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call in question the truth of the axioms themselves; though it must be acknowledged, that many have doubted the truth of the systems which have been bụilt upon them.
The Fifth and last of these false, mischievous, and absurd propositions, which Mr. J. has for the benefit of mankind undertaken to refute, left the refutation which arises from a simple statement of them should fail to produce universal conviction, is this: “ That no Government ought to subsist any
longer than it continues to be of equal advantage “ to the governed as to the governors.” Mr. --s's reason and understanding seem to suffer as rude a shock from this maxim as from any of the former, “ If this proposition is adopted, and by “ advantage, wealth and power are to be under
stood, there is an end of all government at once; “ for the greatest share of these must be possessed by “ the governors : on this principle, therefore, the “ governed would have a perpetual right of re
fisting, and every Government ought to be dif« solved at the moment of its commencement." Here then Mr.Locke and his friends are reduced to a most perplexing and perilous dilemma; either they must submit to the disgrace of retracting one of their favourite and fundamental maxims; or, they must acknowledge that the theory they adopt leads to an absolute fubversion of all Government, and authorizes and establishes, to use Mr. J's own words, “ a system of anarchy.” Now, if I can by any “ fetch of wit,” contrive to extricate Mr.
Locke and so many other great men from this def- . perate and forlorn situation, I shall undoubtedly acquire immortal honour, and erect for myself a monument more durable than brass ; even the attempt will be praise, and of the very failure it may be said, “ Magnis excidit ausis.” I will venture then to suppose, that when Mr. Locke, or any other writer professing his principles, afferted, that no government ought to fubfist any longer than it continues to be of equal advantage to the governed as to the governors, their meaning might poflibly be, not that the governed ought to poffefs wealth and power equal to the governors, but that those wise and beneficial purposes for which Government was instituted, ought to be extended no less to the governed than to the governors; that governors should act upon this just and equitable principle, that it is as truly incum,
them to provide for the eafe, happiness, and security of the meanest class of ruftics as of the highest rank of nobles; that if
individual entrusted with the powers of Government were so wanting in common sense or common decency as to profess 6s the enormous faith of millions made “ for one,” if he could potlibly be fo ignorant of, or so far forget the nature of his office, and the obligations arising from it, as to suppose that his own personal aggrandizement, or the gratification of his ambition, his pride, or his revenge, were the objects for the sake of which his fellow-mortals, born his equals, entrusted him with power; or if
he demonstrated by his conduct that he regarded his subjects as abject wretches, not possessed of any natural rights, nor entitled to claim legal protection as the reward of legal obedience, then that government ought no longer to fubfift; the compact is broken, and the obligations arising from it are diffolved; the people have a right to resume the powers of Government, and to chuse new Governors, who shall be better disposed or better qualified to fulfil the important duties of their respective stations.
This I humbly apprehend to be the best interpretation which can be put upon the falfe, dangerous, and destructive maxim which Mr. J. has taken such laudable pains to confute; and though Mr. J. may infift, that when thus fairly stated it confutes itself, I must take the liberty to allege in behalf of Mr.Locke, that our present happy Constitution and Government are founded upon this
very maxim.' The Government under whose protection and patronage Mr. Locke wrote, was established upon the ruins of a former government, which was not suffered any longer to fubfift, because the mutual obligations arising from the compact between the governors and the governed, had sustained the most gross and flagrant violation; and though the new government was so imprudent as to make choice of a vindicator whose first principles and fundamental maxims are “ false, ab- , furd, and impracticable;" yet in one respect both
parties may be deemed eminently happy, that, notwithstanding these maxims and these principles lie fo extremely open to confutation, they have never yet been, and, without the most distant pretence to inspiration, I will venture to prophesy that they never will be, actually confuted,
deavoured to vindicate Mr. Locke's principles of Government from the formidable charges brought against them by Mr. J.: and as in my judgment that vindication was conducted with all the ability as well as gravity which the strength of the attack seemed to require, I hope I may now venture to consider those principles as being perfectly re-established; and I trust that the friends of Mr. Locke will the more readily excuse the liberty which I am now about to take with them, on account of the very seasonable aid and assistance with which, in a moment of such imminent danger, I was so fortunate as to sustain the credit and reputation of that great philofopher. I say, to excuse the liberty I am about to take; for my present design is, to point out and guard against certain unwarrantable and dangerous inferences and deductions which have, and frequently with the