rrcling t~e meafures of the 1 egiflatllre . . Our increafmg ganle-la~ws have all the

· .

· fl.ppeCl:r~nce of the haughty decrees of a

· tyrant, who facrifices every thing to his pwn pleafure and caprice!



POLITICAL LIBERTY. 23 U pOll thefe principles it is evident, that there mull have been a grofs inattention to the very firft principles of liberty, to fay nothing worfe, ill the firfl fcheme of taxing the inhabitants of America in tIle ~ 13ritifh parliament,

• +

But if there be any truth in the prin-

ciples above laid clown, it mufl be a fundamental maxim in all gcvernments, that if any man hold what is called a

high rank, or elljoy privileges, and prerogatives ill a ftate, it is becaufe the good of the flare requires that he Ihould hold that rank, or enjoy thofe privileges; and fuch perf OIlS, whether they be called kings, fenators, or nobles; or

by whatever names, or titles, they be diflinguifhed, are, to all intents and purpofes, the jervtlllts cf the publu: and accountable to the people for tlie difcharge

of their refpeCl:ive offices.

If :filch magiilrates abufe their tru!l:, ill the people, therefore, lies the rIght of depojillg, and confequently of punijhi1tg them, And the only reafon why abufes



I t

• •



• j







which have crept into offices have been connived at, is, that the correcting of them, by having recourfe to firft principles, and the people taking into their own hands their right to appoint

or change their officers, and to afcerrain the bounds of their authority, is far from being eafy, except in [mall

ftates; fo that the remedy would often be worfe than the difeafe .


· But, in the largeft frates, if the abufes of government fhould, at any time be great and manifeft; if the fervants of the people, forgetting their 1Jlajlers, and their mafters' intereft, fhould purfue

a feparate one of their own; if, inflead of conlidering that they are made for the people, they ~ ihOllld confider the people as made for them , if the oppreffi ... ons and violations of right fhould be great, flagrant, and univerfally refented; if the tyrannical governors Ihould have

p.o friends but a few fycophants, who had long preyed tIpon the vitals of their- fellow citizens, and who might be expected to defert a goverl1ment,



.. . ..


POL I TIC ALL I B E R T Y. 25 wllenever their interefts Ihould be detached from it: if, in conlequence of

· tllefe circumfiances, it, :!lIQuId become roanifeft, that the rifque, which would be run in attempting a revolution would be trifling, and the evils which- might

be apprehended from it, were far lefs than thofe which were actuall y fuffered,

and which were daily increafing ; in the name of God, I aile, what principIes are thofe, which ought to reftrain . an injured and infulted people from af-

ferting their natural rights, and from changing, or even puniihing their' governors, that is their jervallts, who had

abufed their trufl:; or from altering the

whole form of their government,' if it appeared to be of ,a firuCture fo liable

to abufe? ·

To fay that thefe forms of government have been I011g eftablifhed, and that thefe oppreflions have been' long

fuffered, without any complaint, is' to fupply the ftrongeft argument for their abolition. Lawyers, who are governed

by rules and precedents, are very apt ~o




fall into miflakes, in determining what is, rigllt and lawful, in cafes which are, in their own nature, prior to any fixed laws or precedents. The only reafon for the authority of precedents and general rules in matters oflaw and government, is, that all perfons may kno\V' what is law; which they could not do if the adminiftration of it was not uniform. and the fame in fimilar cafes.


,But if the precedents and general rules

themfelves be a greater grievance than

the violation of them, and the eftablifhrnent of better precedents, and better general rules, what becomes of their obligation? The neceffity of the thing,

in the changing courfe of human affairs,

obliges all governme~ts to alter their general rules, and to fet up n~w precedents in affairs ofIefs importance , and why may not a proportionably greater

neceffity plead as ftrongly for tile alteration of the moil: general rules, and for fetting up new precedents in matters of the greateft confequence, affecting the moft fundamental principles of any government, and the diftriblltion of power

among its feveral members ? No-


Nothing can more jllfily excite the indignation of all honefl and opprelled citizen, than to hear a prelate, who en-

joys a confiderable benefice, under a cor-

rupt government, pleading for its fupport by thoie abominable perverfions of

fcripture, which have been too common 011 this occalion ; as by urging in its favour that paIfage of St. Paul, The powers which be are ordained of God, and others of a firnilar import. It is a fuflicient an-

fwer to fuch an abfurd quotation as this, that for the fame reafon, the powers which will be will be ordained of God



· Something, indeed, might have been

,. faid in favour of the doCtrines 'of paJ/ive obedience and llon-riftjlance, at the time when they were firf\: il:arted; but a man

muft be infatuated who will not renounce them now. TIle Jefllits, about two centuries ago, in order to vindicate their ki.ig-killing principles, happened, among other arguments, to make ufe of this great and juft principle, that all civil power is



1l1ti1Jzate/y derived fro11z the people: and

oil • •

their adverfaries, ill England, and elfe-

where, inftead of Ihewing 110\v they abufed and perverted that fundamental

principle of all sover11ment in the cafe in queftion, did, what difputants warmed with controverfy are very apt to do; they denied the principle itfelf, and rriain-


rained that all civil po~ver is derived .frOJJl

God, as if tIle '1 ewilh theocracy had been eftablifhed throughout the whole

world. From this maxim it was a clear confequcnce, that the governments, which at any time fubfift, being the ordinance of God, and the kings which are at allY time lIpan the throne, being tbe vicege-

. rents of God, muft not be oppofed.

So l011g as there were recent exam ples of good kings depofed, and fome of them maiiacred by wild enthufiafts, fome illdulgence migllt be allowed to thofe warm, but weak friends of fociety, 'VI10 would lay hold of any principle, which, however ill founded, would fupply an ar- J gument for more effeCl:llally preferving the public peace; but to maintain the




fame abfllrd principles at this day, when the danger from which they ferved to Ihelter lIS is over, and the heat of controverfy is abated, Ihews the ftrongeft and molt blameable prepoifeffion. ,V riters ill defence of them do not deferve a feri-

rious anfwer : and to alledge thofe princi-

ples ill favour of a corrupt government, "\yllicIl nothing can excufe but their being brought in favour of a good one, is unpardonable.

The hiflory of this controverfy about the doctrine of paffive obedience and non-refiftance, affords a ftriking example of the danger of having recourfe .... "to

falfe principles in controverfy.· They Inay fervea particular turn, but, in other cafes, may be capable of the moft dan-

gerolls application; whereas univerfal truth will, in all po:lIible cafes, have the beflconfequences, and be ever favourable to the true interefts of mankind.

It will be raid, that it is opening a door to rebellion, to afTert that magiftrates, abufing their power, may be fet a:lide by the


30 POL I 1"' I CAL LIB E R T Y.

the people, wI10 are of courfe their own judges when that power is abufed. May not tIle people, it is [aid, abufe their power, as well as their goverll0rs? I au-

, fwer, it is very pallible they Ina y abufe

their power: it is poffible they may imaglile themfelves opprefled when they are not: it is poffible that their animofity


may be artfully alld unreafonably in-

flamed, by ambitious and enterprifing men, whofe views are often beft anfwered

by popular tumults and infurreetions; and the people may fulfer in confequence of their folly and precipitancy. But what man is th ere, or what body of men (wliofe right to dire-a their own conduct

was never called in queftion) but are liable to be impofed lIpan, and to fuffer ill confequence of their miftaken a ppre .. hcnlions ancl precipitate conduct ~

With refpeCl: to large focieties, it is very improbable, that the people fhould be too foon alarmed, fo as to be driven to thefe extremities, In fuch cafes, the power 'of the government, that is, of the governors, muft be very extenfive

· and



~ ~

and arbitrary; and the power of the peo-

p1e fcatterecl, and difficult to be united , fa that, if a man have common fenfe, he ,viII fee it to be madnefs to propofe, or tolay any meafures fora general infurreCtion againfi thegovernment, except in cafe of very general and great oppreflion. Even patriots, in.fuchcircumftances, will confider, that prefenteviIs alwaysappear greater in coniequence of their being prefent; but chat the future evils of a re-

volt, and a temporary anarchy, may be 11111Cl1 greater than are apprehended at a diflance. They will, alfo, confider, that

unlefs their meafures be perfectly well laid, and their fuccefs decifive, ending in

a change, not of lJlC11, but of things; not of governo~s, but of the nlles and ad-

miniftration of government, they will 0111y rivet their chains the fafter; and

bring lIpan themfelves and their country tenfold ruin.

