Imatges de pÓgina
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understood, as well by the governors as by the governed, and because the sfeldomer it is changed, the more perfectly it will be known by both fides.

VI. As all civil obligation is refolved into expediency, what, it may be asked, is the difference between the obligation of an Englishman and a Frenchman; or, why, fince the obligation of both appears to be founded in the fame reason, is a Frenchman bound in confcience 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, fhould feem to be equal; and yet we are accustomed to fpeak of the rights as well as of the happiness of a free people, compared with what belong to the fubjects of abfolute monarchies: how, you will fay, can this comparison be explained, unlefs we refer to a difference in the compacts by which they are refpectively 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 confcience, as well as by coercion, to endure at the hands of his prince, to which an Englishman would not be obliged to fubmit; but we affert, that it is for thefe

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these two reasons alone: first, because the same act of the prince is not the fame grievance where it is agreeable to the conftitution, and where it infringes it; fecondly, becaufe redress in the two cafes is not equally attainable. Refistance cannot be attempted with equal hopes of fuccefs, or with the fame profpect of receiving fupport from others, where the people are reconciled to their fufferings, as where they are alarmed by innovation. In this way, and no otherwise, the fubjects of different ftates poffefs different civil rights; the duty of obedience is defined by different boundaries; and the point of juftifiable refiitance placed at different parts of the scale of fuffering all which is fufficiently intelligible without a focial compact.

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VII. "The intereft of the whole fociety is

binding upon every part of it." No rule, fhort of this, will provide for the stability of civil government, or for the peace and fafety of focial life. Wherefore, as individual members of the state are not permitted to pursue their private emolument to the prejudice of the community, fo is it equally a confequence of this rule, that no particular colony, province, town, or district, can juftly concert measures for their Separate intereft, which shall appear at the fame

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time to diminish the fum of public prosperity. I do not mean, that it is neceffary to the juftice of a measure, that it profit each and every part of the community; (for, as the happiness of the whole. may be increased, whilft that of fome parts is diminished, it is poffible that the conduct of one part of an empire may be detrimental to fome other part, and yet juft, provided one part gain more in happiness than the other part lofes, fo that the common weal be augmented by the change:) but what I affirm is, that thofe counfels can never be reconciled with the obligations refulting from civil union, which caufe the whole happiness of the fociety to be impaired for the conveniency of a part. This conclufion is applicable to the queftion of right between Great Britain and her revolted colonies. Had

I been an American, I fhould not have thought it enough to have had it even demonftrated, that a feparation from the parent state would produce effects beneficial to America; my relation to that state impofed upon me a further enquiry, namely, whether the whole happinefs of the empire was likely to be promoted by fuch a measure: Not indeed the happiness of every part; that was not neceffary, nor to be expected-but whether what Great Britain would lofe by the feparation

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was likely to be compensated to the joint ftock of happiness, by the advantages which America would receive from it. The contefted claims of fovereign ftates, and their remote dependences, may be fubmitted to the adjudication of this rule with mutual fafety. 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 fame proportions. Whilft, therefore, a colony is fmall, or a province thinly inhabited, if a competition of interefts arife between the original country and their acquired dominions, the former ought to be preferred, because it is fit that if one muft neceffarily be facrificed, the less give place to the greater; but when, by an increase of population, the intereft of the provinces begins to bear a confiderable proportion to the entire intereft of the community, it is poffible that they may fuffer fo much by their fubjection, that not only theirs, but the whole happiness of the empire may be obftructed by their union. The rule and principle of the calculation being fill the fame, the refult is different; and this difference begets a new fituation, which entitles the fubor dinate parts of the ftate to more equal terms of confederation, and, if these be refufed, to independency.

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CHAP. IV.

OF THE DUTY OF CIVIL OBEDIENCE, AS STATED IN THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES.

WE affirm that, as to the extent of our civil

rights and obligations, Chriftianity hath, left us where the found us; that she hath neither altered nor afcertained it; that the New Testament contains not one paffage, which, fairly Interpreted, affords either argument or objection applicable to any conclufions upon the subject that are deduced from the law and religion of

nature.

The only paffages which have been seriously alleged in the controverfy, or which it is neceffary for us to state and examine, are the two following; the one extracted from St. Paul's Epiftle to the Romans, the other from the First General Epiftle of St. Peter :.

ROMANS, xiii. I-7.

"Let every foul be fubject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God;

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