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PR EF A C E.
Never saw an unruly Crowd of People cool by Degrees into Temper, but it gave me an
Idea of the Original of Power and the Na. ture of Civil Inftitutions. One particular Man has usually in ibofe Cafes, from the Dignity of his Appearance, or other Qualities known or 1. magired by the Multitude, been received into sudden Favour and Authority; the Occafion of their Difference has been represented to him, and the Matter referred to bis Decision.
This first Step towards acting reasonably has brought them to themselves; and when the Per. fon, by an Appeal to whom they first were taken out of Confusion, was gone from amongst them, they have calmly taken further Measures from a Sense of their common Good.
Absolute unlimited Power in one Person seems to bave been the first and natural Recourse of Mankind from Disorder and Rapine; and such a Government must be acknowledged to be better than no Government at all: But all Refrictions of Power made by Laws and Participation of Sovereignty among several Persons, are apparent Improvements made jupon what began in that unlimited Power. This is what seems reasonable to common Sense; and the Manner of maintaining abfolute Dominion in one Person,
where ever it fubfifts, verifies the Observation : For the Subjection of the People to such Authority is supported only by Terrors, Sudden and private Executions, and imprisonments; and not as with happy Britons, by the Judgment, in Cafes of Liberty and Property, of the Peers, and Neighbours of Men accused or prosecuted. This absolute Power in one Person, as it is nerally exercised, is not indeed Government, but at best clandestine Tyranny, supported by the Confederates, or rather Favourite-Slaves of the Tyrant.
I was glad to find this natural Sense of Power confirmed in me by very great and good Men, who have made Government, and the Principles on which it is founded, their profesed Study and Meditation.
A very celebrated Author has these Words;
The Case of Man's Nature standing as it does, some kind of Regiment the Law of Nature doth require; yet the kinds thereof being many, Nature tieth not to any one, but leaveth the Choice as a thing arbitrary. At the first, when some certain kind of Regiment was once approved, it may be that nothing was then further thought upon for the Manner of governing, but all permitted unto their Wisdom and Discretion which were to rule; 'vill by Experience they found this for all Parts very inconvenient, so as the thing which they had devised for a Remedy did indeed but increase the Sore which it should have cured. They saw that to live by one Man's Will became the Cause of all Mens Misery. This constrained them to come unto Laws, wherein all Men might see their Duties before
hand, and know the Penalties of tranfgrefling then. Men always knew that when Force and Injury was offered, they might be Defenders of themselves; they knew that howsoever Men might seek their own Commodi. ty, yet if this were done with lojury to others, it was not to be suffered, but by all Men and by all good Means to be withstood.
Finally, They knew that no Man might in Reason take upon him to determine his own Right, and according to his own Determina. tion proceed in Maintenance thereof, inar. much as every Man is towards himself, and them whom he greatly affecteth, partial; and therefore that Strifes and Troubles would be endless, except they have their common Con. sent all to be ordered by some whom they should agree upon.
Mr. Stanhope, in Defence of Refistance in Cases of extream Necesity, cites this memora. ble Parage from Grotius;
If the King hath one Part of the Supream Power, and the other part is in the Senate or People; when such a King hall invade that Part that doth not belong to him, it shall be lawful to oppose a jult Force to him, because his Power doth not extend so far: Which Position I hold to be true, even though the Power of making War should be vested only in the King, which must be under. stood to relate only to foreiga War: For as for Home, it is impossible for any to have a Share of the Supream Power, and not to have likewise a Right to defend that Share.
An eminent Divine, who deferves all Honour for the Obligations be bas laid upon both Church and State by bis Writings on the Sub. je&t of Government, argues against Unlimited Power tbus;
The Question is, Whether the Power of the Civil Magistrate be unlimited; that is, in other Words, Whether the Nature of his Of. fice require it to be fo But what? Is it the End of that Office that one particular Person may do what he pleaseth without Restraint ? Or that Society should be made happy and secure? Who will say the former? And if the latter be the true End of it, a less Power than absolute will answer it: Nay, an abso. lute Power is a Power to destroy that End, and therefore inconsistent with the End it self,
These Pallages I thought fit to produce by way of Preface to the following Discourse, as carry. ing in them the Reason and Foundation of Government it felf, and in Maintenance of wbat palled at the Revolution.
1 fall only beg leave to add to them one ve. ry great Living Authority, the present Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain; who in a late famous Trgal, did openly before Queen, Lords and Commons, maintain the Lawfulness of the Revolution under the Notion of Refiftance, and asert before the most folemn and anguft Assembly of Europe, that there are extra. ordinary Cases, Cafes of Neceflity, which are implyed, though not expressed in the General Rule; that is, which are so plain and so open to the common Sense of Mankind, that even whilf you are declaring Resistance in all Cases
to be unlawful, you are of necessity understood to mean, that Refiftance in fome Cafes is lawful. I am pleased to observe, that no one ever put the Matter so strongly, or carried it so high as this great Man did upon that Critical Occasi. on. At the same time be was so just to his Country as to declare, That such a Cafe un. doubtedly the Revolution was, when our late unhappy Sovereign then upon the Throne, mil-led by evil Consellors, endeavoured to subvert
and extirpate the Protestant Religion, and the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom.