The first Part.
I Have often thought it strange that among all the Governments, either past or being, the Mo∣narchicall should so far in extent and number exceed the Popular, as that they could never yet come into comparison. I could never be per∣swaded, but it was more happy for a people to be disposed of by a num∣ber of persons jointly interested and Page 2 concerned with them, then to be numbred as the herd and Inheri∣tance of One to whose lust and mad∣nesse they were absolutely subject; and that any man of the weakest reason and generosity would not rather choose for his habitation that piece of earth, whereon there were accesse to honour by virtue and no worth could be excluded; rather then that where all advancement should proceed from the will of one scarcely hearing and seeing with his own Organs, and gain'd for the most part by means lewd and indi∣rect, and that in the end to amount to nothing else but a more splendid and dangerous slavery. To satisfie this, I considered how inscrutably Providence carryes on the turns and stops of all Governments, so that most people rather found them then made them; the constitutions of men, some not fit to be masters of Page 3 their Liberty, some not capable, some not willing: the Ambition of setled Tyrants, who breaking their own bounds have brought in violent alterations, and lastly, civill discord, which have either corrupted or al∣tered better settlements.
But these are observations, ra∣ther then Arguments, and relate to fact, rather then reason. That which astonished me most was to see this Heroick learned Age, not onely not rising to thoughts of Li∣berty, but in stead thereof foolish∣ly turning their wits and swords a∣gainst themselves in the maintenance of Them, whose slaves they are, and indeed they can be no weak causes that produce so long and settled a distemper though some of them I supposed, if not most of them, are these.
He knoweth nothing that know∣eth not how superstitiously the Page 4 generality of mankind is given to hold up traditions, and how perti∣natious it is in the maintenance of its first prejudices, insomuch that a discovery or more refind reason is as insupportable to them, as the Sunne is to an eye newly brought cut of darknesse; hence opiniatri∣trie (which is commonly propor∣tioned to their ignorance) and a generous obstinacy sometimes to death and ruine: So that it is no marvell if we see many Gentle∣men whose education enabled them onely to use their senses and first thoughts, so dazled with the splen∣dor of a Court, prepossessed with the affection of a Prince, or be∣witched with some subdolous fa∣vour, That he chooseth rather any hazard then enchantment should be broke up. Others perhaps a degree above these, yet in respect of some Title stuck upon the Family (which Page 5 hath been as fortunate a mysterie of Kingship as any other) or in re∣reverence to some glorious former atchievements (minding not that in all these cases the people are the onely effective means, and the King onely imaginary) they think they should degenerate from bra∣very in bringing on a change. O∣thers are with-held by sloth and ti∣merousnesse, either not daring or unwilling to be happy; some look∣ing no further then their private welfare, indifferent for the multi∣plication of publick evils. Others (and these the worst of all) out of pravity of nature sacrificing to their ambition and avarice, and in order to that, following any power con∣curring with any Machinations, and upholding their Authours: whilst Princes themselves, (trained up in these Arts, or receiving them in Tradition) know how to wind all Page 6 their humours to their own advan∣tage, now foisting in the Divinity of their Titles into Pulpits, now a∣muzing the People with magnifi∣cencies and inter-ludes, now divert∣ing their hot Spirits to some unpro∣fitable forrain War (making way to their accursed ends of revenge or glory, with the effusion of that bloud which should be as dear to them as their own:) Now stroak∣ing the People with some feeble but enforced Law (for which not∣withstanding they will be paid;) and 'tis observed, the most notori∣ous Tyrants have taken this course; Now giving up the eminentest of their Ministers (which they part with as indifferently as their Robes) unto the rage and fury of the People, so that they are com∣manded and condemned by the same mouth, and the credulous and ignorant believing their King set o∣ver Page 7 them, sit still, and by degrees grow into quiet and admiration, e∣specially if lulled a sleep with-some small continuance of peace (be it never so unjust, unsound, or dange∣rous) as if the body politick could not languish of an internall disease, whilst its complexion is fresh and chearfull.
Those are the Reasons, which (if I conceive aright) have stupified the lesse knowing part of mankind, Now how the more searching part hath so odly miscarried, will fall un∣der consideration.
