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form, no lawful constitution of any government. The most ancient laws, that are known to us, were formerly ascribed to God as their author. For the law, says Cicero in his Philipp. is no other than a rule of well grounded reason, derived from God himself, enjoining whatever is just and right, and forbidding the contrary. So that the institution of magis- Institution of
magistracy jure tracy is jure divino, and the end of it is, that divino. mankind might live under certain laws, and be governed by them; but what particular The choice of form of government each nation would live the communiiy. under, and what persons should be entrusted , with the magistracy, without doubt, was left to the choice of each nation.”
It is as far from being a modern discovery, as it is from being a false position, that all civil or political power is derived from the people. So Sir John Fortescue faid many centuries ago. * “ As in the natural body (according to the philofopher) the heart is the first thing, which lives, having in it the blood, which it transmits to all the other members, thereby imparting life and growth and vigour; fo, in the body politic, the first thing, which lives and moves is the intention of the people, having in it the blood, that is,
the prudential care and provision for the public good, which it transmits and communicates to the head, as the principal part, and to all the rest of the members of the said body politic, whereby it fubfifts and is invigorated. And as the head of the body natural cannot change its nerves or sinews, cannot deny to the several parts their proper energy, their due proportion and aliment of blood; neither can a king, who is the head of the body politic, change the laws thereof, nor take from the people what is theirs by right, against their confents. Thus you have, Sir! the formal institution of every political kingdom, from whence you may guess at the power, which a king may exercise with respect to the laws and the subject : for he
is appointed to protect his subjects in their All power dele. lives, properties and laws; for this very end gated from the people.
the and purpose, he has the delegation of power
from the people; and he has no just claim to any other power but this." These fundamental principles of government were not then first discovered by modern theorists, who would aim at the abolition of all kingly power ; but they were inculcated between three and four hundred years ago by a fage and learned chancellor of England, into the heir apparent to the crown, at a time, when
the flightest deviation from the straight line of
As essential as society is to the physical Sovereignty or state or condition of man, fo effential is fove effential to fooi reignty or government to fociety: ** Peo- is to mankind? ple, if they would engage the protection of the whole body, and join their force in enterprizes and undertakings calculated for the common good, must voluntarily resign some * Parson's answer to Sir Edward Coke, c. ii. f. 26. † Priefly upon Government, p. 6.
part of their natural liberty, and submit their conduct to the direction of the community; for without these concessions, such an alliance, attended with such advantages, could not be formed.” The weight of authority, for this fundamental principle of government, all power is from the people, is almost unexceptionable: the few, who have at any time queltioned or denied it, have either misconceived it themselves, or in the heat of great contention, have obstinately refused to submit even to the truth of their antagonists. Like other truths, this has frequently met with opposition and resistance from the attempts of the ignorant to misrepresent, and the wicked to abuse it.
When I lament the pliancy, with which many of my well meaning countrymen are seduced by the sophisticated arts and malice of some few, I feel at the same time a satisfaction at their disposition to seek the truth, which inspires me with an uncommon ardor to set it before them in so clear a light, that they shall not shut their eyes against it. * “ Nec tam pertinaces fore arbitror, ut clarilia
* Lactanctius.--If to my more informed readers I appear guilty of pleonasm, I beg to be understood to have written this work with a view to point out the true road to those, that are ignorant, or have been miled.
Of the State of Society.
* « That sociability in mankind, or inclination to live in company, is by nature, and consequently ordained by God, for the common benefit of all, is an easie thing to prove ; seeing that all ground of realms and commonwealths dependeth of this point, as of their first principle; for that a common-wealth is nothing else, but the good government of a multitude gathered together, to live in one; and therefore all old philosophers, law-makers, and wise-men, that have treated of government or common-wealths; as Plato in his ten most excellent books, which he wrote of this matter, intituling them, Of the Common-wealths; and Marcus Cicero, that famous counsellor, in other six books, that he writ of the same matter, under the same title; and Aristotle, that perhaps, excelleth them both, in eight books, which he called his Politiques: all these, I fay, do make their entrance to treat of the common-wealth affairs, from this first principle, to wit, That man by nature is fociable, and inclined to live in company.
" These two points then are of nature;. Government is
* Dolman's Conference about the next Succession to the Crown of England, first printed in 1594, and reprinted in 1681.