Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

the following be proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which when ratified by three-fourths of the legislatures of the several states, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, to wit :

The ten first of the preceding amendments were proposed at the first session of the first Congress, of the United States, 25 September, 1789, and were finally ratified by the constitutional number of States, on the 15th day of December, 1791. The eleventh amendment was proposed at the first session of the third Congress, 5 March, 1794, and was declared in a message from the President of the United States to both houses of Congress, dated 8th January, 1798, to have been adopted by the constitutional number of States. The twelfth amendment was proposed at the first session of the eighth Congress, 12 December, 1803, and was adopted by the constitutional number of States in 1804, according to a public notice thereof by the Secretary of State, dated 25th September, of the same year.

ADDENDA TO PART SECOND.

(At a time when the very foundation of government is shaken, and the edifice of constitutional freedom tottering, few treatises can be read with greater profit than those of Locke “On Government;" from which, therefore, we have determined to present the following extracts. And at a time when the United States are occupying to. wards the Confederate States, an attitude almost identical with that assumed towards us by England in the Revolutionary War, it cannot be amiss to show how one of the wisest and noblest of English statesmen-Burke-proposed to deal with the revolted colonies. On this account we give here an abridgment of his greatest speech on Amer. ican affairs.]

LOOKE ON GOVERNMENT.

OBJECTS OF GOVERNMENT-ARBITRARY POWER COMPARED WITH A GOVERNMENT OP

LAWS-CONSENT AND FORCECONQUEST-RIGHT OF THE CONQUERED-LIMITS OF THE RIGHT WHICH CAN BE OBTAINED BY A RIGHTFUL CONQUEROR-OVER HIS OWN PEOPLE-OVER THE VANQUISHED—THE LATTER DESPOTICAL—BUT NOT UNIVERSAL IN ITS EXTENT—NOT INCLUDING THE PROPERTY OF THE VANQUISHED, WHICH IS HIS CHILDREN'S—BUT ONLY THE LIVES OF THOSE ACTUALLY EN

GAGED IN WAR-THESE PROPOSITIONS LOGICALLY DISCUSSED-RIGHT OF REBEL

LION RESERVED TO THE CONQUERED EVEN AFTER FORCED CONSENT TO THE TIC-
TOR'S AUTHORITY-THIS RIGHT AN INDEFEASIBLE INHERITANCE OF THEIR POS-

TERITY-CASE OF THE GREEK CHRISTIANS-SUMMARY-CASE OF HEZEKIAR

ARBITRARY RULERS PUT THEMSELVES INTO A STATE OF WAR WITH THE PEOPLE

-THEREBY ABSOLVING THEM FROM ALLEGIANCE-THE PEOPLE NOT DISPOSED TO

REVOLUTION—THE RIGHT OF REVOLUTION AND REBELLION-WHEN IT EXISTSOBJECTIONS ANSWERED,

Though men, when they enter into society, give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of nature, into the hands of the society, to be so far disposed of by the legislative as the good of the society shall require; yet it being only with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty, and property (for no rational creature can be supposed to change his condition with an intention to be worse); the power of the society or legislative constituted by them, can never be supposed to extend farther than the common good; but is obliged to secure every one's property by providing against those three defects above mentioned, that made the state of nature so unsafe and uneasy. And so whoever has the legislative or supreme power of any common. wealth is bound to govern by established standing laws, promulgated and known to the people, and not by extemporary decrees; by indifferent and upright judges, who are to decide controversies by those laws; and to employ the force of the community at home only in the execution of such laws; or abroad to prevent or redress foreign injuries, and secure the community from inroads and invasion. And all this to be directed to no other end but the peace, safety, and public good of the people.

