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Because it long has rag'd within our blood ?
shall find them either hot brain'd youth,
espouse the tyrant's person and her crimes, And on a tyrant get a race of tyrants, To be your country's curse in after-ages.
Spanish Friar, act iv.
Cast by a tempest on a savage coast,
Cut off that charter they from nature drew,
Search ancient histories, consult records,
O'erthrow this title, they have none at all.
CRURCHIL. Gotbam, 7:0i, ü. p.97
IN order to prove civil obedience to be a moral duty, and an obligation upon the conscience of the subject, it hath been usual with many political writers, at the head of whom we find the venerable name of Locke, to state a compact between the citizen and the state, as the ground and cause of the relation between them. This compact is two-fold.
First, an express compact by the primitive founders of the state, who are supposed to have convened for the declared purpose of settling the terms of their political union, and a future constitution of government. The whole body is sup. posku, in the first place, to have unanimously consented to be bound by the resolutions of the majority ; that majority, in the next place, to have fixcd certain fundamental regulations; and then to have constituted, either in one person, or in any assembly (the rule of succession or appointment being at the same time determined) a standing legislature, to whom, under these pre-established restrictions, the government of the state was thenceforward committed, and whose laws
the several members of the convention were, by their first undertaking, thus personally engaged to obey
Secondly, a tacit or implied contract by all succeeding rnembers of the state, who by accepting its protriction consent to be bound by its' laws.
This account of the subject, although specious, and patronized by names the most respectable, is founded upon a supposition false in fact, and leading to dangerous conclusions.
No social compact, similar to what is here described, was ever made or entered into in reality ; no such original convention of the people was ever actually held, or in any country could be held, antecedent to the existence of civil
govern, ment in that country. It is to suppose it possible to call savages out of caves and deserts, to deliberate and vote upon topics, which the experience, and studies, and refinements of civil life alone suggest. Therefore no government in the uni. verse began from this original. Some imitation of a social compact may have taken place at a revolution. The present age has been witness to a transaction which bears the nearest resemblance to this politicai idea of any of which history has preserved the account or memory. I refer to the establishment of the United States of North America.--Yet even here much was pre-supposed. In settling the constitution many important parts were presumed to be already settled.--That was wanting from which every social union should set off, and which alone makes the resolution of the 50
ciety the act of the individual, the unrestrained consent of all to be bound by the decision of the majority.--In all stipulations, whether they be expressed or implied, private or public, formal or constructive, the parties stipulating must both possess the liberty of assent and refusal, and also be conscious of this liberty ; which cannot with truth be affirmed of the subjeóts of civil government, as government is now or ever was actually adıninistered.
No usage, law, or authority whatever, is so binding, that it need or ought to be continued, when it may be changed with advantage to the community. The family of the prince, the order of succession, the prerogative of the crown, the form and parts of the legislature, together with the respective powers, office, duration, and mutual dependency of the several parts, are only so many laws, mutable like other laws, whenever. expediency requires, either by the ordinary act of the legislature, or, if the occasion deserves it, by the interposition of the people.
PALEY. Principles of Philosophy. b. vi. ch. 3. WERE you to preach, in most parts of the world, that political connections are founded all together on voluntary consent or a mutual promise, the magistrate would soon imprison you, as seditious, for loosening the ties of obedience; if your friends did not before shut you up as delirious for advancing such absurdities. It is strange, that an act of the mind, which every individual