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ing laws, how far offences are to be pu- The public power of all society is nished, when committed within the com- above every soul contained in the same mon-wealth ; and also to determine, by society; and the principal use of that occasional judgments founded on the power is, 'to give laws unto all that are present circumstances of the fact, how under it, which laws in such cases we far injuries from without are to be vin- must obey, unless there be reason shewdicated; and in both these to employed, which may necessarily inforce, that all the force of all the members, when the law of reason, or of God, doth en, there shall be no need.
join the contrary. (Hooker's Eccl. Pol. 89. Wherever therefore any number 1. i sect. 16.) of men are so united into one society, 91. For he being supposed to have as to quit every one his executive power all, both legislative and executive power of the law of nature, and to resign it to in himself alone, there is no judge to be the public, there and there only is a po found, no appeal lies open to any one, litical, or civil society. And this is who may fairly, and indifferently, and done, wherever any number of men, in with authority decide, and from whose the state of nature, enter into society decision relief and redress may be exto make one people, one body politic, pected of any injury or inconveniency, under one supreme government; or else that may be suffered from the prince, when any one joins himself to, and in- or by his order : so that such a man, corporates with any government already however intitled, Czar or Grand Seigmade: for hereby he authorizes the so- nior, or how you please, is as much in ciety, or which is all one, the legisla- the state of nature, with all under his tive thereof, to make laws for him, as domioion, as he is with the rest of man. the public good of the society sball re- kind : for wherever any two men are, quire : to the execution whereof, his who have no standing rule, and commou own assistance (as to his own decrees) judge to appeal to ou earth, for the deis due. And this puts men out of a termination of controversies of right bestate of nature into that of a common. twixt them, there they are still in the wealth, hy setting up a judge on earth, state of nature, and under all the inconwith authority to determine all the con- veniences of it, with only this woeful troversies, and redress the injuries that difference to the subject, or rather slave may happen to any member of the com- of an absolute Prince: that whereas, in inonwealtb; which judge is the legisla- the ordinary state of nature, he has a tive, or magistrates appointed by it. liberty to judge of his right, and accordAnd wherever there are any number of ing to the best of his power, to maintain men, however associated, that have no it; now, whenever his property is illsuch decisive power to appeal to, there vaded by the will and order of his mothey are still in the state of nature. narch, he has not only to appeal, as
90. Hence it is evident, that absolute those in society ought to have, but it he monarchy, which by some men is coun- were degraded from the common state ted the only government in the world, of rational creatures, is denied a liberty is indeed inconsistent with civil society, to judge of, or to defend his right; and and so can be no form of civil govern- so is exposed to all the misery and in nient at all : for the end of civil society, conveniencies, that a man can fear from being to avoid, and remedy those in- one, who heing in the unrestrained state conveniencies of the state of nature, of nature, is yet corrupted with flattery, which necessarily follow from every mans and armed with power. being judge in his own case, by setting To take away all such mutual grievup a known authority, to wbich every ances, injuries and wrongs, i. e. such one of that society inay appeal upon any as attend men in the state of nature, injury received, or controversy that may there was no way but only by growing arise, and which every one of the so- into composition and agreement ainongst ciety ought to obey; wherever any per. tbemselves, by ordaining some kind of sons are, who have not such an autho- government public, and by yielding rity to appeal to, for the decision of themselves subject thereunto, that unto any difference between them, there those whom they granted authority to rule persons are still in the state of nature; and govern, by them the peace, tranand so is every absolute prince, in re- quillity, and happy estate of the rest spect of those who are under his do- might be procured. Men always knew minion,
that where force and injury were offered,