First, then, we need not take the pains to demonstrate how easie a thing it is for men of acutenesse, not conversant in Civil things not one∣ly to miscarry in the apprehension, but even in the judgement of them; for they instead of bringing the se∣ries and reason of affairs into rule and method, use contrariwise to Page 8 measure them by their own presup∣posed speculation; and by that means become incapable of weighing rightly the various incidences and circumstances of businesses: For it is to be observed, that the Theorems of no Art or Profession are more easily found, or of difficulter pra∣ctice, then those of Policy; so that it is no wonder if men meerly con∣templative, fail so oft in the very laying of grounds, as we shall anon instance: now how fruitfull dain∣ties are Errour and Absurdity, we all know. But more especially the contentions of contemplative men are most numerous, various and endlesse; for wrangling is with them an Art, and they are endued with that ungenerous shame never to acknowledge: Besides their prin∣ciples are most times ill rivetted, and it is to be feared, that in their super∣structions, they as often call in their Page 9 imaginations, as their judgement to frame arguments. Besides, these men fighting onely with Pen, Ink, and Paper, seldome arrive at a means to decide the Quarrell, by which he that gains the last word is supposed Conquerour. Or the other leaves al∣most as inglorious a conquest to the Victor as if he had been overthrown
That which I would say from all this, is, that the generality of spe∣culative men, for the most part gui∣ding their understandings by those notions which they find in Books: fall not seldome by this means into considerable Errours: For all Books, those I mean that are humane, and fall directly under consideration, ei∣ther lay down Practicall things, and observations of King-ship, or some generall and universall Notions, or else controversially Assert Monar∣chy against some opposers. Now in the two latter there are generally Page 10 found two grand and insupportable fallacies, the first whereof is, that they fraudulently converse in gene∣rals, and (to borrow the School-term) speak of that in the Ab∣stract, which they should do in the Concret: As for example, where they should assert the particular right of this or that Prince, they cunningly or ignorantly lay out most of their discourse in generall about Monarchy, and not seldome weary and amaze the dispute, be∣fore they come to the true Ground and stating of the Quarrel, whereby the Readers diverted by such pre∣possession, and entangled by generall Notions of Authority, Power and Government, seldome descend into the consideration of particulars; where the great scruple and difficul∣tie for the most part lies. So that a∣ny King (be his accesse to the Go∣vernment never so fraudulent and Page 11 unjustifiable) becomes to be look'd on as sacred Authoritative, and by degrees begins to blush at the Attri∣butes of Sacred Majesty, Grace, and Highnesse; or any other Terms that the servile flattery and witty Barbarity of Courtiers can give un∣to them; nay some even of the wic∣ked Roman Emperours, could be content to be saluted with Perenni∣ties and Divinities, whereas if men would call their reasons into Coun∣cel, they might find that these bla∣zing Stars were opake Bodies, and shone onely by reflection: These men having no more then either the Cabal of their own state and di∣stance. or the wretched Imposition upon the People cast on them; For would men divest the Authority from the Person, and then common∣ly find it inconsiderable, if not posi∣tively evil. And again, consider Au∣thority in it self as a thing fixt, ve∣ritable, Page 12 immutable, and (when just∣ly administred) sacred, they might find, that granting a Prince to be the most Regular Just person in all the World, yet many men as good, joyned with him, and intrusted, and concurring to the same end, might do much more good; and that to deny this, were to be as irrationall, as to deny that one Person could do no good at all. But however, this I take to be certain and demonstrable out of their own Principles, that Kings being onely to be considered in respect of the trust and power that lies on them, a number of men by as just means (to say not better) inve∣sted with the same trust and power, are every jot as sacred, and of as much divine right as any Monarch is (the power being essentially the same united or divided, as if a Commission be to one or three) it will then result, that republicks may Page 13 be as Just and Authoritative, as King-ships, and then their radicall Argument of the Jure Divino of King-ship is wholly enfeebled, and the other rendred equally as Sove∣raign. And I am to note (but this is but transiently) the poornesse, or to say better, the Blasphemy of that Ar∣gument, that flourishes out Kings as the Eclypes of Divinity, and vainly lavishes some Metaphysicks, to prove that all things have a natu∣rall Tendencie to an Onenesse; nay, the itch of some merry wits, have carried them to run over most of the Attribuies (as some English Law∣yers have talkt of the Legal, I must say phantasticall ubiquity and om∣niscience of our Kings, though we see the contrary, and some Civilians about the Emperour, have gone be∣fore them) whereas they should con∣sider, that the immense simplicity of God flows out in its severall work∣ings, Page 14 with ineffable variety, God be∣ing every-where and the same, or as the Platonists say, a Center in every part of his Circle, a Spirit without Quantity, Distance and Comprehen∣sion; whereas man is a determinate narrow thing, who doing one thing, ceaseth to do another; and thinking of one thing, is forc'd to quit his for∣mer thought. Now how fit he is to be a shade of this Archytipe, let any judge, unlesse he could be refined from his corporeity, and inlarged in∣to a proportionable immensity. Be∣sides, I know not whether it be safe to think or no, That as God, who for the most part, suits men with gifts sutable to the places to which he calls them, would in some mea∣sure poure out his Spirit proporti∣onate to these men, whereas as most commonly we find them, notwith∣standing their extraordinary Ad∣vantages, of society, education and Page 15 Business, as weak men as any other, and good Princes being swayed by the advice of men, good and wise, and the bad seduced by men of their own inclinations; what else are all Monarchies, but in reallity Opti∣maces for a few only essentially govern, under the name of one who is utterly as unable as the meanest of those over whom hee claimes su∣periority.
