SECTION 14
If the paternal Right had included Dominion, and was to be transferred to a single Heir, it must perish if he were not known; and could be applied to no other person.

HAVING shewed that the first kings were not fathers, nor the first fathers kings; that all the kings of the Jews and gentiles mentioned in Scripture came in upon titles different from, and inconsistent with that of paternity; and that we are not led by the word nor the works of God, nor the reason of man, or light of nature to believe there is any such thing, we may safely conclude there never was any such thing, or that it never had any effect, which to us is the same. 'Tis as ridiculous to think of retrieving that, which from the beginning of the world was lost, as to create that which never was. But I may go farther, and affirm, that tho there had been such a right in the first fathers of mankind exercised by them, and for some ages individually transmitted to their eldest sons, it must necessarily perish, since the generations of men are so confused, that no man knows his own original, and consequently this heir is nowhere to be found; for 'tis a folly for a man to pretend to an inheritance, who cannot prove himself to be the right heir. If this be not true, I desire to know from which of Noah's sons the kings of England, France, or Spain do deduce their original, or what reason they can give why the title to dominion, which is fancied to be in Noah, did rather belong to the first of their respective races, that attained to the crowns they now enjoy, than to the meanest peasant of their kingdoms; or how that can be transmitted to them, which was not in the first. We know that no man can give what he hath not; that if there be no giver, there is no gift; if there be no root, there can be no branch; and that the first point failing, all that should be derived from it must necessarily fail.

Our author, who is good at resolving difficulties, shews us an easy way out of this strait. 'Tis true, says he, all kings are not natural parents of their subjects; yet they either are, or are to be reputed the next heirs to those first progenitors, who were at first the natural parents of the whole people, and in their right succeed to the exercise of the supreme jurisdiction; and such heirs are not only lords of their own children, but also of their brethren, and all those that were subject to their father, &c. By this means it comes to pass, that many a child succeeding a king hath the right of a father over many a grey-headed multitude, and hath the title of pater patriae.[1]

An assertion comprehending so many points, upon which the most important rights of all mankind do depend, might deserve some proof: But he being of opinion we ought to take it upon his credit, doth not vouchsafe to give us so much as the shadow of any. Nevertheless being unwilling either crudely to receive, or rashly to reject it, I shall take the liberty of examining the proposition, and hope I may be pardoned, if I dwell a little more than ordinarily upon that which is the foundation of his work.

We are beholden to him for confessing modestly that all kings are not the natural fathers of their people, and sparing us the pains of proving, that the kings of Persia, who reigned from the Indies to the Hellespont, did not beget all the men that lived in those countries; or that the kings of France and Spain, who began to reign before they were five years old, were not the natural fathers of the nations under them. But if all kings are not fathers, none are, as they are kings: If any one is, or ever was, the rights of paternity belong to him, and to no other who is not so also. This must be made evident; for matters of such importance require proof, and ought not to be taken upon supposition. If Filmer therefore will pretend that the right of father belongs to any one king, he must prove that he is the father of his people; for otherwise it doth not appertain to him; he is not the man we seek.

'Tis no less absurd to say he is to be reputed heir to the first progenitor: for it must be first proved, that the nation did descend from one single progenitor without mixture of other races: that this progenitor was the man, to whom Noah (according to Filmer's whimsical division of Asia, Europe, and Africa among his sons) did give the land now inhabited by that people: That this division so made was not capable of subdivisions; and that this man is by a true and uninterrupted succession descended from the first and eldest line of that progenitor; and all fails, if every one of these points be not made good. If there never was any such man who had that right, it cannot be inherited from him. If by the same rule that a parcel of the world was allotted to him, that parcel might be subdivided amongst his children as they increased, the subdivisions may be infinite, and the right of dominion thereby destroyed. If several nations inhabit the same land, they owe obedience to several fathers: that which is due to their true father, cannot be rendered to him that is not so; for he would by that means be deprived of the right which is inseparably annexed to his person: And lastly, whatsoever the right of an heir may be, it can belong only to him that is heir.

Lest any should be seduced from these plain truths by frivolous suggestions, 'tis good to consider that the title of pater patriae, with which our author would cheat us, hath no relation to the matters of right, upon which we dispute. 'Tis a figurative speech, that may have been rightly enough applied to some excellent princes on account of their care and love to their people, resembling that of a father to his children; and can relate to none but those who had it. No man that had common sense, or valued truth, did ever call Phalaris, Dionysius, Nabis, Nero, or Caligula, fathers of their countries; but monsters, that to the utmost of their power endeavoured their destruction: which is enough to prove, that sacred name cannot be given to all, and in consequence to none but such, as by their virtue, piety, and good government do deserve it.

These matters will yet appear more evident, if it be considered, that tho Noah had reigned as a king; that Zoroaster, as some suppose, was Ham, who reigned over his children, and that thereby some right might perhaps be derived to such as succeeded them; yet this can have no influence upon such as have not the like original; and no man is to be presumed to have it, till it be proved, since we have proved that many had it not. If Nimrod set himself up against his grandfather, and Ninus, who was descended from him in the fifth generation, slew him; they ill deserved the name and rights of fathers; and none, but those who have renounced all humanity, virtue, and common sense, can give it to them, or their successors. If therefore Noah and Shem had not so much as the shadow of regal power, and the actions of Nimrod, Ninus, and others who were kings in their times, shew they did not reign in the right of fathers, but were set up in a direct opposition to it, the titles of the first kings were not from paternity, nor consistent with it.