they inight be defenders of themselves; taken care of, not out of any love the they knew that however meu may seek master bas for them, but love of himtheir own commodity, yet if this were self, and the profit they bring hin: for done with injury unto others, it was if it be asked, what security, what fence not to be suffered, but by all men, and is there, in such a state, against the vina all good means to be withstuod. Final- lence and oppression of this absolute ly, they knew that no man might in rca- ruler? the very question can scarce be son take upon him to deterinine his own borne. They are ready to tell you, that right, and according to his own deter- it deserves death only to ask after safemination proceed in maintenance there- ty. Betwisti subject and subject, they of, inasmch as every man is towards will grant, there must be measures, laws himself, and them whom he greatly af- and judges, for their mutual peace and fects, partial; and therefore that strifes security: batans for the ruler, he ought and troubles would be endless, except to be absolate, and is above all such ciro they gave their common consent, all to cumstances; because he has power to be ordered by some, whom they should do more hurt and wroug, it is right when agree upon, without which consent there he does it. To ask how you may be would be no reason that one man should guarded from harm, or injury, on that take upon him to be lord or judge over side where the strongest hand is to do another. Hooker's Eccl. Pol, l. i. sect. 10. it, is presently the voice of faction and
92. For he that thinks absolute power rebellion; as if when men quitting the purifies men's blood, and corrects the state of nature entered into society, they baseness of human nature, need read agreed that all of them but one should but the history of this, or any other age, be under the restraint of laws, but that to be convinced of the contrary. He be should still retain all the liberty of that would have been insolent and in the state of nature, increased with powjurious in the woods of America, would er, and made licentious by impunity. not probably be much beiter in a throne; This is to think, that men are so foolish, where perhaps" learning and religion that they may take care to avoid what shall be found out to justify all that he mischiefs may be done them by poleshall do to his subjects, and the sword cats, or foxes, but are content, nay, presently silence all those that dare think it safety, to be devoured by lions. question it: for what the protection of 94. But whatever flatterers inay talk absolute monarchy is, what kind of fa- to amuse people's understandings, it thers of their countries it makes princes hinders not men from feeling; and when to be, and to what a degree of happiness they perceive, that any man, in what and security it carries civil society, where station soever, is out of the bounds of this sort of government is grown to per the civil society wbich they are of, and fection, lie, that will look into the late that they may liave no appeal on earth relation of Ceylon, may easily see. ; against any harm, they may receive
93. In: absolute monarchies indeed, from him, they are apt to think themas well as other governments of the selves in a state of nature, in respect of world, the subjects have an appeal to him whom they find to be so; and to the law, and judges to decide any con- take care, as soon as they call, to have troversies, and restrain any violence that safety and security in civil society, that may happen betwixt the subjects for which it was first instituted, and for themselves, one amongst another. This which only they entered into it. And every one thinks necessary, and believes therefore, though perhaps at first,(as shall he deserves to be thought a declared be shewed more at large bereafter in the enemy. to society and mankind, who following part of this discourse) some sbould go about to take it away. But one good and excellent man having got a whether this be from a true love of man- .pre-eminency amongst the rest, bad this kind and society, and such a charity as deference paid to his goodness and virwe owe all one to another, there is rea- tue, as to a kind of natural authoriry, son to doubt: for this is no more than that the chief rule, with arbitration of what every man, who loves his own their differences, by a facit consent der power, profit, or greatness, inay, and volved into his, without any other caunaturally must do; keep those animals tion, but the assurance they had of his from hurting, or destroying one ano- uprightness and wisdom; yet when time, ther, who labour and drudge only for giving anthority, and (as some men his pleasure and advantage; and so are would persuade us) sacreduess of cus VOL. IX.
toms, which the negligent, and unfore t he Liberties of the People by the fre. seeing innocence of the first ages began, quent, calling of Parliaments chosen had brought in successors of another by them; and is now become a funstamp, the people finding their proper damental part of our Constitution nut ties pot secure under the government, as to be violated on slight pretences. it then was, (whereas government bas II. That the many plausible Arguments no other end but the preservation of insinuated for Repealing this Act, are property) could never be safe nor at fallacious and inconclusive, and the rest, nor think themselves in civil socie Consequences thereof may be fatal to ty, till the legislative was placed in col the Public. lective bodies of men, call them senate, parliament, or what you please.
[First printed 1716.]..
