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and natural right, and that its legal enactments are binding on the consciences of those to whom they are addressed. Allegiance is the moral duty of the subject, and treason is a crime of far deeper dye than the mere breach of a promise, or violation of a tacit compact. The duty is reciprocal, it is true; the sacred character does not attach to the government, unless the well-being of the subject is promoted by its management, or, perhaps, his wishes consulted, in some degree, in its formation. But, when these conditions are fulfilled, a more grave authority a far higher sanction, belongs to the legal proceedings of the state, than could be derived from the mere consent of the governed. Hooker merely stated an undeniable truth in a rhetorical and exaggerated form, when he affirmed of positive law, that "its seat is the bosom of God, and its voice is the harmony of the world.” This reverence for law is spontaneous and natural to every man, when unhappy circumstances have not compelled him frequently to oppose abused authority and mischievous and oppressive enactments. It is the safeguard of society, the preservative from continual dissension and tumult, the fly-wheel, that keeps up continuous action in the social machine, and protects it against sudden and injurious alterations. The presumption is in favor of every existing form of government, and can be rebutted only by positive evidence of abuse, mismanagement, or oppression. And the burden of proof lies on the assailant. He must substantiate his charges, or he is justly exposed to punishment as a disturber of the public peace. We are not stating a theory, but a fact, though it is one which is too frequently winked out of view in general speculations on politics. The uniform practice of all governments, in relation to resistance to their authority, is as above stated. The statutes of republics and democracies, as well as of despotisms, define the crime of treason, and annex to it the highest of all punishments.
In these times, we have reversed the maxim of the ancients; opinions now incline towards the conclusion, that the individual is everything, and the public nothing. The disorganizing effects of such a belief need to be resisted by argument, since the tendency of events is to strengthen and develop the principle. Antiquity fortifies the opinion of right in the state, and, as the frequent changes of modern times have deprived the civil power, in most cases, of this support, it is the more necessary to point out the legitimacy of its authority, or the moral basis on which it rests. We are fast disarming the law of its former terrors, physical force and the reverence due to age, — and there is more cause, therefore, to increase its moral efficiency. Without a clear perception of the truth, that the acts of the state are always presumed to be done within constitutional limits, there will be perpetual collision between the claims of government and of the individual. If the subject believes, that there is no obligation in the case, that he is bound to obey no longer than it is his interest to do so, that his own estimate of the expediency of a law determines his privilege of resisting it, then it is obvious that society must cease. An organized state differs from a mere aggregation of individuals only by virtue of the superior authority claimed for an act of the former over a decision by a majority of the latter. An act of the state, as such, by its own proper character, is binding on those of its subjects who receive and those who reject the evidence of its general utility. The privilege of the discontented is confined to an attempt to change the law through the established mode of legislation ; they must not resist it during the period of its legal existence. But, where a number of individuals are casually united, without any social or legal tie existing between them, no decision by a majority, however great, can put any restraint, but that of physical force, on a single dissentient.
All general reasoning on this subject, founded on the hypothesis of birth in a state of nature, original enjoyment of entire freedom, and subsequent formation of society, and voluntary submission to legal restraint, is fallacious and irrelevant. Nowadays, men are not born in holes and caverns, apart from their fellows, to the enjoyment of natural, savage right. Man is eminently a social being. Society, more or less matured, watches over his cradle, claims birn as her property in infancy, and exercises authority over him before he is capable of acting for himself. When he attains the use of reflection and foresight, the question is not, whether he will surrender a portion of the privileges he has hitherto enjoyed, but whether he will shake off the authority which has as yet restrained him ; not whether he will form a society, but whether he will destroy one. Therefore, if the duty of civil obedience exists at all, it is not selfimposed, but original; it is born with us, resulting necessarily from the condition of our nature, and the situation in which we are placed by Providence. The true state of nature, far from being one of unlicensed action and self-government, is a condition of responsibility, submission, and trust.
With these views, we may the more easily approach a question, the decision of which is of some practical importance at the present day. Does à colony owe natural allegiance to the mother country? Can it justifiably dissolve the connexion, when un provoked by unjust, illegal, or oppressive treatment? According to the principles just laid down, colonists have no such privilege. The allegiance of the subject, as it is not founded on his own act or consent, but on the constitution of his nature and the general order of things, is due to that government under which he is born. It continues until he is released by a voluntary act of the state, or the duty is cancelled by some violation of his rights on the part of the government. It is the privilege of every society to use all justifiable means for its own preservation, and among the most important of these means is the integrity of its territory. Hence, the dismemberment of a state is a social evil, and can be justified only by the necessity of avoiding some greater wrong, or of vindicating some natural and indefeasible right. Indeed, so far as such a dismemberment goes, it amounts to a dissolution of society itself; for the right of separation from the main body may be claimed and effected, successively, by still smaller portions of the community, until, at last, all union is dissolved, and each individual assumes the privilege of self-government. The distance of a colony may seem to create a distinction between its case, and the removal of an integral portion from the parent state. But it is a distinction without a difference, when we regard only the rights of the two parties, though it may prove decisive, if the question be argued on the simple ground of expediency. There are no natural limits to the territory of a nation, and a district on a remote border may be as far distant from the metropolis, as a colony is, in a different direction. The duty of a subject cannot be determined by the greater or less number of miles which separate him from the seat of government. The inconvenience of extending the empire of one state over what are termed natural boundaries, such as a river, a chain of mountains, or an ocean, may be manifest; but this circumstance cannot affect a question of natural right.