The second Fallacy or paralo∣gism is this, That men, while they Labour thus to support Monarchy tell us not what kind of Monarchy it is, and consequently gain no∣thing, although we should grant, them the former proposition to be true; For what does it avail to acertain me of the Title of such a Prince, if I know not by what Title he holds, grant it were visible to me that such a man was markt out by providence to be my Go∣vernour, Page 16 yet if I cannot tell what kinde of one, whether absolute, mixt, limited, meerly Law-Execu∣tive, or first in order, how shall I know to direct my Obedience? if he be absolute, my very naturall liberty is taken away from me, nor doe I know any power can make any man such; The Scripture hold∣ing out just Limitations and re∣strictions to all Governours. If mixt and limited, I must know the due temperature and bounds, or else he may usurpe or be mistaken, and I oppressed or injured. If Law-Executive, the power fundamen∣tally resides not in him, but in the great Counsell, or them intrusted by the people, then I adore onely a shadow: Now if any Prince of Europe can really clear up these mistes, and shew the lines of his Government drawn fairly, and his Charter whole and Authentick, like Page 17 that of Venice and the first Rome: For my part, Ile be the first man shall sweare him Allegiance, and the last that will preserve him. But you will finde that they will tell you in generall about their office, and in particular of their claimes of Succession, Inheritance and An∣cestors, when look but three or foure stories back, and you will meet either some savage unnatur∣all Intrusion (disguiz'd under some forc'd Title or inexistent Cognation) or else some violent alteration, or possibly some slender Oath or Ar∣ticles hardly extorted and imperr¦fectly kept. Now if any man tha∣will but run over these rules, and apply them to any History what∣ever (as we shall exemplify in that which for the present we have pitcht upon) and not finde most Titles Ambiguous, the effects of former Monarchies (for where, in Page 18 a Catalogue of forty Kings, can you almost shew me three good ones, but things meerly strugling to maintain their Titles and dome∣stick Interest) ruinous to the peo∣ple (who, for the most part, consi∣dering them no otherwise then as to be Rescued from violent Confu∣sion, not as they conduce to the po∣sitive happinesse of a civil life) my small conversation in Books is ex∣treamely false: And truly I con∣ceive it may be the rationallest course to set any judgement aright, because it instructs by experience and effects, and grounds the judge∣ment upon materiall observation, and not blindly gropes after no∣tions and causes, which to him are Tantum non inscrutable, But of that anon: A main mistake under this Topick, hath been an erroneous Comparison and application of matters Civil and Military; for Page 19 men observing that mixt Councels about Generals, Plurality, equa∣lity of Commands, often and sud∣den Military alterations, have brought on no small distempers and dangers to severall Govern∣ments and attempts; Therefore they presently collect, that in Ci∣vils also it is the safest to continue a Command in one-hand for the preventing of the like disturbances: But here they are deceived, Civill matters consist in long debate, great consideration, patient expectation and wary foresight, which is better to be found in a number of choice experienced heads, then in one single one, whose youth and vigor of Spirit innables him rather to Action, and fils him with that no∣ble Temerity, which is commonly so happy in Martial things, which must be guided alwayes to prevent occasions (which are seldom to be Page 20 found again, and which, mistaken, are to scarcely amended) Besides the ferocity of daring spirits, can hardly be bounded while they stand levell, so that it is no won∣der if they extinguish all emula∣tions, by putting the power into the hands of one, whereas in the Citty, it is quite otherwise; and Factions (unless they be Cruelly exorbitant) doe but poyse and ballance one another, and many times like the discord of humors upon the naturall Body, produce reall good to the Politicks. That slender conception, that nature seems to dress out a principality in most of her works, as among Birds, Bees, &c. is so slen∣der (in regard they are no more chiefs then what they fancy them, but all their prepotency is meerly predatory or oppressive, and even Lyons, Elephants, Crocodiles and Eagles, have small inconsidera∣be Page 21 enemies, of which they stand in fear, and by which they are of∣ten ruined) that the Recitall con∣futes it; and if it were so, yet un∣less they could prove their One man to be as much more excellent as those are, and that solely, I see not what it would advantage them, since to comply with the designe of Nature in one, they would con∣trary it in others, where shee were equally concerned. But these Phy∣lologicall and Rhetoricall Argu∣ments, have not a little hindered the severer disquisition of reason and proposessed the more easy mindes with notions so much har∣der to be layd aside, as they are more erronious and pleasing.