By which means every single person became subject, equally with other the meanest The British nation have long just. inen, to those laws, which he himself, ly valued themselves on that happy as part of the legislative, had establish constitution our government is comed; nor could any one, by bis own au- posed of, whereby the rights and li. thority, avoid the force of the law, when
berties of the subject are equally once made; nor by any pretence of superiority plead exemption, thereby to pres
preserved and regarded with the prelicense his own,' or the miscarriages of rogative of the prince, and such any of his dependents. No man in civil wise and good laws made, as might society cun be erempted from the luws of at all times secure any one part of it : for if any man inay do wbat he our constitution from being endanthiuks fit, and there be po appeal on gered by the other. earth, for redress or security against any harmı he shall do; I ask, whether he be
The authority and force of our not perfectly still in a state of nature,
laws (being enacted by the whole leand so can be no part or member of' that gislature) is a check to such designs civil society; unless any one will' say, as ambitious persons, or a corrupt the state of nature and civil society are ministry might entertain to subvert one and the same thing, which I have or alter that constitution, which, never yet found any one so great a pa. though often attempted, has not as tron of anarchy as to atlirm. At the first, when some certain kind
yet (God be thanked) succeeded, nor
you of regiment was once appointed, it may
can, in all probability, succeed at be that nothing was then farther thought any tiine, unless we should fall un upon for the manner of governing, but der the same circumstances with the ali permitted unto their wisdoin and dise Swedes and Danes our neighbours, cretion, wirich were to rule, till by ex among whom the liberty of the suh. perience they found this for all parts
ject has been delivered up, and very inconvenient, so as the thing which they had devised for a remedy did in
shamefully betrayed by those who deed but increase the sore, which it were the people's representatives, and would have cured. They saw, that to intrusted by them as the guardiane tive by one man's will, became the cause thercof! of all men's misery! This constrained Our government being composed them to come unto laws, wherein all men
of three distinct states, the King, might see their duty beforehand, and
the Lords, and the Commons, no• know the penalties of transgressing them, " Civil law being the act of the whole
thing is a law binding the people, body politic, doth therefore orer-rule
but what proceeds from their joint each several part of the same body authority; and the members returnHooker's Eccl.Pol. l. 1. sect. 10. ed on every election to parliament, (To be continued.
are the representatives of the Com
mons of England; the bulk of the THE TRIENNIAL ACT people, who by chusing such persons IMPARTIALLY STATED; as they judge most fit to represent SHEWING,
them, are supposed to give their as1. That the Law was made for securing sent to all such laws as by the wis
dom of the parliament are thought “ It is accorded, that a parliament necessary and convenient for the shall be holden every year once, and public good.
more often if need be;" and atter. In every session, particular laws wards, upon some ambiguity in ihe are made or repealed suitable to the reference of the words, if need be, it occasions that present, either for was more plainly expressed in the the remedying or preventing some statute of the 36th, Ed. III. c. 10, in evil, or procuring some benefit or these words. Item :-"For the mainadvantage to the nation; neverthe- tenance of the said articles and staless, it has always been granted, that tutes, and the redress of divers misno bill any ways encroaching upon chiefs and grievances which daily the liberties of the subject, annulling happen, a parliament shall be holda or repealing laws in their favour, or en every year.” taking off the force of them, may, or Nevertheless, many of our princes ought to be brought in, without very did, by virtue of their prerogative, cogent reasons of the absolute ne- or under colour of it, dispense with cessity thereof at that time.
the sitting of parliainents for several This I thought proper to premise years together; and to go no further as an introduction to the following back than the reigns of King Charles pages, wherein I propose to show: I. and King Charles II. the session of
ist. That the Triennial Act was parliament was intermitted in each made for securing the liberties of the of their reigns for several years, hy people, hy the frequent calling of which many grievances arose, and parliaments chosen to represent them, great impositions were borne by the and is now become a fundamental subjects in the former reign, the sad part of the constitution, not to be consequences of which are too well violated upon slight pretences. known to be here insisted on, and not
2d. That the many plausible ar- material to the subject in hand. In guments insinuated for repealing this the latter, a set of courtiers so guided act, are fallacious and inconclusive, the prince and all public measures, and the consequence thereof may be they were afterwards afraid to trust au fatal to the public.
free parliament with the examination To the first part : 11,'' of their conduct, which engaged thein.