So obvious are thefe difficulties, that

lie ill the wa y of procuring redrefs of' grievances by force of arms, that I think 'we may fay, without exception, that in all


32 POL I TIC ALL I B E R T Y. all cafes of hofrile oppolition to goverllment, the people mufl have been in the right; and that nothing but very great oppreilion could drive them to fuch def-

peratc meafures. The bulk of a people

feldom fo much as complain without reafon, becaufe they never think of complaining till they .{eel; fo that, in all cafes of dillatisfaction with government, it is mofl: probable, that the people are injured.

The cafe, I own, may be otherwife ill ftates of [mall extent, where the power of the goverl10rs is com paratively fmall, and the power of the people great, and Ioon united. There fears, therefore, may be prudent in Venice, ill Genoa, or in the

fmall cantons of Switzerlandj but it were

to the lafl degree, abfurd to extend them

to Great- Britain.

The Engliih hiftory will inform us, that the people of this country have

always borne "extreme oppreflion, for a

longtime before there has appeared any

danger of a general infurrection ·againft

· the




the government. Wllat a feries of encroachments upon their rights did even the feudal barons, whofe number was

not very confiderable, and whofe power was great, bear from William the Conqueror, and his f1:l.cceffors, before they broke out into actual rebellion on that ac--

count, as in the reigns of king J ohn, and Henry the rhird l And how much were the loweft orders of the poor commons trampled upon with impunity by both, till a much later period ; when, all the

while, they were fo far from attempting any refiftance, or even complaining of the grofs infringements of their rights, that they had not fo much as the idea of their having any rights to be trampled upon! Mter'the people had begun to acquire property, independence, and an idea of their natural rights, how long did .. they bear a load of old and new oppref-

fions under the Tudors, but more efpe-

cially under the Stuarts; before they broke out into what thefriends of arbi-

trary power affeCl: to call the grand re- _ hellio1t ! And how great did that obfli-

nate civil war {how the power of the

D Dng

34 r ot, I TIC A t LIB E R T Y •


king to be, notwithftanding the moft

intolerable and wanton abufe of it! At the clofe of the )rear 1642, it was more probable that the king would have prevailed than the parliament , and his fuc-

cefs would have been certain, if 11is COIl'"

duct had not been as weak, as it was


So great was the l)ower of the crown, that after the reiteration, Charles the fecond was tempted to aCt the fame part with his father, and achially did it, ill a great mcafure, with irnpunity , til], at

laft, lie was even able to reign withour parliaments; aud if he had lived much longer, he would, in all probability, have

. been as arbitrary as the king of France.

His brother J ames the fecond, had al ... moil fubverted both the civil and reli-


gious liberties of his COll11tf}T, in the Ihort [pace of four years, and might have done it completely, if he could have been content to have proceeded with more caution ; nay, he·might have fucceeded: notwithfianding his precipi-

. taney, if the divine being had not, at

· that



that critical time, raifed up William the third, of glorious memory, for our deliverance. But, God be thanked, the go-

vernmeIlt of this country, is now fixed upon fo good and firm a bafis, and is fo generally acquiefced in, that they are only the mere tools of a court partr:, or.~.

the narrow minded bigots a~?~g ~the,:·: :

inferior clergy, who, to ferve tneif~:,-own . low purpofes, do· now and then promote the cry, that the church or the ftate is in danger.

As to what is called the crime of rebellion, we have nothing to do either with the name, or the thing, in the cafe before us. That term, if it admit of

any definition, is an attempt to fubvert a lawful government; but the queftion is, whether an oppreflive government,

tll011gh it have been ever fo long efta-

blifhed, can be a lawful one; or, to

cutoff all difpute aboutwords, if lawful, legal, and conftitutional, be maintained to be the fame thing, whether the law-

ful, legal, and conftitutional govern-

ment be a good government, or one in


D 2 ----- which




which fufficient provifion is made for the ha ppinefs of the fllbj ects of it. If it fail in this eflential character, refpeeting the true end and object of a11 civil government, no other property or title, with which it may be dignified, oughttofhelter


it from the generollS attack of the noble

and daring patriot. If the bold attempt be precipitate, and unfuccefsful, tlie tyrannical government, will be fure to term it rebellion, but that cenf ure call-

not make the thing itfelf lefs glorious, The memory of fuch brave, though 1111- fuccefsful and unfortunate friends of li .. berty, aud of the rights of mankind, as that of Harrnodius anel Ariftogiton among the Atllcnians, and Ruflel and

Sidney in our OW11 country, will be had in everlafting honour by their grateful fellow citizens; and hifLury will Ipeak another language than In. ws,

. ~

If it be afked I10\V far a people Inay

lawfully go ill puniihing their chief magiftrates, I anfwer that, if the enormity of the offence (which is of the fame extent as the injury done to the public)



I' 0 L 1 'I~ I CAL LIB E R T Y. 3 i

be confidered, allY punifhment is juftinable that a Ulan can incur in human fo-


ciety. It may be faid, there are 110

la ws to punifh thofe governors, and we mull not condemn perfons by laws made ex pofl faElo; for this conduct will vindicate the moil obnoxious meafures of the 1110il: tyrannical adminiftration. But I anfwer, that this is a cafe, in its own nature, prior to the eftablifhmenr of any laws whatever; as it afFetls the very being-of fociety, and defeats the principal ends for which recourfe was originally had to it. There may be 110 fixed law againft an open invader, WI10 fhould attelnpt to feize upon a country, with a view to enfla ve all its inhabiranrs : but 111Uft not the invader be apprehended.and even pllt to dea rh, though he have broken no exprefs Ia w then in being, or none of which he .. was properly apprized? AIld '\V11Y Ihould a man, who takes the ad vantage of his being king, or gover- 110f, to fubvert rhe laws and liberties of his country, be confidered ill any other light than that of a foreign invader? Nay his crime is much more atrocious,



as 'he was appointed the gtlardian of the

c.: laws and liberties, which he fubverts,

. and which lIe was, therefore, under tile


ftrongefi. obligation to maintain.

