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member of lo
the laws of it; and if one of those laws be,
“ This is as much, as is required to establish the natural liberty of mankind in its utmost extent; for till the commonwealth be established, no multitude can be seditious, because they are not subject to any human law; and sedition implies an unjust and disorderly opposition of that power, which is legally established; which cannot be when there is none, nor by him who is not a member of the fociety, that makes it; and when it is made, such as entered into it are obliged to the laws of it.”
The true and real basis then of the civil of the original or political power or fovereignty, which ex- cicty.
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ifts in each stare, is the original agreement, compact, or contract of the society or community, which forms that state, to depute and delegate the rights, which were in them individually in the state of nature, to those, whose duty it should become, to rule, protect, and preserve the community. For in this consists the whole duty both of the supreme and subordinate magistracy. It would be nugatory to question the reality of this original contract, * because the particular time and place, when and where it was entered into, cannot be named, nor the written charter or document, in which it is expressed, be produced for the satisfaction and benefit of all future generations. †“ The chief question is not, whether there was ever such a con-. tract formally and actually made; but whether mankind had not a right to make it: for if they had, civil government, in the ordinary course of things, could be rightfully founded upon nothing else, but this, or what is equivalent to it, a tacit consent of the governed. And since the latter must be of the same effect with the other, this may be sufficient for our present purpose, unless persons
• Vid Hoadley's Defence of Hooker's Judgment, P. 158. & feq. Idem, p. 168.
think fit to call also for the original draught of a tacit confent." The actual assemblage of the multitude forming themselves into a particular society, was the formal ratification of this original contract, though it were done by tacit consent; and by this each individual of our ancestors became bounden to the power of the whole community, or, in other words, to the fovereignty of the state. The free continuance of each of their successors in the community is the bond, by which they become more solemnly and firmly obligated to the contract, by grounding their tacit consent upon the valuable considerations and daily encreasing advantages, of the experience and improvements of their predecessors. This is a multiplying principle, that acquires vigour from every incident of human life; as each revolving day brings with it fresh reasons and motives, why the living members of the community should ratify and confirm the original contract entered into by their deceased ancestors. The perpetuation therefore of the community, is the unceasing renovation and confirmation of the original contract, in which it was founded.
The thorough confideration, and proper ap- Futility of some plication of this principle, will demonstrate trines. the folly and falsity of some newly broached
doctrines, which modern sophists pretend to establish as the necessary consequences of the true principles of government, which are denied by none.
* « There never did, there never will, and there never can exist a parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country, poffeffed of the right or the power of binding and controuling pofterity to the end of time, or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed, or who fhall govern it; and therefore all such clauses, acts, or declarations, by which the makers of them attempt to do, what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves null and void.
“ When man ceases to be, his power and his wants cease with him ; and having no longer any participation in the concerns of this world, he has no longer any authority in directing, who shall be its governors, or how its government shall be organized, or how administered.
« Those, who have quitted the world, and thofe, who are not yet arrived at it, are as remote from each other, as the utmost stretch of mortal imagination can conceive; what
• Payne's Rights of Man, p. 9, 10, 11.
possible obligation, then, can exist between them, what rule or principle can be laid down, that two nonentities, the one out of existence, and the other not in, and who never can meet in this world, that the one should controyl the other to the end of time.”
Who does not see, at the very first view of fuch doctrines, that, in order to give them effect, a new legislation must be provided for the birth of each individual, if the former legislation ceases by the deaths of the legiflating individuals, who framed it? For if we consider the real physical state of mankind, we shall find that the same hour, which terminates the existence of one, gives birth to another individual; there confequently cannot be one given instant of time, in which government can be said to cease by the demise of one, and revive by the birth of another. I shall hereafter have occasion to go more deeply into this doctrine, by considering the effects, which the laws, enacted many hundred years ago by our ancestors, still continue to produce upon their posterity to this day.
In attempting to establish the full force and energy of the power and authority of magistrates in the state of fotiety, I by no means derogate thereby from the perfection of true