Essay Forms Government

Essay Forms Government-18
And if they attribute these stupendous Structures, which have been so often changed, repaired, beautified, and defaced, but never totally destroyed, to meer Force (without entering into the Improbability of such a Fact) they thereby open a Mine to sap and overturn them all, and they in fact tell us, we are no longer obliged to obey our sovereign Magistrate, ---for by the Law of Nature, all Contracts we enter into, through an immediate Fear of an impending Danger, either with the Party that causes such Fear, or any other through his Compulsion, are null, and of no Force; and we are at Liberty to break them, on the first Opportunity we can with Safety to oueselves; ---and this Rule of Reason is so absolute, that no written Law can repeal it, no Prescription render it obsolete, nor Oath, or Surrender of the Privilege of making use of it, deprive us of the Benefits it gives us.If therefore we admit that our Fore-fathers were compell’d, by some one among them more formidable than the rest, to constitute Governments, and grant to any Being a supreme Power; we must also allow, that such Constitution was illegal, and such Being could not acquire any Thing, with Justice, by such Grant; consequently, we their Successors have a right to re-demand whatsoever he may have usurped by the Pretext of such Grant, and in Case of Refusal, wrest it from his Hands by Force, and punish him for his Obstinacy, nay, call him to an Account for all his Actions, and compell him to restore what he may have thereby taken from us or our Parents; whither such a Principal tends, and what would be the ill Consequence of preaching such a Doctrine, to any Persons who think for themselves, and have the least Love for Liberty, I leave to any one to judge.The Author of the Pamphlet, I have been mentioning, hath not, it is true, afforded any thing to lay hold of, nor by laying down any direct Principles, enabled his Adversaries to enter into a fair Dispute with him; but only in seeming Arguments, traduces the constant Friends of Liberty, and is shocked at the too great Freedom his fellow Subjects enjoy; whom he seems desirous to see reduced to the more salutary State of he now assumes to be, and leave to the Judgment of the World, the Preferableness of their Tenets.

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If such be the Nature of our Dispositions, no Wonder if soon in the State of Nature, when one Man attack’d another, either in his Property, or Family, (both which Rights were prior and antecedent to the Constitution of States,) the Attacked defended himself by Violence, retorted the Injury, and carried this Violence farther than he ought by the Laws of Nature, and by that Means introduced perpetual Warfare and Disputes; nay, this Opinion we have confirmed in some Measure by Holy Writ, so early as under our Fore-father out of the Way, who stood between him and the Favour of the Almighty, and by that Means, as heimagined, decreased the Prosperity of his temporal Affairs.

If two or three could not live in the World, without having Variances, and entertaining hostile Dispositions, we may easily imagine that these decreased not, as the World became more populous, but augmented gradually as the Number of the Sons of Earth increased, till they came to that Height, as not to permit a Man to rest assured of any Thing he possessed, and compell’d every one to have perpetually Recourse to Violence, to protect and preserve his Possessions and Family: As every one felt the Grievance of this State, no Wonder if they all soon turned their Thoughts to remedy it, and consented to those Measures which were most probable to have such an Effect, and agreed to refer their Disputes and Variances, to the amicable Decision of an Arbitrator: As the World was not then encreased beyond the Connexions of one Family, tho’ that was pretty numerous, who then could be found more proper than the common Parent of all the Disputants, whose Attachment to all Parties being equal, his Judgments might the more justly be presumed to be impartial, and to whom, by Reason of the natural Affection they must naturally have for him, they would more willingly confer this Mark of Superiority—when he came to die, then his Authority was again divided among the different Fathers of Families, each deciding the Differences of his several Children.

Gordon takes issue with some of the main natural law theorists, Pufendorf, Barbeyrac and Grotius, over the right of subjects to obey a tyrannical king or of slaves to obey their master.

Gordon goes to the root of the problem by discussing the origin of the state in one of more supposed “contracts” between the people and a sovereign king.

THis Remedy thus amended, served, while the World was in its Infancy, and the Produce of the Earth yielded the Inhabitants wherewith to live, within their several Family Districts; but when some Families began to be too populous to subsist on their Portions, without travelling farther, Disputes began to break out between the particular Members of different Families, which could not be decided in the common Manner, because the Parties acknowledged not a common Superior.

These could be appeased by no other Means, than the appointing an universal Arbitrator, who might decide all Disputes between any Parties whatsoever.And this Grant of a Power to judge Causes seems to have laid the first Foundation of Governments, and on it they all may be said to be built, not only without hurting their main Structures, but even without depriving them of any of their distinct Parts; how probable such an Account may be, I must leave to the Judgment of the Reader.This Power originally was only a Right of giving an Opinion on the Matter of Dispute, unattended with any coercive one, of putting in Execution the Sentence pronounced, because it was not imagined that the Party who was condemned, would persist in his Attempts after such Sentence; but Experience soon convinced Mankind of their Error, and shew’d them that this Remedy was a very weak one, and by no Means sufficient for the Evil: This therefore induced them to go one Step further, and part with a Degree of their natural Liberty, by granting to their Arbitrators the Power of putting their Sentences in Execution, and compelling the Refractory to obey their Orders.A Doctrine that cannot be refuted, ought to be propagated; and while an even Liberty is allowed to all Men to communicate their Thoughts to the Publick, there is no Danger, that any one will be able to impose any ridiculous Systems on the World.Besides, is it not a sufficient Check on Men, that they are punishable in an exemplary Manner, for publishing any thing contrary to the Laws of their Country; should their Foolhardiness lead them into any Attempts of that Sort!He concludes that even if a contract does exist it does not therefore allow a tyrant king to act unchecked. This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. But as I have neither their Motives, nor intend to use their dedicatory Stile, I hope I may venture to go out of their Path, and by following the Dictates of an affectionate Vanity, publickly boast of your Friendship and Patronage.Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. As the present Sheets, will not be perused by you till in Print, excuse me if I trouble you with the first Motive that induced me to write them; you may remember at the Time of the Dissolution of the last Parliament, a Pamphlet was published, addressed to one of the two Parties now dividing these Kingdoms, exhorting them to join and unite to an amphibious Sect, in order to wrest our Constitution from its original Basis; and in its Room, raise a Scheme of Arbitrary Power.When we are unaccustomed to these three Privileges, I wonder what Remains can possibly be left of publick Liberty, but a Shadow and a Name?If the Press by being unrestrained is sometimes the Minister of evil Men, as in the Case of the ever memorable it is always ready to assist the honest Man to confute such Principles.I own, I felt Indignation at Reading this which to me seemed to be a sounding the Trumpet of Despoticism, and I could not but be shocked, to hear a Man complain of the too great Liberty of the Press; while he himself, is the most flagitious Abuser of that Liberty he would restrain.This Freedom may very truly be said to be a characteristical Badge of the Freedom of the State, as by that alone Liberty of thinking is preserved; the Deprivation of which, is always attended with the Loss of Freedom of Speech, and the next Consequence is the Loss of free Agency.

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