In a cafe, therefore, of this Iligllly criminal nature, falus populi fuprema efl lex. That mufl be done which the good of the whole requires , and, generally, kings depofed, banilhed, or im prifoned,

are highly dangerous to a nation ; becaule, let them have goverI?-ed ever fo ill, it will be the intereft of fome to be their partifans, and to attach themfelves to their caufe,

It will 'be fuppofed, that thefe obfervations have a reference to what paH'ed in England in the year 1648. Let it be fu ppofed. Surely a man, and an En-

glifllman, may be at liberty to give his opinion, freely and without difgllife, concorning a tranfaction of fo old a date. Charles the firft, whatever he was in his

private character, which is Ollt of the qucftion here, was certainly a very bad

~ing of England. During a courfe of

- many




many years, and notwithflanding repeated remonflrances, he governed by maxims utterly fubverfive of the fundamental and free conititution of this country ; and, therefore, he deferved the Ieverefl puniihmenr, If he was milled by his education, or his friends, he was, like allY other criminal, in the lame circumftances, to be pitied, but by no means to be fpared 011 that ac-



From the nature of things it was 11eceffary that the oppofition Ihould begin from a few, who may, therefore, be friled a fac? i01Z; but after the civil war (which neceiTarily eniued from the l{ing's obftinacy, and in which he had given repeatecl inftances of diflimulation and' treachery) there was evidently no fafety, either for the faetion or the nation, Ihort

of his death. It is to beregretted, that the fituation of things was fuch, that the fentencecould not be palled by the whole

nation, or their reprefentatives, folemnly

aflembled for that purpofe. I am IenfihIe indeed, that the generality 'of the na- ·








tion, at that time, would not have voted the death of their fovereign; but this was not owing to any want of a juft fenfe of the wrongs he had done them,

. but to an opinion of the Jacrednejs of kingly power, .from which very few of the

friends of liberty ill thofe times, efpecially among the Preibyterians, w 110 were the majority, could intirely diveft themfelves. Such a. tranfaction would have been an immortal honour to this country, whenever that fuperflitious notion

Ihall be obliterated: A notion which has been extremely ufeful ill the infant ftate of focieties; but which, like other fuperftitions, fubfifts long after it hath ceafed to be of ufe.

The fum of what hath been advanced upon this head, is a maxim, than which nothing is more true, that every government, in its or-iginal pri1zciples, and antecedent to its prefllZt fomi, is an equal repub ..

lie; and, confequently, that every man, when lIe comes to be fenfible of his na-

tural rigllts, and to feel his own impor-

tance, will confider himfelf as fully e-




qual to any other perfon whatever, The COl1fideration of riches and power, however acquired, mufl be entirely fet alide, when we come to thefe firft principles. The very idea of property, or right of

any kind, is founded upon a regard to

the general good of the focict)r, under v{hofe protection it is enjoyed ; and norhing is properly a 11zan'.r OW1Z, but what

gel1eral rules, which have for their objeCt the good of the whole, gi,re to him.

To whomfoever the fociety delegates its power, it is delegated to them for tile more eaf y managclnellt of public affairs, and ill order to make the more effeCttlal provifion for the happinefs of the whole, Whoever enjoys property, or riches in the Itate, enjoys them for the good- of the frate, as well as for himielf , and when-


ever thoie powers, riches, or rights of any

kind, are abufed, to the injury of the

whole, that awful and ultimate tribu-

nal, in which every citizen hath all e-

· qual voice, rna y demand the refignation of them; and in circumftances, where regular commiffions from this abufed

public cannot be llad, every man, WIIO



has power, and who is actuated with the fentiments of the public, may aflume a public character, and bravely redrefs public wrongs. In fuch difmal and critical circumftances, the ftiflecl voice of an opprefled country is a upon

every man, poffeIfed with a fpirit of patriotifm, to exert himfelf; and whenever that voice Ihall be at liberty, it will ra-

· tify and applaud the action, which it could not formally authorize.

In large flates, this ultimate feat of

power, this tribunal to which lies an

appeal from every other, and from which no appeal can even be imagined, is too mllch hid, and kept out of figllt by the prefent complex forms of government,

which derive their authority from it. Hence hath arifen a want of clearnefs and conliflency in the, language of the friends of liberty. Hence the pre"" pofterous and Ila vilh maxim, that whatever is enacted by that body of men, in whom the fupreme povver of the Hate is veiled, mull, in all cafes, be implicitly obeyed; and that no attempt





to repeal an unjufl law can be vindicated, beyond a fim plc remonftrance addreffed to the IegiITators. A cafe, which is very intelligible, but which can never happen, will demonfirate the abfurdity of fuch a maxim.

Suppofe the king of England, and the t\VD houfes of parliament, Ihould make a law, ill all the ufual forms, to exempt the members of either houfe from paying taxes to the governlnellt, or to take

to themfel ves the property of their fellow citizens. A law like this would 0-

. pen the eyes of the whole nation, and' Ihow them the true principles of go-. vernment, and the power of governors.

· The nation would fee that the moft


regular governlnents rna y become ty-

· rannical, and their governors oppreffive,

by feparating their interefl from that of the people WI10n1. tIley govern. Such a la 'v would Ihow them to be bllt fervants, and fervanrs who had Ihamefully abufed their truft. -In Iuch a .cafe,

, . ,

every mall for himfelf would lay his

hand upon 11i~ fword, and the autho-


· rity










rity of the fuprerne 11o\vcr of tue Ilatc would be annihilated.

So plait1 are thele firfr princi ples of all governl11ent, and political liberty, that I will take upon me to fay, it is irnpoffible a Ina!l lhould not be convinced

of them, 1vI10 brings to the fubject a mind free from the groifeft and rneanefl prejllclices. Whatever be the form of

allY goverllment, whoever be thcfupreme magifirates, or whatever be their 11l1m-

ber; that is, to whornfoever the po,ver

of the Iociety is delegated, their authority is, ill its O\VO nature, reverfible. No man call be fuppofed to refign his llarural liberty, but 011 conditions. 'I'hefe conditions, whether they be exprefled or not, muft be violated, whenever the

plain and obvious ends 0 f government are 110t anfwcred ; and a delegated IJov\Ter, perverted from the intention for which it was beftowed, expires of courIe. l\1agifirates therefore, who confult not the

good of the public, and who employ their po,ver to opprefs the people, are a public nuifance, and their power is abrogated ilio Jaffo. Tl1is

POL I TIC A L 14 I B E R T ·Y. 45-


1"111is, however, call only be the cafe in extrcllle oppreilion ; when the blef-

til1gS of focicty and civil government, O'reat alld important as tIley are, are bought too dear; when it is better not

to be go,rerned at all, than to be govcrned ill fuch a manner ; or, at leaft, when the hazard of a change of govcrnment would be a pparently the lefs

evil of the t\VO; and, therefore, thefe nccafions rarely occur in' the courfe of human affairs. It may be afked, what ihould a people (lo ill cafe of Iefs general

oppreilioll, and only particular grievances ; when the deputies of the people make [aws which evidently favour themfelves, and bear hard llpon the body of the people they reprefent, and


fuch as they would certainly difapprove,

could they be affembled for that purpofe ! I anfwer, that when this appears to be very clearly the cafe, as it ought by all means to do (fillce, in many cafes, if the gO'Ternln~nt have not power to

enforce a bad law, it will not have

power to enforce a good one) the firf]

· \ ftep


fiep which a wife and moderate people will take, is to make a remonilrance to the legiflature ; and if that be not practi .. cable, or be not heard , frill, if the com ..

plaints be general, and loud, a wife

prince and miuiflry will pay regard to them ; or they will, at length, be weary of enforcing a penal law which is ge-

nerally abhorred and difregarded ; when

they fee the people will run the rifque of the puniihment, if it cannot be evaded, rather than quietly fubmit to the inj unction, Alld a regard to the good

of fociety will, certainly juilify this conduct of the people.


If an over fcru pulons confcience Ihould prevent the people from ex .. preffillg their fentiments in this man-

ner, there is no method left, until an opportunity offers of chufing honefier deputies, ill which the 'voice of the loweft ciaffes can be heard, in order to obtain the repeal of an oppreflive law.