These are the fundamentall er∣rours that have misled the judge∣ment; now those which have mis∣guided the conscience, have princi∣pally proceeded from the mis-inter∣pretation Page 22 of Scripture, and there∣fore seeming Sacred, have been less examined and doubted, as carrying the most authority. Thus in the old Testament, there being such fre∣quent mention of Kings, which notwithstanding, were Given in wrath, they superstitiously hold forth, not only the necessity, but the impunity of Kings, whereas wee know not their powers and limita∣tions, and it is in consequentiall to argue, That because Judea was so governed, wee should follow the paterne, when we find neither pre∣cept consequence, nor necessity con∣vincing. And it is mad to think that while the Spirit of God so freely and vehemently exclaimes against the iniquiries of men, that God would authorize it so far as to leave it in them unpunishable. As for the antiquity from Adam it is true, before his fall his domi∣nion Page 23 was large and wide, but it was over the Beasts (that after his fall learned to rebel against him) and aconomically not despotically over his wife and children, But what is this to Civil Government? In the new Testament (for I the brieflyer pass over this head, in re∣gard it hath been so copiously treated upon by those under whose profession it falles, and that it doth not immediatly conduce to my de∣signe) the principall hath been the meeknesse of Christ and his com∣plyance with Civill powers, which certainly if he had been disposed to have resisted, he could as easily have overthrown, as with a few cords whip the buyers and sellers out of the Temple. But hee that was the wisdome of his Father, ra∣ther thought fit to build up his Kingdom, which is never earthly, nor known of men of earth, in Page 24 meeknes and obedience to civill powers, which are perpetually changed and hurried at the will of the first mover, otherwise he would never have concerned himself so much in giving dues to Caesar, and to God, what is Gods; intimating the distinct obediences owing by all men, as Christians, and Citizens, when granting Monarchy, the most and the onely Lawfull Govern∣ment, yet every one knoweth, that knoweth any thing of the Roman story, that Augustus had no more Title to that Government, then any of those over whom he usur∣ped, and that his accesse to Co∣vernment was as fraudulent and violent as could be. Another is the mistaking of the Powers〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, when its clear, the Scripture speak∣eth of it in a latitude, as extending it to all established Governments. Now men have falsly assumed that Page 25 those powers were only meant of Kings; and what by an indiscreet collation of the places of the old, and violent restings of others of the new, they perfected the other grand mistake, which since it hath been al∣ready cleared up (and as we said is but collaterall with us for the pre∣sent) we shall no further mention.
As for the alleadged exam∣ples and and speeches of primitive times, I see not much in them con∣siderable, for through insurrections against Princes cannot be produ∣ced, or rather much is said against them; we are to consider, that the Gospel of Christ (which was at that time not much defiled by the world) ingages not to any Domi∣nation, but wholly taken up with its own extasies, spiritual delights and expectations, neglects all other affairs as strange and dange∣rous. And more over (though I Page 26 know what hath been said to the contrary) I cannot finde (after con∣sideration of those Ages) any pro∣bable ground how, if they would have risen, they could have Bodied. They were indeed numerous, but then they had Legionaries among them, and who knows not what an ineffectual thing a People is (be it never so desirous) when overawed by the Soldatesque: And they were a People (as greatness to God and man is different) not for their wordly power (for how few consi∣derable Commanders were Con∣verted in the first Ages?) but out of his own choice, so that it was not strange, if they could not do much. For God as he chose the weakest means in the planting of the Gospel, Fishermen; So, in the Primitive propagation he called the weaker men, though Christianity afterwards grew ample and Au∣gust, Page 27 and Kings were proud to give their names unto it.
As for the Fathers (granting them f•ee of their many Bastardi∣zations, interpolations, and all those Errors and uncertainties which the process of time and fraud of men hath foysted into them) they are to be accepted as Witnesses, not as Judges, that is to say, they may prove matter of Fact, but none of their words matter of Right, especially if we consider their writings either Homilies, Commentaries, or controversies, which are ever directed to another end then this is, and they them∣selves (men secluded from Business) are so much more unable to judge and resolve Civill controversies (as this is) in regard the unhappi∣ness of the latter Times hath pro∣duced many controversies: not know or thought of in their days, Page 28 which falling directly under their profession, cannot receive any light or Authority from them.
Having considered Kingship, how well it hath appeared through the false lights of understanding, we shall now consider, whether (taking it by it self) its founda∣tions be laid upon a Cylen∣der or upon a Cube, and this me thinks we are the likeliest to do, if we consider them in their rights and uses, or to speak plainer; in their Legality and policy, so that if we finde that none of the wayes of the retaining of their Crowns can be Authenticall save one, and that one make against them, we shall finde we have no such just causes of blinde ado∣ration or implicite enforcement to truckle under any of their Com∣mands. And if again we discover that the Government it self is Page 29 not so profitable as to the end of Civil happiness, but rather Dia∣metrically opposite to it, we may suppose that men are either strange∣ly obstinate, or else they might eradicate an error, which not onely offers so many prejudices to their understanding, but hath such an evil influence upon their out∣ward well being.
