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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

For all tyrants will pretend some


Such is the force of this truth in the case of circumstantiate, that it extorts the acknowledgment of the greatest authors ancient and modern, domestic and foreign, and even of all rational royalists (as Mr. Mitchel lays in his postscript to the forecited letter.) That it is lawful for any private person to kill a tyrant without a title, and to kill tories or open murderers, as devouring beasts, because the good of his action doth not only redound to the person himself, but to the whole commonwealth, and the person acting incurs the danger himself alone.

Tertullian, though a man loyal to excels, says, every man is a soldier inrolled to bear arms against all traitors and public enemies. The ancient ecclesiastical historian, Sozomen, relating the death of Julian, and intimating that he was supposed to have been slain by a Christian soldier, adds, Let none be so rash as to condemn the person that did it, considering he was thus courageous in behalf of God and religion, Sozom. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 2. Barclaius, a great royalist, faith, all antiquity agrees, that tyrants, as public enemies, may, most justly, be attacked and slain, not only by the community but also by every individual person thereof. Grotius de jure belli, lib. i. cap. 4. saith, If any person grasp at dominion by unjust war, or hath no title thereto by consent of the community, and no paction is made with him, nor allegiance granted, but retains possession by violence only, the right

of war remains; and therefore it is lawful to attack him as an enemy, who may be killed by any man, and that lawfully. Yea, king James VI. in his remonstrance for the right of kings, says, the public laws make it lawful and free for any private persons to enterprise against an usurper. Divines say the same. Chamier, Tom. 2. lib. 15. cap 12. Sect. 19. All subjects have right to attack tyrants. Alsted. Theolog. Gaf. cap. 17. reg. 9. p. 321. Any private man may and ought to cut off a tyrant, who is an invader, without a title; because in a hostile manner he invades his native country. And, cap. 1. 18. reg. 14. p. 332. 'It is lawful for every private man to kill a tyrant, who unjustly invades the government. But Dr. Ames concerning conscience, Book 3. Chap 31. concerning manslaughter, asserts all that is here pleaded for in express terms, Quest. 4. Whether or no is it lawful for a man to kill another by his own private authority? Ans. Sometimes it is lawful to kill, no public precognition preceeding; but then only, when the cause evidently requires that it should be done, and public authority cannot be got: For in that case, a private man is publicly constitute the minister of justice, as well by the permission of God, as the consent of all men. These propositions carry such evidence in them, that the authors thought it superfluous to confirm them, and sufficient to affirm them. And from any reason that can be adduced to prove any of these assertions, it will be as evident that this truth I plead for, is thereby confirmed, as that itself is thereby strengthened: for it will follow natively, if tyrants, and tyrants without a title, be to be thus dealt with,; then the monsters, of whom the question is, those notorious incendiaries and murdering public enemies, are also to be so served: for either these authors assert the lawfulness of so treating tyrants without a title, because they are tyrants, or because they want a title. If the first be said, then all tyrants are to be so served; and reason would say, and royalists will subscribe, if tyrants that call themselves kings may be so animadverted upon, because of their perniciousness to the commonwealth by their usurped authority, then the subordinate firebrands that are the immediate instruments of that destruction, the inferior emissaries that act it, and actually accomplish it, in murdering innocent people, may be so treated; for their persons are not more sacred than the other, nor more unpunishable. If the second be said, it is lawful to kill them, because they want a title; then it is either because they want a pretended title, or because they want a real and lawful one. The latter is as good as none, and it is proven, Head 2. Arg. 7. that no tyrants can have any. The former cannot be said, for all tyrants will pretend some, at least before they be killed.

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