Governors will never be awed by the voice of the people, -fa long as it is a mere


mere voice, without overt-ads. TIle confeqllence of thefe feemingly moderate maxims is, that a door will be left opento all kinds of oppreffion, without

any refource or redrefs, till the public \vrongs be accumulated to the degree above mentioned, when all the world

would jufiify the utter fubverfion of the government. Tllefe maxims, therefore, admit of no remedy but the laft,

and moil: hazardous of all. But is not even a mob a Iefs evil than a rebellion, and 01lght the former to be fa feverely blamed by writers on this fubjeCt, when it rna y prevent the latter? Of two evils of any kind, political as well as others,

it is the dictate of common fenfe to chufe the lefs. Befides, according to common notions, avowed by writers

upon morals oil lefs general principles, and by lawyers too, all penal laws give a. man an alternative, either to abftain

from the action prohibited, or to take the penalty.








o F



tbe nature 0 C£vil Liberty in

general. ·


T is a matter of the greatell impor............ tance, that we carefully diftinguifh between the jor1Jz and the extent of power

ill a governnlent; for many maxims in politics depend upon the one, which. are too generally afcribed to the other.

It is comparatively of fmall confequence, who, or ho7,'U lna1ZY be our gover-nors,




nors, or boui IOllg their office conti ... nues, provided their power be the fame while they are ill office, and the adminiIlration be uniform and certain, All the

dilfercIlce which can arife to flares from diverfities, ill the number or continuance of governors, can only flow from the motives and opportunities, which thofe different circumfiances may give


their deputies, of extending, or making

a bad uie of their power. But whether · a people enjoy more or fewer of their natural rigIlts,· under allY form of government, is a matter of the Iaft impor ...

tanee; and upon this depends, what, I

Ihould chufe to call, the civil liberty of the flare, as diftinct from its political liberty.

If the po,ver of government he very . extenfive, and the fubjetls of it have, confequently, little power over their

own actions, that governlnent is tyrannical, and oppre:lIive; whether, with refpect to its form, it be a monarchy, an

ariflocracy, or even a republic. For the

governmellt of the temporary magi ...

firates of a democracy, or even the-laws

E' them ...

- f:.O


themfelves may be as tyrannical as the \. maxims of the mort defpotic monarchy, and the adminiftration of the govern-

, ment rna y be as deflructive of private

happinefs. The Ol11y confolation that a democracy fllggefts in thofe circum-

· flances is, that every member of the ftatc has a chance of arriving at a filare ill tile chief luagiftracy, and confequently of

pla}"illg the tyrant in his turn , and as there is 110 government in the world fo perfectly democratical, as that every member of the Ilate, without exception, has a rigllt of being admitted into the

adminiftration, great numbers will be

in the fame condition as if they had lived under the moft abiolute monarchy; and this is, in fact, almoft univerfally the cafe with the poor, in all gov'erllments.


For the fame reaion, if there were 1 no fixed laws, but every thing was de~ cided according to the will of the per ..

fons in power; who is there that would think it of much confequence, whether , hislife, his liberty, or his property were


! at the mercy of one, of a few, ' or of a

· great

C I V ILL I B E R T y_ 5 I

great number of people, that is, of a mob, liable to the worft of infiuences. So far, therefore, we may fafely fay, with Mr. Pope, that thoje gover11JJle11ts which are befl adminiflcrcd are brjl: -that is, provided the power of government . be moderate, and leave a man the molt valuable of his private rights ; provided the laws be certainly known to every one, and the adminiilration of them be uniform, it is of no confequence 110W mallY, or how few perf OIlS are employed in the aclminiil:ration. But it muft be allowed, that there is not the fame chance

for the continuance of [lICIl laws, and of fuch an adminifiration, whether the pow-

er be lodged ill few, or in more hands.

The governlnents now fubfifting ill Europe differ widely in their forms; but it is certain, th a t the prefent ha ppinefs - of the fllbjeCls of them can by no means be eftimated by a regard to that circum-

france only. It depends chiefly UpOl1 the power, the extent, and the maxims

of government, refpeaing perfonal fe- . curity, private property, &c. and on the

E z, ccr-




52 C I V I L ' LIB E R T Y.

certainty and uniformity of the adminiflration .

Civil liberty has been greatly impaired

by all abufe of the maxim, that the

I joint underflanding of all the members of a Ilate, properly collected, muft be preferable to that of individuals , and confequently that the more the cafes are, in which mankind are governed by this united rcafon of the whole community, fo much the better ; whereas, in tr 11 th, the greater part of human acliollS are of fuch a nature, that more inconvenience would follow from their being fixed by

laws, than from their being left to every man's arbitrary will,

\Ve may be affifted "in conceiving the ria turc of this fpecies of liberty, by coniicleril1g what it is that men propofc to by entering into fociety. Now it is evident, that we are 110t led to wilh for a ftate of fociety by the want of any thil1g that we can conveniently procnre


for ourfelves, As a mall, and a member

of civil fociety, I am defirousto receive



fuell ailiftancc as numbers call give to i1Zdiuiduals, but by no means that afliflance '\vllicIl numbers, as fuch, cannot give to

· individuals ; and, leafl: of all, fuch as in-

dividuals are better qualified to impart to numbers. There are many things re[peCl:illg human happinefs that properly fall under the two lafl: mentioned claifes, and the great difficll1ty concerning the due extent of civil government

lies in diftinguifhing the objects that belong to thefe clalIes. Little difficIIlty, however, has, in fact, arifen from the nature of the things, in COIn parifon of the difficulties that have been- occafioned by its beil1g the interefi: of men to combine, confound, and perplex them,

As far as mere .flrelt~tIJ can go, it is e-


vident, that numbers Ina y affifl: an indi-

vidual, and this feems to have been the firft, if 110t the only reafon for having rccourfe to fociety. If I be injllred, and not able to redrefs Iny own wrongs, I aIle help of my neigIlbours and acquaintance ; and occafions may arifc, ill whichthe more affiftance I can procure, the




better.' But I can feldom want the af£fl:ance of numbers in managing my dorneftic affairs, which require nothing but my own conftant infpeCtion, and the

immediate application of Iny own faculties. III this cafe, therefore, any attempt

of numbers to affift Inc, would only occafion embarraflrnent and diftrefs. ·


For the purpofe of finding Ollt truth,

individuals are always employed to af-

fift multitudes ; for, notwithflanding it

.- be probable, that more difcoveries will

be made by a number of perfons than by one perfon; and though one perfon rna y affifr another in fuggefting and per ... fecting any im prov~111ents in fcience ; yet frill they all act as independent int.lividuals, giving voluntary information and advice. For whenever numbers have

, .

truth or knowledge for their object, and

act as a collective body, i. e. autbortta-

five{y, fo that no Iingle perfon can have power to determine any thing till the majority have been brought to agree to it, the' interefls of knowledge will cer~i}ill1y fufFer~ there is fo little profpect

• •




of the prejudices of the many giving way to the better judgment of an individual. Here, there is a cafe, ill which fociety muft alwa y5 be benefited by individuals, as fuch, and not by numbers, in a collective capacity. It is leaft of all, therefore, for the advancement of knowledge, that I fhould be induced to ,villi for the authoritative interpofition of fociery,


In this manner it might not be a very difficult thing, for candid and impartial perfons, to fix reafonable bounds for the interpofition of laws ancl government. TIrey are defective when they leave an individual deftitute of that affiftance

which they could procure for him, and they are burdenfome and oppreflive ; i. e. injurious to the natural rights and, civil liberties of mankind, when they lay a

~ man under unnece!fary reflriclions, by

· controling his conduct, and preventing him from ferving himfelf, with refpect to thofe things, in which they can yield him no real affifi:ance, and in providing for which he is in 110 danger of injuring others. Tllis




This queftion Inay be farther illuflrated by two pretty jufr comparifons. Magifirates are the fervants of the public, and therefore the ufe of them may be illuIlrated by that of fervants. Now let a

man's fortune or his incapacity be fuch

that 11is dependence on fervants is ever fo great; there muft be many things that he will be obliged to do for himfelf, and in which any attempt to affifr him would only embarrafs and difirefs him ; and in many cafes in which perfons do make

ufe of fervants, they would be much more at their eafe, if their fitllation would allow them to do without their afliftance .