We have then to consider, that for One man to rule over Ma∣ny, there must necessarily be some right, though it be but colour∣able; for either he must be cho∣sen by the people as their Arbi∣trator and Supream Judge, or else he must by force of Arms in∣vade them, and bring them to obe∣dience, which he by force preserving for his Sons of Successors, makes way for a third claim, which is Inheritance. A fourth, some have invented, though were it real, Page 30 it is but a difference of the last, and I therefore shall mention it under that head. But to the Con∣sideration.
First therefore Election, sup∣posing the people either finding themselves unable to weyld their own happiness, or for preventing of disorder, make choice of one to be set over them, it here in∣stantly followeth, that Authority is in the people, and flowing from them; for choice argues a power, and being chosen elected a subor∣dination to it, in the end, I mean, though not in every Act: Now there is none chosen but for some, end, or for some intentions reci∣procall betwixt both partyes, for otherwise such a choice were but dotage, and consequently invalid: Now thus it will follow that those who pretend to King it up∣on this Topick, must either shew a Page 31 formal Election, which I think many Kings are not able to do, or if he can shew one, the Condi∣tions and ends for which he was chosen. Now all parts being ei∣ther implicite or explained, let him produce the Covenant, that it may be known whether he govern ac∣cording to it or not, for if he trans∣gresseth, he forfeits, and the other are disobliged. If the agreement be unwritten or intentional, either party is relatively tyed, and then if he do any thing against the wel∣fare of the people (that Soveraing Law and end of all Governments:) The people may not onely justly suppose the form capitulation bro∣ken, but even endeavour, by what possible means they can, to re∣store themselves to their former rights: for why should the mak∣ing of a Compact prejudice any when it is once broken; And here Page 32 cometh in another fallacy, which the Assertors of Royalty have so flourished with, That an agreement between a people and one man, should inure, as the English Law∣yers terme it, to his Descendants, when as it is to be considered, that the people choosing of one man, is commonly in consideration of his person and personal merit, which not being the same in his Son (as commonly Families in the Hori∣zon are in the Meridian, the Foun∣ders being braver then any that fol∣low after them) that very intent is frustrated and ceaseth, and the People providing for the happiness of a few years, which are deter∣minable with uncertainty of the latter part of the life of one man, run themselves and their posteri∣ty into an eternal inconvenience (for any thing they know) of bad Go∣vernours; neither if the people Page 33 would never so formally agree with him that in regard of his me∣rits or felicity of actions, his Son should be received in that place, yet would they not do it, that very pact expiring with the life of ei∣ther: For my Father may leave me notionally a slave in a Tenure (a thing frequently with our Ance∣stors) or as Civilians term it, it a Feodary, which I ā content with, in respect of the advantage it brings me, or because my own estate is to little to be independent, and therefore I think it good prudence to be sheltered under the prote∣ction of the greater, but my na∣turall Liberty, that is to say, to make my life as justly happy and advantagious to me as I can, he can no more give away from me then my understanding or eye∣sight, for these are priviledges whih God and Nature hath endued Page 34 me with, and these I cannot be denyed, but by him that will deny me a being. But to go on, Suppose a second Generation should accept the Son, and a third a Grandfire, yet this confirms not a fourth, and they very impo∣litickly strengthen, and confirm the power by continuance, and in a manner with their own hands lay the Foundation of absoluteness; their Governours themselves grow∣ing in Interests, increasing in A∣liances and gleaning Forces, so it is very improbable but within a little they grow to big and formidable, and leave nothing of the Liberty save the name and (if they be less cunning) not that. A pertinent ex∣ample of this, it is so near us, that I cannot pass it, we see in young Orange and the Low Countries at this day, who continuing his Pro∣genitors for their signall services, Page 35 and him for theirs, are now pu∣nished for their generous and indi∣screet rewarding of vertue, that their Liberty was lately blown up before they well perceived it to be undermined, and they are at charge to maintain their own op∣pression. As for that formall ele∣ction and stipulation, who sees not what a vain and ridiculous cheat it is, they coming with swords in their hands to demand the Sce∣pter of a weak and stupid multi∣tude that appears onely to gaze upon the Ceremonies, and whose refusal were ineffectual; but it is a gracious piece of the Caball of Tyrannie to deceive the People with Shadows, Fantasmes, and names of Liberty.
As for those that intrude in by force, they cannot certainly have a Fore-head to infer a right, they being but as the Pyrat said to Page 36Alexander, publique and more magnificent Robbers: certainly these are the Nimrods, the great Hunters, Gods scourges, and the burdens of the Earth; and whether they be Founders of Empires, or great Captains (as Boccalini di∣stinguisheth them) ought rather to be remembred with horror and de∣testation, then that undue reve∣rence which they commonly meet with.
