Imatges de pÓgina
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OVERNMENT, at first, was either pa

triarchal or military: that of a parent over his family, or of a commander over his fellow warriors.

1. Paternal authority, and the order of domestic life, supplied the foundation of civil government. Did mankind spring out of the earth



mature and independent, it would be found perhaps impossible to introduce subjection and subordination among them; but the condition of human infancy prepares men for fociety, by combining individuals into small communities, and by placing them from the beginning under direction and control. A family contains the rudiments of an empire. The authority of one over many, and the disposition to govern and to be governed, are in this way incidental to the very nature, and coeval no doubt with the existence, of the human species.

Moreover, the constitution of families not only assists the formation of civil government, by the dispositions which it generates, but also furnishes the first steps of the process by which empires have been actually reared. A parent would retain a considerable part of his authority after his children were grown up, and had formed families of their own. The obedience of which they remembered not the beginning, would be considered as natural; and would scarcely, during the parent's life, be entirely or abruptly with drawn. Here then we see the second stage in the progress of dominion. The first was, that of a parent over his young children: this, that of an ancestor presiding over his adult descendants.


Although the original progenitor was the centre of union to his posterity, yet it is not probable that the association would be immediately or altogether diffolved by his death. Connected by habits of intercourse and affection, and by some common rights, necessities, and interests, they would consider themselves as allied to each other in a nearer degree than to the rest of the species. Almost all would be sensible of an inclination to continue in the society in which they had been brought up; and

experiencing, as they soon would do, many inconveniencies from the absence of that authority which their common ancestor exercised, especially in deciding their disputes, and directing their operations in matters in which, it was necessary to act in canjunction, they might be induced to supply his place by a formal choice of a successor; or father might willingly, and almost imperceptibly, transfer their obedience to some one of the family, who by his age or services, or by the part he possessed in the direction of their affairs during the lifetime of the parent, had already taught them to respect his advice, or to attend to his commands; or, lastly, the prospect of these inconveniencies might prompt the first ancestor to appoint a successor ; and his




posterity, from the same motive, united with an habitual deference to the ancestor's authority, might receive the appointment with fubmiffion. Here then we have a tribe or clan incorporated under one chief. Such communities might be increased by considerable numbers, and fulfil the purposes of civil union without any other or more regular convention, constitution, or form of government than what we have described. Every branch which was slipped off from the primitive stock, and removed to a distance from it, would in like manner take rớot, and grow into a separate clan. Two or three of these clans were frequently, we may suppose, united into one. Marriage, conquest, mutual defence, common distress, or more accidental coalitions, might produce this effect.

II. A second source of personal authority, and which might easily extend, or sometimes perhaps fuperfede, the patriarchal, is that which results from military arrangement. In wars either of aggression or defence, manifest necessity would prompt those who fought on the same fide to array themselves under one leader. And although their leader was advanced to this eminence for the purpose only, and during the operations of a single expedition, yet his authority


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