I believe it will not be denied me, to French counsels and French money that the bolding of parliaments is for their support, rather than the one of the fundamental parts of our state of the nation should be impar. constitution, and the choice of them tially enquired into, and remedies are by the freeholders of Great Britain, plied hy the wisdom of a parliament ; is a part wherein the share of the which, however necessary for the pub. people in the government chiefly lic, would perhaps have been incontes consists, and on the right use of nient for themselves ! which the liberty of the subjects do, When by the evil counsels of the in a great measure, depend: the late unhappy Prince King James II. depriving them of this, would be he pursued such measures as were striking at the root, excluding the inconsistent with our constitution, people from that right the laws of and the rights and liberties of the the land had wisely and prudently subjects, and by the concurrence of given them.
many other causes, the late Rerolu. By the ancient customs and laws tion took place in these kingdoms. of the land, parliaments were to be The nation wisely judged it neces. held annually for the redress of sary at such a time, upon such a grievances; and the statute of the revolution of government, occasion4th Ed. III. c. 14, runs thus: Item, ed by the infringement of the liberties of the people by the prince, to this kingdom, frequent parliaments ascertain those rights and privileges ought to be held, and whereas frethe people were intitled to, which quent and new parliaments iend was accordingly done by the Petition very much to the happy union and and Bill of Rights, wherein is the good agreement of the king and pcu. following clause : That for the re- ple, &c.” And this act has since, in dress of all grietances, and for the all the different turns of party, and amending, strengthening, and preser. change of Ministry, been always ving the laws, parliaments ought to be esteemed sacred and inviolable, and held frequently.
not the least offer to repeal or susThe uncertainty of the sitting of pendit, made before by either party. parliaments, and the long internis. Though the Triennial Act has not sion of them at some times, and the been made above this twenty one long continuance of the same par- or twenty two years. It is not liament at others, (as particularly therefore to be regarded as a tenipothe parliament of King Charles II. rary act made for a certain time, which was continued from the time but as a fundamental part of our of calling them on the sih of May constitution, and a change among 1661, to the 30th of November 1677, others, it received from the Revolution, and became pensioners to the court The settlement of the crown in the and to France !) -- whereby the protestant line, the union of the members were, by places, gratuities, kingdoms of England and Scotland, and other means, wholly devoted to were neither of them effected in the the Ministry, had been a great days of our forefathers, and yet are occasion of the many grievances and now deemed fundamental parts of hardships the subjects had suffered, our constitution; and I presume, if and the interest of the nation been we look into the Triennial Act, and neglected, it was thought advisable, reflect on the occasion and reason of that a law should be made whereby enacting it, we shall be of opinion, parliaments should sit at convenient that it was designed to be an unale times for the dispatch of public busi- terable fundamental ; and am the ness, and the continuance of them more persuaded herein, since in se so limitted, as should they become veral attempts of an extraordinary 100 much courtiers, and devoted to nature, as taking off the test and pe. the prince without regard to their nal laws, general naturalizations, &c. country, it should not be in the This was never struck at, though had power of the prince to continue them any Parliament whom we have stigany longer than that time, and the matized with the most odious chacountry to come to another election, racters, perpetuated themselves by which it was supposed they would virtue of its being in their power so make of such persons whose actions to do; what might they not have were mostly intended for the public effected?. ? service.
The last house of Commons (how Accordingly with these views, and undeservedly I shall not here enter for this purpose, was the Triennial into) have been by some men treaicd Bill calculated, and very much 'la- with all the marks of infamy and re: boured for by the principal men of proach imaginable, and represented the different parties at that time, and as the betrayers of their country and at last obiained from the crown; (not the scandal of the nation;. every without great difficulty) the reason evil design has been imputed to them, of it is plainly exprest in a short and we are told unaccountablethings preamble, in these words, " Whereas were to bave been done, bad those by the anticut laws and statutcs of gentlemen bad the time, the power,