But these are they that lay the the foundations of Succession, and from these do the Successors claim, and enjoy with the lesse reluctance, Because the Regret of the violences and hate of the first, dayly weares out; whether it be by the conti∣nuance of Peace, that charmes men into a love of ease, or that the conti∣nuance of slavery enfeebles their mindes, that they rather chose to look at their present enjoyment, then Page 37 reall happinesse, so that it is not strange if the Person of their op∣pressour become in time adorable, and he himself think that confirmed and justified to him in the processe of time, which in the beginning he had no right to. But if he will con∣sider the businesse a little higher, we might find that since neither the People (as we have proved before) have power to make themselves Vassals, nor the Intruders them∣selves cannot pretend any just title; their Domination is meerly illegall, and apt to be shaked off with the first conveniencie, it being every whit as equitable, that these men should be judged Enemies of man∣kind, and condemned to die the death of Parricides for usurping a power, as Nero for mis-using it. But I would fain ask the Regions Defenders, by what Law they can maintain Governments, to be inhe∣rent Page 38 in one, and to be transmitted to his Off spring? If they say by the Law of God I would again de∣mand how they can make this Law appear to me? If they say that the Scripture holds forth the right and sacreity of Kings, I ask them again, How they know that God extends that Priviledge and authority to this King; if they say, that he is in∣volved in the generall right, they do but run into the Circle; unlesse they can show me, that all his approches to Government were regular, and such as God was pleased with, or else God had by some signe and wonder declared his approbation of him; for without these two, they must make God an Authour of evil, which is impious, and pretend Commission for an unlawfull Act; and by the same right, any other may to an action never so unjust, it being no unusuall thing to borrow Page 39 the face of Divinity, even upon some foul impostures, (as to forbear fur∣ther instances) Numa his conference with Aegeria, Scipio's retirement into the Capitol, and Sertorius his white Hart.
Now, if they pretend the Law of Nature, they must demonstrate unto us, both that she endowed men with unequall freedome, and that she shaped out such a man to rule, whereas it appears on the contrary, that all men naturally are equall: for though Nature with a Noble variety hath made different the Features and Lineaments of men, yet as to freedome, till it be lost by some externall means, she hath made every one alike, and given them the same desires. But suppose she had intended such a Family for Government, and had given them some illustrious marks, as we read of some had (whether by the ima∣gination Page 40 of their mothers, or by de∣ceit yet then would Nature fall into a double irregularity; first in desert∣ing her method in making all free; and secondly in making her generall work meerly subservient, and secon∣dary to her particular, which how contrary it is to that beautifull har∣mony of hers, I need not much in∣sist. Now if they say, they are Fa∣thers of the People; as for that which they call themselves the Heads, inferring the People no more then a trunk, it's onely Meta∣phoricall, and proves nothing: for they must remember, that since Fa∣ther hath a Correllative upon which it depends, & upon whose removall it vanisheth, they themselves can∣not bring any such; for by Physicall procreation they will not offer it. And for Metaphoricall dependence it will come to nothing, we seeing People languish when their Princes Page 41 are fullest, and like Leeches, rather willing to burst then to fall off. And on the contrary the People upon the removall of a Prince, cheerfull and relieved. Now if there were such a strict union between these two, such a contrariety and antipathy could never appear: for certainly when any two persons endeavour to gain one upon another, there is an enmity what ever is pretended; besides, if these men would be Fathers, it were then their duty to do like Fathers, which is, to provide for, defend and cherish, whereas on the contrary, it is themselves that eat the bread out of the mouths of their Children, and through the groans of the poor. And whereas flattery hath said, that what they draw up in vapours they send down in showres, yet are we sure, such are for the most part un∣fruitfull, if not ominous and infe∣ctious: If they pretend the Law of Page 42 Nations, it were well, they would declare unto us at first what this Law is, and whether generally a∣greed on or no by Nations: if they say, yes, they must resolve whether explicitely or implicitely; if they say the former, let them produce them; if the latter, they must de∣monstrate, that all Nations are a∣greed in such and such Notions; now if all men of these Nations since every one must be of equall capaci∣ty; when on the contrary, though the understandings of most men whom we know or have conversed with, seem to flee to some generall Maximes (yet unpolished, unnum∣bered, and unmethodixed) yet we see many Nations differing from us in many things, which we think clearly, fundamentally and natural∣ly true, neither do climate and edu∣cation onely so diversitie the minds of men, but even their understand∣ings, Page 43 and the