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In what manner opinion thus prevails over strength, or how power, which naturally belongs to superior force, is maintained in opposition to it; in other words, by what motives the many are induced to submit to the few, becomes an enquiry which lies at the root of almost every political speculation. It removes, indeed, but does not resolve the difficulty, to say, that civil governments are now-a-days almost universally upheld by standing armies, for the question still returns, how are these armies themselves kept in subjection, or made to obey the commands, and carry on the designs, of the prince, or state which employs them
em. : Now although we should look in vain for any single reason which will account for the general fubmission of mankind to civil government, yet it may not be difficult to assign for every class and character in the community, considerations powerful enough to dissuade each from any attempts to resist established authority. Every man has his motive, though not the same. In this as in other instances, the conduct is similar, but the principles which produce it, extremely various
There are three distin&tions of character, into whịch the subjects of a state may be divided ; into those who obey from prejudice; those who obey from reason; and those who obey from felf-interest.
1. They who obey from prejudice, are determined by an opinion of right, in their governors; which opinion is founded upon prescription. In monarchies and aristocracies which are hereditary, the prescription operates in favour of particular families; in republics and elective offices, in favour of particular forms of government, or constitutions. Nor is it to be wondered at, that mankind should reverence authórity founded in prescription, when they observe that it is prescription which confers the title to almost every thing else. The whole course, and all the habits of civil life, favour this prejudice. Upon what other foundation stands any man's right to his estate? The right of primogeniture, the succession of kindred, the descent of property, the inheritance of honours, the demand of tythes, tolls, rents, or services from the estates of others, the right of way, the powers of office and magistracy, the privileges of nobility, the immunities of the clergy, upon what are they all founded, in the apprehension at least of the multitude, but upon prescription? To what else, when the claims are contested, is
the appeal made? It is natural to transfer the same principle to the affairs of government, and to regard those exertions of power, which have been long exercised and acquiesced in, as so many rights in the sovereign ; and to consider obedience to his commands, within certain ace customed limits, as enjoined by that rule of con science, which requires us to render to every man his due.
In hereditary monarchies, the prescriptive title is corroborated, and its influence considerably augmented, by an accession of religious sentiments, and by that sacredness which men are wont to ascribe to the persons of princes. Princes themselves have not failed to take advantage of this disposition, by claiming a superior dignity, as it were, of nature, or a peculiar delegation from the Supreme Being. For this purpose were introduced the titles of sacred majesty, of God's anointed, representative, vicegerent, together with the ceremonies of investitures and coronations, which are calculated not so much to recognize the authority of sovereigns, as to consecrate their persons. Where a fabulous religion permitted it, the public veneration has been challenged by bolder pretensions. The Roman emperors usurped the titles, and arrogated the worship of gods. The mythology of the heroic ages, and of many barbarous nations, was easily converted to this purpose. Some princes, like the heroes of Homer, and the founder of the Roman name, derived their birth from the gods: others, with Numa, pretended a secret communication with some divine being : and others again, like the Incas of Peru, and the ancient Saxon kings, extracted their descent from the deities of their country. The Lama of Thibet, at this day, is held forth to his subjects, not as the offspring or successor of a divine race of princes, but as the immortal God himself, the object at once of civil obedience and religious adoration. This instance is fingular, and may be accounted the farthest point to which the abuse of human credulity has ever been carried. But in all these instances the purpose was the fame—to engage the reverence of mankind, by an application to their religious principles. · The reader will be careful to obferve, that in this article we denominate every opinion, whether true or false, a prejudice, which is not founded upon argument, in the mind of the person who entertains it.
and conclusions of their own, are determined, by the consideration of the necessity of some government or other; the certain mischief of civil commotions, and the danger of resettling the government of their country better, or at all, if once subverted or disturbed.
III. They who obey from self-interest, are kept in order by want of leisure; by a succesfion of private cares, pleasures, and engagements; by contentment, or a sense of the ease, : plenty, and safety, which they enjoy; or lastly and principally, by fear, foreseeing that they would bring themselves by resistance into a worse situation than their present, inasmuch as the strength of government, each discontented subject reflects, is greater than his own, and he : knows not that others would join him. This last consideration has often been called opinion of power.
This account of the principles by which mankind are retained in their obedience to civil government, may suggest the following cautions: .
1. Let civil governors learn from hence to respect their subjects ; let them be admonished, that the physical strength resides in the governed; that this strength wants only to be felt and