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political organizations is to substitute the whole power of a community for that of individuals in the protecting of their persons and their properties, by means of laws for the restraint and punishment of wrong-doers within, and military combinations to resist foreign aggressions from without. It is on this ground that the doctrine of consent rests. For in any government it is necessary that a portion of the freedom of the individual should be surrendered that the rest may be preserved. He resigns his right of individual self-defence and submits to the restraints of law in order that he may enjoy more perfect security. But if a government be set over him without his consent, this is itself an invasion of his liberty which the law of nature authorizes him to resist. Hence arbitrary governments, whose subjects have neither expressly nor tacitly consented to their institution, and governments whose title to exist is founded on the so-called right of conquest, are in a perpetual state of war with nature, and their subjects have a perpetual and indefeasible right of rebellion against them. No prescription holds against the laws of nature; and such governments, being governments of force and contrary to nature, hold their power subject to the people's right to reassert the law of nature by resisting, and, if possible, destroying their usurped power.
There are, however, few civilized governments to which the subjects have not yielded an express or tacit consent; and lawful governments can only be lawfully resisted when they are perverted from their lawful purposes. Man is a social being, naturally living in societies; to the existence of society, government is necessary; hence anarchy is repugnant to nature; and therefore the wanton subversion of governments, lawfully instituted by consent of their subjects, being an act which tends to anarchy, is a crime against the law of
But when lawful governments, instead of protecting life, liberty, and property, become or threaten to become destructive of these or prejudicial to them, they proclaim war against the law of nature, and their subjects have the right to overthrow them. In this case it is the government that is truly rebellious, and the people who are truly obedient to the law of nature.
To this view there are some who object on Scriptural grounds. “ All power is of God;" " the powers that be are ordained of God;." the magistrate is “the minister of God;" “ let every soul be subject to the higher powers." These are the sayings of St. Paul. We have only, however, to carry his injunctions far enough in order to show that they must be received with considerable limitations. If the magistrate is the minister of God who acquires his authority over a kingdom through an armed force of one hundred thousand men, it is difficult to say why a marauding chief who occupies a district at the head of a band of brigands is not equally the minister of God. And if every soul is to be subject to the edicts of the one, it would be hard to find a reason why the same rule should not hold good of the demands of his less mighty but not less righteous imitator. Scripture itself gives warrant for rebellion against arbitrary and unjust power. The exodus of Israel from Egypt was rebellion against a government to which they had consented by their voluntary settlement under it, but from which they were released because it had become oppressive. And in the instance of Hezekiah, so aptly quoted by Locke, we have a case in which the indefeasible right of rebellion against a subjugating power, even after submission and enforced consent, is perfectly sustained. Hezekiah and his country had been conquered by Assyria, to the king of which he had submitted. On condition of consenting to the supremacy of Assyria, he had been suffered to retain his throne. But “the Lord was with Hezekiah and he prospered; wherefore he went forth, and he rebelled against the king of Assyria and served him not.” (2 Kings xviii. 7.) This is spoken of “the good king Hezekiah," and spoken certainly not in reprehension. The sacred penman represents this godly king's rebellion as the consequence of the divine presence and blessing. Unquestionably lawful magistrates are ministers of God for good to men, but when their lawful powers are prostituted to subserve the devil's purposes, whose ministers do they become? The devil himself is styled in Holy Writ the “prince of this world," and, to judge from what we see around us in this nineteenth century, he is one of the mightiest of the powers that be;" but here at least resistance to the tyrant is obedience to God. The truth is, the religion of the Holy Scriptures is a religion of common sense, and a religion of righteousness. It does not declare a wrong to be right because it is sustained by force, or because it has the trappings of legitimate authority to cover an unlawful usurpation. Lawful magistrates and lawful governments it is the Christian's duty to obey as ministers of God. Resistance to usurped power—that is, to a robbery of man's most precious heritage is not contrary either to the letter or the spirit of the Scriptures.
A Christian, then, may lawfully rebel against the government of which he is a subject ; but only when it is a lawless government; that is, when its authority is based, not on the law of nature, but of force, or when its power, though lawfully acquired, is not so exercised as to protect the subject in his rights of property and person, which is the object of all government. Against such a government, or one which threatens to become such, but against such only, may a Christian lawfully rebel or aid a revolution.