If magiftrates be confidered in the more

refpectable light of reprefelitatives ancl deputies of the people, it :fhould likewife be confidered, that there are many cafes,

in which it is more convenient for a lnan to aCt in pcrfon than by any deputation

whatever. .

In fome refpeds, however, it muft be acknowledged, that the proper extent of civil government is not eafily circumfcribed



fcribed within exact limits. That the happinefs of the whole ,comlUllnity is the ultimate end of government can never be doubted, and all claims of individuals inconfiflent wi th the public good are abfolutely null and void ; but there is a real difficlllty in

determining what general rules, .reipeciing the extent of the power of goverl1 .... ment, or of goverllors, are 1110ft condu-

cive to the public good. .

Some may think it bell, that the le-' giflatllre Ihould make exprels provifion for every tIlil1g which can even indirectly, remotely, and confequentially, affeCt tIle public: good; while others lnay think it heft, that every thing, which is 110t


properly of a civil nature, 1110111d be'

entirely overlooked by the civil magi-

Ilrate ; that it is for the advantage of the fociety, l1pan the whole, that all thofe things be left to take their own natural courie, and that the Iegiflature

cannot interfere ill them, without defeatillg its own great object, the public



5B C I V ILL i B E R T Y.


We are fo little capable of arglling a priori in matters of government, that

~t fhould feem, experiments GI1ly can determine 110yV far this po\ver of the Iegifiature otlgllt to extend ; and it Ihould likewife feem, that, till a fuflicicnt number of experiments ha ve been made, it becomes the wifdorn of the civil rna-

I gifiracy to take as little llpOll its hands

'as poilible, and never to interfere, with ... 011t the greateft caution, ill things th at do not immediately affect the lives, liberty, or property of the members of the community; that civil magiftrates fhould hardly ever be moved to exert themfelves by the mere tendencies of tbmg s, thole tendencies are geilerally

fo vagll~, and often fo imaginary; and that nothing but a manifeft and urgent

neceility (of w hich, ho\vev er, themfel ves are, to be fure, the only judges] can

jultify them ill extending their authority · to whatever has 110 more than a tenden-

cy, tl10l1gl1 the frrongeft poffible, to dif-

rurb the tranquility and happinefs of the flate.


C I V ILL I B E R T Y. 59

There can be no doubt hllt that any people, forming themfelves into a fociety, lnay fubject themfelves to "\Y}latever reflrictions they pleafe; and confequently, that the fuprerne civil Inagiftrates, on whom the whole power of the fociety is devolved, may make 'v 11 at laws they pleafe; but the q ueftion

is, what rcfirictions and la ws are wife, and calculated to promote the public


good; for fitch only are jufl:, right, and,

properly Ipeaking, lawful.

Political and civil liberty, as before explained, though very different, have, however, a very near and manifefl: connection : and the former is the chief guard of the latter, and on that account,

principally, it is valuable, and worth contending for. If all the political power of this country were lodged in the hands of one perfon, and the governme~t

· thereby changed into an abfolute mo-

narchy, the people would find no difference, provided the fame laws, and

the fame adminiflration, which now fiib-


60 C I V ILL I B E R T Y.

fin, were continued. But then, tIle

\ people.having no political liberty, would


l have 110 [ecurity for the continuance of


: the fame laws, and the Iame adminiftra-

r tion. TIley would have no gtlard for

their civil liberty. TIle monarch, havillg it ill his option, might not chufe to COlltinue the fame laws, and the fame adrniniflration. He migllt fancy it to be for his OvYIl interefl to alter them, and

to abridge his fubjects in their private rights; and, in general, it l11ay be deponded llPOl1, that goverllors will 110t confult the intcrefl of the people, except

it be their own intercft too, beca ufe governors are but men. Ilut while a 1111111-

ber of the people ha ve a Ihare in the 1 egillature, fo as to be able to control the fupreme magifirate, there is a great probability that things will COl1til111e in a good Ilate, For the more political li-


berty the people ha ve, the Iafer is their

civil liberty.

There mav, however, be fome kind of


gllard for civil liberty, independent of

that which is properly called jJolitical.






C I V ILL I B E R T Y. 6 I


For the fupreme magiflrate, though, 1l0- minallj, he have all tIle' power of the ilate in his hands, and, without violat-

ing al1Y of the forms of the conftitution, may enact and execute what laws he pleafes; yet his circumftances may be tuch, as Ihall Iay him under what is equivalent to a natural il1zpojJibility of doing what lie would chufe. And I do not here mean that kind of reftraint, which

all arbitrary princes are under, from- the fear of a revolt of their fubjeC1s; which is of tell the confequence of great oppreffion; but from VV hat ma y be called the

jj)irit of the tunes,

Magiftrates, being men, cannot but have, in ferne meafure, the feelings of other men. TIley could not, therefore, be happy thcmfelves, if they were confcious that their C011duCt ex_pofed them

to univerfal hatred and contempt, Neither can they be altogether indifferent to the light in which their characters and conduct v;ril1 appear to pofterity. For their own fakes, therefore, they will generally pay fomeregard to tIle fentiments of their people. TIle


62 C I V ILL I B E R T Y.


The more civilized any country is, the more effectual will this kind of guard to political liberty prove; becaufe, ill thofe circumltances, a fenfe of juftice and honour have got firmer hold of the minds of men; fa that a violation of them would be more fenfibly felt, and more.

generally and Itrongly refented. For this reafon, a gentlema'n of fafhion and


fortune has much Ie[s to dread in France,

or ill Denmark, than in Turkey, The confifcation of an overgrov'ln rich mall's effeCts, without any caufe affiglled,

would make no great noife ill the latter;

whereas in thofe countries. in which the


flrl1ls of la \v and liberty have been long

eftablidhed, they riecellarily carry with them more or lefs of the fubflance alfo.

There is 110t, I believe, any country in Europe, in which a man could be condemned, and his effects confifcated, but a crime mutt be alledged, and a procefs of law be gone through. The con-

firmed habit of thinking in thefe conntries is fuch, that no prince could difpellfc


IJenfe with thefe formalities. He would 'be deemed inJalle, if he Ihould attempt to do otherwife ; the fucceffion would be

fet afide in fa vour of the next heir, by the general content of the people, and the revolution \VOIIId take place without blood filed. No perfon Ilanding near aU}T European prince would hefitate what

to do, if his Iovereign Ihould attempt to cut off a mall's head, out of mere wantonneis and :(port, a thing that would only Itrike the beholders with awe in fome foreign courts,

SI10ll1d ehe Englilh goverllment be-

come arbitrary, and the people, difgufl: .. ed with the conduct of their parliaments, do what the people of Denmark have done, chute their fovereign for their

perpetual reprefentative, and fiirrender into his hands all the po"ver of Itate , the forms of a free government have been fo IOllg efl:abliilled, that the moll artful tyrant would be a long time before he

could render life and property as precarious as it is e,rell in France. TIle trial by juries, in ordinary cafes, would fiand




64 C I V ILL I B E R T Y.

a long time ; the habeas corpus would, generally at leaft, continue ill force, and all executions would be ill public.