Our author therefore, who should have proved every point, doth neither prove any one, nor assert that which is agreeable to divine or human story, as to matter of fact; and as little conformable to common sense. It does not only appear contrary to his general proposition, that all governments have not begun with the paternal power; but we do not find that any ever did. They who according to his rules should have been lords of the whole earth, lived and died private men, whilst the wildest and most boisterous of their children commanded the greatest part of the then inhabited world, not excepting even those countries where they spent and ended their days; and instead of entering upon the government by the right of fathers, or managing it as fathers, they did by the most outrageous injustice usurp a violent domination over their brethren and fathers.

It may easily be imagined what the right is that could be thus acquired, and transmitted to their successors. Nevertheless our author says, All kings either are, or ought to be reputed next heirs, &c. But why reputed, if they were not? How could any of the accursed race of Ham be reputed father of Noah or Shem, to whom he was to be a servant? How could Nimrod and Ninus be reputed fathers of Ham, and of those whom they ought to have obeyed? Can reason oblige me to believe that which I know to be false? Can a lie, that is hateful to God and good men, not only be excused, but enjoined, when (as he will perhaps say) it is for the king's service? Can I serve two masters, or without the most unpardonable injustice, repute him to be my father, who is not my father; and pay the obedience that is due to him who did beget and educate me, to one from whom I never received any good? If this be so absurd, that no man dares affirm it in the person of any, 'tis as preposterous in relation to his heirs: For Nimrod the first king could be heir to no man as king, and could transmit to no man a right which he had not. If it was ridiculous and abominable to say that he was father of Cush, Ham, Shem and Noah; 'tis as ridiculous to say, he had the right of father, if he was not their father; or that his successors inherited it from him, if he never had it. If there be any way through this, it must have accrued to him by the extirpation of all his elders, and their races; so as he who will assert this pretended right to have been in the Babylonian kings, must assert, that Noah, Shem, Japheth, Ham, Cush, and all Nimrod's elder brothers, with all their descendents, were utterly extirpated before he began to reign, and all mankind to be descended from him.

This must be, if Nimrod, as the Scripture says, was the first that became mighty in the earth; unless men might be kings, without having more power than others; for Cush, Ham and Noah were his elders and progenitors in the direct line, and all the sons of Shem and Japheth, and their descendants in the collaterals, were to be preferred before him; and he could have no right at all, that was not directly contrary to those principles which, our author says, are grounded upon the eternal and indispensable laws of God and nature. The like may be said of the seventy two heads of colonies, which (following, as I suppose, Sir Walter Raleigh)[2] he says, went out to people the earth, and whom he calls kings: for, according to the same rule, Noah, Shem and Japheth, with their descendants, could not be of the number; so that neither Nimrod, nor the others that established the kingdoms of the world, and from whence he thinks all the rest to be derived, could have anything of justice in them, unless it were from a root altogether inconsistent with his principles. They are therefore false, or the establishments before mentioned could have no right. If they had none, they cannot be reputed to have any; for no man can think that to be true, which he knows to be false: having none, they could transmit none to their heirs and successors. And if we are to believe, that all the kingdoms of the earth are established upon this paternal right; it must be proved that all those, who in birth ought to have been preferred before Nimrod, and the seventy two were extirpated; or that the first and true heir of Noah did afterwards abolish all these unjust usurpations; and making himself master of the whole, left it to his heirs, in whom it continues to this day. When this is done, I will acknowledge the foundation to be well laid, and admit of all that can be rightly built upon it; but if this fails, all fails: The poison of the root continues in the branches. If the right heir be not in possession, he is not the right who is in possession: If the true heir be known, he ought to be restored to his right: If he be not known, the right must perish: That cannot be said to belong to any man, if no man knows to whom it belongs, and can have no more effect than if it were not. This conclusion will continue unmoveable, tho the division into seventy two kingdoms were allowed; which cannot be without destroying the paternal power, or subjecting it to be subdivided into as many parcels as there are men, which destroys regality; for the same thing may be required in every one of the distinct kingdoms, and others derived from them. We must know who was that true heir of Noah, that recovered all: How, when, and to whom he gave the several portions; and that every one of them do continue in the possession of those, who by this prerogative of birth are raised above the rest of mankind; and if they are not, 'tis an impious folly to repute them so, to the prejudice of those that are; and if they do not appear, to the prejudice of all mankind; who being equal, are thereby made subject to them. For as truth is the rule of justice; there can be none, when he is reputed superior to all who is certainly inferior to

[At this point two pages are missing in the original manuscript.][3]

[1] [Patriarcha, ch. 5 .]

[2] [Patriarcha, ch. 4.]

[3] [First of three gaps in the manuscript noted by the editor of the first edition.]


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