Absolute arbitrary power, or governing without settled standing laws, can neither of them consist with the ends of society and government, which men could not quit the freedom of the state of nature for, and tie themselves up under, were it not to preserve their lives, liberties, and fortunes, and by stated rules of right and property to secure their peace and quiet. It cannot be supposed that they should intend, had they a power so to do, to give to any one or more, an absolute arbitrary power over their persons and estates, and put a force in the magistrate's band to execute his unlimited will arbitrarily upon them. This were to put themselves in a worse condition than the state of nature, wherein they had a liberty to defend their right against the injuries of others, and were upon equal terms of force to maintain it, whether invaded by a single man or many in combination. Whereas by supposing they have given up themselves to the absolute arbitrary power and will of a legislator, they have disarmed themselves, and armed him, to

of them when he pleases; he being in a much worse condition who is exposed to the arbitrary power of one man, who has the command of one hundred thousand, than he that is exposed to the power of one hundred thousand single men; nobody being secure, that his will, who has such a command, is better than that of other men, though his force be one hundred thousand times stronger. And therefore whatever form the commonwealth is under, the ruling power ought to govern by declared and received laws, and not by extem

make a prey

porary dictates and undetermined resolutions ; for then mankind will be in a far worse condition than in the state of nature, if they shall have armed one or a few men with the joint power of a multitude, to force them to obey at pleasure the exorbitant and unlimited decrees of their sudden thoughts, or unrestrained, and till that moment unknown wills, without having any measures set down which may guide and justify their actions; for all the power the government has being only for the good of society, as it ought not to be arbitrary and at pleasure, 80 it ought to be exercised by established and promulgated laws ; that both the people may know their duty, and be safe and secure within the limits of the law; and the rulers too kept within their bounds, and not be tempted by the power they have in their hands to employ it to such purpose, and by such measures, as they would not have known, and own not willingly.--LOCKE, vol. v. pp. 420, 421.

Though governments can originally have no other rise than that before mentioned, nor politics be founded on anything but the consent of the people; yet such have been the disorders ambition has filled the world with, that in the noise of war, which makes so great a part of the history of mankind, this consent is little taken notice of; and, therefore, many have mistaken the force of arms for the consent of the people, and reckon conquest as one of the originals of governments. But conquest is so far from setting up any government, as demolishing a house is from building a new one in its place. Indeed it often makes way for a new frame of commonwealth by destroying the former ; but without the consent of the people, can never erect a new one.

That the aggressor, who puts himself into the state of war with another, and unjustly invades another man's right, can, by such an unjust war, never come to have a right over the conquered, will be easily agreed by all men, who will not think that robbers and pirates have a right of empire over whomsoever they have force enough to master; or that men are bound by promises, which unlawful force extorts from them. Should a robber break into my house, and, with a dagger at my throat, make me seal deeds to convey my estate to him, would this give him any title? Just such a title by his sword has an unjust conqueror who forces me into submission. The injury and the crime are equal, whether committed by the wearer of a crown, or some petty villain. The title of the offender, and the number of his followers make no difference in the offence, unless it be to aggravate it. The only difference is, great robbers punish little ones, to keep them in their obedience; but the great ones are rewarded with laurels and triumphs; because they are too big for the weak hands of justice in this world, and have the power in their own possession, which should punish offenders. What is my remedy against a robber that so broke into my house ? Appeal to the law for justice.

But the conquered, or their children, have no court, no arbitrator on earth to appeal to. Then they may appeal, as Jephthah did, to Heaven, and repeat their appeal till they have recovered the native right of their ancestors, which was to have such a legislative over them as the majority should approve, and freely acquiesce in.

But supposing victory favors the right side, let us consider a conqueror in a lawful war, and see what power he gets, and over whom. First, it is plain," he gets no power by his conquest over those that conquered with him." They that fought on his side cannot suffer by the conquest, but must at least be as much freemen as they were before. And most commonly they serve upon terms, and on conditions to share with their leader, and enjoy a part of the spoil, and other advantages that attended the conquering sword; or at least have a part of the subdued country bestowed upon them. And “the conquering people are not, I hope, to be slaves by conquest,” and wear their laurels only to show they are sacrifices to their leader's triumph.

Secondly, I say then the conqueror gets no power but only over those who have actually assisted, concurred, or consented to that unjust force that is used against him; for the people having given to their governors no power to do an unjust war (for they never had such a power in themselves), they ought not to be charged as guilty of the violence and injustice that is committed in an unjust war, any farther than they actually abet it; no more than they are to be thought guilty of any violence or oppression their governors should use upon the people themselves, or any part of their fellow subjects, they having impowered them no more to the one than to the other.

« ForrigeFortsett »