I~ may be queflioned whether the progrefs to abfolute Ila very and infecll-


rity would be more rapicl, if the king

we-re 1lo11lillally arbitrary, or onl y virtually fo, by uniformly influencing the


houic of Commons,

III fome refpecls, fo large a body of men would venture upon things which 110 lingle perfon would chufe to do of his 0"'11. authority; and fo long" as they had little intercourfe but with one ana .. ther, they would 110t be much affeCted with the Ienfe of fear or Ihame, One may fafely fay, that no fingle member of the houfc would have had the af-

furance to decide as the majority have

often done, in cafes of controverted e-

leCtions. '

. But, 011 the other l1and, as the memhers of the houfe of Commons neceffa-



rily fpend a great part of the fummer




C I V ILL i B E R T Y. 6S.

months with their friends in the COulltry, they could not [hew their faces after pailing an aCl:, by which gentlelnell like rhemfelves, or even their electors, fhould be much aggrieved; though they rna y 110W and then opprefs the poor by unreafonable game acts, &c. becaufe they never con verfe with any of the poor except their immediate dependants, who would not chute to remonftrate on the fubjeC1:.

Betides, fo long as the members of parliament are elected, though only once in feven years, thofe of them that are really chofen by the people can have no

chance of being re-elected but" by pleafing the people; and many of them would not chufe to reduce themfelves


and their pofterity, out of the houfe, to

a worfe condition than they originally

were. Let them be ever fo obfequious to a court, they will hardly chufe to de ... prive themfelves of all power of giving

any tIling for the future. ·



Independent, therefore, of all convic-

tion of mind, there muft be a ?JtinoritJ

F in




in the 110l1fe, whofe clamour and oppo-·


fition will impede the progrefs of tyran-

l1Y; whereas a king, furrounded by his gllards, and a cringing nobility, has 110 check, If, however, he be a man of

fellfe, and read hiftory, he may compre-

hend the various caufes of tIle extreme infecurity of defpotic princes; mU11Y of whom have appeared in all the pOlnp of p0\.'ver in. the morning, and have been

in prifon, without eyes, or mallacred, and drag.ged about the Itrects before night .

At all ad v ell tures, I Ihould think it more wife to bear with a tyrannical parliament, though a more expenfive mode of Iervitude for the prefent, than an ar-

bitrary prince, So long as there is a

povver that can 1Zo11zilla1h' pllt a negative upon the proceedings of the court, there .is forne chance, that circumftances Inay .arife, ill which the prince may not be

able to influence them, TIley n1ay fee the llecejJity, if not the wi/e/01Jt of com.plyillg with the juft defircs of the people ; and by palling a few fundamentally good

C I V ILL I B E R T Y. 67

good laws, true freedom may be eftahliihed for ages; whereas, were the old forms of cOllftitutionalliberty once abolifhed, as in France, there would be little hope of their revival.

Whenever the houfe of Commons lhall be fo abandonedly to join with the court ill aboliihing any of the eJe1ltial forms of the corfiltution, or effectually defeating the great purpofes of it. let every Engliihman, before it be too late, rc-perufe the hillory of his country, and

do what Engliihmen are renowned for having formerly done in the fame circumftances.

Where civil liberty is intirely divefted of its natural guard, political liberty,

Ilhould not helitate to prefer the government of one, to that of a number; becaufe a fenfe of Ihame would have lefs

influence 11pon them, and they would keep one another in countenance, in

. ~

cafes in which any fmgle perfon would

yield to the fenfe of the majority.

F 2



68 C I V ILL I B E R T Y.


Political and civil liberty have manv tllil1gS in common, which indeed, is the reafon "v11Y they have been fo of tell confounded, A fellfe both of political and

civil {lavery, makes a man think mean .. ly of himfelf, TIle feeling of his illugnificance dcbafcs his mind, checks every great and enterpriiing fentiment ; and, in faCt, renders him that poor abject crcature, which 11e fancies himfelf to be. Mavil1[~ always fome unknown evil to fear, though it Ihould never come, he

has 110 perfect enjoyment of himfclf, or of allY of the bleflings of life; and thus, his Ientiments and his enjoyments being of a lower kind, the man finks nearer to tIle [tate of the brute creation,

011 the other hand, a ferrfe of political a11c1 ci viI liberty- ) though there Ihould

- ...

be 110 great occafion to exert it ill the

ccurfe of a man's life, gives him a con-

Ilant feeling of his own power and im-

portance; and is the foundation of his indulging a free, bold, and manly turn of thinking, unreftrained by the lllOfi diflant idea of control. Being free from



c r V ILL I B E R r Y. 69

all fear, he has the moil: perfect enjoymerit of himfelf and of all the bleilings of life; and his fentiments and enjoymerits, being raifed, .his very being is exalted, and the man makes nearer a p-

preaches to fuperior natures.

Without a fpirit of liberty, and a feeling of fecurity and independence, 110 great improvements in agriculture, or any tIling eIfe; will ever be made by men. A man has but poor ellcollragemcllt to

bellow labour and expenee 11 pOll a piece of groulld, in which Ile has no fecure prolJerty; and when neither himfelf, 110r 11i5 poflerity, will, probably, ever derive any permanent advantage from it. .In confirmation of this, I cannot hel P quot .. inga few inftructive paflages from Mr.

DIt Poivre~s Travels of a PIJilojopher •


It is his general obfervation, tllat" a

"country poorly cultivated is always "illllabited by Inen barbarous, or op- · "preffed." p. s-


" In a terreftriaI paradife, the Siamefe




" are, perhaps, the moil wretched pco" pIe in the world. The goverllment is "defpotic. TIle fovereign alone enjoys " the true liberty which is natural to all "mankil1d. His fubjecls are all fiaves. " Everyone of them is annually taxed " at fix 111011tllS perfonal fervice, without ~, \vages, and even without food. P: ,6.

On the other hand, " TIle Chinefe en ... " joy, undiflurbed, their private poffef ... 'L fions, as well as thofe which, being by " tllcir nature indivifible, belong to all; ~, and he who buys a field, or receives it " by inheritance from his anceflors, is " of courfe the fole lord or mailer. The " lands are free as the people, without U feudal fervices, or fines of alienation,

"A tenth part of the produce of the " earth is the only tax, or tribute, in the " Chincfe empire, fi.nce the origill of the cc monarchy. And Iuch is the happy re ..

" fpea which the Chinefe have for their ~, antient cuftoms, that no emperor of

" China ever entertains the moil diflant


~'tllOllgllt of augmenting it, nor l1is

~, fubjects the leaft apprellenfioll of fllCh

" ." 8 I

· augll1elltatlon. 11• 7 • n



III arbitrary governments the poor are certainly the moft fa fe, as their condi-

o tion exhibits nothing that can attract the notice, or tempt the violence of a tyral1t. If, therefore, a man afpire to 110tllillg more than to get his bread by the labour of his hands, in fome cuftomary enI ploymcnt, he has little to fear,

let him live where he will. Like the afs ill the fable, he call but bear his burden. No governmellts can (10 without labourers and artifans. It is their interefl to


protect them, and efpecially thofe vVIlO

are dexterous ill the more elegant arts, that are fubfervient to luxury.