Politically, however, revolution must be justified by quite a different argument-success. International law takes little cognizance of the original right by which power is acquired. The fact of its existence is the only reason for its recognition. Till the revolution is successful by the overthrow of the government whose destruction is attempted, it is in the eye of international law rebellion. Once successful, the authority it sets up becomes legitimate. Politically speaking, the wrongs which may have caused it, or the rights it was intended to secure, are nothing. Revolution is politically justified by nothing but success.
And, prudentially, a revolution must be justified, both by success and by a capacity to organize a better government than that which it subverts. It is not enough that the original government may have been bad or badly administered, for unless it be successful, and unless the new form of administration or the new rules be better than the old, the uncertainties and strife of revolution have been incurred in vain. The French Revolution, though productive in the end of good results, was not, prudentially, a justifiable revolution. Its success was merely temporary, and the government it organized instead of that of the beheaded Louis was in all respects worse than that they çast down. It was wrong prudentially, first, because it failed of permanent success, and second, because, while its power continued, it did not improve the government, but rather made it in great measure, by placing the heaviest excise duties of our internal revenue upon two articles in which her interests are insignificant. Her six States, with an aggregate population of three million one hundred and thirty-five thousand three hundred and one, according to the census of 1860, are represented by twelve Senators, holding the chairmanship of all the most important committees of the Senate of the Union; while New York, with a population of three million eight hundred and eighty-seven thousand five hundred and forty-two, according to the same census, has but two members in the Senate; and these two, upon every occasion in which they attempted to defend the interests of New York and the Central States, were roughly overriden and voted down by the 'Black Republican Squadron' from New England.
"Thus it is that history repeats itself. The Puritans fled to this country under the pretence of a desire to secure religious liberty; but no sooner had they obtained it for themselves than they commenced burning Quakers, nonconformists, witches, and all others whose tenets were not identical with their own, or whose practices they could not understand. They protested against the ascendancy of the ‘Black Gulf Squadron' in our national affairs, even provoking a civil war rather than submit to it; but no sooner are they given a chance of power than we find the “Black Republican Squadron' in full sweep, with the black flag hoisted against the rights, interests, and opinions of every section of the Union. Our whole Government to-day is one of Yankee ideas, and the most miserable sort of Yankee philanthropic notions. The sceptre thrown down by the extreme South as it rushed out of the Union is now wielded more fiercely and remorselessly by the extreme Northeastern section of our people.
“When will the day come, it may be asked, in which the great Central and Western States will assert their natural supremacy, and crush out the extremists, or corner-men of the continent, as we may call them—one faction of these residing in the southeast, and the other in the northeast corner of the Atlantic seaboard? When will the day come that we of the Centre and West shall be • Americans,' and not 'Yankees,' in the eyes of Europe, and, indeed, of all the world? We are called 'Yankees' now—even by our Southern foes, who know better, geographically-merely because it is seen that we are the helots of a Yankee oligarchy, patiently submitting to Yankee rule, and fighting out a war which had its origin in Yankee intolerance and bigotry. With seven hundred and fifty thousand more population than the six New England States put together, we have but two representatives in the Senate of the United States, while New England has twelve; and not content with foisting on us the greater part of the burdens of the war, while at the same time ruining the trade and marine of our greatest city—the greatest city on the continent– New England has now capped the climax of her oppressions by so arranging it that, while but twelve and a half per cent. of her population has been enrolled for the coming draft, no less than twenty-six per cent. of our population in the first ten districts of New York have been enrolled for the same purpose! Does this really mean that the lives of two and a fraction citizens of New York are but worth the life of one Massachusetts man? Or will the Bay State assert that one of her lanky sons is able to whip two and something over of our New York athletes ? The question is a pertinent one: for, as things are now progressing, no one can tell how soon these questions may be brought to a very practical test. The only remedy for these evils is for the Central and Northern States to make a strong alliance, offensive and defensive, during the progress of the Chicago Convention, and to place upon a platform, opposed alike to Southeastern and Northeastern extremists, some conservative soldier or statesman, who shall be the vigorous ex. ponent of a national, anti-corner policy.”—New York HERALD.