different wayes of thinking so distinguish them, though of one Countrey, that though we may please our selves in thinking that all mens thoughts follow the Fantasticall method of ours, yet we might find, if we were perfect∣ly conversant with all men of the world, and well read in their wits (as we are not with half of them, no, nor any one man with the twen∣tieth part) that there are scarce four or five axioms would be universally received. Now (for I have been the longer in this, by reason that this imaginary Law hath been so held up by the Civilians, and made the subterfuge of so many considerable disputes) if it be so weak as that we can scarce tell whether it be or no, for even that which we account the most sacred piece of it, the vio∣lation of publick Messengers, the Taertar and Muscovite, unlesse Page 44 withheld by fear, break it every day) What are the Arguments de∣ducted from it? or if there were such a Law, what would it avail such a particular man, for why should other Nations impose a Go∣vernour were they are not concern∣ed; and if they pretend this Law, as to the preservations and impuni∣ty of their persons, the same Answer will serve again, with this addition, That they make an offender unca∣pable of punishment, it is but to give them a Commission to offend: Now if they run upon that distin∣ction of Suspending onely, and not punishing (as if forsooth this kind of people must be preserved, though by the ruine of mankind, to imme∣diate vengeance) Now, I say, That Suspension is really a punishment, and if his demerits can deserve that, I see not but that upon a proporti∣onable increase, they may deserve Page 45 Dethronization or Death, as clear∣ly as two and two make four, and four make eight. If they alledge Positive or municipall Laws, and number Homages, they are not much the nearer, since that all such Laws are but Rivulets and Branches of those we before examined; and since we found that those speak so little in their favour, that which these do, cannot signifie much, especially since Princes, who are ever watchfull to prevail themselves of all occasions of this nature, can either by terrour or artifice draw assemblies or the major part, to their own Lure; nay, even the worst of them have not for∣got to be solicitous in this case: but it must be set down, That whatso∣ever positive Laws are repugnant to those generall, they are injurious, and ought to be repealed: And tru∣ly it is a sad observation, that as Monarchs grow, either out of the Page 46 weaknesse of Government, and (as I may say) pupillage, as Romulus and Theseus did at Rome and A∣thens, or else out of the disease or depravation of them, as Caesar a∣gain invaded Rome, so have the people been never more enamoured of them, then when manners were at the highest corruption, which e∣ver gave accesse of strength to them; nor have they more distasted them, then when their Spirits and Disci∣pline were the most brave and healthfull; so fatally disagreeing are true Liberty, which is the very source of Virtue and Generosity, and the impotent Domination of a Single Tyrant, who commonly Raign by no other means, then the discords of braver Citizens, who can neither indure Equality or Superi∣ority among themselves, and rather admit a generall Vassalage, then just equality, or the vices of the baser, Page 47 which reconcile them and concern them in a bad example. But suppose Succession a thing sacred and invio∣lable, yet once break and interrupt it, it is little worth, either the Usur∣per being to be acknowledged regu∣lar, or the whole Series dash'd out of order: Nay, we see Aspirers themselves, either so blinded with their pretences, or with animosity, so crying their own up, that it is al∣most impossible for any private judgement to do right in this case, themselves thwarting one another, and it not being in the power of na∣ture that both should be right: But who can instance one Monarch, whose Crown is come to him by untainted Succession? and what Hi∣story will not confirm the Example, I shall anon bring: Certainly though Succession were a thing that had not so little reason or being, yet I see not why men should with such Page 48 a strange pertinacy defend it: Mat∣ters of Government ought to be governed by prudence, but this is to put them into the hands of Fortune, when a Child uncapable or infirm, under the Regiment of a Nurse, must (possibly) be Supreme Go∣vernour, and those whom either their Abilities or vertues fit for it, Subordinate or laid aside: But what if the person whom Necessity hath set at the Stern, be uncapable, Lu∣natick, Weak or Vicious, is not this a good way to prevent Controver∣sies? with all this enervates all good Councel, when a King should have need of Tutours, and that a masse of people should be com∣manded by one who commands not himself, and when we scarce obey even excellent Princes, to adore sha∣dows and weak ones.
As for Boxhornius distinction of successive, wherein the next Heir Page 49 must necessarily succeed out of the O∣riginall right of the former, I would ask him, whether the Predecessour were a Possessour or usufructuary; if the former, all our former Argu∣ments fall on him; if the latter, it makes not for his Successour, the people being owners; and be∣sides, the distinction is one of his own Coyning, never pretended be∣fore, upon the first controversie it is invalid, although the first founder had a right, as we have proved the contrary.
