and administration should be conformed to
the law of universal reason. There can be no prescription old enough to supersede the law of nature and the grant of God Almighty, who has given all men a right to be free. If every prince since Nimrod had been a tyrant, it would not prove a right to tyrannize. The administrators of legislative and executive authority, when they verge towards tyranny, are to be resisted; if they prove incorrigible, are to be deposed. The first principle and great end of government being to provide for the best good of all the people; this can be done only by a supreme legislative and ex ecutive ultimately in the people, or whole community, where God has placed it; but the difficulties attending a universal congress gave rise to a right of representation. Such a transfer of the power of the whole to a few was necessary; but to bring the powers of all into the hands of one, or some few, and to make them hereditary, is the interested work of the weak and the wicked. Nothing but life and liberty are actually hereditable. The grand political problem is to invent the best combination of the powers of legislation and execution: they must exist in the state, just as in the revolution of the planets; one power would fix them to a centre, and another carry them off indefinitely; but the first and simple principle is equality and the power of the whole. The best writers on public law contain nothing that is satisfactory on the natural rights of colonies. Even Grotius and Puffendorf establish the matter of right on the matter of fact. Their researches are often but the history of ancient abuses; and the American Admiralty courts learn of them to determine controversies
chap X.} 1764. July
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.