In our country, under the most liberal government of modern times, this practical question may hardly seem to merit an abstract discussion. We shall probably never again be driven to an application of the argument in our own case. Yet it is important to have precise notions on the subject, if we would avoid the waste of much honest sympathy on men and measures that deserve only the heartiest execration. Liberty is too sacred a name, the glory of having fought and died in her cause is too precious, to be thrown around the memories of piratical and blood-stained insurgents. To prevent a general confusion of ideas and uncertainty of judgment on this subject, and others growing out of it, and equal in importance, we need a system of political ethics suited to the advanced notions of the age, in relation to civil freedom and the rights of subjects,-a system, which shall reconcile the enlarged claims of individual liberty with the security and well-being of society. The first principle of such a theory must be, that government, considered simply as a government, is a good, — that its mere existence entitles it to respect, and gives it authority, - that innovators, recusants, and opponents are bound to make out their case — to show cause for their proceedings. This point being established, we have a moral basis for the reasoning, a point of departure in the natural obligations of the subject. The conflicting claims of the state and the individual may, then, be settled by a comprehensive view, on the one hand, of the blessings conferred on men by civil organization, and, on the other, of the evils of restraint, and the justice as well as the necessity of leaving free action and separate responsibility to each of the governed.
We hoped to find in Dr. Lieber's work, the publication of which has suggested these remarks, a full statement of the altered grounds of political science, and of the new position it occupies in consequence of the progress of civil liberty, and the enlargement and diffusion throughout the civilized world, of liberal opinions in matters of government. The rights and duties of citizens are now contemplated from a new point of view, and their relative extent and importance must, consequently, be determined on principles very different from those employed by former writers on the same subject. After a full examination of his work, we are bound to say, that these expectations were disappointed. It would be too much to assert, that the writer seems never to have perceived the necessity of founding his scheme of political duties on a different basis from that adopted by his predecessors ; but, rejecting the old theory, he has offered none to supply its place, - none, at least, which, from a precise statement of principles, and definite application of them to certain cases, affords any solution to the numerous questions
contained in the science. There is no system in the work. The writer talks about everything, but determines nothing. If anywhere a distinct proposition appears to be enunciated, it is either deprived of all meaning by subsequent admissions to an opposite theory, or it is wholly subverted and set aside by contradictory statements made in another connexion. Indeed, we have seldom met with a treatise, — least of all, with one professing to supply the place of a text-book in seminaries of learning, — so ill-digested, wavering, and incomplete, as the work before us. The writer has evidently bestowed much thought on the subject. Some of the arguments bearing on particular points are lucid and satisfactory, and many of the illustrations are striking and ingenious. But there is a total want of method. We find no regular succession of topics, no consecutive evolution of principles; and, therefore, after the most careful perusal of the work, one is wholly at a loss to determine, whether the author has any system of morals and politics, or not.
We cannot expose the magnitude of this defect, without going into an extended analysis of the work, which would weary the patience of our readers. But any one, who will read a dozen pages in succession from any part of the book, will be fully sensible of the quality which we have reprehended. For particular illustration, to show what heterogeneous topics are discussed, and the want of arrangement between them, we give the author's own abstract, or table of contents, of one of the chapters in the second book. “ View
of the Origin and Character of the State in the Middle Ages. — Dante. Thomas More. -Bodinus. · The Netherlands first proclaim broadly that. Monarchs are for the benefit of the People, and may be deposed. - The Development of the Idea of the Sovereignty of the People owing to the Jesuits. William Allen. Parsons. Bellarmin. - Jesuits defend Regicide under certain Circumstances. - Mariana. Suarez. Luther. Calvin. - Bacon. - English Revolution, a great Period for Liberal Ideas in Politics. — Puffendorf. - Leibnitz. Montesquieu. - Hume. - Quesnay.-Turgot and Malherbes. - Mably. Adam Smith. Blackstone. Delolme. · Bentham. Hallam. Revolution of 1830.". - p.
xii. It would be harsh to find much fault with the literary execution of a work written by a foreigner, whose acquaintance