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§ 2. If any one think I take too much liberty in speaking so freely of a man who is the great champion of absolute power, and the idol of those who worship it; I beseech him to make this small allowance for once, to one who, even after the reading of sir Robert's book, cannot but think himself, as the laws allow him, a free man: and I know no fault it is to do so, unless any one, better skilled in the fate of it than I, should have it revealed to him that this treatise, which has lain dormant so long, was, when it appeared in the world, to carry, by strength of its arguments, all liberty out of it; and that, from thenceforth, our author's short model was to be the pattern in the mount, and the perfect standard of politics for the future. His system lies in a little compass; it is no more but this,
“ That all government is absolute monarchy.”
$ 3. In this last age a generation of men has sprung up amongst us, that would flatter princes with an opinion, that they have a divine right to absolute power, let the laws by which they are constituted and are to govern, and the conditions under which they enter upon their authority, be what they will ; and their engagements to observe them ever so well ratified by solemn oaths and promises. To make way for this doctrine, they have denied mankind a right to natural freedom; whereby they have not only, as much as in them lies, exposed all subjects to the utmost misery of tyranny and oppression, but have also unsettled the titles and shaken the thrones of princes: (for they too, by these men's system, except only one, are all born slaves, and by divine right are subjects to Adam's right heir); as if they had designed to make war upon all government, and subvert the very foundations of human society, to serve their present turn. $ 4. However we must believe them upon their owl
. bare words, when they tell us, “ We are all born slaves, and we must continue so;" there is no remedy for it; life and thraldom we entered into together, and can never be quit of the one till we part with the
other. Scripture or reason, I am sure, do not any where say so, notwithstanding the noise of divine right, as if divine authority hath subjected us to the unlimited will of another. An admirable state of mankind, and that which they have not had wit enough to find out till this latter age! For however sir Robert Filmer seems to condemn the novelty of the contrary opinion, Patr. p. 3, yet I believe it will be hard for him to find any other age, or country of the world, but this, which has asserted monarchy to be jure divino. And he confesses, Patr. p. 4, that “ Heyward, Blackwood, Barclay, and others, that have bravely vindicated the right of kings in most points, never thought of this; but, with one consent, admitted the natural liberty and equality of mankind.”
85. By whom this doctrine came at first to be broached, and brought in fashion amongst us, and what sad effects it gave rise to, I leave to historians to relate, or to the memory of those who were contemporaries with Sibthorp and Manwaring to recollect. My business at present is only to consider what sir Robert Filmer, who is allowed to have carried this argument farthest, and is supposed to have brought it to perfection, has said in it: for from him every one, who would be as fashionable as French was at court, has learned and runs away with this short system of politics, viz. “Men are not born free, and therefore could never have the liberty to choose either governors, or forms of government.” Princes have their power absolute, and by divine right; for slaves could never have a right to compact or consent. Adam was an absolute monarch, and so are all princes ever since.
Of paternal and regal Power.
$ 6. Sır Robert Filmer's great position is, that “ men are not naturally free.” This is the foundation on which his absolute monarchy stands, and from which it erects itself to an height, that its power is above every power : caput inter nubila, so high above all earthly and human things, that thought can scarce reach it; that promises and oaths, which tie the infinite Deity, cannot confine it. But if this foundation fails, all his fabric falls with it, and governments must be left again to the old way of being made by contrivance and the consent of men ('AvOpwriva urlois) making use of their reason to unite together into society. To prove this grand position of his, he tells us, p. 12, 6 Men are born in subjection to their parents," and therefore cannot be free. And this authority of parents he calls "royal authority,” p. 12, 14, “ fatherly authority, right of fatherhood,” p. 12, 20. One would have thought he would, in the beginning of such a work as this, on which was to depend the authority of princes, and the obedience of subjects, have told us expressly what that fatherly authority is, have defined it, though not limited it, because in some other treatises of his he tells us, it is unlimited, and unlimitable *; he should at least have given us such an account of it, that we might have had an entire notion of this fatherhood, or fatherly authority, whenever it came in our way, in his writings: this I expected to have found in the first chapter of his Patriarcha. But instead thereof, having, 1. En passant, made his obeisance to
*“In grants and gifts that have their original from God or nature, as the power of the father hath, no inferior power of man can limit, nor shake any law of prescription against them.” Obs. 158.