Having with what brevity I could, brought to an end my first intention. I shall now fall upon the second, which is the intrinsical va∣lue and expediency of this Govern∣ment, and some little comparison with others; but herein we shall be short, and onely so far as concerns this: And indeed it is a businesse so ticklish, that even Mr. Hobs in his de Cive, though he assured himself Page 50 that the rest of his Book (which is principally erected to the assertion of Monarchy) is demonstrated, yet he doubts whether the Arguments which he brings to this businesse be so firm or no; And Malvezzi con∣trarily remonstrates (in his discour∣ses upon Tacitus) that Optimacies are clearly better then Monarchies, as to all advantages. And indeed if we look on their Arguments, they are either Flourishes, or meerly Conceptions, such are the reference and perfection of an Unity, which must needs work better and more naturally, as one simple cause (besides that it stills and restrains all other claims) then many co-or∣dinate, whereas they never consider that though among many joynt Causes, there may be some jarring, yet like crosse wheels in an Engine, they tend to the regulation of the whole; What violent mischiefs are brought in by the contentions of Page 51 Pretenders, Ambiguities of Titles, and lawlesse ambition of Aspirers, whereas in a setled Republick all this is clear; and in case any par∣ticular man aspire, they know whom to joyn against and punish as a Common Enemy. As for that which alledges the advantage of se∣cresie in businesse, it carries not much with it, in regard that under that even most pernicious designs may be carryed on; and for whol∣some counsels (Bating some more nice Transactions) it matters not how much they be tost, among those who are so much entrusted and con∣cerned in them, all crosse Designs being never in probability so feeble and ineffectuall, as when there are many eyes to over look them, and voyces to decry them. As for that expedition in which they say Mo∣narchs are so happy, it may as well further a bad intention, as Page 52 give effect to a just Councell, it depending on the judgement of a single man, to whose will and ends all must refer; whereas a select number of Entrusted persons may hasten every opportunity with a just slownesse as well as they, though indeed (unlesse it be in some Mili∣tary Criticall minuts) I see not such an excellency in the swiftnesse of heady dispatch, precipitation in Councels being so dangerous and Ominous. As for what concerns pri∣vate Suitors, they may as (if not more) speedily and effectually be answered in staid Re-publicks, as in the Court of a King, where Bribery and unworthy Favourites do not what is just, but what is desired.
With these and many others as considerable, which partly willing∣ly, and partly in this penury of Books, forgettingly I passe, do they intend to strengthen this fantasticall Page 53 and airie building; but as sly Con∣troverters, many times leave out the principall Text or Argument, because should it be produced it could not be so easily answered; so these men tell us all the advantages of Monarchy, supposing them still well setled, and under men virtuous, but you shall never hear them talk of it, in Statu corrupto, under lewd Kings and unsetled Laws; they ne∣ver let fall a word of the dangers of Inter-reigns, the minorities and vi∣ces of Princes, Misgovernments, e∣vil Councels, Ambitions, Ambigui∣ties of Titles, and the Animosities and Calamities that follow them, the necessary Injustices and Op∣pressions by which Monarchs (using the peoples wealth and bloud a∣gainst them) hold them fast in their seats, and by some suspension of Di∣vine Justice die not violently.
Whereas, other Governments e∣stablished Page 54 against all these evils, be∣ing ever of vigour and just age set∣led in their own right, freed from pretences, served by experienced and engaged Councels, and (as nothing under the Moon is perfect) some∣times gaining and advantag'd in their Controversies, which have not seldome (as we may see in old Rome) brought forth good Laws and Aug∣mentations of Freedome, whereas once declining from their purity and vigour; and (which is the effect of that) ravisht by an Invader, they languish in a brutish servitude (Mo∣narchy being truly a disease of Go∣vernment) and like Slaves, stupid with harshnesse and continuance of Slavery, wax old under it, till they either arrive at that period which God prescribes to all people and Governments, or else better Stars and Nephews awaken them out of that Lethargy, and restore them to Page 55 their Pristine Liberty, and its Daughter happinesse.
But this is but to converse in No∣tions, wandring, and ill abstract from things, let us now descend into pra∣cticall observation and clearly ma∣nifest out of the whole Series of Time and Actions, what circum∣stances and events have either usher∣ed or dog'd one race of Kings, That if there were all the justice in the world, that the Government of a Nation should be entailed upon one Family, yet certainly we could not grant it to such an one, whose Criminall lives and formidable deaths, have been evidences of Gods wrath upon it for so many Genera∣tions.
And since no Countrey that I know, yields such an illustrious ex∣ample of this as Scotland does, and it may be a charity to bring into the way such as are misled, I have pitch∣ed Page 56 upon the Scottish History, where∣in as I have onely consulted their own Authours, as my fittest wit∣nesses in this case; So have I (not as a just History, but as far as con∣cerns this purpose) faithfully and as far as the thing would permit, with∣out glosses represented it, so that a∣ny calm understanding may deduce, that the vengeance which at the pre∣sent is levell'd against the Nation, is but an attendant of this new intro∣duc'd Person, and that he himself, though for the present he seems a Clog among his Frogs, and suffer them to play about him, yet God will suffer him (if the English Army prevent not) to turn Stork and de∣vour them, while their cries shall not be heard, as those that (in dis∣pight of the warning of Providence, and light of their own reasons, for their own corrupt Interest & greedy Ambition) brought these miseries upon themselves.