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require or warrant; because a known and settled usage of governing affords the only security against the enormities of uncontrolled dominion, and because this security is weakened by every encroachment which is made without opposition, or opposed without effect. V. No usage, law, or authority whatever is so binding that it need or ought to be continued, when it may be changed with advantage to the community. The family of the prince, the order of succession, the prerogative of the crown, the form and parts of the legislature, together with the respective powers, office, duration, and mutual dependency of the several parts, are all only so many laws, mutable like other laws whenever expediency requires, either by the ordinary act of the legislature, or, if the occasion deserve it, by the interposition of the people. These points are wont to be approached with a kind of awe; they are represented to the mind as principles of the constitution settled by our ancestors, and, being settled, to be no more committed to innovation or debate; as foundations never to be stirred ; as the terms and conditions of the social compact, to which every citizen of the state has engaged his fidelity, by virtue of a promise which he cannot now recall. Such reasons have no place in our system: to us, if there be any good reason for treating these with more deference and respect than other laws, it is either the advantage of the present constitution of government (which reason must be of different force in different countries), or because in all countries it is of importance that the form and usage of governing be acknowledged and understood, as well by the governors as by the governed; and because, the seldomer it is changed, the more perfectly it will be known by both sides. VI. As all civil obligation is resolved into expediency, what, it may be asked, is the difference between the obligation of an Englishman and a Frenchman? or why, since the obligation of both appears to be founded in the same reason, is a Frenchman bound in conscience to bear any thing from his king, which an Englishman would not be bound to bear? Their conditions may differ, but their rights, according to this account, . seem to be equal; and yet we are accustomed to speak of the rights as well as of the happiness of a free people, compared with what belong to the subjects of absolute monarchies: how, you will say, can this comparison be explained, unless we refer to a difference in the compacts by which they are respectively bound?—This is a fair question, and the answer to it will afford a further illustration of our principles. We admit, then, that there are many things which a Frenchman is bound in conscience, as well as by coercion, to endure at the hands of his prince, to which an Englishman would not be obliged to submit: but we assert, that it is for these two reasons alone; first, because the same act of the prince is not the same grievance, where it is agreeable to the constitution, as where it infringes it; secondly, because redress in the two cases is not equally attainable. Resistance cannot be attempted with equal hopes of success, or with the same prospect of receiving support from others, where the people are reconciled to their sufferings, as where they are alarmed by innovation. In this way, and no otherwise, the subjects of different states possess different civil rights; the duty of obedience is defined by different boundaries; and the point of justifiable resistance placed at different parts of the scale of suffering; all which is sufficiently intelligible without a social compact. VII. “The interest of the whole society is binding upon every part of it.” No rule, short of this, will provide for the stability of civil government, or for the peace and safety of social life. Wherefore, as individual members of the state are not permitted to pursue their private emolument to the prejudice of the community, so is it equally a consequence of this rule, that no particular colony, province, town, or district, can justly concert measures for their separate interest,
which shall appear at the same time to diminish the sum of public prosperity. I do not mean that it is necessary to the justice of a measure, that it profit each and every part of the community (for, as the happiness of the whole may be increased, whilst that of some parts is diminished, it is possible that the conduct of one part of an empire may be detrimental to some other part, and yet just, #. one part gain more in happiness than the other part loses, so that the commonweal be augmented by the change); but
what I affirm is, that those counsels can never be re
conciled with the obligations resulting from civil union, which cause the whole happiness of society to be impaired for the conveniency of a part. This conclusion is applicable to the question of right between Great Britain and her revolted colonies. Had I been an American, I should not have thought it enough to have had it even demonstrated, that a separation from the parent state would produce effects beneficial to America; my relation to that state imposed upon me a further inquiry, namely, whether the whole happiness of the empire was likely to be promoted by such a measure? not indeed the happiness of every part; that was not necessary, nor to be expected;—but whether what Great Britain would lose by the separation was likely to be compensated to the joint stock of happiness, by the advantages which America would receive from it? The contested claims of sovereign states and their remote dependencies may be submitted to the adjudication of this rule with mutual safety. A public advantage is measured by the advantage which each individual receives, and by the number of those who receive it. A public evil is compounded of the same proportions. Whilst, therefore, a colony is small, or a province thinly inhabited, if a competition of interests arise between the original country and their acquired dominions, the former ought to be preferred; because it is fit that, if one must necessarily be sacrificed, the less give place to the greater: but when, by an increase of population, the interest of the provinces begins to bear a considerable proportion to the entire interests of the community, it is possible that they may suffer so much by their subjection, that not only theirs, but the whole happiness of the empire may be obstructed by their union. The rule and principle of the calculation being still the same, the result is dif. ferent: and this difference begets a new situation, which entitles the subordinate parts of the state to more equal terms of confederation, and, if these be refused, to independency.
of THE DUTY OF CIVIL obFDIENCE, AS STATED IN THE CHRISTIAN scripTUREs.
WE affirm that, as to the eatent of our civil rights and obligations, Christianity hath left us where she found us; that she hath neither altered nor ascertained it; that the New Testament contains not one passage, which, fairly interpreted, affords either argument or objection applicable to any conclusions upon the subject that are deduced from the law and religion of nature. The only passages which have been seriously alleged in the controversy, or which it is necessary for us to state and examine, are the two following; the one extracted from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the other from the First General Epistle of St. Peter:“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to evecute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.” Rom. xiii. 1–7. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the King, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” 1 Pet. ii. 13–18. To comprehend the proper import of these instructions, let the reader reflect, that upon the subject of civil obedience there are two questions: the first, whether to obey government be a moral duty and obligation upon the conscience at all ! the second, how far, and to what cases, that obedience ought to extend? that these two questions are so distinguishable in the imagination, that it is possible to treat of the one, without any thought of the other; and lastly, that if expressions which relate to one of these questions be transferred and applied to the other, it is with great danger of giving them a signification very different from the author's meaning. This distinction is not only possible, but natural. If I met with a person who appeared to entertain doubts, whether civil obedience were a moral duty which ought to be voluntarily discharged, or whether it were not a mere submission to force, like that which we yield to a robber who holds a pistol to our breast, I should represent to him the use and offices of civil government, the end