But the poorefl call hardly be without fome degree of ambition, except when that generolls principle has been

long reprelied, and ill a manner eradicated by a continual habit of Ila very;

and the moment that a mall thinks of rendering himfelf'in any refpect confpicuous, for his wealth, knowledge, or influence of any kind, he begins to be in danger. If he have but a very handfome wife, he muft not live l1ear a de-

f fpotic




fpotic court, or ill the neighbourhood of any great man who is countenanced by it. If he have wealth, he mull hide it, and enjoy it in feeret, with fear and trembling; and if he 1Ia ve fenfe, and think differently from his neighbours, he mufl (10 the fame, or rifque the fate

of Galileo.

I Ihall clofe this feB:ion with a few extracts from travellers, and other writers,

which Ihew the importance of political and civil liberty"


" In travelling through Cermany," fays Lady M. W. Montague, " it is im" poflible not to obferve the difFerence "between the free towns, and thofe "ullder the governmellt of abfolute

"pril1ces, as all the little fovereigns of " Germany are. III the firfl: there ap" pears an air of commerce and plenty, " tile ftreets are well built, and full of "people, the Ihops are loaded with "mercllanclize, anel the commonalty " are clean and cheartul, In the other,

" YOll



"YOll fee a fort of Ihabby :finery, a " number of people of quality tawdried

, "Ollt, narrow nafty flreets, out of repair,

" wretclledl y thin of inhabitants, and "above half of the common people

"~l1{_ing alms." Lady .NI. PV. lVlo1Zta- ·

gue's Letters, vol. r. page 16.

" E ,rery houfe in Tllrkey," the fame excellent writer obferves, " at the death " of its mailer, is at the grand feignior's " difpOhl,!; and therefore no mall cares 1

" to make a great expence, which he is " not fure Ills famil y will be the better "for. All their de:Ggn is to build a " houfe commodious, and that will lalt "tllcir lives, and they are ,rery indif" ferent if it falls down the next year."


lb. p. 70.

" The fear of the laws," fays the admirable author of the EjJay on crimes and 1JUlli/h1Jzent s, "is faI tltary, but the "fear of mall is a fruitful and fatal

"follrce of crimes. Men enllaved are "lllore VOlllptUOUS, more debauched,

" anci


" and more cruel than thofe WI1D are ill " a {tate of freedom. Thefe Iludy the

" fciences, and the interefl:s of nations. " Tiley ha ve great objects before their ." eyes, and imitate them. But thofe

" whofe views are confined to the pre"fent moment, endeavour, amidft the " diitraction of riot and debauchery, to " forget their Iituation. Accuflomed to " the uncertainty of all events, the con" fequences of their crimes become pro-

" hlematical ; which gives an additional " force to the Ilrength of their paflions." P. 166,

" TIle Turkilh Baiha w once defiroyed " all the fllgar canes in Cyprus, to prevent " the people l1aving too much wealth. " 1111is iflan.d is to this day the clcarelt

" proof that can be given, how much " .a bad goverll1nent 111 a y defeat all the " kind intentions of nature : for, in Ipire


" of all the advantages a country can

" poffibly have, there never was a more

" defolate place than this ifiand is at this "(lay." Thevenot in Knox's collection,

vel. 6, 11• 7 I. There


There is hardly any gr~ater inflance of the wanton abufe of power, in the

invafion of the natural rights of man-

kind, than in the gn1Jle laws, that are in force ill different ftates of Europe. Eng-

land has juft and great complaint to make on this fubjeCt; bllt we are not yet reduced to the deplorable condition of the Saxons, as it is defcribed by Han ..

\vay, vol. 1. P: 433.

" Hunting is the ruling paflion of the " Saxon court, and fatal to the inhabi"tants. In the hard winter of 1740, it

" is computed, that above 3°,000 deer " died ill the electorate of SaX011}T; alld

"yet, in the open lallds and forefls, "tllere are now reckoned to remain a" bove that number, of which no per" fon dares kill one, under the penalty

" of being condemned to the gallies. In " every town of allY note, there are fif" ty of the inhabitants, who watch, five " every night, by rotation, and ufe bells " to frighten the deer, and defend their "corll. Frequent remonflrances have " been made to the court on this fubjeCl: ;

" but


76 E F FEe T SO}' A

" but to 110 other purpofe, than to COll,:; vince the ,people of their Ila very."

Felix quem faclunt, aliena pcricula cauttnn .


SEC T I '0 I N IV .

. JIl -iobat manner an autbontatiue code of education nuould '!fJell: political and civil liberty .

J A V I N G confidered the nature


of civil liberty in genera], I

fhall treat of t\VO capital branches of

which it coniills. 'I'hefe are the rights of education, and religion. On thefe two articles much of the happinefs of

1111man life is acknowledged to depend : but tIley appear to me to be of fuch a nature, that the advantage we derive


from them \viII be more effeCtllal1y fe-

cured, when they are conducted by il1-

dividuals, than by the Ilate : and if this

can be demonflrated, nothing more is .neceffary, to prove that the civil magiUrate


Urate has no buiinels to interfere with them.

This I cannot hel P thinking to be the [hortet], and the beft illiie upon which

we can put every thing in which tIle ci-

vil magiflrate pretends to a right of interference. If it be probable that the buiineis, whatever it be, will be conducrecl better, that is, more to the ad- _ vantage of fociety, in his hands, than in thole of individuals, the right will 'be allo\vecl. In thofe circumflances, it is

evident, that no friend to fociety can


deny his claim. But if the nature of

the thing be fuch, that the attention of individuals, with refpeet to it, can be applied to more advantage than that of the magiftrate , the claim of the former "

rnuit be admitted, ill preference to that of the latter .


No doubt, there are examples of both


kinds. The a ,rellgillg of injuries, or re-

dreffillg of private wrongs, is certainly better trufled ill the hands of the magiUrate than ill thofe of private perfons;


78 E F FEe T S 0 F A

but with what advantage could a 111agi .. Ilratc interfere in a thouiand particlllars relating to private families, and private friendihips ? Now I think it is clear, that education muil be ranked in the

latter clafs, or among thofe things in which the civil magiftrate has no right to interfere , becaufe he cannot do it to

any goocil)llrpofe. But Iince Dr. Brown

has; lately maintained tIle contrary, in a

treatife, intitled, Thoughts OIL civil liher~1', llcentiotfuefs, and fa II io 11 , and ill an .llppell{lix relative to a prOjJojel/ code of edu-

cation, fubjoined to a Serl1l01L 01l the female character and education. I ihall in this fection, reply to what lIe has advanced on this fubjec], and offer what has occurred to me with relation to it.

Left it fhould 'be apprehended, that I miftake the views of this writer, I Ihall fubjoin a few extracts from the work, which contain the fubftance of what he has advanced on the,fubjeCl: of education. He afTerts, "That, the firft and belt fe-

" curity of civil liberty confifis, in im~' preffing the infant mind with fuch lla-

" bits

COD E 0 FED U CAT ION. 79' (y bits of thought and action, as may cor"refpond with, and promote the ap"pointlnents of public law." In his appendix, he L'lys, that, " by a CODE OF "EDUCATION, he means a fyftem of " principles, religious, moral, and poli" tical, whofe tendency may be the pre,~ fervation of the bleffings of fociety, as

:, they are enjoyed ill a free flare, to be ,; iIlftilled effeCtually into the infant and « growing minds of the community, for " this great end of public happinefs."