“ The Scripture teaches that supreme power was originally in the father, without any limitation." " Obs. 245.
the arcana imperii, p. 5; 2. Made his compliment to the “ rights and liberties of this or any other nation," p. 6, which he is going presently to null and destroy ; and 3. Made his leg to those learned men who did not see so far into the matter as himself,
7: he comes to fall on Bellarmine, p. 8, and by a victory over him establishes his fatherly authority beyond any question. Bellarmine being routed by his own confession, p. 11, the day is clear got, and there is no more need of any forces: for having done that, I observe not that he states the question, or rallies up any arguments to make good his opinion, but rather tells us the story as he thinks fit of this strange kind of domineering phantom called the fatherhood, which whoever could catch presently got empire, and unlimited absolute power. He acquaints us how this fatherhood began in Adam, continued its course, and kept the world in order all the time of the patriarchs till the flood; got out of the ark with Noah and his sons, made and supported all the kings of the earth till the captivity of the Israelites in Egypt; and then the poor fatherhood was under hatches, till “God, by giving the Israelites kings, re-established the ancient and prime right of the lineal succession in paternal government.” This is his business from p. 12 to 19. And then, obviating an objection, and clearing a difficulty or two with one-half reason, p. 23, “ to confirm the natural right of regal power," he ends the first chapter. I hope it is no injury to call an half quotation an half reason; for God says, “ Honour thy father and mother;" but our author contents himself with half, leaves out “ thy mother” quite, as little serviceable to his purpose. But of that more in another place.
§ 7. I do not think our author so little skilled in the way of writing discourses of this nature, nor so careless of the point in hand, that he by oversight commits the fault that he himself, in his “ anarchy of a mixed monarchy," p. 239, objects to Mr. Hunton in these words: “Where first I charge the A. that he hath not given us any definition or description of monarchy in general; for by the rules of method he
should have first defined.” And by the like rule of method, sir Robert should have told us what his fatherhood, or fatherly authority is, before he had told us in whom it was to be found, and talked so much of it. But, perhaps, sir Robert found, that this fatherly authority, this power of fathers, and of kings, for he makes them both the same, p. 24, would make a very odd and frightful figure, and very disagreeing with what either children imagine of their parents, or subjects of their kings, if he should have given us the whole draught together, in that gigantic form he had painted it in his own fancy; and therefore, like a wary physician, when he would have his patient swallow some harsh or corrosive liquor, he mingles it with a large quantity of that which may dilute it, that the scattered parts may go down with less feeling, and cause less aversion.
$ 8. Let us then endeavour to find what account he gives us of this fatherly authority, as it lies scattered in the several parts of his writings. And first, as it was vested in Adam, he says, “ Not only Adam, but the succeeding patriarchs, had, by right of fatherhood, royal authority over their children, p. 12. This lordship, which Adam by command had over the whole world, and by right descending from him the patriarchs did enjoy, was as large and ample as the absolute dominion of any monarch which hath been since the creation, p. 13. Dominion of life and death, making war, and concluding peace, p. 13. Adam and the patriarchs had absolute power of life and death, p. 35. Kings, in the right of parents, succeed to the exercise of supreme jurisdiction, p. 19. As kingly power is by the law of God, so it hath no inferior law to limit it; Adam was lord of all, p. 40. The father of a family governs by no other law than by his own will, p. 78. The superiority of princes is above laws, p. 79. The unlimited jurisdiction of kings is so amply described by Samuel, p. 80. Kings are above the laws,” p. 93. And to this purpose see a great deal more, which our A. delivers in Bodin's words : “ It is certain, that all laws,