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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

He behoved to be their political father


Then

was it that we may conceive, as Buchanan says, de jure regni apud Scot. 'The time was when men dwelt in cottages and caves, and as strangers did wander to and fro without laws, and such as could converse together of the same language, assembled together as their humours did lead them or as some common utility did allure them, a certain instinct of nature did oblige them to desire converse and society.' But this confusion of languages, and communion of language, in several divided parcels, could not incorporate these several parties into communities; that behoved to be the effect of some other cause: and what should that be, but the joint will, consent and agreement of the severally languaged? It could not be by consanguinity; for there is no direction from nature for a confinement of that into such and such degrees, to make out the bonds of a common-wealth, or possibility of knowing all within such degrees; besides all within these degrees might not be of the same language. Now, the scripture says, they "were divided every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations," Gen. x. 5. Next, it could not be by cohabitation: for how that must go to be the boundaries of a common-wealth, inclusively, or exclusively, is not defined by nature, nor can it be otherwise determined, than by human choice. Then, it could not be by mens belonging to such a sovereign: for, after that division and confusion, they could not all be under one sovereign, nor under the same that they were
subject to before; and a sovereign cannot be before the aggregation of the subjects whereof he is head, they must first be a commonwealth before they can belong to it. Again, it cannot be founded upon the right of fatherhood: for, in that scattering, such a right could not be uninterruptedly preserved: and then Noah should also have been the universal magistrate, which he could not be in these multiplied secessions. And further, if it be refounded on the right of fatherhood, either every company had one common father over all, or every father made a commonwealth of his own children: the latter cannot be said, for that would multiply commonwealths in infinitum: neither can the first be said; for, if they had one common father, either this behoved to be the natural father of all the company, which none can think was so happily ordered by Babel's confusion: or else the eldest in age, and so he might be incapable for government, and the law of nature does not direct that the government should alway be astricted to the eldest of the community: or else, finally, he behoved to be their political father, by consent. For, before this consent, they were unengaged as to common order of government; none of the community having any legal claim to sovereignty more than the rest. When therefore they were forced to conclude upon association, for their mutual preservation, they must be thought to act rationally, and not to make their condition worse, but rather better by that conclusion; and if they found it worse, to resume their radical right which they had conferred upon men subject to law, not to tyrannize over them: and in this case, certainly they had the power of choosing what kind of government suited most to their advantage, and would best preserve their liberties, and how far this should be extended, and who should be affirmed into this combination; still with a reservation of the privilege to their own safety, if their associates should not do their duty: and so they might also reserve to themselves a liberty to alter the form, when they found it productive of more prejudice than advantage, and never to leave their condition remediless; and to pitch upon this way of succession, and not another, the way of free election of every successor, or of definite election limited to one line, or to the nearest in line; and _e contra_, with a reserve still of their primeve privileges, to secure themselves from the inconveniences of that determination, or to change it; and to make choices of such a family and line, and not another, and whether the eldest always of that family, or the fittest is to be chosen; and however it be, yet still by the peoples consent: and in all this to have respect to some good, great and necessary ends, which, if they should be disappointed of, and find these means useless or destructive to, they were to be loosed from their obligation to use or to own them. See Jus populi vindicat. chap. 5. p. 80, &c. 2. If we consider how nature determines the peoples interest in the constitution of governors: whence comes it that this man, and not that man, this race and family, and not that, is invested with that title? It will be found there is no title on earth now to the crowns, to families, to persons, but the peoples suffrage: for the institution of magistracy in general does not make James Stewart a king, no more than John Chamberlain: neither do qualifications make one, otherwise there might be many better than is this day extant; for there are many men better qualified: and there is no prophetical or immediate callings to kingdoms now: and as for conquest without consent, and having no more for a title, it is no better than royal Latrociny.


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