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bodies distorted and diseased; some with minds fraught with the feeds of wisdom and genius, others with those of idiotifin and madness; foine are born to affluence and honour, others to la; bour and poverty. Now how such persons can be said to be born equal, meaning, no doubt, in the instances specified, Nir. J. despairs, and I do not know who would not dilpair of being able to com. prehend.-What a negligent writer was Mr. Locke not to advert to these common and obvious cafes of inequality, and to content himself with reg ítraining his meaning to one precise idea; which, as the greatest geniuses are liable to trifling overfights, does not seem to have occurred to Mr. J, but which may serve as a salvo for Mr. Locke, and as a proof that Mr. J. was a little too hasty in asierting, that the proposition would bear no other sense than that very ingenious one which he may justly claim the merit of pointing out. In short, I will venture to suppose, that by afferting the natural equality of mankind, Mr. Locke meant nothing more than to intimate, that all the distinctions of rank and power which prevail in civil society, are artificial distinctions; they are all founded upon the basis of public utility, and must invariably be con sidered as subservient to that purpose. Where is the man who has a right to fay, I posless inherent authority; and what species of authority can that be which he does not derive from the community of which he is a member? and to that community he must consequently be responsible for the just
and and proper exercise of it.
“ But supposing,” says Mr. J. " that they were all born equal, would “ this prove what is always intended to be proved " by it, that they ought always to continue fo?" Here Mr. J. seems to be chargeable with another trifling inaccuracy: instead of always intended, truth required him to say, never intended; and this amendment may supersede the necessity of an answer to the question, which he seems to put with fome degree of triumph. Mr. Locke certainly never meant to infer from the natural equality of mankind, that civil and political distinctions were unławful, or unjust; nor do I recollect the most distant intimation of such opinion in the writings of any of his disciples with which I happen to be acquainted. But Mr. J. perhaps thought, that as general rules admit of some exceptions, Mr. Locke's principles, in this instance at least, admitted of a better refutation by being unfairly, than even by being fairly, stated. But,
2dly, Another position, as monstrous as the former, is, That “ all men are born free.” This, Mr. J. affirms, is so far from being true, that the first infringement of this liberty is being born at all, which is imposed upon them without their confent, given either by themselves or their representatives. Now here I apprehend that this great politician falls into an error, similar to that which miiled him with respect to the former position; for as in that case, by all men being born equal, he imagined nothing more could be rationally meant
than that all men were equally born, so in the present instance, by all men being born free, he seems to understand that all men are freely born; but though, in the former cafe, he would not take upon him to controvert the truth of the propofition when explained in that sober fenfe which he affixed to it, in the latter he strenuously denies, that even in this sense the position can seriously be defended, and takes much pains to expose the absurdity of it.
“ How can a man,” he exclaims with a mixture of disdain and indignation, " born free, who, during the first nine months of “ his existence, is confined in a dark and sultry
prison, debarred from light and air, till at
length by a habeas corpus brought by the hand “ of some kind deliverer, he is set at liberty. And “ what kind of liberty does he then enjoy? He is “ bound hand and foot, and fed upon bread and 56 water for as long a period: he is afterwards placed “ in a state of the feverest discipline, first under “ a nurse, and then a schoolmaster, both equally
tyrannical in their several departments : in this " state of slavery he continues, till he commences “ involuntary subject of fome civil government, “ to whose authority he must submit, however in“ geniously he may dispute her right, or be justly “ hanged for disobedience; and this is the fum “ total of human liberty.” Now though I have undertaken, unworthy as I am, to offer a vindication, or an apology at least, for Mr. Locke, and though his system is upon the whole that which I
profess to embrace, yet I do not scruple to acknowledge in the face of the world, that if Mr. Locke meant to affert, that man, by the constitution of his nature, has a free option whether he will be born or not, or that he can be considered, in any sense, as a free and independent being during his close confinement in that dark and sultry prison to which Mr. J. alludes, I must decline offering a single syllable in his defence : and if Mr. Locke was so ignorant as to suppose, that an infant is in a capacity to enjoy the free use of his limbs for some months after his birth, we must charitably impute it to the misfortune of his being an old batchelor, and of course but little conversant with children. As for nurses, schoolmasters, and we may add kings, Mr. Locke certainly did not mean to deny that they were all tyrants in their several departments ; nor did he attempt to insinuate, that flogging would not be the probable consequence of resistance in the one case, or hanging in the other;-nay, he was far from denying that these punishments might be even justly dispensed;---all that he pretended to shew was, that the authority of the great and of the petty tyrant stood upon the fame general foundation : that as there was no natural distinction between the scholars and the schoolmaster, so there was just as little between the monarch and his subjects ;as the schoolmaster was not born with an inherent right of flogging, so the monarch was not born with an inherent right of hanging, but that all were born equal and free, i. e, that no one man had
a right a right to assume a power of controuling, or of punishing another; but it did not follow, at least Mr. Locke did not seem to fufpect that it followed, from thence, that it was not lawful or expedient for the community to invest certain individuals with different degrees of power, which they would be under an indispensable obligation, arising from the nature of the trust, to exercise for the benefit and advantage of the fociety to which they belonged, and to that fociety they must be ultimately responsible for the due and faithful execution of it,
3dly, We now proceed to the discussion of another shocking maxim ; a principle false, mischievous, inconsistent with common sense, and subversive of all civil society, but a very favourite maxim notwithstanding with some well-meaning simple people, who are so much in the dark as to be totally incapable of discerning its pernicious nature and tendency : it is this : That “ all go“ vernment is derived from the people.” There is, indeed, a fenfe in which Mr. J. admits even this maxim to be true, " It is true,” says he,
that all government is so far derived from the 6 people, that there could be no government if “ there were no people to be governed.”. This, it must be owned, is a most ingenious and happy explanation. How completely and dexterously is this pernicious maxim, upon which Mr. Locke, that blind guide, rashly placed fo great stress, divested of its venomous quality! How unspeakable are the obligations of an author to a fagacious and