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roused, to lay prostrate the most ancient and confirmed dominion; that civil authority is founded in opinion ; that general opinion therefore ought always to be treated with deference, and managed with delicacy and circumspection.

2. Opinion of right always following the custom, being for the most part founded in nothing else, and lending one principal support to govern: ment, every innovation in the constitution, or, in other words, in the custom of governing, diminishes the stability of government. Hence some absurdities are to be retained, and many small inconveniences endured in every country, rather than that the usage should be violated, or the course of public affairs diverted from their old and smooth channel. Even names are not indifferent. When the multitude are to be dealt with, there is a charm in sounds. It was upon this principle, that several statesmen of those times advised Cromwell to affume the title of King, together with the ancient style and insignia of royalty. The minds of many, they contended, would be brought to acquiesce in the authority of a King, who suspected the office, and were offended with the administration of a Protector. Novelty reminded them of ufurpation. The adversaries of this design opposed the


measure, from the same persuasion of the efficacy of names and forms, jealous lest the veneration paid to these, should add an influence to the new settlement, which might ensnare the liberty of the commonwealth.

3. Government may be too secure. The greatest tyrants have been those, whose titles were the most unquestioned. Whenever therefore the opinion of right becomes too predominant and superstitious, it is abated by breaking the custom. Thus the Revolution broke the custom of fucceßion, and thereby moderated both in the prince and in the people, those lofty notions of hereditary right, which in the one were become a continual incentive to tyranny, and disposed the other to invite servitude, by undue compliances and dangerous concessions.

4. As ignorance of union and want of communication appear amongst the principal preservatives of civil authority, it behoves every state to keep its subjects in this want and ignorance, not only by vigilance in guarding against actual confederacies and combinations, but by 'a timely care to prevent great collections of men of any separate party or religion, or of like occupation or profession, or in any way connected by a participation of interest or passion, from


the same vicinity. A protestant establishment in this country may have little to fear from its popish subjects, scattered as they are throughout the kingdom, and intermixed with the protestant inhabitants, which yet might think them a formidable body, if they were gathered together into one county. The most frequent and defperate riots are those, which break out amongst men of the same profession, as weavers, miners, failors. This circumstance makes a mutiny of soldiers more to be dreaded than any other insurrection. Hence also one danger of an overgrown metropolis, and of those great cities and crowded districts, into which the inhabitants of trading countries are commonly collected. The worst effect of popular tumults consists in this, that they discover to the insurgents the secret of their own strength, teach them to depend upon it against a future occasion, and both produce and diffuse sentiments of confidence in one another, and assurances of mutual support. Leagues thus formed and strengthened, may over-awe, or over-set the power of any state; and the danger is greater, in proportion, as from the propinquity of habitation and intercourse of employment, the passions and counfels of a party can be circulated with ease and rapidity. It is by


these means, and in such situations, that the minds of men are so affected and prepared, that the most dreadful uproars often arise from the slightest provocations.—When the train is laid, a spark will produce the explosion.








T HE subject of this chapter is sufficiently

distinguished from the subject of the last, as the motives which actually produce civil obedience, may be, and often are, very different from the reasons which make that obedience a duty.

In order to prove civil obedience to be a moral duty, and an obligation upon the conscience, it hath been usual with many political writers, at the head of whom we find the venerable name of Locke, to state a compact between the citizen and the state, as the ground and cause of the relation between them; which compact binding the parties, for the same general reason that private contracts do, resolves the duty of submission to civil government into the univerfal obligation of fidelity in the performance of promises. This compact is two-fold;

First, An express compact by the primitive founders of the state, who are supposed to have


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