Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

cians should come to him, and administer severally, laply, so long as they observed the rules of art, he might recover ; but if one of them had a great deal of scammony by him, he must put off that, therefore be prescribes scammony; another has a great deal of rhubarb, and he must put off that, and therefore he prescribes rhubard, &c. they would certainly kill the man. We destroy the commonwealth while we preserve our own private interests, and neglect the public.

SELDEN.

They that govern most, make least noise. You see, when they row in a barge, they that do drudgery work, slash, and puff, and sweat; but he that governs, sits quietly at the stern, and scarce is seen to stir.

IBID.

IF the prince be servus naturâ, of a servile base spirit, and the subject liberi, free and ingenuous, ofttimes they depose their prince, and govern themselves. On the contrary, if the people be servi natura, and some one amongst them of a free and ingenuous spirit, he makes himself king of the rest; and this is the cause of all changes in the state, commonwealths into monarchies, and monarchies into commonwealths.

QUESTION. Whether may subjects take up arms against their prince? Answer. Conceive it thus: Here lies a shilling between you and me; ten-pence of the shilling is yours, two-pence is mine: by agreement, I am as much king of my two-pence, as you of your ten-pence: if you therefore go about to take away my two-pence, I will defend it; for there you and I are equal, both princes.

SELDEN.

TO know what obedience is due to the prince, you must look into the contract between him and his people; as, if you would know what rent is due from the tenant to the landlord, you must look into the lease. When the contract is broken, and there is no third person to judge, then the decision is by arms. And this is the case between the prince and the subject.

IBID.

QUESTION. What law is there to take up arms against the prince, in case he break his covenant? Answer. Though there be no written law for it, yet there is custom, which is the best law of the kingdom; for in England they have always done it. There is nothing expressed between the King of England and the King of France, that if either invades the other's territory, the other shall take up arms against him; and yet they do it upon such an occasion.

SILDEN.

THOUGH some make slight of libels, yet you may see by them how the wind sits : as, take a a straw, and throw it up into the air, you shall see by that which way the wind is, which you shall not do by casting up a stone. More solid things do not shew the complexion of the times, so well as ballads and libels.*

IBID.

WHEN you would have a child go to such a place, and you find him unwilling, you tell him he shall ride a cock-horse, and then he will go presently. So do those that govern the state, deal by men, to work them to their ends; they tell them they shall be advanced to such or such a place, and they will do any thing they would have them.

IBID.

LIBERTY is not a licentiousness of doing what is pleasing to every one against the command of God, but an exemption from all human laws, to which men have not given their assent.

ALGERNON SIDNEY.

* It was an observation of, I believe, the celebrated Edmund Burke, “ that he should never care who made the laws of a country, so he made the ballads."

SINCE God, in goodness and mercy to mankind, hath, with an equal haud, given to all the benefit of liberty, with some measure of understanding how to employ it, it is lawful for every nation, as occasion shall require, to give the exercise of power to one or more men, under certain limitations or conditions; or to retain it in themselves, if they think it good for them.

ALGERNON SIDNEY.

SOME small numbers of men, living within the precincts of one city, have, as it were, cast into a common stock, the right which they had of governing themselves and children, and by common consent, joining in one body, exercised such power over every single person, as seemed beneficial to the whole; and this men call perfect democracy. Others chose rather to be governed by a select number of such as most excelled in wisdom and virtue; and this, according to the signification of the word, was called aristocracy: or, when one man excelled all others, the government was put into his hands under the name of monarchy. But the wisest, best, and far the greatest part of mankind, rejecting these simple species, did form governments mixed or composed of the three, which commonly received their respective denomination from the part that prevailed, and did deserve praise or blame, as they were well or ill proportioned.

THE Grecians, amongst others who followed the light of reason, knew no other original title to the government of a nation, than that wisdom, valour, and justice, which was beneficial to the people. These qualities gave beginning to those governments we call 'heroum regna; and the veneration paid to such as enjoyed them, proceeded from a grateful sense of the good received from them: they were thought to be descended from the gods, who, in virtue and beneficence, surpassed other men. The same attended their descendants, till they came to abuse their power, and by their vices shewed themselves like to, or worse than others. Those nations did not seek the most ancient, but the most worthy; and thought such only worthy to be preferred before others, who could best perform their duty.

ALGERNON SIDNEY.

WHENSOEVER men act according to the law of their own nature, which is reason, they can have no other rule to direct them in advancing one above another, than the opinion of a man's virtue and ability, best to perform the duty incumbent upon him; that is, by all means to procure the good of the people committed to his charge. He is only fit to conduct a ship, who understands the art of a pilot: when we are sick, we seek the assistance of such as are best skilled in physic: the command of an army is prudently conferred upon him that hath most

« ElőzőTovább »