III what manner the fecurity of civil liberty is to be effected by means of this code of education, may be feen in the following defcri ption lle gives of the inflitutions of Sparta. "No father had a " right to educate his children accord-

"ing to the ca price of his own fancy.

" TIley vvere delivered to public officers, "who initiated them early in the man"ners, the maxims, the exercifes, the " toils; in a word, in all the mental and " bodily acquirements and habits which " correfponded with the genius of the

~~ Itate. Family connections llad no

" place.


80 E F FEe T S 0 F A

"place. The :firil: and leading objec] " of their affection "vas the general wel"fare. This tuition was carefully con-

" tinued till they were enrolled ill tIle

" lift of men."

With refpecl to the Athenian government, he fays, page 62, " TIle firft and " ruling defect in the inftitution of this " republic feems to have been the total " want of an eftablifhed education, fui" table to t11e genius of the flare. There " appears not to have been any public, "regtllar, or prefcribed appointment of " this kind, beyond what cuftom had " accidentally introduced."

He fays, page 70, "There were three " fatal circumllances admitted into the " very effence of the Roman republic, "wllicll contained the feeds of certain

" ruin ; the firft of which was, the neg"lea of inltituting public laws, by " which the education of their children " migIlt ha ve been afcertained."

He complains, page 8 3, "that the 13ritifh



" Briti:fIl fyflem of policy and religion " is not upheld in its native power-like


" that of Sparta, by correfpondent and

" effectual rules of education; that it is

" in the power of ~very private man to " educate his child, 110t only without a "reverel1ce for thefe, but in abfolute

" contempt of them , that, at the re"vOllltiol1, p. 90, the education of " J'Oll th was frill 1 eft ill an im perfect " Ilatc ; this great revolution having " confined itfelf to the reform of public '~illfiitutions, without afcending to the

"great fountain of political fecurity, " the private and <effeCtual formation of

"the infant mind , and, p. ~07, that "edllcatiol1 '~Tas afterwards left frill

" more and more imperfect.'


Lallly, he afferts, p. I56, ." that " the chief and effential remedy of Iicen" tioufnels and faction, the fundamental

"'lnealls of the l.ailing and fecure efta-

" blilhmentof civil liberty, canonly be in ~~ a gelleral and prefcribed improvement

« of the laws of education, to which all

" the members of the community fllould

-G " legally

B 2 E F FEe T S 0 F .:\.

" legally fubmit ; and that for want of

b · h

"a prefcribed code of education; t e

"lnanners and princi ples, all which

" alone the Ilatc can reft, are ineffec"ttlally inltilled, arc vagtle, fillCtUat"iIlg and felf contradictory. No" thing," he fays, " is more evident, than " that Iome reform ill this great point is

" ncceflary for the fecurity of public free" dom ; and that though it is an incurable

" defect of our political irate, that it has " not a corrctpondent and adequate code " of education inwrought into its firll

u eifellce ; _. we luay yet 110pe, that, ill a " fecondary and inferior degree, fome" thi11g of this kind 111 a y ftill be inlaid;

" tha t, though it cannot ha ve that perfeCl " efficacy, as if it had been originally of " the piece, yet, if well conducted, it " fila y frrengtl1en the weak parts, and al .. " leviate defects, if not completely reIt move tI1Cll1."

III COlldllCl:illgnlY examination of rhefe fel1till1cllts, I ihall make no remarks 11 pon any particular paffages in the book, but

confider only the author's general fcheme, and


COD EO}' E Due A T ION. 83

and the proper and profeffed object of it.

Al1d as the doctor has propofecl 110 particular plan of public education, I Ihall be as gelleral as he has been, and only

Ihew the inconvenience of eftablifhing, by law, allY plan of education whatC\'Cl·.

'This writer pleads for aplan of educa-

tion eftablifhed by the Iegiflature, as the on]}'" effeCtllal method of preventing facli-

on ill the Iiate, and fecurillg the perpetuity of our excellent conltitution, eccleiia-

Ilical and civil. I agree with him, in ac-.

kno"\vledgi11g the importance of educati- 011, as influencing the manners and the conduct of men, I alfo acknowledge, that an uniform plan of education, agreeable to the principles of any particular

form of gOYCrnlncllt, ci vil or ecclefiaftical, would tend to eftabliih and l1erpetll-

ate that form of government, and prevent civil diflentions and factions in the Itate, But I Ihould object to the interference of

thelegiflature in this buftnefs ofeducation, as prejudicial to the proper defign of edu-

cation, and alfo to the great ends of civil

G ~ focieties



84 E F FEe T S 0 F A

focietics with refpecl to their prefent utility, I Ihall moreover Ihow, that it

'V0111d lie abfolutely inconliftent with the

true principles of the Engliih governrncnt, and could not be carried into execution, to any purpofe, without the ruin of our prefent conftitut.on. I beg the candour of the public, while I cndeavour to explain, ill as few words as por-

t frble, ill what manner, I a pprehend, tl1is rnterference of the civil magiflrate would


operate to obftrucl; thcle great ends ; and

1 {hall confider thefe articles feparately.

I obferved ill the firft place, that a legal code of education lnight interfere with the proper (lefigll of it. I do not

mean what this writer feems to confider as the 011ly object of education, the tran-

- quility of the Ilate, but the forming of wife and virtuous men , which is certainly all objeB: of the goreateft importance ill everv Itate. If the conflitution


of a Itate be a good one, fuch men ,vill

be the grcatefi: bulwarks of it; if it be a bad one, they will be the moft able and ready to contribute to its reformation:


COD E 0 F · E Due A T ION. 85 ill either of which cafes they will render it the greateft fervice .



Education is as 11111C11 all art (founded,

as all arts are, llpon fcience) as hulbandry, as architecture, or as Ihip-building, In all theie cafes we have a practical probIe111 propofed to lIS, which mufl be l)erformed by the hel p of data with which experience and obfervation furnilh lIS. The end of Ihip- building is to make the heft fhips, of architecture the beft houfes,

and of education, the belt men. Now,


of all arts, thofe Iland the faireft chance

of being brought to perfeB:ion, ill which there is opportunity of making the U10ft experiments and trials, and ill which there are' the gr~ateft number and variety of perfons employed ill making them,

Hillory and experience Ihow, that, ceteris paribus, thofe arts have always, in faa, been brought the fooneft, or the nearefl: to perfection, which 11a ve been placed ill thofe favourable circumftances. The reafon is, that the operations of the human mind are flow ; a number of


falfe hypothefes and conclufions always

G 3 precede



8 6 E F FEe T S 0 F 1\.

precede the right one , and ill every art, manual or liberal, a number of awk-

ward attclnpts arc made, before we are able to execute any thing which will bear to be Ihown as a mafler-piecc in its kine} ;


fo that to eftablilh the methods and pro-

celles of any art, before it have arrived to a ftate of perfection (of which no man call be a judge) is to fix it ill its infancy,

to perpetuate every tIlillg that is inconve-

nient and awkward in it, and to cut offits future growtll and improvement. And to eflabliih the methods and procefles of

· any art when it has arrived to perfection is fuperfluous. It will then recom ... mend and eftabliih itfelf.

.. ~

Now I appeal to allY perfon whether

Cl;ny plan of education, which lias yet been put ill execution in this kingdom, be ic) perfect as that the eilahlilhing of it by authority would not obftruc] the great ends of education ; or even whether the

J ~

united genius of mall could, at prefent,

form fo perfect a plan. . Every man who is experienced in, the buiinefs of education well knows, that the art is ill its infan-

cy ;